Instead of counting down the days in December until the 25th as my kids do most years, last month our household was counting down to the 18th – the day of the new Star Wars release, of course. Without spoilers, here’s a one word summary: AWESOME.
Now with spoilers: Really, it was epically awesome. On all kinds of levels.
Sure, “The Force Awakens” is eerily similar to the first episode: sandy planet with people living at the margins, cute beeping robot, black masked villain, a giant death star blowing up planets, intergalactic bar scene, kidnapped girl … But this time, the lead character is Rey, who is simply and unapologetically amazing. It’s literally in her that the Force awakens.
So how crazy was it, then, that toy manufacturer Hasbro left Rey out of the toy aisle? Here’s how blogger Mike Adamick describes it:
Rey was in all the posters, trailers, TV ads, you name it, as the character front and center. But browse a toy aisle and she was available occasionally on her own but completely left out of toy packs. Just imagine, for a moment, how laughable it would seem to have a package of toys from, say, Indiana Jones without mother fucking Indiana Jones. Or the original Star Wars toys without Luke Skywalker?
Silly, right? It’s almost impossible to imagine.
It just wouldn’t happen.
And yet, you can buy toy packages with seemingly every character but Rey. Go surf around on HasBros web site. It’s the worst. It’s literally a shame of humanity to see toys divided by gender the way that company does. Click on “girls toys” and, well, you can imagine the glitter parade of sexed-up dolls and wide-eyed stuffies. But click on “boys toys” and you get Star Wars up the ass — except Rey has become, of course, a “Jakku Scavenger” instead of actually bearing her name. Because what a god damn travesty that would be, right? To have a boy play around with a girl hero toy.
Again, could you imagine Indiana Jones being marketed as just an “archaeologist” on the toy package? Or Luke as a farm boy? Han as just a “smuggler”?
No, he’s freaking Han Solo.
Whereas Rey is a “scavenger.”
Fortunately, an 8-year year old activist got through to those backwards thinking executives, and they agreed today to at least add a Rey game piece to the Star Wars edition of monopoly. Seriously? It took an 8-year old to tell them this?
I really appreciate the gender analysis Adamick gives to this new Star Wars. He’s got some great things to say about why boys and men need this character of Rey (he calls her “the perfect role model for little boys”). And he’s right: she’s fierce, clever, doesn’t need a guy to hold her hand in a firefight, and her story line does not depend on finding a mate to ensure her happiness. She never apologizes for or questions her strength or courage. And I would add, her wardrobe hasn’t been sexualized (ala Princess Laia who went from strong and sassy to the famous bikini-clad soft-porn icon chained to Jabba the Hutt).
Rey she is the chosen one, the next Jedi warrior. I encourage you to read all the way to the end of Adamick’s piece. Spoiler alert: Star Wars and Rey are good for girls, too.