Sunday, March 11, 2007

Stealth sexism

I just want to say, that I'm watching Return of the Jedi because HBO has been running it ad nauseum, and it's the speeder chase, and Leia stays about twenty feet away from the Storm Trooper and he shoots her and she falls off the speeder (at a speed which should have killed her, but let's not be picky about that), and her Storm Trooper looks back to gloat and then crashes into a tree stump and dies—a very passive way to kill a man.

Meantime, Luke is going neck-and-neck and speeder-to-speeder with his Storm Trooper, all manly and macho, and he causes the death of his Storm Trooper by old-fashioned, well, manliness. Luke crashes into the guy until he goes off course and crashes, while Luke, of course, misses the tree through his superior piloting skills. Nothing passive, all aggressive.

And so, the stealth sexism affects yet another generation, at least until Lara Croft shows up in all of her full-breasted glory.

Yeah, that last was sarcasm.


Sarah O. said...

Thank the Lords of Kobol Kara Thrace turned up. But I'm not being sarcastic. Until you tell me I should be, that is.

gennimcmahon said...

Once the puce-colored goggles of sexism go on, all entertainment is utterly ruined. Nothing seems to be free of the Stealth Sexism.

And it's weird, but once the goggles go on, it's hell to try and get them back off again.

E.L. Walsh said...

Hmmmm. I seem to remember Leia shooting bad guys outright from time to time, but I'll tell you what really gets me.

Luke and Leia are the children of a Jedi. And not just any Jedi, but one of the strongest Jedi ever.

The whole original trilogy is about Luke's development as a Jedi. Leia, meanwhile, gets to crack wise and fall in love.

Oh. Oh, wait! I forgot! Leia does have one Jedi power! Do you want to know what it is?

Leia's Jedi power is knowing when Luke is in trouble.

norbizness said...

That's weird, the fucking teddy bears ruined RotJ for me. When I was 11.

Anonymous said...

Genni you obviously never played Metroid for the NES.

gennimcmahon said...

Okay, okay, alright, after a bit of research I can see that, yes, Metroid NES is, well, a GAME, and yeah, yeah, I have never played it.

I do have a deep and abiding love for Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, but it was, I think-- sexist. I played it on -gasp- a SEGA system. They had it in an exhibit at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry in the summer of 2005, and it totally rocked to see it again. Impossible to find for XBox, can ya believe it?

But that's off topic. *Should* I play this game, or are you being all tongue in cheek to make fun of my age and lack of exposure? Now I'm all intrigued, anonymous!

Margalis said...

(Anonymous poster reveals his true form!)

From wikipedia:

"The original Metroid game intentionally led players to believe Samus was a male cyborg (including references to the character as male in the English instruction booklet) until the very end of the game, where it was revealed that Samus is in fact an attractive young woman, making a statement about gender roles in video games at a time when heroes were predominantly male."

Sounds kind of silly but at the time it really did get a lot of buzz, teaching an entire generation of 5th graders that women can kick ass.

Samus' sexuality has never been front-and-center in any of the games she's been in, she's basically an ass-kicker that happens to be female.

The first Metroid was the same time period as Aliens as well. Why are you watching Star Wars when you could be watching Aliens? Not only was Ripley a bad ass but Vasquez was as well.

Hudson: Hey Vasquez, have you ever been mistaken for a man?
Vasquez: No, have you? (high fives buddies)

Kind of interesting that in both Metroid and Aliens the good guy and bad guy are both female. (The Metroids were led by the nefarious "Mother Brain")

gennimcmahon said...

Excellent point about Alien. I admired Ripley tremendously, and you're right--the bad "guy" wasn't male. Of course, one could get all radical and point out the desire to "breed" run amok, but, seriously, it was a great statement.

Wishing I had played Metroid on NES, and feeling very old. :)