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misogyny

Baby men lose it over a new “female-centric” Star Wars series helmed by an actual human woman

The new lady boss will be ‘Russian Doll” co-creator Leslye Headland

By David Futrelle

Star Wars’ worst fans are losing their shit (once again) at the news that Disney is producing a new “female-centric” Star Wars series with a woman at the helm: Leslye Headland, the co-creator and main force behind Netflix’ also quite female-centric series Russian Doll, an ingenious and surprisingly earthy sci-fi series centered around time loops and alternate universes.

So naturally the nay-sayers are out in force (get it?) to protest against Headland’s hiring because, well, they think it’s all part of some dastardly plot to ruin Star Wars forever, as if George Lucas hadn’t already done with the prequels. As far as these guys are concerned, though, it’s Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy who is destroying the franchise with decisions like this one.

So what in particular is making these fans so angry? I’ve gone through hundreds of tweets on the subject and as far as I can tell, there are really only a few main arguments, if they can be called that. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Reasons to hate the new Star Wars series according to some angry dudes.

Because Headland is feminist, the show will be nothing but propaganda — just like the (shudder) lady version of Ghostbusters.

A “female-centric” show will “exclude” male fans in favor of women, who don’t actually care about Star Wars.

There are already too many women in Star Wars.

Any show with too many women in it will turn all womany like some sort of Lifetime movie.

As someone who has watched Russian Doll (twice!), I can say with some assurance that whatever Headland does with the show it will look nothing like a Lifetime movie.

A female-centric show will by its very nature be “bigoted” against white people and men.

Some of the other, er, arguments against her hiring are a little less coherent.

Something, something WAHMEN.

Something, something CUNT.

The critics can’t decide if this is little more than a “cash grab” by Disney …

… or if the company is actually courting doom because if you “get woke” you “go broke.”

But my favorite of all the haters has to be this self-described “Conservative, Christian Geek” who’s mad that they didn’t hire him instead of the woman who helmed one of the most creative original science-fiction series in recent memory.

My take? Way to go, Disney — but unironically. Russian Doll was brilliant, and I’m eager to see what Headland does with this.

Also, anything that makes these particular baby men cry is a good thing.

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Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 months ago

@ surplus

doesn’t he have an Avatar movie or three that he’s supposed to finish first

He had got back to filming them in New Zealand; but the coronavirus has put everything on halt.

Apparently though he now sees the animal rights stuff as his priority; hence focussing on films like the above and Game Changers. There’s serious speculation that the sequels will have the characters go vegan. The production is serving only vegan food; and the star is vegetarian Kate Blanchett. She plays a marine biologist; so expect a plot about marine conservation.

(I like your cosmology speculation btw)

Naglfar
Naglfar
5 months ago

If the Avatar sequels are still coming, I just really hope there’s less racism. The original reeked of white saviorism. Blue extraterrestrials have been unable to ride the big animal despite centuries of experience and then white dude shows up and rides it instantly? Not ideal.

numerobis
numerobis
5 months ago

Disney is “fighting for its life” is it?

And here I thought the mouse was a cash machine, buying out every franchise and studio it can lay its hands on.

Fenton
Fenton
5 months ago

@Seraph4377

Very true, did gloss that bit over but it’s notable that the first super hero movie to hit the #1 gross sales slot for a year is Batman: The Dark Knight, NOT a Disney/Marvel production.

Disney is a company that primarily makes safe bets. The box office domination of Nolan’s second entry into the Batman franchise certainly allowed Disney execs to sleep well at night while throwing vast amounts of cash to multiple simultaneously produced comic book movies.

I’d also like to point out another weird trend when looking at #1 movies: Every top box office movie from 2001-2007 was a magic/fantasy based movies – 2 Harry Potters, 2 Lord of the Rings, 2 Pirates of the Caribbean and a Shreck.

Not relevant to the discussion, but that was SUDDEN. There was a couple of post Conan The Barbarian fantasy movies in the early 80’s… then almost nothing for 15 years then everyone is up to their eyebrows in mythic creatures, missing artifacts and magic users. THAT was a weird and sudden trend.

Snowberry
Snowberry
5 months ago

@Fenton:

There was a couple of post Conan The Barbarian fantasy movies in the early 80’s… then almost nothing for 15 years then everyone is up to their eyebrows in mythic creatures, missing artifacts and magic users.

There’s only a 15-year gap if you ignore all the low budget sword & sorcery films (many of them direct-to-video releases) whose primary draw was hyper-masculinity, copious bare breasts, casual misogyny, and sometimes rape. That’s what pretty much what the genre looked like between Red Sonja and Harry Potter. But if you’re talking big-budget films, then kind of, there was basically just Willow (1988) and Dragonheart (1996), and nothing else.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
5 months ago

@Alan Roberstshaw : that being said, most big bangs are likely to be boring, because a lot of the time there can’t be physical matter, or it immediatly crunche, etc.

@Surplus : the number three is actually more a cope out than an explanation. It’s not a scientific hypothesis because it’s impossible to test out anyway, so it’s more a philosophical musing than anything else. At least until the hypothesis show a way to observe or to see a consequence from thoses branching.

The second option also isn’t that catastrophic depending on the detail of the implementation AFAIK.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 months ago

@ olhmann

most big bangs are likely to be boring

Heh, I totally get what you mean; but I love the way you put it. Reminds me of Marvin the robot from Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

“Come on Marvin, the universe is about to end!”

“I’ve seen it. It’s rubbish.”

Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
5 months ago

@Ohlmann:

Many-worlds is what the math itself (Schrödinger wave equation) says happens. You have to add an extra hypothesis (some sort of collapse mechanism) to make it not happen. So it should actually be the default assumption, with the burden of proof being on there being a collapse mechanism or any sort of collapse at all. Odd that it isn’t …

MellowFellow
MellowFellow
5 months ago

@Naglfar
Why did you post a video that is 3 movies and a series out of date in relation to this topic? There has been black women of colour in prominent roles in Star Wars, there have been many new and diverse female characters with highly prominenet roles, 4 of 5 new movies have had female leads. The races and genders have had pretty equal representation in terms of primary, secondary, and tertiary characters. From the leaders and generals, to officers and all the way down to the background blobs. Hell, Rey and Jyn are pretty much the only white people of the new primary protagonists of their movies, if we forget Poe whose actors background is a little confusing to me. In conclusion, irrelevant and outdated video.

I don’t think it’s that stupid for people to be a little miffed over something being “female-centric”. Obviously the wacko examples shown in this article are not okay in the slightest, but I’ve been absoloutely all in for the diverse and progressive new movies. Yet this thing doesn’t sit right. How about we just maintain and build on the pretty perfect equality the new films have been demonstrating? Why is the defining charactertistic of a series what people look like? It shouldn’t matter, make a good series that has equal representation, not something biased. We can call the old movies male-centric, and see that it could have been better. But the way to be better isn’t to swing all the way back around into inequality. Isn’t that what this is all about? Equality?

matruz
matruz
5 months ago

Late to this topic, but I’ve been following the takes from Midnight’s Edge about all of these. Before, I used to enjoy their port-mortem analysis of many movies, but I noticed that they really suck at predicting stuff (they said Kathleen Kennedy was going to be fired after Solo underperformed and that Captain Marvel was going to bomb), and moreover lately they’ve been chugging on too much of the “anti-SJW” Kool-Aid and have gone more and more reactionary. Which is why now I don’t watch them that often. But still I found their take amusing, to summarize it:

They basically said that this is a power-play between Kathleen Kennedy and the executives at Disney, they say that this wasn’t an official announcement by Disney and instead it was a leak to Variety, and that Kathleen Kennedy by bypassing Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger, into making it public and creating all the publicity, she puts him in the awkward position of forcing him to approve it otherwise he’ll look bad if he pulls the plug on a “progressive, female centric” work, they futher claim that Bob Iger is “livid” because of it. The evidence they cite is, as usual, Reddit and online forum messages from people claiming to be “insiders”.

As of this writing they’ve been repeatedly announcing an upcoming video claiming that the ones who hate the “female centric” idea are not man-babies and instead the TRUE and noble fans. Yeah right.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 months ago
Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
5 months ago

@Surplus:
Aspect experiment… is that the one with two labs, four observers, where the observers outside the labs put the entire labs into indeterminate states while the inside observers exchange coded information about a 1/3-likely coin toss that ends up with the two outside observers something like 1/9 of the time both being certain about the coin toss result but being certain of different results?

Yeah, that’s a fun one. It’s a case of ‘one of our fundamental assumptions is wrong, and we don’t know which one, or even if it’s one of the ones that we know is an assumption’. Most of the people I’ve heard talking about it have been going many-worlds, because frankly most serious scientists generally don’t like the idea of mentation having an actual effect. (John von Neumann notwithstanding, as I seem to recall he actually did propose a consciousness collapse interpretation.)

(Veering even further off-topic, years ago I actually started a story I never finished involving essentially magic via that sort of conscious quantum collapse. Down side was that the people less connected to consensus reality tended to be stronger magicians. That said, they managed to defeat the villain by getting him to do something so big and obvious that nobody else on the planet could believe it, and he essentially got ‘decohered’ off into his own little reality to not bother anybody else again.)

@Alan:
Of course, sadly, current theory is that there won’t be an ‘end of the universe’ as such, things just keep expanding so much that anything not gravitationally bound together winds up going away faster than we could ever catch up.

@matruz:
*groan* Not even heard of these guys, and I’m already seeing that they’re going into the ‘I can’t be wrong, so I’m going to make up a conspiracy that shows why I should have been right’ territory.

As for Solo underperforming… I liked Solo. (I also liked The Last Jedi, though for completely different reasons. The Last Jedi was a bit meta and experimental, though also had plot holes you could drive a star destroyer through; Solo was a safe bet, but a well-executed safe bet that played with expectations in places.) Solo’s biggest problem was the timing of when it was released, not the movie itself.

matruz
matruz
5 months ago

@Jenora Exactly, also one usual tactic I notice they use more and more is that they make wildly different predictions/speculations hoping one will stick, and when one more or less happens to be true, they say “HA! see?! we were always right!!!!!” ignoring all the others they made and proved bogus.

I also enjoyed Solo, I personally think the issue was there was too much bad publicity around it, from the firing of Lord & Miller, the spiralling costs, all combined with the lack of publicity and hype build-up (we should had at least gotten a trailer on TLJ).

Naglfar
Naglfar
5 months ago

@MellowFellow

Why did you post a video that is 3 movies and a series out of date in relation to this topic?

Because it was a video I had seen and thought was relevant. Why is this such a big deal to you?

Rey and Jyn are pretty much the only white people of the new primary protagonists of their movies, if we forget Poe whose actors background is a little confusing to me. In conclusion, irrelevant and outdated video.

You’re entitled to your opinion, but I still think it’s relevant when discussing the original series.

I don’t think it’s that stupid for people to be a little miffed over something being “female-centric”.

Did you see women melting down about the first few films? Didn’t think so. I don’t know why people would be miffed, just because a film/show/other media is intended for one audience doesn’t mean others can’t enjoy it. At least give it a chance before getting upset with it.

Yet this thing doesn’t sit right. How about we just maintain and build on the pretty perfect equality the new films have been demonstrating? Why is the defining charactertistic of a series what people look like? It shouldn’t matter, make a good series that has equal representation, not something biased.

This sounds an awful lot like “all lives matter.” The last few films aren’t quite perfect, but even if they were I don’t see why that makes this wrong.

We can call the old movies male-centric, and see that it could have been better. But the way to be better isn’t to swing all the way back around into inequality. Isn’t that what this is all about? Equality?

Having one female-centric Star Wars series doesn’t mean you can’t watch the other movies, and it certainly doesn’t make everything unequal.

Anyway, if you don’t like the new series, don’t watch it. End of story.

Viscaria
Viscaria
5 months ago

It shouldn’t matter, make a good series that has equal representation, not something biased. We can call the old movies male-centric, and see that it could have been better. But the way to be better isn’t to swing all the way back around into inequality. Isn’t that what this is all about? Equality?

Gosh, ladies, you already had like five whole women or something. Now you want more women? Maybe even more women than men? What, do you hate equality????? Media that is about, created by, and directed at women is biased towards them.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

I don’t have time to do a lot of research because I’m on break from work, so I don’t know if there’s similar studies for TV shows, but here’s the stats from the top 100 grossing films of 2019

https://womenandhollywood.com/resources/statistics/2019-statistics/

The one that sticks out most is that 34% of speaking characters were female. I think that’s more important than just counting characters by gender, because a lot of times women are there as decorative background and aren’t an important part of the story.

Anyway, let’s wait for equality to come before we start worrying about the pendulum swinging to inequality for men, okay?

Masse_Mysteria
Masse_Mysteria
5 months ago

@MellowFellow

Yet this thing doesn’t sit right. How about we just maintain and build on the pretty perfect equality the new films have been demonstrating? Why is the defining charactertistic of a series what people look like?

“Pretty perfect equality” in a couple of films doesn’t mean most things aren’t still “male-centric”. If a woman wants to make something female-centric, I say let her. Likewise I don’t think nothing should ever be male-centric.

Also, this is interestingly a conversation that has to be had every time there are more women than men anywhere. When we here in Finland suddenly had a government with a female majority, there was much crying over how equality had been thrown to the wolves and now men will always be in the minority, whereas when we had male-majority governments, anyone saying that we should perhaps have more women as ministers was met with litanies on how we should pick those who are best qualified, not those who have the right gender.

Apparently you always have to explain why a woman is anywhere and prove that she has a right to be there, otherwise she’s there only for the optics or whatever.

Naglfar
Naglfar
5 months ago

@Masse_mysteria

When we here in Finland suddenly had a government with a female majority, there was much crying over how equality had been thrown to the wolves and now men will always be in the minority, whereas when we had male-majority governments, anyone saying that we should perhaps have more women as ministers was met with litanies on how we should pick those who are best qualified, not those who have the right gender.

This reminds me of how Ruth Bader Ginsburg once said that she would be satisfied once nine out of nine US Supreme Court justices were women, then when she got the expected knee-jerk reaction she added that it was because for most of the court’s history it had all men and most people didn’t care then.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 months ago

@ jenora

I actually started a story I never finished involving essentially magic via that sort of conscious quantum collapse.

I was trying to do a story about a N Korean stye totalitarian regime whose Ministry of Plenty type predictions always came true, and were always successful in defeating any enemy, no matter how much the odds were stacked against them. Thus engendering the respect of their awed populace.

The ‘twist’ being they had a load of anti-matter bombs in orbit and every time they got something wrong, or it looked like they might lose, they just wiped out all life on earth and carried on in the rest of the multiverse.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 months ago

I can think of quite a few male only films, from Twelve Angry Men to The Thing; but are there any 100% female cast castmember films?

Naglfar
Naglfar
5 months ago

@Alan Robertshaw

I can think of quite a few male only films, from Twelve Angry Men to The Thing; but are there any 100% female cast castmember films?

Wikipedia lists 20 films, of which a few are remakes of other films on the list, I’m sure there are more that don’t have Wikipedia pages (like less well known films). IMDB lists 197 titles, but that will include shorts, television shows, and some pornography (not sure if we should include porn, but if we do include it then that would expand the list a lot because of the popularity of lesbian erotica).
For comparison IMDB also lists 260 all male films, with all the same caveats.

Both lists also likely exclude smaller independent releases and some foreign films, so this isn’t definitive.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

I can’t think of any off the top of my head, but the Silent Hill movie adaptation was required by the producers to write in an expanded role to the husband of the protagonist because all the major characters were female. Funny how shoehorning in male characters didn’t create a major uproar. Even though it’d be hard to argue that the scenes with Chris wandering around looking for Rose and Sharon improved the movie. I like Sean Bean, but the scenes were pointless and his American accent is not convincing at all.

Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
5 months ago

@Jenora Feuer: No, the Aspect experiment looked for (and found) violations of Bell’s Inequality. Such violations rule out all so-called “local hidden variable” theories at a stroke.

Oh, one other thing many-worlds has to recommend it is that it’s deterministic. Collapse postulates tend to postulate a random collapse, which they can’t then explain let alone justify. On the other hand, in MWI all of the alternatives continue to coexist; but when a conscious observer sees an outcome, their mind becomes entangled with the system, and its own wavefunction can thereafter be decomposed into a linear superposition of versions that saw each classical outcome. Since it’s a linear superposition, what happens to the subsequent evolution of one component doesn’t change the others, so the superposed versions are not communicating with one another. Ergo each becomes a separate ongoing thread of experienced consciousness from whose point of view the others, and the other experiment outcomes, seem to have just vanished. The only random probability here is “which path you’ll find yourself on after the road forks”. My own suspicion is that those paths have a physical reality on some level, like a fluid in some branching tree of pipes whose diameters vary as the amplitudes of the outcomes in the branches. The cross-sectional areas would then correspond to the observed probabilities (norm of the amplitude, squared) and if you were a water molecule gripped in a current in such a network of pipes you’d have those exact probabilities of ending up in a particular branch …

As for what makes one see a “classical” outcome at all, rather than some other way of decomposing the state into orthogonal vectors, there are a variety of mechanisms at work. For a lot of particle systems, the classical outcomes are eigenvectors and non-classical states are not, so they have an intrinsic mathematical property that singles them out as special. For classical trajectories, Feynman found that wave interference will reproduce them. Take a superposition of every trajectory possible, even weird wiggles and loops and not just the “usual”, from A to B. Waves along all of these with some particular wavelength will average out to nothing almost everywhere, except along paths where the wave phase is nearly stationary as a function of small perturbations in the trajectory. This happens when the trajectory is at a local optimum of the action, i.e. a critical point where the rate of change is zero (of the wave phase as a function of the trajectory itself, in the space of trajectories). There the waves will constructively interfere. So all of the amplitude ends up concentrated along one or a few paths, ones with the property that they are a local optimum of the action, and usually in fact a global minimum: bam, not only do you get the classical trajectory but you get a reason for the Principle of Least Action in classical physics, rather than just having to accept it as an axiom. You still do get some quantum uncertainty: the probability that it follows a path that isn’t quite the classical least-action path falls off exponentially with the size of the perturbation of the trajectory, but isn’t simply zero, so the particle does “fuzz out” a bit (order of half its own wavelength) about that trajectory. But when the object and its trajectory are big compared with the relevant wavelengths (e.g., a thrown baseball) basically all the amplitude is in a very tight bundle of trajectories hewing microscopically close to the classical one, and you see the expected: a simple, graceful arc through the air and into the outfielder’s mitt or wherever.

@various:

On the topic of Star Wars, I have seen the newer movies and don’t think women (or minorities) are anywhere close to overrepresented in them. I don’t recall a specifically black woman in a prominent role though. As for series, I hear occasional rumors about such things, but they don’t seem to ever get airtime on Canadian stations, either terrestrial or basic cable (Space, e.g.), for some reason. NoExportForYou, canucks!

Well, there were two I saw: the animated Droids and Ewoks Saturday-morning cartoons back in the 1980s. Those got aired in Canada.

LondonKdS
LondonKdS
5 months ago

I have no sympathy whatsoever for Disney in general on this. They threw out all of the interesting plot and character possibilities set up by The Last Jedi in order to appease the far-right howlers (and no, one gratuitous lesbian kiss between two nameless background characters directed so that it could be easily cut in homophobic countries does not count as “diversity”) by turning Rise of Skywalker into a dull rehash of Return of the Jedi. Not to mention making the big emotional plot arc of the film “will the neo-Nazi incel dictator be redeemed by the heroine falling in love with him and giving him the sympathy bone?”. And now there discovering what the rest of us have known for years – there is no appeasing these people short of making The Iron Dream unironically.

Masse_Mysteria
Masse_Mysteria
5 months ago

@Naglfar
I don’t know much about RBG, but that’s my favourite of the things I do know about her!

IIRC, some expert commented the horror of this female majority government thing by saying that when we achieve equality, it’ll probably look like a male majority roughly half of the time, female majority roughly half of the time unless we make quotas to have it be 50/50.

Sometimes it feels like for some, equality looks like the present but with women getting to do a high profile thing every now and then, provided that they don’t make it too female-centric and make sure it’s equal enough.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 months ago

@ masse mysteria et al

Our first majority female Supreme Court bench wasn’t until two years ago.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/09/18/female-majority-hear-supreme-court-case-first-time-history/

Apart from a few articles in the legal pages though it didn’t seem much of an event; which on one level I think is totally appropriate. It shouldn’t be seen as newsworthy or exceptional.

Naglfar
Naglfar
5 months ago

@Masse_mysteria

Sometimes it feels like for some, equality looks like the present but with women getting to do a high profile thing every now and then, provided that they don’t make it too female-centric and make sure it’s equal enough.

The same seems to be some people’s view of racial equality right now, I’ve seen a lot of white people say that racism is over and that there is full equality because there are some black celebrities and some media for black people. Same with LGBTQIPA+ rights, I’ve seen various cishet people insist that equality was achieved years ago and that they’re okay with gay and trans* people so long as they’re not too open about it.