There’s Still No Rey in Star Wars Monopoly Sets
As a young girl who saw herself as both royalty and future politician, sewed (sub-par) Star Wars costumes for her Barbies, and generally sought to add a “girly” twist to her plethora of nerdy interests, I had no qualms with Princess Leia and Padmé being the lone arbiters of how I viewed (human) women in the Star Wars galaxy. Besides, some female aliens were Jedi, so space fantasy gender dynamics were peachy keen, right? (Granted, those same species were relegated to sexual servitude in Jabba the Hutt’s dungeon/palace. I didn’t pick up on the innuendo when I was seven.) Darth Vader was my favorite character anyway.
This may seem insignificant, but if it wasn’t already clear, I was and am deeply invested in all things Star Wars. I can DROP my guy friends in a game of Star Wars trivia any day, but, uh, that’s not really something anyone I know does any more. (I still play alone to make sure I’m on my game though … just in case.)
I never owned a Star Wars Monopoly set, but I do own the franchise’s editions of the Game of Life and Trivial Pursuit. Since a female Jedi in the foreground of the Star Wars saga didn’t appear to be in the cards when I was growing up, I didn’t think about the lack — the big, gaping hole that absence left in my delicate, feminine heart. That is, until I saw Episode VII. For all its Episode IV plot copy-catting, Rey and Finn were the characters I never knew I needed.
But Finn was included in the Star Wars Monopoly set from the get-go (which definitely isn’t to say the race problem is solved by any stretch). Rey wasn’t, and isn’t, unless you’re the eight-year-old girl who wrote Hasbro to point out the galactic injustice that is the absence of a Rey token. The new version doesn’t have a Rey piece because of … wait for it …
… “insufficient interest.” What?
Hello, Hasbro, do I really need to break-out my extensive collection of Star Wars costumes, Legos, books, Pez dispensers, trading cards, action figures, dolls, a working R2-D2, board games, video games, t-shirts, book bags, a water bottle, movie posters, more than one set of the movies, etc. to convey sufficient interest? Sure, that’s anecdotal, but I can’t imagine I’m the only girl with a passion for single-climate planets and sometimes cringeworthy dialogue.
The lack of women and people of color in Star Wars is something to which I’m (problematically) accustomed so much so that bare minimum representation of either was groundbreaking for me. If you’ve seen the Clone Wars series, you know that it by-and-large remedies the “women” problem, so why can’t that bleed into the live-action films and merchandise?
Why are people still baffled by the fact that women’s interest in popular culture is farther reaching than rom-coms?
Speaking anecdotally again, I still am viewed as a bandwagon fan or as somehow alien to the stereotypical members of the fanbase, which is indicated by the utter shock on their faces when I reference anything other than how good-looking Hayden Christensen was in the prequels like, you know, the Expanded Universe or something. (He was, but that’s a digression.)
Maybe it’s just the fact that I cried while watching the new trailer for The Last Jedi that makes my love of Star Wars so comical, but I’m inclined to think it goes a step farther than that because of — again — the looks of shock on people’s faces and the tone of voice that indicates I’m overreacting. This coming from a group of guys who spent thirty minutes gushing about bitcoin and the potential transition to ethereum and thirty more minutes passionately discussing how to invest an imaginary $10,000. Give me a freakin’ break.
What’s more nerdy? Cryptocurrency or being a fan of an extremely popular space odyssey franchise? I can wait.
I mean, let’s be honest; the male characters in Star Wars — Luke, Anakin, and Kylo Ren — are the sole vessels of emotional volatility in the movies. I can’t imagine that Rey would be given leeway to have an outburst of equal magnitude as Kylo Ren and still be taken seriously.
As in Wonder Woman, female stars in historically “masculine” genres have to ooze both effortless beauty and stoicism to be legitimized, while their male counterparts are given room to progress (Luke) or stagnate and let angst be their downfall (Anakin and Kylo Ren).
Then, women’s likenesses still get left out of the merchandise! Like, “Ok, Ladies. Don’t get hysterical. You’ve had your moment. Are you not satisfied”?
We aren’t asking for much, and clearly, the Rey token is available since Hasbro promised one to the rightly disgruntled eight-year-old. Putting one in every Star Wars Monopoly set though? Whoa. Let’s not get greedy here. That might alienate the 50% of the fanbase that Hasbro apparently perceives as 98% of the fanbase.
This battle has been going on since January 2016 per the article linked above. It’s good to know that female fans of Star Wars can write-in and receive their Rey pieces, which is what we women have come to expect: What we want is available but at a much greater inconvenience. And if Hasbro is using the number of written requests for a Rey piece as the metric for “sufficient” interest, it’s no wonder they can write off female fans. Come one, can you get much lazier?
And I’m sure some men still think this complaint is nit-picky. Like, “Oh god, the presence of Rey in every set of Star Wars Monopoly is going to completely upend white, male predominance in Hollywood. Can’t have that!” But what do I know? I’m PMS-ing, so I’m clearly blinded by my emotions at the moment. I’m clearly advocating for a female takeover of the world — both near and far, far away.
Representation matters. If I were eight-years-old again, I would now have the opportunity to dress-up as a Jedi who looks like me. That doesn’t mean Rey is the anecdote to Hollywood’s representation problem, but she’s a start.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go continue my sad devotion to that ancient religion (the Force). Maybe I can use it to sway the sexist creators at a dumbass, toy company. Bye.