It’s a Trap: Why Loving ‘Star Wars’ as a Woman Is Endlessly Exhausting

‘The Mandalorian’ is another reminder that something vital is missing from a galaxy far, far away

Liz Shannon Miller

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Photo: Lucasfilm/Disney+

All you ever want is for Star Wars to be good.

That’s it. That’s all you want. You want to watch great stories taking place in a galaxy far, far away, a galaxy which has felt like home to you since you were old enough to process stories. Like so many, you came to Star Wars as a child, and it still makes you feel that way, every time you hear the music or see an X-wing fighter. Your brain is filled with the names of fictional planets and characters and species. You know when to look for Willrow Hood in Empire Strikes Back. You took a motherfucking class on George Lucas in college, for which you read Joseph Campbell, and learned about Ray Harryhausen, and watched Kurosawa, and wrote a paper on the thematic connections between American Graffiti and A New Hope. You nearly started crying when you walked around Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland, and definitely shed a tear while rushing through the Millennium Falcon there.

Because Star Wars is a vast media universe, you have your gaps. You’ve only read a few of the novels, haven’t finished watching all of the CGI Clone Wars series, know about the Knights of the Old Republic games largely through osmosis, and sometimes put too few “c’s” in “sarlacc pit.” (Fortunately, there’s Google.) You tend not to beat yourself up about that, largely because your brain is also packed with Doctor Who and Star Trek trivia, and also one of the best things about Star Wars is that vastness, how it contains more than anyone could possibly comprehend.

However, one thing you have been keenly aware of, from your earliest days on this planet, is that the Star Wars universe does not contain all that many girls.

The closest a female Jedi got to speaking in the prequels was to scream as she was murdered.

Of course there’s Princess Leia, the only Disney princess you ever needed, the woman who gave as good as she got to her torturers and rescuers alike, who got to be a part of adventures you yearned to enjoy. And you appreciated Padmé Amidala for her…

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Liz Shannon Miller

Writer. I like space battles, videos of cats, old-school funk, paid work, and the Oxford comma.