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  • Writer's pictureartgainz

Rey Don't Need No Man

Updated: Jan 17, 2020

To someone familiar with Cultural Marxism, a fairly straightforward interpretation of the Disney Star Wars trilogy is that it symbolizes overthrowing the Patriarchy. The female protagonist of the trilogy, Rey, does not require help or guidance from any man, even actively rejects it, and the film-makers go out of their way to ensure that the audience does not get the impression that the character is indebted to any man for anything, even in situations where she almost certainly must be.

It is very easy to imagine that at some stage in the backstory development for the films, Rey must have learned certain skills from various men, but the final scripts took pains to excise any suggestion of it.

In the first film (TFA), Rey is revealed to possess a number of surprising and unexpected skills, such as engineering and piloting. No explanation is provided for her engineering skills, and her piloting ability is a surprise even to herself. This is grating. On a re-watch of TFA, it occurred to me that Rey must have learned engineering and piloting from her guardian Unkar Plutt, who had ships and surely would have let his adopted daughter tinker around in them if she showed aptitude. Letting a family member fix something is cheaper than hiring a mechanic after all. Perhaps Rey flew supply runs for Plutt, and sometimes killed time by racing the Millennium Falcon through ruined Star Destroyers.

But rather than throw in a tiny bit of exposition that would help us understand how Rey is so inexplicably skilled, we are given this exceptional bit of dialogue:

John Boyega as 'Finn' and Daisy Ridley as 'Rey' in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" (2015).

In the final film in the trilogy, the film-makers finally get around to (sort-of) explaining why Rey is so skilled at everything, but they don’t go right out and say it because it would imply Rey is indebted to a man. Rey shares a telepathic link with Kylo Ren, and through this telepathic link Kylo absorbs a new Force-skill from Rey that he didn't know before — how to rapidly heal someone. It is a small jump to assume that Rey must have absorbed many of her inexplicable abilities from Kylo, whom we can assume learned these skills in the normal way.

If this had been expressly stated in the film, it would have gone a long way to appeasing the old-school Star Wars enthusiasts on YouTube who have been biting into Disney’s bottom line simply by laughing at the new trilogy, but the film-makers could not jeopardize their precious feminist narrative by giving the impression that their female character needs a man for anything — especially not for finding fulfillment or facing the future.

The trilogy ends with the female protagonist facing the future alone, without any of the men with whom she might have become romantically entangled. (In fact, none of the main characters end up with anyone.) I was left thinking, ‘What is the point of all this?” It offended my western sensibilities about how a story is supposed to end. Alone on an abandoned farm, Rey stares off into a literally rose-tinted future, the twin setting suns of Tatooine, but to me this ending seems oddly sex-less and child-less.

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