Women in Star Wars: It’s not just the characters that matter

Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley in Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (2017). Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd. ..© 2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley in Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (2017). Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd. ..© 2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved. /

Every year on International Women’s Day — and throughout the month of March — fans and brands come together to lift up the women in Star Wars. So often this manifests as tweets highlighting favorite characters, articles discussing how Leia and Rey and Padmé shaped who they are, changed their lives, made them better.

And that’s all great — so many of these characters deserve all the praise they get and more. But so often overlooked are the women in Star Wars that don’t appear on-screen. Of course the actresses matter, and they always will. But what about the writers? The directors? The producers? What about the artists, and editors, and designers?

What about the female fans and fan creators who dedicate so much of their free time to celebrating Star Wars?

It’s not a competition by any means. No woman associated with Star Wars is any more deserving of recognition than the others, except maybe Carrie Fisher, but no one’s going to argue with me on that point.

It’s also not that women deserve more recognition than anyone else. Women in Star Wars simply deserve the credits they’ve earned. More of the applause and much less of the hateful harassment and sexism they deal with on a daily basis.

Look at how often a certain segment of the Star Wars fan community begs for Kathleen Kennedy’s removal from her hard-earned position at Lucasfilm. If someone of her status deals with it, imagine what women much lower in the ranks put up with. Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.

Women are so greatly responsible for so much of what Star Wars has become. So many of the things you might praise Dave Filoni or Jon Favreau for happened because a woman wrote them, or presented the idea, or directed the episode. But those women don’t get anything close to the level of praise other creators do. I love Filoni’s work, and I always will. But he’s not responsible for everything I love about a galaxy far, far away. Men are not solely responsible for Star Wars still existing over 40 years later.

Praise the writers, the directors, the comics creators, the faces you see and the voices you hear but also the ones you don’t. Don’t just assume a man made it happen. Look more closely at the credits and thank the women making Star Wars happen just as often as you thank the men.

Women don’t hear “thank you” sincerely enough, and it’s time for that to change.

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Happy International Women’s Day from all of us at Dork Side of the Force!