I couldn't agree more with Marisa and her article, which I feature below, that "Rey is the real breakthrough for women in Hollywood in 2015"
Women have been fighting for a rightful place in front and behind the scenes in Hollywood for a long time now, but the progress, if any, has been at a snail pace with stereotypical, wrongly-represented female heroines, unfair gender-specific wage discrepancies and job distributions. But seeing Rey up on the silver screen outrunning, outfighting and outsmarting the enemies with an equal amount of self-reliance and appreciated support from her male counterparts, was revolutionary and makes me believe that Hollywood has finally woken up and has seen the light!
Thank you JJ Abrams for Rey! I think it is great that a man is responsible for this, because I firmly believe we can only great real change together, not separately!
Rey is the real breakthrough for women in Hollywood in 2015
Before Star Wars fatigue takes over entirely, please let us talk about Rey
Rey, the leading character in a little film you may have come across called Star Wars, is an enigma on many fronts.
First off, she’s played by the totally unknown 23-year-old Brit, Daisy Ridley, whose previous credits include Casualty and Silent Witness. Now she’s in the fifth biggest grossing movie of all time. The film made $1.16 billion worldwide in just 13 days.
Rey is a mystery in the film too; the scavenger from the “junk yard” of the universe, Jakku, who can fly the Millennium Falcon and swipe a light sabre with the best of them.
Yet most mystifying of all is the very existence of Rey at all. She is a leading woman in a Hollywood blockbuster who is smarter, faster and more heroic than many of the men around her. She doesn’t fall in love, you don’t get a single glimpse of side boob and she’s feisty and fearless and totally brilliant.
She stands shoulder-to-shoulder with legends like Han Solo, in her rightful place, never apologising for her existence
And it’s not just her ability to fight and run really fast and pilot as well as Luke Skywalker (although these are all reasons to love her), it’s Rey’s relationships with those around her that seems so enlightened. Rey’s interactions with the male characters are not about romance or seduction. They are about learning and self-development. They are about principles and standing up for your beliefs. She teaches those around her as much as she is inspired by them. She stands shoulder-to-shoulder with legends like Han Solo, in her rightful place, never apologising for her existence. She’s part of a fight, but emerges as its leader, awe-inspiring to those around her (including the audience), but as humble and earnest as any true hero.
Indeed, the only love story I saw with Rey (other than my own) was when she meets General Leia, the stately Carrie Fisher passing on the Stars War baton to the next generation. Upon their meeting, the Stars Wars' love score kicks in and they hug, apart from the crowd, as Rey returns from a gruelling mission. This quiet moment seems to represent the struggle women have faced, the support they give to one another and the unspoken, unwavering solidarity.
Nestled in a truly brilliant film, that pays homage to the original movies and is full of wit, humour and fighting-the-good-fight, is a young woman, who is not only changing a galaxy far, far away, but changing what a Star Wars hero can look like. I grew up with the films, played with the original action figures and had a brother who truly believed in Luke Skywalker, as much as I did. But while he got Luke, I got Leia; a girl in a gold bikini, the love interest of men, the sister without the Jedi powers.
Finally, I have my real Star Wars hero. And while it might be a bit late for me, for the next generation, director J.J Abrams is righting a wrong that’s been allowed to flourish for too long.
As I left the cinema, I was behind a young boy, perhaps six- or seven-years-old. He had just witnessed the hero of a Star Wars movie being a brilliant, fearless, unapologetic girl. Thank god this movie has done so well – and thank god for Rey.