A Wildly Diverse Discussion All Sealed with a Kiss
Today’s post follows up on previous discussions, then gets distracted by a few fangirlish moments. So hang on, the ending is worth it.
Last weekend LucasBook’s Jen Heddle answered fan questions on diversity in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. On Monday, Del Rey’s Shelly Shapiro chimed in, and Mike Cooper thanked both editors for taking the time to discuss the topic.
After last week’s post here at FANgirl about female Olympians and motherhood, Kerri Walsh Jennings revealed that she was pregnant when she won the gold medal.
“When I was throwing my body around fearlessly and going for gold for our country, I was pregnant. And today I’m 11 weeks pregnant and feeling pregnant.”
Apparently, Walsh Jennings wasn’t alone. Malaysian air rifle shooter Nur Suryani Mohd Taibi competed seven months into her pregnancy. Obviously the mentality about pregnancy is changing as women continue to excel. Other women, for either health or personal reasons, need to slow down. Ultimately it’s about having a choice. Which isn’t something women have always had when it comes to their wombs.
The womb of Star Wars Expanded Universe heroine Jaina Solo has been the subject of much discussion this week between Club Jade and TFN. Fan debate started a few years back when the Legacy comics seemed to have predestined Jaina to become the mother of an Emperor, and she was given the fandom nickname “Imperial Womb of Destiny” or IWOD. As I’ve watched this debate over the years, I’ve often wondered two things. First, are the fans troubled by the IWOD really concerned that the character’s choice to become a mother has been preordained, or that a Solo-Skywalker will be the mother of an Imperial? Second, and more importantly, why isn’t anyone equally upset that the Legacy comics predetermine Ben Skywalker’s fatherhood? Why hasn’t Ben been labeled the Jedi Penis of Destiny?
Ultimately, I think reproduction and pregnancy in storytelling boil down to agency for the characters involved, and that has been part of the discussion. At the same time, male and female characters haven’t always been regarded equally by the fans; even female fans can apply a double standard. My hope is that fans consider what drives their opinions, and to regard female characters just as they would male characters. I’ll definitely be watching the debate as it continues, as well as the new discussion on Allana Solo as a mother.
While I’m on the subject of Jaina – and her husband Jag, actually – I found a quote from actress Stana Katic about her character Kate Beckett’s relationship with Rick Castle on ABC’s hit show Castle. In speaking about why Beckett and Castle work, Katic nailed the dynamic I have always seen in the pairing of Jaina and Jag. From TVLine:
These are two people who are extraordinary as individuals. I mean I hope, in my best version of a love story, they’re extraordinary as individuals. And then because they’re so extraordinary, they’re alone. By being together, maybe they’re not so alone? It’s kind of neat to have two people be vulnerable to each other who are not allowed to be vulnerable to very many other people, you know?
If you missed the season premiere last night, from this Caskett ‘shippers point of view the writers and cast jumped into the romance stage with just the right tone. It’s comfortable, but not too comfortable. I look forward to watching the blossoming relationship develop throughout the season. For Browncoats, the meta-licious Firefly homage episode set at a fan convention might be the next best thing this side of the invention of brownie sundaes.
On Friday, Fringe premieres its shortened final season. While the beginning of the end is bittersweet, the latest Season Five trailer remix has me excited to see Etta’s story unfold as we watch Olivia and Peter’s love mature, and io9’s spoiler-free review suggests the show has “a whole new lease on life.”
With that, I’ve wound my way around to this post’s natural conclusion. Yesterday marked the 25th anniversary of the theatrical release of The Princess Bride. In college, this movie was our version of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and the campus theater was usually standing room only when it played. Imagine a theater full of college students reciting lines with the characters – “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” Blastr’s 11 Reasons We Love The Princess Bride captures the magic of the movie, but my favorite has to be reason #11:
The Kiss: For all its comedic brilliance and adventurous plotting, The Princess Bride is at heart a love story, and it ends with an iconic line from writer William Goldman: “Since the invention of the kiss there have been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind. The End.” And with that, a million hearts melted.
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3 thoughts on “A Wildly Diverse Discussion All Sealed with a Kiss”
I haven’t been following the overarching discussion, but personally I’m concerned about the prospect of Jaina’s motherhood because of the poor track record of her character portrayal lately and the general trend of authors just not knowing what to do with characters who are mothers. I really don’t want her upcoming trilogy to end with her discovering that she’s pregnant and promptly (and conveniently for those who want to keep pushing focus on characters like Luke and Ben) vanishing into Imperial space to be empress/mother the way Tenel Ka has been dragged into invisibility as Queen of Hapes.
I’d love to read about Jaina struggling with how motherhood will change her life, or with balancing the safety of her child against the trials of her own upbringing, or with whether she wants children at all. But I have lost all faith in TPTB to present anything related to motherhood or pregnancy or women in general in a way that’s not clearly presented for a male audience–either bizarre and unrelatable or terrifically cliche. If it were Zahn or Allston or Elaine Cunningham writing, I’d be confident and excited, but it’s Christie Golden, whose serious issues with writing female characters have been featured on this very blog, so I’m honestly filled with dread.
Frankly, I don’t get this womb-obsession. Was there any doubt that if Jaina Solo had children they’d probably go on to do something important in the galaxy? Is it because it’s looking like one of those kids will run the Empire? The Empire can be as good or bad as whomever has the last say at the top.
If/when she does have kids it will change some things for her. She probably will have to think twice about charging into battle Apocalypse-style. She might have to make sure there’s someone to watch the kids before charging off to prevent something or stop someone. It doesn’t have to make her ultimately any less bad ass. It doesn’t mean she can’t do anything she used to do. If her story eventually gets to that point, it could be really interesting to see how her life evolves if it’s written in a dynamic way.
I have to agree with Anison though that based on what we’ve seen from Ms. Golden, I can only imagine her writing that part of Jaina’s life would leave me very uncomfortable.
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