Star Wars: A New Hope

When viewing Star Wars: A New Hope through the 5 lenses, the gender lens proves the most relevant because of the repetitive perpetuation of gender roles and stereotypes. We can infer that the ideologies within the movie were focused upon men being more powerful; having only two distinctly female characters both starting in a seemingly helpless state. An example of this is the Empire and their lack of women in authourity, shown in the meeting room. Not only were there no female representatives, there were no female soldiers, workers, or anyone other than Princess Leia shown on the death star. Women in the film are placed into gender roles; the first impressions of the Princess can be considered as an example, all of which begin with a comment on her appearance or her wealth. The men continuously underestimate Princess Leia, while she continuously breaks stereotypes and surprises them, like when saving Han, Chewie and Luke from being captured by the empire. Princess Leia is the only female character present for the majority of the film, and while at times proves strong and independent, is normally looked down upon by the men around her. Instances exemplifying this doubt/stereotype of gender roles includes Han calling her “sweetheart,” her waking from her cell in a provocative pose, or the surprise of the Empire when they learned she had lied. Additionally, the gender-less characters within the film all go somewhat unnoticed, seeming to lean towards lower class. This statement is corroborated when observing the Empire’s staff within the death star, the amount of gender-less characters in the bar, or the trafficking of droids. These characters are shown as ugly, low-life aliens that speak to each other through various loud, disgusting noises. Most of these characters in the film are simply used to push the plot and hold no real importance, and those who are more relevant are treated differently. Chewbacca is an example of this, being (currently) a gender-less creature/associate of Han. Chewie was referred to as “a walking carpet” by Princess Leia, and despite their history as companions, Han did not defend Chewie. Although there are major gender roles being supported, there does seem to be a change occurring, shown through Princess Leia’s actions during the entire movie. To conclude, viewing Star Wars: A New Hope through the gender lens is incredibly important, due to the negative perpetuation of both male and female gender roles/stereotypes in film.

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