Let’s start by making something perfectly clear: I love Star Wars. I live and breathe Star Wars. They’re some of my favorite movies, games, and comics; I’ve read more than my fair share of Star Wars fanfiction and have, over the years, spent a ludicrous amount of money on merchandise and other paraphernalia.

When someone, tasked with buying me a gift, asks for ideas, I give them one instruction: if it has Star Wars on it, I’ll like it.

But even if you’re not as Star Wars obsessed as me (it’s hard, I know) — even if you’ve never seen the films — it’s inescapable, as one of the most popular and beloved film franchises of all time. Even Star Wars Luddites possess an awareness of the major characters, concepts, and plots; Star Wars is a cornerstone of our modern, media-obsessed culture. Yet despite this popularity and its trailblazing approaches to special effects and filming, the Star Wars franchise offers a mixed bag when it comes to the representation of female characters’ visibility and autonomy. (more…)