you will stumble upon
someone who will start
a fire in you that cannot die.
However, the saddest,
most awful truth
you will ever come to find––
is they are not always
with whom we spend our lives."
— Beau Taplin, “The Awful Truth” (via coffeekaling)
- George Lucas
People often talk about how Han influenced Luke, but we should also look at how Leia influenced Luke.
I’ve always really liked this idea—that they’re the exact same age, but their different lives have given them very different levels of maturity, and Luke is envious, but fascinated, and idolizes her a bit.
It’s kind of weird to think of Han as being a big influence compared to Leia. I mean, yes, they were close. But it’s made reasonably obvious that close male friends aren’t something Luke’s ever lacked. If anything, I’d say they’re mutually influential. Han’s experience and training help temper Luke’s youth and inexperience, and his cynicism demands that Luke account for his own faith. Luke, in turn, cracks Han’s shell with hope and faith, and his earnest belief that Han can be better than what he’s let himself become won’t let him crawl back into the hole he’s dug for himself.
I mean, come on. Luke’s got these vague intentions to run away and do…something. He’s dissatisfied with his home life, he’s dissatisfied with the future he sees for himself, and he resents, in an equally vague way, the expectations of his family. He thinks of joining the rebellion because he’s romanticized it. He thinks of going to the academy because it’s anywhere but where he’s at. All of his ambitions amount to this sort of nebulous, Anything But What I Have aspiration. He goes running after Kenobi on the strength of a shitty, recorded hologram because it seems exciting. He has no real idea about what this sort of mission would entail, or cost, or achieve. It’s an Adventure, and he’s bored.
Then he meets Leia, and she’s literally everything he ever had some mindless daydream about being. Only instead of being a cardboard cut-out hero in some story he’s using to distract himself from a shitty frontier subsistence-farmer life, she’s a real person who’s actually fucking doing it. She’s a leader. She’s a fighter. She’s risking life and limb for a cause she completely and utterly understands and absolutely believes in. This isn’t some thing she ran away to do because she got sick of being a princess and a senator. People look up to her, and follow her, and obey her, because she’s spent her life earning it.
He’s looking around and going “Empire bad? We blow up ships?” and she’s going “Here’s ten political treatises on why the Empire needs to go, here are the details of troop movements and expected reinforcements and supply lines for the upcoming battle, and here are the family photos of everybody in the next ten systems that are going to get stomped into bloody paste in retaliation if we fail here.” He finds her, and within five minutes she’s gone from the princess he’s rescuing because that’s what action heroes do to the person he needs to emulate if he’s ever going to make something of himself.
Kait yesterday I sent an all-CAPSLOCK email to a professional library listserv in defense of Jubilee & I’m still worked up about it so anyway I appreciate you.
I APPRECIATE YOU TOO.
Like, while I understand, socially, politically, etc, why teenage girls are such an easy target and that we’ve been socialized into thinking of them as the worst of the worst, it doesn’t get any easier to see all these casual swipes at them, like the “so and so is acting like a twelve year old girl” tags on AO3 and the complete dismissal of any media targeted at them, as well as the more insidious “not like other girls” and fandom tendency to fall into the larger media’s tendency to pit young female actresses against each other or trash them for the sake of it.
Obvs I am preaching to the choir, but you get what I’m saying. Blaaarrrgghhhh patriarchy, basically :(
Sometimes I wish I could take all of fandom and sit them down and say, calmly and politely, “Please take a second to think about that funny joke you made comparing Character A to a teenage or adolescent girl. Think about it, and then explain to me why it’s funny and why it’s necessary for you to frame your joke in a way that denigrates teenage girls. I’m not mad at you, I just want you to think, and if you don’t actually have a good reason, maybe consider re-writing the joke.”