I kind of really wish I’d stop seeing the phrase “feminist movie” or “feminist book” applied to any piece of media that does a better than usual job of handling it’s female characters.
Feminism is not the absence of sexism, it’s a word for the movement dedicated to raising awareness of and eradicating institutionalized sexism. A feminist movie would be a movie ABOUT the feminist movement, or a movie that directly identifies and addresses issues of structural inquality between genders.
Just having a female character you don’t sexualize in a piece of media doesn’t make it a grand stand against the patriarchy. It literally just makes it a little less sexist than most everything else. It doesn’t make you a feminist film director for making it, it just makes you not a fucking asshole with his head so far up his ass he can’t see the way the world is actually built.
Is SW:TFA a feminist movie? No, not even close, not even a little tiny bit at all. The movie’s not ABOUT gender or related struggles, ideas and philosophies.
But is it a movie that respects its female characters, gives them usually-limited-to-men levels of agency and power over the plot, makes sure there are women in the background of shots, and doesn’t sexualize them? Yes, abso-fucking-lutely yes.
SW:TFA is a movie feminists will like (at least parts of it), it is a movie that demonstrates some of the basic, basic things Feminism wants from media, but it’s not a feminist movie.
It’s just not really sexist.