4/∞ Favorite Females | O-Ren Ishii (Kill Bill Vol. 1, 2003) ∟ The price you pay, for bringing up either my Chinese or American heritage as a negative is, I collect your fucking head. Just like this fucker here. Now if any of you sons of bitches, got anything else to say, now’s the fucking time!
To the wonderful women who guessed where Star Wars was going
Hello everyone. I know I haven’t been posting much recently and I’d like to explain why.
I had been slaving for months and months, (since June 2016), gathering evidence and writing metas about how I believe kylo Ren found the Kenobi lightsaber and in turn had a vision of Rey when he picked it up. Just like she had a vision of him when she picked up his ancestral blade.
I found countless tweets, visual evidence, audio evidence, photos and themes all backing my theory up.
One day a big YouTube blogger took this theory and put it in his video.
He initially didn’t credit me and he read parts of my meta in his video and passed my theory off as his own. He only decided to credit me once many people complained about it (thanks to those who helped)
His video has generated over 1 million views and he has made god knows how much money off of my hard work. People in his comment section are praising him for discovering the “secret”.
Despite the minuscule and well hidden credit he eventually gave me, sadly the majority will not know where it originated from.
The same blogger is now making money off of the reylo community. Yes he decided to credit people this time but the sad truth is that male fans in his comment section are suddenly only now giving reylo credit. Only now taking it seriously and why? Because a man is talking about reylo.
I think one of the worst comments I saw was: “I never gave reylo credit but now that you have made a video it makes sense, your theories are the bomb!” So despite this blogger clearly stating that it was the women of tumblr who predicted this. It’s still ignored and not appreciated and the credit is still going to him?
We as a community we’re shunned, ridiculed and treated appallingly for a year and we slaved so hard on tumblr with millions of words and metas. We predicted so much accurately and now male youtubers are taking our hard work and jumping on the band wagon because now it’s “safe” to discuss reylo because it seems clear that’s the way the story is going. Now money can be made off of reylo on YouTube. But they are not using their own content. They are taking OUR content and making money. Capitalising of of our hard ass work for the past year or so.
ReyKenobiFiles and myself have a podcast and we are relaunching it. Let’s get female voices heard a little louder. If we have coincidentally mentioned your theories please message us and we’ll add you to the credits!
Female Sexuality Awakens: The Heroine-Villain/Antihero Trope in Labyrinth and The Force Awakens
“Who is that man? The one staring at us? The nasty dog… He looks like he knows what I look like without my shimmy.” - Scarlett O’Hara about her first encounter with Rhett Butler, Gone With the Wind (1940).
Female protagonists have been paired romantically with “mad, bad, and dangerous to know” types since the beginning of and long before the advent of cinema. Although of chagrin to many “nice men” and socially concerned women, this ancient trope speaks to female desire as well as the deeply ingrained cultural idea that female sexual desire is dangerous. Ergo, the male character becomes an outward expression of that danger. For women who have been raised to fear their sexuality, the dangerous and seductive male character is a safe way in which to act out “dangerous” sexual desire. Next, the villain or antihero represents challenge and acts as a foil for personal growth and exploration within the heroine. Last, the villain/antihero is defeated and either banished or his inappropriate masculine power replaced with appropriate masculine power; this serves as a device for female empowerment. In this essay I shall support these assertions by drawing parallels between two modern fantasy movies. The first, 1986’s Labyrinth, features an overt heroine-villain romantic interest and the second, 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens (hereafter referred to as The Force Awakens), features a foreshadowed heroine-villain turned antihero romantic arc. I shall also draw from psychology and classic literary and mythological tropes to bolster my examples.
Section I: The Maiden and the Frightening Unknown
We are often first introduced to our heroine, the young maiden who is presented in a childlike state, her sexuality unawakened. In Labyrinth, we meet Sarah who still plays with her “toys and costumes”. In The Force Awakens we meet Rey who, although living a difficult life on the brink of starvation, still retains a childlike quality in wearing a rebel pilot helmet and keeping a rebel pilot doll.
Most notably, both heroines are presented as young and inexperienced females who become frightened when the consequence of their action calls them to their hero’s journey.
Section II: Into the Woods and Spirited Away
In Labyrinth, Sarah wishes her baby brother, symbolic of her own childhood, away to the Goblin King and is frightened by the aftermath of goblins scampering about her parents’ bedroom (an apropos setting as adult sexuality would be frightening to childlike Sarah), popping in and out of drawers and out from under the bed. Thunder and lightening crash. After Jareth appears he spirits her away to his labyrinth, which is both surrounded and permeated by a glittering autumnal forest.
In The Force Awakens, Rey is called by the Skywalker legacy lightsaber. Touching the lightsaber induces a frightening vision in which she encounters the masked Kylo Ren. After the vision, the Wise Old Woman of the story, Maz Kanata, tells her that the belonging she seeks is not in whomever she is waiting for (her family) but ahead of her. Wanting nothing to do with her apparent destiny, she runs down the steps of Maz’s Castle into a forest where her next encounter with Kylo further frightens her. In her vision, Kylo appears twice as a masked man with a raised lightsaber (more on this in Section IV), the second appearance taking place in the snowy forest of Starkiller Base. When Rey actually encounters Kylo in the Takodana forest, he bridal carries her across the threshold of his ship and spirits her away to the underworld of Starkiller Base. (By the way, the bridal carry of a young woman by a monster or young man, and Kylo/Ben is both, means one of two things in stage: a villainous crush or foreshadowing romance, either immediate or distant future. I leave it to you to imply the narrative direction this trilogy is going.)
In fairy tales and mythology, Dark Forests or Enchanted Forests carry multiple meanings, among which are sexuality, the subconscious, mystery, and our primal selves. Most importantly, the forest represents a rite of passage. Red Riding Hood meets and defeats the Big Bad Wolf in the forest. Rama takes refuge in the forest for fourteen years before rescuing Sita. Snow White becomes lost and is eventually awoken with the Kiss of Life in the forest. Beauty chases her lost father into the forest only to find the Beast. Thus, into the forest Sarah and Rey go, for it is here where they must encounter their Shadow, Dark Side, or Subconscious and shine Light on it so that they can transform from childhood to adulthood, from unawakened to awakened.
Section III: Temptation Presents Itself or Enter Boy Trouble
In every hero’s journey, something or someone who turns the hero’s world upside down must enter the picture in order for the hero to develop. This is no different for our female protagonists, whose worlds are upturned by the arrival of the tempting male antagonist. Enter Boy Trouble.
Needless to say, there appear to be some commonalities in presentation. Both Jareth the Goblin King and Kylo Ren/Ben Organa-Solo wear black clothing, have sharp, angular features, and appear to spend an inordinate amount of time on hair maintenance. In personality, Jareth and Kylo are haughty, intelligent, and display dry or deadpan senses of humor. They are both magic (Force) users, men of power, and royalty with Jareth being King of the Goblins and Kylo being the son of Princess Leia Organa.
Most importantly, their initial shots serve to establish that the female protagonist is physically attracted to her dangerous but alluring antagonist. During their presenting shots, both men’s features are sexualized using make-up and and lighting, their less flattering features deemphasized, and both men are presented at flattering angles (for Kylo, this initial unmasking is arguably his most attractive shot in the film, followed closely by his close-ups with Rey during their lightsaber duel). Note both heroines appear taken aback and enchanted by their antagonists. Rey even gives Kylo “elevator eyes”, then pointedly looks away when he approaches, stealing not one but two glances back at him.
Sarah’s reaction to the appearance of the Goblin King:
Rey is captivated as Han Solo tells of “one boy” who destroyed Luke’s new generation of Jedi:
Rey’s reaction to Kylo’s unmasking:
The following point will be covered more in depth in Section IV, but it is appropriate to note in this section that during both initial presentations, serpent symbolism is employed. Jareth throws a snake at Sarah and when Kylo unmasks we hear a snake hiss and rattle. The serpent is an ancient trope; in the Garden of Eden the snake tempted Eve with the apple from the Tree of Knowledge. Snakes represent phallic imagery, deception, and temptation; all three ideas apply although Kylo’s deception (that he is a man rather than a creature) is only a deception from Rey’s perspective. (Without wading too deeply into the weeds here, the film strongly suggests Ben Organa-Solo is not a monster and has a forthcoming redemption arc.)
In addition, each antagonist is also a Death or Hades figure (Please make time to read Death and the Maiden by @ohtze for in-depth analysis). Jareth and Kylo, dressed in black and sweeping Sarah and Rey away to their respective representations of the Underworld, the Underground and Starkiller Base, represent the death of childhood innocence and the rebirth of mature sexuality.
Jareth spirits Sarah away to the Underground:
Kylo (Hades) bears Rey (Persephone) away to the depths of Starkiller Base (the Underworld) on his ship (chariot) led by four TIE fighters (horses):
Finally, both antagonists serve as empathetic foils for their respective heroine’s character development. Both antagonists have similarities with the heroine. Sarah is an intelligent bookworm; Jareth is witty and intelligent. Rey and Kylo engage in what has been affectionately dubbed by fans as The Nerd-Off, a subtle battle of wits that takes place during her interrogation. Rey begins reciting droid specifications and Kylo cuts her off, saying he needs a map it is carrying and going into unnecessary detail about having put together all the other pieces of the map by recovering them from the archives of the Empire. That’s right, One Boy just told What Girl he spends all his time in archives as a point of pride. In the novelization, he also lets her know that he too knows about general droid specifications (thank you very much). Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the nerdiest of them all? Both antagonists also relate to the heroine’s loneliness and isolation. The Goblin King sings to Sarah lyrics such as “the lost and the lonely”, “there’s such a sad love deep in your eyes”, and “live without your sunlight, love without your heartbeat”. As Kylo reads Rey’s mind, his tone is soft and empathetic. “You’re so lonely. So afraid to leave. At night, desperate to sleep, you imagine an ocean. I see it. I see the island.”
Each protagonist and antagonist pair is presented as two sides of the same coin. While Sarah’s development lies in realizing that the world is not fair, a fact the Goblin King does not fail to remind her of on several occasions, Jareth too displays a haughty, entitled attitude. Kylo/Ben and Rey are presented in a more Yin and Yang manner. Kylo is typically shown as a rage-filled, selfish character (tantrum throwing and ultimately choosing to kill his father) with moments of compassion (letting Finn off the hook in the opening scene and attempting to interrogate Rey first in a non-invasive manner then empathizing with her loneliness and isolation). Rey is typically shown as a compassionate character (choosing BB-8’s well being over more food rations than she has likely ever seen before) with moments of sheer rage (slashing Kylo’s face after she has already disarmed him). In the case of Kylo/Ben, we can presume that Rey will also serve as a foil for his character development as he makes the transformation from Kylo Ren back to Ben Organa-Solo.
Section IV: Sometimes a Lightsaber Isn’t Just a Lightsaber
Remember that part in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire that talks about the champions’ wands being flexible or rigid and whose wand was which length? Did you giggle at it? If so, then you did exactly what the author intended. Phallic imagery is purposely placed in literature and films, especially coming of age fantasies, as a signifier of potency, whether sexual or otherwise. Phallic imagery abounds in both Labyrinth and The Force Awakens. The following represent some of the phallic imagery present within both films.
Jareth warns Sarah, “Don’t defy me” then throws a snake at her:
Jareth and his cane:
Let’s not forget Jareth’s pants magic pants:
Hasn’t anyone told Kylo it’s bad manners to put your lightsaber in a stranger’s face?
I’m so not even kidding about this one. Check out the “tip” of his index finger. There you go. Now you can’t unsee it:
Note the positioning of the lightsaber as Kylo approaches the “girl he’s heard so much about”:
Thanks, Wedge. Monster, indeed.
Section V: Female Sexuality Awakens
Sarah is pulled into the Labyrinth’s world of sexual awakening when she summons Jareth, who shows up in the window of her parents’ bedroom. Jareth tells her he has brought her a gift. “It’s a crystal, nothing more. But if you turn it this way, look into it, it will show you your dreams.” Later in the film, Jareth sends her just such a crystal, which transports her to a highly sexualized ballroom with adult men and women wearing phallic masks (check out the horns and noses). She is the only character wearing white, symbolic of purity and virginity. After stumbling around the room, startled by the lascivious behavior she sees, she encounters Jareth who sweeps her in for a “dance” while singing to her, “As the pain sweeps through makes no sense for you. Every thrill is gone, wasn’t too much fun at all. But I’ll be there for you as the world falls down”. A song about the loss of virginity if I ever heard one. However, catching sight of a clock, she realizes she is running out of time to save her baby brother (innocence) and smashes a mirror, shattering the illusion.
Rey and Kylo engage in their own “dance”, during which the most transparent veiled pick-up line in cinematic history (aside from “Forget about your innocence the baby” of course) occurs when Kylo tells Rey, “You need a teacher. I can show you the ways of the Force.” First, “You need a teacher” is an established trope both in cinema/literature and real life for initiating romance. Men like to teach women of interest activities, whether driving a manual transmission or playing video games, as an evolutionary mechanism of showing fitness to mate. It’s a way of saying, “Look at all the skills I know and can show you. You should mate with me because you can count on me for survival skills.” (Yes, I’m aware of the not so feminist implications of this. I didn’t write the evolutionary handbook; I’m just its messenger.) Next, long time Star Wars fans will recall that typically when a Dark Side user is speaking about the Force or trying to recruit new members, some variation of “the power of the Dark Side” is used. Even Kylo, earlier in the film, tells Lor San Tekka, “I’ll show you the Dark Side”. There is a reason Kylo’s proposition to Rey is phrased “ways of the Force”. Read: Ways of the world, a euphemism for sex. Smooth, buddy. Smooth. However, based on the close-up shots that follow, it just might have worked.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the first non-sex sex scene in a Lucasfilm production. These shots are in order, so I’d just like to point out that as Rey’s face goes from struggle and concentration to loving it, Kylo’s goes from “I think I love this woman” to “Oh, let me help you find that Force” to “Yeah, you take it”. Something tells me it’s not just the Force that awakened in Rey.
Section VI: Confrontations and Female Empowerment
In Labyrinth, Sarah and Jareth’s final showdown occurs on the remaining piece of the Escher room, a room symbolic of confusion. In the Escher room, where Sarah haphazardly chases her baby brother Toby every which way on stairs that lead senseless directions, we get a glimpse of Jareth’s rather sad perspective, one in which he is not the villain of the story but a man (or supernatural being) attempting to live up to a girl’s unrealistic expectations of him. “You starve and near exhaust me. Everything I’ve done I’ve done for you,” he sings. When the Escher room crumbles only Sarah and Jareth remain standing on its remaining piece. It is here that Sarah at last displays the clarity and wisdom to take down her alluring foe. Jareth tells her, “Just fear me, love me, do as I say and I will be your slave.” Sarah defeats him by proclaiming, “You have no power over me.” This sexual awakening was Sarah’s fantasy and Sarah’s story to begin with; she needed only claim it.
In The Force Awakens, Rey defeats Kylo Ren at his own game not once but twice. The first instance occurs during her interrogation when Kylo is attempting to read her mind in order to extract the map to Luke Skywalker. As he attempts to push into her mind, she turns his game around and pushes back into his, revealing his greatest fear, that he will never be as strong as Darth Vader, emasculating him and leaving him shaking as he bolts from the room.
Kylo’s second defeat occurs during their lightsaber duel on Starkiller Base. After “finding the Force together” Rey launches an understandably vicious attack against Kylo, leading to a grappling match in which the blue legacy lightsaber is raised victoriously aloft via Kylo raising Rey’s wrist while Rey grips Kylo’s wrist and pummels his red crossguard saber into the earth, a symbol for female fertility. After the red blade is extinguished, Rey forces Kylo to the ground, emasculated and spent.
Rey uses Ben Organa-Solo’s lightsaber to defeat Kylo Ren and extinguish his. (Repeat that last sentence aloud, then report back on the symbolism):
Kylo Ren, his lightsaber extinguished in the ground, marked and spent:
Notably, after Kylo is disarmed Rey slashes his face. Why scar him in this way? Remember that snake noise when Kylo unmasked? Kylo unmasking caught Rey off-guard, both from an attraction standpoint and in making her think there was more beneath the mask than just a “creature” or “monster”. Likely feeling angry at both Kylo and herself for falling for what she perceives as trickery when he kills his father, Rey fixes the issue by slashing the tempting snake’s pretty face. Ironically, males with scars, particularly facial scars, are perceived as more attractive because evolutionarily this indicates a surviving alpha male and thus signals desirable genes. While our rational brain may say, “Yeah, but that’s the scar Rey gave him after she kicked his butt” our hindbrain (and Rey’s) still says, “Oo a scar – now those are some genes I’d like to pass on”. In attempting to disfigure Kylo so that he is no longer a temptation, Rey makes him even more irresistible for future encounters.
A key difference exists between the ending of Labyrinth and The Force Awakens. Whereas Labyrinth was meant as a single movie and ends with the heroine defeating the villain, The Force Awakens was meant as part one of a trilogy, with strong narrative hints toward a future romance between the villain antihero and heroine. In the first story of female sexual awakening we are presented with an adolescent girl who is leaving childhood, encounters a physical manifestation of her own unrealistic and problematic expectations of male sexuality, and defeats this antagonist by reclaiming her power. In the second tale we are presented with a young woman who is leaving childhood, encounters a dangerous masked antagonist who is revealed to be a handsome but dark young man, defeats him by twice emasculating him, and is foreshadowed to have future romantic encounters with him, presumably as Ben Organa-Solo, the rightful heir of the Skywalker legacy lightsaber, the symbol of the Light Side and appropriate use of masculine power.
Section VII: Conclusion
The heroine-villain/antihero trope serves several functions in Labyrinth and The Force Awakens. First, this trope allows for safe exploration of female sexuality with males women are evolutionarily primed to be attracted to, often considered dangerous territory and “not supposed to’s” according to social mores. Next, the villain or antihero represents challenge and acts as a foil for personal growth and exploration within the heroine. Finally, the conquering of the dangerous male, either by defeat and removal of presence or by replacement of inappropriate masculine power with appropriate masculine power, serves as a device of female empowerment.
Warnings: Cursing and mentions of a suicide attempt.
Summary: The reader visits her old childhood friends, Matt, Kylo, and Ben, after not seeing them for several years for their birthday.
Word count: Almost 11k (10,949 words)
A/n: Lots of fluff and some drama. Instead of breaking it up into parts I tried to write it as one. (lol been working on this for a while now(sorry I’ve been so busy btw, teaching it so tough!!! :( )) I was inspired to write this after listening to ‘Lovesong’ by The Cure. Special thanks to @skellingtonbatz for the help!!
Come out, come out, where I can see… Olly Oll̴̢͍̳̺͉̩͇͈̹̀͜ͅỵ̷̧̨̬̠͛̌͆̓̓̌̍̇̈́͌͝ ̵̨̛̝͉̻͚̯̝̩̠̜̎̎̈́͛̈́̊͋̓̎̇͜͝͝O̵̢̨̹̭͎̻͎̹͔͖̳͉̿̊̐̏̀́̊̓͆̀̃̀̓̚̕x̸̰̌͛͗͑̍̃͠͝ę̷͔̜͉͚̮̻̭̟̇ͅǹ̵̛͉̝̘̖͔̰͖̜̝̞͍͖͇̹̈́͗͒̀̔ ̷̹̗̽F̷͔̗̳̯̱̟̳͕̩͍̰̥̘̣̖̄̀̌̈͑̽́̕͝͝ř̵̰̟͔͖͔̳̤͛̅̒͐͠ę̷͎͈̮̘̜̘̥͚̗͈̞̘͛̇̀ȅ̷͇̙̝̍ͅ
Summary: So I had this idea, of like a Star Wars and Greek mythology crossover loosely inspired by the story of Hades and Persephone. Warnings: none
Early as the sun was rising, Kylo found a spot hidden among the trees to observe his love.
He was captivated the moment he saw her, y/n the goddess of spring.
She wandered through the tall grass and flowers, her long dress flowing behind her. She settled in the middle of her favorite meadow. It was surrounded by large trees with a pond nearby. It was her hidden sanctuary near her temple.
There seemed to be such a vast distance between him and the woman whom he desired. He longed to have her by his side, to hold her, to love her. At first, he was pleased simply to watch her from afar. To admire her beauty, from his own dark corner of the world, but his obsession grew.
People who notice things: wow, Rey is looking a little more mature and as if she is growing into her sexuality a little bit for TLJ. Since Rian Johnson mentioned it is a journey through adolescence, this makes sense. Since she will likely be fighting Kylo Ren and there was definitely sexual energy in TFA (“The sexual energy between them is strange and unsettling, like a theremin sonata only they can hear.”) and we know she will confront him again in TLJ, we can assume that this sexuality is likely in relation to Kylo Ren’s character and their mutual attraction - even if it is only subtextual and not fully realized by the characters themsel-
Anti: THAT IS SO SEXIST OMG UR OBJECTIFYING HER. REY CANNOT BE SEXUAL IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM OR HER AGENCY IS COMPROMISED.
Me, an intellectual: Really? So women cannot feel sexual attraction (even if the attraction is surprising or in our head we are thinking, NO WAY! - see beauty and the beast archetype and Jungian Anima/Animus dynamic for reference - Jung literally refers to the initial attraction as feeling like a “mistake”), cannot bear a more sexualized appearance, cannot have any sexual subtext in the story/imagery… just… What?
Seriously, you think this argument you’re making is so “feminist.” But it is the opposite of progressive! Sexual objectification would be if Rey were running around in impractically revealing clothes, if her sexuality were being shown through a male gaze - not the heroine’s perspective - and if it weren’t SUBTEXT at this point.
If we are to believe what Rian Johnson says, that this is about adolescence, sexuality is a part of that.
Sexuality is a part of life. Humans are sexual beings - like it or not.
And the way JJ portrayed female sexuality was brilliant and moving, and I think it will be an example of a changing point - along with Wonder Woman - for years to come in the portrayal of female sexuality as empowering, strong, sensible, and explosive.
If you missed the fight scene from TFA, let me break it down.
Two characters in a yin and yang dance
find themselves at a great precipice - a cliff - and stare at each other for 20+ seconds
during which Kylo Ren says,
ie: “ways of the world”
At any rate,
whether we agree or disagree you do not get to invalidate perfectly logical analysis based on literary and cinematic tropes and imagery