some thoughts on jyn erso
i’m sorry to do this because i know we’re all probably exhausted to death of jyn erso discourse, but i was finally able to collect my thoughts on some aspects of her character into coherent ideas that i want to post
this isn’t a jyn erso hate post, and i’m not an “anti jyn” or someone who completely despises her character. there are some things about her that i like! she’s just not my favorite, and i’ve been curious as to why that is. it’s not typical of me to feel so neutral of what is objectively a strong female lead, especially when it’s something like star wars where those are often lacking.
here’s what i think it boils down to: i don’t really like her that much, because of the filmmakers’ attempts to make her likable
if you’re trying to portray a character who is rough around the edges, jaded with the universe, and doing whatever it takes to survive, why not go all out? i would have loved to see jyn be more angry, meaner, scrappier, and belligerent. give me a jyn who when she is captured by the rebellion, acts like a caged animal. give me a jyn who will scratch and claw in order to survive. give me a jyn who is expressive of her anger and fear and desperation. give me a jyn who yells and screams and and doesn’t know how to control her rage and frustration at her situation.
i think my main problem with jyn is that, to me, she comes across as bored more than jaded. rather than someone who has been fighting her way along her whole life and been hardened, she seems like a woman who is just uninterested in her surroundings. when she says the line that’s like (paraphrasing here) “it can’t bother you if you don’t look up” in the movie it feels so dismissive to me and doesn’t pack a punch. i would have rather had that line be biting, full of bitterness and disillusionment that shows the reaction of someone who has been so hurt before by all sides that she has lost hope in any goodness in the world.
unfortunately, what i think a lot of this comes down to, and why this isn’t the jyn we see in the movie, is the cultural requirement that we need to make women palatable in order to be likable. there’s the idea that if a woman is too emotional, or angry, or yells a lot, people are going to hate her and thinks she’s a total bitch. well i would actually love a bitchier, meaner, more raw jyn erso. but we didn’t get that side of her because, let’s face it, women can’t act like that in movies, whereas men can. because a woman who spits rage and scratches and claws would be seem as threatening and unrelatable to a male audience. so what we get instead is the watered-down, sugar-coated version of what should be a gritty, harsh character. we get boredom instead of rage, because that’s what’s easier to swallow. and i feel cheated about the jyn erso that could have been, but that we didn’t get to see.