This is what bothers me about knee-jerk neo-feminism

This webcomic posits that "since Disney killed the Expanded Universe [in Star Wars], there is no reason to assume all Stormtroopers were men except Patriarchy" (added emphasis mine).  My objection is that either way I can read that statement, the artist is wrong.  And we're going to get into some Star Wars esoterica here, so if that's not your thing, you may want to skip this one.

To begin, let's cover this "Expanded Universe" stuff and what it was and what happened.  Back after Star Wars was released in 1977, licensed books and other media relating to Star Wars began to be released with the approval of Lucas Film.  Some of this material ended up directly conflicting with movies Lucas made, but except for those bits, all of it was to be considered "Star Wars canon" (again unless it conflicted with the movies) under the rubric of "the Expanded Universe".  Thus did we get sentient bunny Jedi Knights, Zombie Stormtroopers, Boba Fett being a near omnipotent bounty hunter who managed to escape his grisly fate at the bottom of the Sarlacc Pit, etc.  And one of the elements of the EU (as it is sometimes referred to) is that Stormtroopers following the rise of the Galactic Empire were not just clones, but recruited from the male human population.

Ok, now with the Disney purchase of the Star Wars franchise, they've gone ahead and said all that previous material (save for the movies and media put out after the Disney purchase) is no longer Star Wars canon (which includes the Ewoks cartoons, books, video games, comics, etc).  And because of that, this webcomic writer posits that there is no reason to assume that Stormtroopers were only male, any more "except Patriarchy."  Now, I can read this one of two ways.  "There is no reason, except if we assume the Empire is a Patriarchy" or "there is no reason, except if we're a Patriarchy."

So let's break down that first one.  If we assume the Galactic Empire which is an absolute dictatorship that practices slavery, racistly oppresses non-humans, commits genocide on a planetary scale, and is genuinely evil is a Patriarchy, then yes, that would explain why Stormtroopers would only be men.  But is anyone going to argue that sexism is a bridge too far for a man like Emperor Palpatine?  So this is just silly.

The other (and frankly, more pernicious) read of the webcomic's statement is wrong, AND is what bothers me about knee-jerk neo-feminism.  For us to accept that they only reason to assume Stormtroopers were all men is because we're being sexist is stupid.  And mostly because of the same reasons I listed in the last point.  To accept the webcomic's premise (again, assuming the second reading) is to deny that any other reason exists to make that assumption.  So we must believe that the Galactic Empire which crushes dissent with mass genocide, is actively and openly racist against non-humans, engages in slavery, and is just genuinely awful... that they cannot practice sexism because that's beyond the pale, even for the Empire?  So the fault must lie in us for making the assumption that given all the above, it's conceivable that the Empire didn't let women into the Stormtrooper corps?

Ok, but what if you don't accept the Galactic Empire was evil, and that all of that stuff was Rebel propaganda.  Then let's look at what we do have (again, from the post-Disney "official canon") which supports female Stormtroopers.  After all, they're in armor that covers them completely, how would we know the gender of Stormtroopers.  I dunno, how about we look at the officers?  They walk around in garrison caps and with faces exposed to the world.  How many female Stormtrooper officers do we see in the movies?  The answer is none.  So we're to accept that this totally non-sexist Empire has female Stormtroopers, but zero female officers?  Sounds sexist to me.  But again, according to the webcomic, if we assume that Stormtroopers are men, it must be because we're the ones who are sexist.

Now, Star Wars nerd stuff aside, I hate when people like these neo-feminists break out the "Patriarchy" nonsense to explain literally everything.  It's not that this fictional evil government would dare to practice sexism, it must be our awful sexism that explains it.  The fact that women make up less than 2% of the nation's garbage collectors must be evidence of Patriarchy rather than the fact that women don't seem willing to go into a job field where handling garbage is part of the job (Lord knows I'm not, save to feed my family if it came to it).  It must be the Patriarchy to blame that no female Marine passed the Marine Infantry Officer Course at the current standards, rather than the fact that the current standards are physically grueling enough to make it difficult for ANY to pass.

I'm pleased as punch that two women passed the Army's Ranger School under unaltered standards.  I know I could never have done it.  But I'm also sure we're only a few years away from hearing how sexist it is that equal numbers of women are not passing the course.  Anyone care to bet against me?


Tom said...

I'm not taking that bet. Your comments about neo-feminism are directly related to my previous post about racism; they both spring from the fountain of Critical Theory. It's the exact same ideology applied to two different situations.

Critical Theory is the current Western academic form of Marxism, from the Frankfurt School. To understand it, simply assume that for Critical Gender Theory, men are the bourgeoisie and women are the proletariat. For Critical Race Theory, simply assume that white people are the bourgeoisie and people of color are the proletariat. Instead of the traditional Marxist idea that the economic system determines, or at least affects, everything, substitute race and gender relations.

I'm sure you're familiar with the way historical Marxism forces its way into every nook and cranny of a society. That's exactly what and why CT does the same.

Grim said...

Quite right, Tom. Once you learn to recognize the form, you realize that Marxist analysis has come to dominate American intellectual thought. It's not universal, but it's extraordinarily prominent.

Of course, it's not Marxist in the strong sense that it leads to the conclusion that only the destruction of the Capitalist system and its inversion to Socialism can solve the problems of the world. But it is Marxist in the sense that it analyzes society in terms of an oppressor class and an oppressed class, and explains all problems in terms of that relationship. The conclusion is baked into the form of the analysis: there must be a kind of overarching system that must be destroyed and inverted to fix the problems of the world.

Since utopia is never reached, it turns out that work is never done. Even long after you've overturned Jim Crow, and every law that refers to race or sex exists to help historically oppressed groups excel in society, the existence of any remaining complaint just means that the sneaky evil oppressors have moved underground. You move from Marxism to Maoism: we must always vigilantly root out the capitalist running dogs by hunting them in every institution, as well as through a vigorous process of self-criticism to ensure that our every inner thought is in line with the agenda.

Maoism is, fortunately, the last stage before collapse if the historical parallel holds. It's also the ugliest stage, though.

Tom said...

Right. I guess the one thing I would add, to go back to the OP, is that it's not "knee-jerk" but rather systematic. Gamergate, Sad Puppies, Black Lives Matter, all of it is just the working out of Critical Theory approaches in the lives of those our education system has indoctrinated with it.

Grim said...

That's not to say that there have never been things that were derived from a felt desire for White Supremacy, either. It's a legitimate critique of Jim Crow that it was driven by a desire to establish a superior position for what people in those days thought of as "the white race."

The problem with the Marxist structure is that you're locked into that deduction. The way it sets things up, it's not only the obvious conclusion, it's the only conclusion. It's the conclusion when it's true, and it's the conclusion when it's false.

Ymar Sakar said...

I call it mind control. Those who know how to use it, see farther with how it might be used and how it is used.

Marxism wanted to change the world in order to create a utopia where mankind ruled on God's Throne and the world became perfect.

The Jim Crow era was political warfare used to win Reconstruction and to reconstruct history, in order to replace the power they lacked to win militarily. It was also based on the 1820 Democrat philosophy that the white race composed of landed aristocrats and higher caste beings, were naturally, god given genetically, superior to the black beasts in the field. That slaves were happy to be uneducated and working in order to free up time for the white race to improve the white and black race, using eugenics.

Both are utopian conceptual universes, and both are erroneous to certain degrees.