The Wessex Wire

The Student News Site of West Essex Regional High School

The Wessex Wire

The Wessex Wire

ARTS COMMENTARY: Female ‘Star Wars’ fans challenge sexism in fandom

Illustration by Maddie DeVita
The stigma around women in male-dominated fandoms such as “Star Wars” has divided fans for decades.

Recent remarks from a popular YouTube channel have reignited discussions about sexism within the “Star Wars” fandom, particularly targeting female enthusiasts. Found on TikTok, the comment “women don’t even watch” these films has sparked outrage among female fans, who see it as a representation of the casual sexism that is still prevalent in the community.

There is no way to pinpoint where the backlash against female fans originated, but George Lucas, “Star Wars” filmmaker, countered these statements that his intended audience was younger kids. But the truth lies in the facts: for every two male fans, there’s only one female fan. Although the demographic of female fans may seem slim, hundreds watch “Star Wars” and other male-dominated Sci-Fi franchises despite feeling belittled for their interests. 

Psychologist Sadia Khan’s statement, captured in a video posted in January to the Star Wars Theory channel, has become a rallying cry for many female fans. Demographic data is hard to confirm, but a YouGov survey from 2015 estimates as much as 40 percent of the fanbase is female; they’re not as outnumbered as people think.

Khan’s words, suggesting that women are indifferent to “Star Wars” and should not seek inclusion in the fandom, have prompted a wave of responses from women eager to defend their love for this franchise.

On platforms like TikTok, nearly 1,300 videos have utilized Khan’s remarks as a backdrop to showcase their passion for “Star Wars.” From cosplay demonstrations to footage from premieres and conventions, female fans are asserting their presence in spaces historically dominated by men.

Khan’s comments underscore an ongoing issue faced by female fans in male-dominated franchises. Despite strides toward inclusivity, women still encounter skepticism regarding their love for genres like science fiction and fantasy.

In response to the conversation around sexism, “Star Wars” continues to highlight its female characters, such as Jedi Knight Ahsoka Tano, who has garnered her own Disney+ spinoff. Actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who portrays Hera Syndulla in “Ahsoka,” emphasizes that gender is not a defining aspect of the “Star Wars” universe.

Despite societal perceptions, female fans have long been a significant part of the “Star Wars” community. Efforts like the upcoming documentary “Looking for Leia” aim to dispel misconceptions and celebrate the contributions of female fans to the franchise.

These efforts by filmmakers are important, but for now, the misconception that “Star Wars” is primarily for men persists, despite evidence to the contrary. Creator George Lucas has defended the franchise’s appeal to all ages, challenging the notion that it is exclusively for children and reinforcing the legitimacy of male and female fans’ interests alike.

As female fans continue to push back against stereotypes and assert their place in the fandom, the galaxy far, far away becomes more inclusive for all.

Behind the Byline
Hailey Raymond
Hailey Raymond, Arts & Culture Editor
Hailey Raymond is an Arts & Culture Editor for the Wessex Wire. Her favorite season is fall because Halloween is the best thing to ever exist. If you can't reach her on any platform whatsoever she's most likely ignoring the world with a book in her hand blasting music. FYI movie recommendations are fully welcomed because movies are awesome. Fun Fact: she apparently plays the drums.... I think?
More to Discover