Vympel wrote: ↑
Full disclosure: I love Reylo and it's one of my favorite things about the ST. My wife loves it too.
That out of the way - people who ship two fictional characters, men or women, know its a fantasy, and they're entitled to be annoyed when someone casts moral judgmenets on what they enjoy in the privacy of their own fan spaces. Let them have their fantasies. They'll call the police on any actual space nazi.
People have the right to like what they like. That goes without saying, or it should. But that does not mean that those of us who feel differently are obligated to never criticize the story or the ship, even if we feel that it undermines the characters and themes or that it condones poisonous and misogynistic attitudes. I'm not even talking about personal attacks on people who like the ship- I'm talking about simply expressing our disagreement with it. In short: your right to express and enjoy what you like does not outweigh our right to express our disagreement.
No doubt most fans can tell the difference between fantasy and reality, and aren't actually Nazi sympathizers. At the same time, however, it would be naive indeed to claim that mass media has no influence on public perceptions or values- if that were true, governments would not have wasted so much time and wealth on propaganda meant to shape public opinion, and advertisers would not poor billions of dollars into marketing campaigns. And no, I'm not just talking about the message girls and women will take from it. I'm talking about the message boys and men will take from it, when they see a man who has committed numerous atrocities in the service of a fascist regime forgiven and loved by the woman he abused.
The characterisation of Kylo Ren as a 'neo-Nazi school shooter' is - objectively speaking - complete rubbish. It's taking a mythological fairy-tale - a very broad metaphor - and projecting specific (and distinctly, specifically American, to boot) political and social issues onto it. Kylo Ren doesn't hold any recogniseably 'neo-Nazi' views. He didn't destroy Luke's temple for the reasons a school shooter shoots up a school*.
*Indeed, I often told people that they had absolutely no idea what happened at Luke's temple after Ben brought the hut down on Luke's head, and speculated multiple different ways a fight could've broken out between the students over what happened. Rise of Kylo Ren instead tells us that Ben basically destroyed the temple by accident, unwittingly calling lightning down on it and making it explode, to his own horror.
Its a blatant retcon or "twist" designed to make the character more sympathetic, probably in order to sell his redemption/appeal to the shippers.
And yes, he absolutely is a "space Nazi". He is a leader in a regime which is directly modeled on the Galactic Empire to the point of being almost a more fanatical copy. The same Galactic Empire which routinely engaged in slavery and genocide and was designed in the OT to evoke Nazi Germany, from its uniforms to the name "stormtroopers".
The school shooter parallel is admittedly a somewhat vague one, but its also an obvious one when a student tries to kill a teacher and destroys his school and a bunch of his fellow classmates, given the events of recent years. Nor is it an exclusively American one, even if school shootings are most frequently an American phenomenon.
The reaction to this amongst some of the fandom is instructive - they want to believe that Ben slaughtered all the students without provocation or remorse, and are angry that he did not in fact do so. Why?
So, let me get this straight: criticizing Reylo is misogynistic, even if you don't personally attack anyone, but implying that everyone who dislikes it has some sort of sinister motivations is A-okay?
The entire reading of his character as representing this is the most uncharitable reading of character possible. I mean, you're talking about a movie where Han Solo literally forgave his son immediately after killing him. To many fans, he's a sympathetic character and they realized he was going to be redeemed, and anticipated seeing it.
And to many fans, he's a mass murderer and a fascist, and his troubled relationship with his family and his overall patheticness does not mitigate that.
Personally, I will add that I felt Rey turning her back on Kylo's offer was a significant moment in the development of her character, one that established her strength of character in even in the face of adversity, and that undercutting that to appeal to shippers is a damned shame.
Hell, I don't even have much of a problem with Kylo being redeemed. I just don't think his redemption should have been tied to a romantic connection with Rey, any more than I would have liked Vader's redemption being brought about by Padme forgiving him for choking her. Its a naive, dangerous fantasy which excuses abusive men.
TROS picking up from TLJ in terms of Rey and Ben's relationship is one of the few things it did that made sense. Rey clearly had feelings for Ben (not Kylo Ren, Ben) and the juxtaposition of Ben and Rey touching hands in the hut, with Ben's bare hand, to Kylo Ren's gloved hand reaching out to Rey on the Supremacy was not at all subtle. Rey saying "I wanted to take your hand - Ben's hand" was an impressive bit of insight in a movie which had virtually none at all. Heck, they even (almost certainly unwittingly) dove into some Campellian motifs when Rey healed Ben and his scar - that she gave him- disappeaed (see: Campbell on how the wound of love can be healed).
You're ignoring a couple crucial moments later in TLJ- the one where Ren psychologically manipulated and emotionally abused Rey to try to get him to join her by telling her that she was nobody unless she was with him, and the ones where she subsequently rejected his offer, tried to kill him, and later pointedly turned her back on him when fleeing Crait.
There were feelings, yes. And TLJ's ending effectively closed the door on them, until RoS reopened it.
It's fiction, there's nothing forced about it.
Other than the fact that it directly reverses Rey's decisions and actions toward Kylo at the end of the previous film, no.
And female Reylo shippers will be the first to say that the idea of the 'Strong Female Character' who ends up coded as some sort of celibate solitary nun figure, who never gets the love and companionship because male writers cannot conceive of giving that character a happy ending with a man that involves love and family - when the character really wants that - is far more misogynistic.
Where did I say that I wanted her to end up a "celibate solitary nun figure"? Oh right, absolutely nowhere, ever. You're putting words in my mouth so you can call me (and anyone else who disagrees with you) a misogynist because I don't like your ship.
I supported Rey/Finn (both because it would piss off fascists to have an interracial couple in Star Wars, and because Finn was never physically violent or psychologically abusive toward Rey), and modified that to Rey/Rose/Finn later because I didn't want Rose to be sidelined for the Rey/Finn ship (optional Poe foursome for some more LGBT inclusion). I've argued that the end of Rey's journey I wanted to see was her forming her own family identity, one of her choosing. And I've said all along that returning to the idea that the Jedi can't have love or attachments would be a betrayal of the Order's progression through the prior two trilogies.
If some other people have argued that, fine, they're jackasses. Don't put their views in my mouth. It is no more acceptable for you to call anyone who dislikes Reylo a misogynist than it would be for me to call anyone who dislikes TLJ a Nazi.
Indeed, they have a point where they say if Rey and Kylo were gender-swapped, dudebros would be nodding and making eyebrows at Male-Rey 'scoring' with the redeemed female villain without reservation. Her crimes wouldn't matter. But when the female hero wants a man? "Oh no but he was a Space Fascist! What a bad message this sends to little girls!"
You know that I am about as far from a fascist or a "dudebro" as you will find on this board. You know you are deliberately misrepresenting my views to attack my character, because I hold a different view than your's. In part because I explicitly pointed out
the dishonesty of this particular attack in my previous post.
Pro tip: If you want to convince me that Reylo isn't a toxic cesspit, saying "You have to like it or you're a misogynist dudebro who just wants to control women" probably isn't the way to go about it.
Anyway, as I have no desire for yet another round of personal nastiness, I'll leave it there, if you have no objection. I've said my views, and you're entitled to disagree, even if you don't extend the same right to me.
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