A Reflection of the Happenings during the Era of Star Wars
The historic release of the Star Wars series has caused ripples in the comic and movie industry. To a greater extent Star Wars was and still is a commercial commodity which has created a remarkable milestone in the evolution of the film industry. The creator of the Star Wars, George Lucas has impeccably shown that films could offer a great platform in portraying and demonstrating the various aspects of life, what people go through in different societies, the effects of technological advancement on humanity, and changing times. The Star Wars has shown how such spectacular effects are critical in helping the film to claw back particular territories from small screen entertainment, swelling profits to astonishing proportions of merchandise. The era of Star Wars in the 1970s marked a period in which there was a mechanism to maneuver into the uncertainty in America and the west culturally.[footnoteRef:1] The period created luxuriating aspects of ethnic voyeurism, triumphalism, sexism, religiosity, and racism among other fundamental discourses in society. The purpose of this research paper is to give an insightful view of the issues that were pertinent to the American people during the era of Star Wars and the possible changes which the American people have realized. Although there was increased societal prejudice during the 1970s of the Star Wars period, it was inevitable that the American society among other parts of the world to outgrow such uncertainties and create a society that creates space for and suits all. [1: Bergeron, R. 2015.’The Seventies’: Feminism makes Waves. CNN. Accessed 13/04/2019 at Https://Edition.Cnn.Com/2015/07/22/Living/The-Seventies-Feminism-Womens-Lib/Index.Html]
The paper seeks to find answers to the following two main questions:
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- What are the causes and the key issues that were raised in the context of the feminist movement in the era of Star Wars?
- What steps have been taken or achieved in the American society and beyond concerning the peculiar issues that were of concern to humanity in the 1970s?
The Wave of Feminism in the Seventies
The 1970s marked a period of immense cultural changes which altered the role of women in American society. There was increased dissatisfaction among the women on matters regarding unimaginable gender disparities between men and women, in terms of aspects of pay, sexual harassment, and career advancement. It was time for the American people to accept the primary goals of the 1970s feminists which included equal work, curtailing the severe limits of women in managerial jobs, ending sexual harassment, and ensure a share of responsibilities of child-rearing and housework.[footnoteRef:2] The fundamental aspects of feminist lifestyle and issues that surround them have been covered in several artistic works during the period. For instance, the movie An Unmarried Woman (1978) has depicted a storyline which gives an insightful touch on the sexual liberation of the 1970s. The movie is a remarkable advancement of the ideals of the Women Liberation Movement as such feminist matters were of great significance to women and the society at large. [2: Bergeron, R. 2015.’The Seventies’: Feminism makes Waves. CNN. Accessed 13/04/2019 at Https://Edition.Cnn.Com/2015/07/22/Living/The-Seventies-Feminism-Womens-Lib/Index.Html]
The process of feminism going mainstream was never an easy one. The Equal Rights Amendments (ERA), stipulated that there would never be any form of denial of equality of rights under in any or abridged by the United States or even by any other state on the accounts of sex. The introduction of the ERA to Congress happened in 1923 -that was three years later when women had gained their voting right, though it never reached the House of Representative or Senate.
The move by the National Organization for Women –an organization which was founded in 1966 championed for advocating for the full equal partnership of the sexes. It spearheaded the endorsement of the ERA and pursued integrating it into the constitution of the U.S. as one of the top priorities. There was no success to such amendment in the United States’ Congress throughout the period between 1923 and 1970.
The new and second wave of the feminist group further took the campaign of the ERA to another level. The ERA was among the key aspects that this generation of feminists wanted to accomplish. Among other fundamental things that they wanted to accomplish alongside the ERA, were equal pay for equal work, an opportunity to do all the jobs even the ones that were reserved for the men, reform on abortion, and reforms on the domestic servitude of mother at homes. This category of radical women was out to champion for more. The radicals’ eschatological objective is to tip over the patriarchal society that existed in where men are total control of literally all levels of power in the society be it in science, government, education, and even arts.
The women’s movement brought on board a wide range of women in terms of political beliefs, backgrounds, and races, as many of them were having the feeling that the treatment they got was for the second-class citizens. According to Bergeron (2015), in spite of the fact women comprised more than half of the United States population, they never got college admissions at the same rate as the men or even get equal job opportunities alongside equal pay for the same job done. The women movement in pursuit of ERA had picked up with more streams coming on board as the feminist wave kept sweeping throughout the country. The ERA amendment was finally passed by both houses of Congress and President Richard Nixon in 1972 and then sent to the states for ratification.
Sexism at Workplace
Recent economic research holds to the fact that attitudes towards women when they are born impacts in a lasting trend on how she works and earns as an adult.[footnoteRef:3] White women who are born in some parts of the United States where sexist attitudes are so prevalent tend to grow up earning less and working less as compared to other women who could be working elsewhere. The men who are working in these places earn relatively higher than their women counterparts. [3: Mountz, Alison. “Women on the edge: Workplace stress at universities in North America.” The Canadian Geographer/Le Géographe canadien 60, no. 2 (2016): 205-218.]
The perspective of the role of women in the American had not changed much during the Star Wars period. The place of women in the society was less regarded to be instrumental in matters of nation building but more categorically as home building by taking care of the children and doing house chores. The sexist attitude has been at the core of the disparity that exists between men and women who are born, live, work, and earn in a particular locality. The sexist attitude has widened the disparity gap concerning wages and employment that exists between men and women.
The perpetuation of sexism has taken a divergent direction in every aspect of our lives. Television series have shown a depiction of sexism to a greater extent. The level of penetration of sexism ideology in the film industry may have taken a shift due to the increasingly male dominance in writing, directing and production of TV content. Though, the discrimination depicted in the TV series and movies that we happen to watch every single day drives us back and create an inner feeling that we are still stuck in the past.[footnoteRef:4] The question that begs to be answered is the concern that, yes the writer are not bound to follow some guidelines or rules when they write the movies or the series, but why can’t they portray the female characters as successful and strong individuals rather than just mere sex symbols. Unlike shows like Girls of Broad City which have depicted women is a positive way, the TV audiences have been watching shows that portray women to have no depth and are ever put down by the men who are in their lives.[footnoteRef:5] It may not be that surprising that these TV series are among the one beloved by the audience and even are award-winning. [4: Mountz, Alison. “Women on the edge: Workplace stress at universities in North America.” The Canadian Geographer/Le Géographe canadien 60, no. 2 (2016): 205-218.] [5: The Girls of Broad City. TV series. Accessed 18/04/2019 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KlWf-N8SjjQ]
Misogyny has remained as a common theme in the AMC’s Mad Men. This 1950s television show of seven seasons has presented scenes in which sexist comments are directed at women while men cheat on their wives.[footnoteRef:6] The show throws its audience into an arena that is run by the men figures in the society, while their counterpart female characters never catch a break. The show depicts how things were during such times, by featuring an extreme level of sexism, while a category of male viewers would feel that it is acceptable to perceive or treat women just the way Don Draper is doing.[footnoteRef:7] [6: Mad Men. TV series. Accessed 17/04/2019 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlKs6TknnU8] [7: Mad Men. TV series. 1950. Accessed 17/04/2019 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlKs6TknnU8]
The methodology that this research used was based on the format of a qualitative exploratory research study. This methodology includes the process of reviewing research with respect to the research questions that the research seeks to unravel to its in-depth level. The criteria which were deployed in the identification of the relevant research were first to assess the credibility the source and second, it’s content relevance
When it was released 1977, Star Wars scaled the edge of ushering in a dawn in the movie-making as it creates special effects, a fantastic way of building the world, and captivating blend of fairy tale and myth. The film was designed to set the stage for a franchise which would span over a wide range time by creating generations of fans worldwide. George Lucas, the Star Wars content creator, along with his partner Gary Kurtz were determined to design a film that would depict an idea of the space opera, thus basing their storyline on the outer space adventures.[footnoteRef:8] The film was designed to provide the young people with some exotic environment in which their imaginations would flourish. That is, it was created to hype those kids with interest in space exploration and even eliciting more interest in such adventures, hence reining in the space epic. [8: Lucas, George, and Doug Wheatley. “Star Wars: Episode III-Revenge of the Sith.” 2005.]
The film could drive big audiences flocking cinemas so that they could be taken to a galaxy far, far away. At a given level, Lucas tries to depict Star Wars as a commercial commodity in which there is a great achievement in the film industry.[footnoteRef:9] He aimed at showing that films could be made for families while the spectacular effects that it creates would be significant in elevating a reach beyond the small-screen entertainment, with profits swelling to enormous proportions. The film’s audience in America and beyond perceived the experience of watching the movie as a complete blend of watching something incredibly familiar and completely new. [9: Lucas, George, and Doug Wheatley. “Star Wars: Episode III-Revenge of the Sith.” 2005.]
The most familiar elements could be alluded to the incorporation of multiple aspects of captivating genres which were considerably out of step in the world of mid-1970s. The abstract and distant location of Star Wars which has made no point of references to earth culture or humanity has provided a great room for revisiting its screenplay without the necessity of making any apology or the experiencing the shortcomings of alienating some ethnic group or nationality locally or even abroad.
The creation of Star Wars was to derive the yearning aspect of the American society so that it can delineate from its own bonds of history and become great one more. It was a creation that entailed a perfect transferable product in which any person could get himself in, across the world. The heroic structures of the film were crafted from the myths which are common to every human culture. It further derives a perspective which moves the audiences from the classic western way of doing things in which by 19790s was succumbed by the great awakening and awareness of the Americans on the moral ugliness of their historical reality.
America Socialism in 1970’s
Socialism is formed of the believers that nobody is chained to their past struggles and neither are they condemned to a determined future. Every human has a right to determine their goals, believes and strides in life without interference from the other dominant groups or countries.[footnoteRef:10] Socialist’s stood against the government involvement in the world war two and condemned in the strongest terms the decision by the American government to spend resources on the nations who were never fighting America in the first place. The government constant recruitment of able American citizens was not received well by the pro-socialist and their campaign against the government behavior bore fruits. The government in retaliation decided to arrest everybody who was deemed unpatriotic and they were prohibited from speaking derogatory words about the government, the flag or the operations going on like the sale of war bonds. Majority of the socialists were the intellectual and the middle class as opposed to the bulk majority who formed the worker’s party and were never bothered by the progress in the government.[footnoteRef:11] During the socialist era, the people were plagued with extreme doubt on the clear role of the progressives who were charged with the responsibility of getting America out of the economic crisis that was crippling the nation’s progress. It is during this era of the seventies that the nation was plagued with the great depression and socialism was being fought very hard by the conservatives who believed socialists were just busybodies whose interests were squarely on causing havoc. [10: Fitzgerald, Frances. Way Out There in the Blue: Reagan, Star Wars and the End of the Cold War. Simon and Schuster, 2001.] [11: Dittmar, Linda, And Gene Michaud, Eds. From Hanoi to Hollywood: The Vietnam War in American Film. Rutgers University Press, 1990.]
The Americans were by the bulk majority against socialism and over time they believed socialism interfered with freedom of individuals and organizations as most socialists’ societies face the wrath of the government control. The conservative individuals held the belief that government control of the society was a negative influence on growth and it impacted badly on the economic progress of America. It was believed that the most logical approaches were to change people’s psychological believe through character evaluation and channeling of desires to positivity and better resolve. With the new notion ion progress, socialism dwindled and many key members changed camps and reverted to other ideological subscriptions.[footnoteRef:12] During the 1960s and 1970s the socialists were tamed and the pressure they were raining down on the people waned and the majority of the socialists chose to become Democrats. The socialists in that year seriously refused to support the Vietnam War the American government was engaged in. Their refusal implied they lost the trust of the people of America most of which had been convinced on the importance of the war and saw the government was on the right. The refusal by the leading socialist to support the war sealed their fate and they realized they had lost touch with the majority of their supporters thus they opted to work with the Democrats. [12: Cook, David A. Lost Illusions: American Cinema in the Shadow of Watergate and Vietnam, 1970-1979. Vol. 9. Univ of California Press, 2002.]
The American society comprises of socialist groups of all forms ranging across the political divide from far left to far right. The neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic, and fascist groups like the National socialist movement (NSM) are found on the extreme right. The NSM group seeks to purify American society through violent and nonviolent means. The far left is decorated by groups like the Socialist Party USA, which believes and advocates democratic socialism. The main agenda of this group was to build a system with equality and freedom for all in its economic and political endeavors. The group and party work to bring freedom in the press, religion, freedom of speech, and multi-party. These groups all work in unity to fight for the rights of the American citizens against government oppression and misinformation to the citizens. The rights for total disclosure on all government operations that willfully interfere with the living conditions and standards of the people is vital and important in the fight for socialism. The demand that public agencies play a major role in service delivery and logistics aimed to benefit the citizens. The full public participation allows supervisory and total disclosure of the products to the people thereby providing answers that would otherwise be muted by the government and private sector.
Star Wars has undoubtedly provided a rich lore for great exploration in the history of the United States and even beyond. The era of Star Wars is not only depicting an invention of the hyperspace, but also a shared galactic history of humanity and individuals from various locations to understand their culture and having knowledge about the development of human space in the contemporary context of life. That is there are a lot of developments that the American people have made as from the era of Star Wars. Such progress could be viewed from the perspectives of advancement of feminist movements, the paradigm shift in context and scope of socialism, and the platforms of sexism perpetration.
- Bergeron, R. 2015.’The Seventies’: Feminism makes Waves. CNN. Accessed 13/04/2019 at Https://Edition.Cnn.Com/2015/07/22/Living/The-Seventies-Feminism-Womens-Lib/Index.Html
- Cook, David A. Lost Illusions: American Cinema in the Shadow of Watergate and Vietnam, 1970-1979. Vol. 9. Univ of California Press, 2002.
- Dittmar, Linda, And Gene Michaud, Eds. From Hanoi to Hollywood: The Vietnam War in American Film. Rutgers University Press, 1990.
- Fitzgerald, Frances. Way Out There in the Blue: Reagan, Star Wars and the End of the Cold War. Simon and Schuster, 2001.
- Lucas, George, and Doug Wheatley. “Star Wars: Episode III-Revenge of the Sith.” 2005.
- Mad Men. TV series. 1950. Accessed 17/04/2019 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlKs6TknnU8
- Mountz, Alison. “Women on the edge: Workplace stress at universities in North America.” The Canadian Geographer/Le Géographe canadien 60, no. 2 (2016): 205-218.
- The Girls of Broad City. TV series. Accessed 18/04/2019 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KlWf-N8SjjQ
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