Times are changing folks, and with the times, so too must our entertainment. People are demanding representation in media, and it’s not a bad thing at all. The thing is, most of this change happens incrementally and at a glacier’s pace. That said, imagine my surprise when I happened upon the third episode of The Mandalorian on Disney Plus and see that it might just pass the Bechdel Test. For those not in the loop of the ways of modern feminism, let me explain it: The Bechdel test, also known as the Bechdel–Wallace test, is a measure of the representation of women in fiction. It asks whether a work features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. So to sum up this series in regards to modern feminism in a word, I think you might call this chapter of the Star Wars universe “trailblazing”.
Speaking of “trailblazing”, before we get into the episode I want to talk a little about the old west. You see, this show is basically a space-western and in the real Old West there really weren’t that many women. I’m sure plenty of you are going to bring up people like Annie Oakley or the lady that Doc Brown married in the third Back To The Future film (the one that had the creepy kid gesturing at his nuts…you remember that, right?).
Yes, those people really existed… I guess. That said, The west was a wide and lonely expanse. This loneliness led to the creation of the cactus wife. Us modern folk might see this as a quaint and old-fashioned cure for loneliness, but at the time this was true innovation. In fact, it led to the invention of triple antibiotic ointment and what we now know as the modern tweezer. I’m sure you guys remember the story arc from Doctor Quinn: Medicine Woman where Dr. Quinn has to console Ol’ Virgil over the theft of his cactus wife, right? So, when the old west was depicted in film, the heroes on screen mostly amounted to oddly ambling and sore, sexually frustrated cowboys. Why are they oddly ambling? It’s the Cactus wife. Trust me. You don’t want to dive any deeper on this subject.
In the episode our hero Mandolorian Dyn Jarren’s ship is scavenged for parts by a tiny race of aliens known as Jawas. He tries to dispatch the creatures, but it is too late and a chase ensues. As the persistent bounty hunter tries to recover his stolen craft a moment of pure cinematic magic happens: the Jawas have an extended conversation among themselves. Why is this important? Well, I’m assuming some of them are female, and that being the case, I’m fairly certain that they have a prolonged conversation amongst themselves. Perhaps they’re talking about the best way to clean their heavy robes in the desert. Who knows? I don’t know what women talk about. This being the case, Spoiler Country has enlisted the help of Richard True, a professor of Women’s Studies at the University at Calgary Alberta.
I arrived at Professor True’s office late in the afternoon in early December. The students were preparing for finals and the overwhelming stress was palpable. The professor welcomed me into his office with a smile that seemed to say “what the hell did I sign up for?”. He offered me a bottled water and a seat and we soon began the interview.
The Low Down: I’m honestly disappointed because I thought youd look more like a wizard.
Professor Dick: Uh. Ok. Sorry, I guess?
TLD: So Dick, tell me a little bit about your work in Women’s Studies.
Professor Dick: Please, I prefer Richard. Anyway, my particular field of study is centered on how women are portrayed in the media and how that portrayal helps promote reforms or hinders their progress. It’s very important for people, not only women, to see positive portrayals of women in media. And let me stress, these positive portrayals fall all across the spectrum regarding race, sexual orientation, gender identity. This is very serious stuff and should be regarded as such.
Professor Dick: That being said, I viewed your program on the Disney Plus app and I honestly couldn’t tell the gender of any of the Jawas on the episode.
TLD: I know! They were super flat!
Professor Dick: Pardon?
TLD: The Jawas...They were flat. That’s not hot at all. I mean, like maybe if they had, like, a nice ass or something it would be cool, but you can’t even see that with their long dresses on.
Professor Dick: You mean their robes? You’re kidding, right?
TLD: Not at all, man! I think you said it better than I ever could. You can’t even tell they’re females. Stupid SJWs ruining everything!
Professor Dick: I think you need to leave.
TDL: Really? I think we’re on a roll, here.
Professor Dick: Yes. Really.
So, that’s that. I was really hopeful that this interview would help us to “boldly go where no one has gone before” (get it? I did a Star War!), but it seems like Professor Dick had a stick up his ass. He didn’t even wear his robes like they do in the Harry Potter films. Like, I’m pretty sure that anyone going by the title “Professor” should be required to wear the robes. I mean, why the hell did you even get your degree? Not to worry, though: we didn’t leave empty handed. Did we answer the question of The Mandolorian passing the Bechdel test? No. Did we make friends along the way? Definitely not. Did we get to ask about cactus wives? Sadly, no. We did get to steal a ton of pens and office supplies from Professor Dick’s office while he was calling security, and that my friends was worth the journey.