My Daughters, My Son, and The Empire Strikes Back

So…a while ago I initiated my children to the Larger World of the Star Wars Cinematic Universe,  with a pre-Christmas Movie Night consisting of a viewing of the original, what-made-me-into-the-writer-I-am-today Star Wars episode IV, A New Hope.7

6

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3 (Fuck you, Tom…fix this bullshit)

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Next up, of course, is The Empire Strikes Back.

But I don’t know that I want my children to watch that movie just yet, because of one of the most significant scenes in Star Wars History also happens to run against everything I believe, when it comes to consent.

In this scene, Han Solo literally forces himself on Leia Organa.  Let’s nevermind the fact that she was a teenager and he was in his late Twenties, early thirties.(Or older, if you listen to the original radio dramas) .  This is assault, if not sexual assault.  It doesn’t matter to me that the feeling winds up to be mutual…it’s that Han forces himself on Leia.

I don’t want my son – or my daughters – to ever think that it’s acceptable to be in any way sexually aggressive towards anyone they’re attracted to.

Yes, I was six when I saw Star Wars, Nine when I saw Empire.

But I also grew up in an era when it was socially acceptable to be a White Supremacist Anti-Semite Chauvinistic Homophobic Liberal Social Justice Warrior.  The 1970’s and 1980’s were…for lack of a better historical term…a fucked up time in Human History.

I watched the first Star Wars movie a few times before I decided that, given the cartoons and shows my kids are currently into, it would not scar them emotionally to watch it.  I was right – one of the brilliant little darlings even said the lightsaber duel between Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi was boring.  They weren’t wrong, but still…

They all want to see the next movie, especially since by word of mouth alone they know that the ass-kicking that Darth Vader delivers to Luke is so epic.  But…I keep thinking of that scene between Han and Leia, in the asteroid field.

I wouldn’t want any of my children to ever think it was acceptible to be sexually aggressive…nor would I want any of them to think they should submit to such aggression.

So how can I, in good conscience, allow my children to watch this movie until they are far older, and more mature, than they are now?