Star Wars is fantastic…there is no way anyone can deny that the influence Star Wars has had on society is vast and all consuming, and in some ways a star wars fan is the main definition of a ‘nerd’. Aside from Star Trek, there is no other science fiction story that has created such a passionate and loyal following: In the 2001 General Census, 390,127 people stated that their religion was Jedi. But are the Jedi really that great?
Throughout the entire series, you see very few women and almost all of the main Jedi are male. This may not be anything to thoroughly concern ourselves with (It was the 1970s when the original trilogy came out) and for the most part the few women that are focused on, Padme and Leia, are pretty badass women and not just arm candy for the male characters. However, why the focus on men? In the films, the entire cast is mostly male: Anakin, Obi-Wan, Emperor Palpatine, Yoda, etc etc. The few female Jedi that you see have no speaking lines and none of them appear to be in positions of power, such as sitting as part of the jedi council. There could be many reasons for this, as it is telling the tale of Anakin Skywalker and his family strife and so would make sense that it focuses on men. But still…why are there no female Jedi and why were they not as prominent as the men?
Jedi were the original Bros
According to Jedi teachings, Jedi are forbidden to form attachments with other people. They can not fall in love and can not marry, a fact that is one of the main drivers of Anakin’s transformation into Darth Vader (spoiler alert!). But there is nothing to say that they can’t have sex: As long as they do not form an attachment with the people they are having sex with, Jedi are allowed to..shall we say…hit it and quit it…as often as they like for however long they like with whomever they like.
Now that may be all well and good, but it is somewhat simplistic: If Jedi are not allowed to form attachments then why are they all so close? Obi-Wan tells Anakin that he loved him, that he was his brother, bu is that not a form of attachment that should go against the Jedi teachings? One of the main ways Obi-Wan manages to track down Anakin in Episode 3 is because he searches his feelings for Anakin to find out where he is. If attachments are not allowed, how is this still possible? Furthermore, while they may be taught to be ‘mindful of [their] thoughts’ it appears throughout the films that the phrase only applies to feelings of uncertainty, but for anything related to fear or hate then they are to be suppressed…just like a true patriarch.
The light and the dark
Throughout the Star Wars series, it is stated that there is the light side, the Jedi, and the dark side, the sith. In Episode 1 we are introduced to the concept as to how a Jedi can turn to the dark side, as Master Yoda explains the (somewhat overly simple) steps: Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering and thus the steps to the dark side have begun. But why are the Jedi not even taught about how the Dark Side works? One of the reasons Anakin begins his descent into Darth Vader is because of his fear of losing those he loves (first with his mother and then with Padme) and since these feelings are some he is forbidden to have by the Jedi council, he has to turn to the Sith Lord Palpatine (again, spoilers!) in order to cope with them. But you wonder if things would have been different had the Jedi taught their padawans about the way the Dark Side worked: Surely it is not as simple as having a bad day, feeling a bit mad about it and whoops, now you’re a sith?
Loops holes, loopholes, loopholes. Now I fully appreciate that there is far more backstory to the Star Wars universe than these films actually let on, but for the most part, the films make Jedi look useless: Order 66 happened in a matter of seconds and no matter how strong and powerful the Jedi Masters appear to be, they still went down pretty easy against a few clones. The Jedi are meant to be seen as the light side of the force, who use their power and their knowledge for the good of society and for the good of democracy, and yet everything they teach (at least according to the films anyway) makes them appear like frat boys, arguing over who has the highest midichlorian count and who loves democracy more.
I would definitely be a Sith. At least the Sith get powers of electricity literally at their fingertips…and usually have better one liners.