Is It Time To Form People For Padmé?

The New York Times posted an article yesterday about how female fans were turning Star Wars fandom into something their own or whatever and there was a side piece that I didn’t read about the powerful women of Star Wars.  It was just as well because apparently the guy who wrote that piece dismissed Padmé outright because he didn’t like the prequels.  The really stupid part was apparently Ahsoka, a character who was basically spun off from the prequels, was included in the listicle.  Really, NYT?  That’s the kind of amateurish clickbait nonsense I’d see on a hack “geek” site.  But amateurism is par for the course with the lamestream media these days.  No wonder quarterly profits dropped 97% (some sources say 96 but still…) and ad revenues dropped 19%.

The media needs to buy a clue; if you are talking about Star Wars, the prequel trilogy is a significant part of it whether they like it or not.  Denying that is basically lying to your readers and your opinion of the films is in most cases completely irrelevant and generally, not interesting.  It’s even worse if you dismiss the prequels simply for no other reason than to pander to your readers or Star Wars fans in general.  A lot of these guys do that to show fans they’re down with us because they think we all hate the prequels.  (Hint:  no we all don’t.)

It doesn’t help that the geekeratti, the fist pounders on The Mary Sue and Daily Dot, other Star Wars fans, and even Lucasfilm overlook Padmé or dismiss her entirely.  They do so for primarily two reasons:  one is for the same reason the NYT article dismissed her and that is she is part of the prequels.  The Mary Sue and Daily Dot hate the prequels as do many “geek” and “nerd” pandering sites.  The other reason is Padmé isn’t politically correct enough for them.  This might sound very strange.  Padmé is probably one of the most multilayered characters in the entire series.  She was ruler of a planet and took charge of reclaiming her world from the Trade Federation.  She was a senator.  She was an action babe in her own right and managed to survive even where a lot of Jedi get killed.  Who can forget Obi-Wan and Anakin bickering on Geonosis while Padme was already picking her lock and positioning herself to fight the monsters?  She’s obviously smart, compassionate, and for my money, one of the kindest characters in the saga.  I think Lucas bent over backwards to create a character who’s worthy to be the mother of Luke and Leia.  What’s there not to love?

Well, I think the problem boils down to three things:  Padmé fell in love with Anakin/Vader, she got pregnant, and she died.  Never mind these things all had to happen.  To the detractors, those things made her “weak.”  A lot of the feminist types in geek world only want “kickass” wish fulfillment women characters and they think that every kung fu kick in the face or every male taken down is a strike against the patriarchy.  If a character is not doing that, then she’s somehow regressive.  Or, for a character to have any value, she must be powerful and in control all of the time.  It’s a dumb and shallow way of looking at the feminine condition.  Not everybody is a fighter all of the time.  Being quiet, contemplative, and gentle doesn’t mean you are weak.  Being feminine in a traditional way doesn’t make you weak.  And I don’t get why it’s acceptable for Buffy Summers to fall in love with Angel or Spike knowing exactly what they are while Padmé is somehow a chump for loving someone who was mostly a good guy.  You can’t do a whole lot of action scenes while packing twins in the trunk and heartbreak is part of the story’s tragedy.   What was supposed to happen to Padmé that would be any more dignified?  Suicide?  Getting shot or blown up?  Eaten by a nexu?  Hit by a truck?  Spontaneous human combustion?  Falling into a sarlaac?  Shish-kebabed with a lightsaber while standing on a bridge over a bottomless pit?

I’ve read that perhaps keeping Padmé’s scenes from ROTS that form the basis of the rebellion might affect how people perceive her but I’m skeptical of that for two reasons.  One is it doesn’t change that she is Prequel Babe and those determined not to respect the prequels aren’t going to change their minds for a few extra minutes of people talking.  The other reason is Padmé delivered one of the trilogy’s–heck maybe the whole saga’s–most amazing lines in one of the political scenes kept in the film and it didn’t seem to matter to detractors anyway.

While a lot of vocal people in fandom are discussing issues with female characters and fans, it’s going to be up to Padmé’s fans to stick up for her until she’s not forgotten or easily dismissed.

Here’s another take on the topic at Tosche Station.

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47 Responses to “Is It Time To Form People For Padmé?”

  1. jarjarbacktattooguy Says:

    She gets ignored mainly because she’s a prequel character. Even though Natalie Portman became a popular actress, her prequel work gets ignored. Sam Jackson and Ewan Mack Daddy are in the same category.

    But, that sucks!

    Padme has faults, and that’s what makes her interesting. Hollywood is so obsessed with creating “strong” female characters, but this often comes at the expense of realism and dimension.

    Padme is more thoughtful, less prone to violence, and is socially less awkward than her male counterparts. Jar Jar Binks lacks all of these traits! These behaviors and others help to make her realistically more feminine, and Natalie embodies all of these traits nicely. Padme’s one big flaw is that her boyfriend is a total douche! Women can make bad decisions sometimes too!

  2. Misty Marshall Says:

    I checked out that article. They only mentioned Padme in passing in regards to fan art. But what really made me raise my eyebrows was that they mentioned the Women of Star Wars tumblr which acts like it’s celebrating the women of Star Wars but in reality likes
    to nag and whine about how sexist SW/Lucas is. I even had to call out the person who runs the site for saying that Anakin and Padme’s marriage was abusive as a survivor of entitlement violence myself.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      I used to follow that Tumblr and was quietly warned it was “that kind of site.” I quickly saw that it most certainly was and dropped it like a hot potato.

    • Independent Radical Says:

      “…likes to nag and whine about how sexist SW/Lucas is. I even had to call out the person who runs the site for saying that Anakin and Padme’s marriage was abusive as a survivor of entitlement violence myself.”

      Their relationship did end up abusive (he choked her until she passed out) but I think that was the point. What happened wasn’t portrayed as sexy or glamorous, which, let’s fact it, is what often happens nowadays with the whole Fifty Shades phenomenon.

      I’m a radical feminist (probably not the most popular opinion here or any where on the internet, but I do feel it factors into my defence of the Star Wars prequels so I’m going to talk about it) and I can’t stand the way so-called “feminists” have turned against “weak women” and insisted that women without “agency” suck and portrayals of such women are offensive. This insistence on agency is offensive to all the real life victims of domestic violence who are told that they’re somehow at fault for what their partners do and that they don’t belong in the feminist movement because their life stories aren’t morally uplifting enough.

      I think there’s a lot of realism to Padme’s story, even though it’s obviously taking place within a sci-fi setting. When she first meets Anakin (in the Phantom Menace), he’s an intelligent, courageous and kind child. There’s no reason whatsoever for her to be suspicious of him (remember she doesn’t have the benefit of hindsight like everyone attacking the prequels does) and I think that first impression of him would’ve shaped the way she saw him later on. First impressions are powerful and abusers (not that Anakin is an abuser at this point) take advantage of this by presenting a charming exterior that sucks women in. There’s no way for them to know from the start that the man will end up abusive.

      Even in Attack of the Clones, the only clear sign of Anakin’s evil (that Padme knows about) is the killing of the Tuskan Raiders, which occurs in a somewhat extreme circumstance (they tortured his mother for a month until she died, not to mention probably killing 26 other people who tried to find her) and when there’s only one clear symptom of such evil people tend to ignore it, because they already have a strong bias is favour of the person they’re with.

      Were it not for the slaughter of the Tuskan Raiders and the benefit of hindsight, I would definitely pick Anakin over, say, Han Solo. Anakin may be a little arrogant and demanding, but at least he accepted at the end of the infamous couch scene that no meant no and they didn’t get together until Padme acknowledged she loved him.

      Han just keeps insisting that Leia loves him even though she says she doesn’t and we’re meant to think that’s okay because Leia actually loves him deep down and is just hiding it, but why would she? Padme actually has a reason to reject Anakin aside from disinterest in him (she knows he’s forbidden from forming attachments), so one can forgive Anakin for not accepting straight away that Padme doesn’t want to be with him. What’s Han’s excuse? Why does he think no means yes? This isn’t an attack on Han or Empire Strikes Back in general (the film is my favourite of the original trilogy), but I hate the “romance” in that film. I don’t get how people can (for sound reasons, admittedly) object to Anakin and Padme as a pairing (which wasn’t even supposed to be a totally healthy romance to begin with in my view), but defend Han and Leia. I’ll take “I hate sand” over “come you know you like me, even though you say you don’t and I’m going to keep approaching you physically no matter how uncomfortable you look” (I know that’s not a quote, but that’s clear how Han acts toward Leia) any day.

      Yes, Padme made a bad decision and was perhaps a little too forgiving towards Anakin, but one can understand why. Her story is more true to real life, then the “strong female character” ideal held up by mainstream “feminists”, which requires the following traits.

      1. Power (or “agency” as pretentious academics they put it): To earn respect from so-called “feminists” a women should be consistently powerful. If they are deprived of their power, they should get it back. If they don’t, their weakness constitutes inferiority (even the idea of creating a list of “powerful” female characters implies that women should be judged based on their power rather than their moral character). Women in bad circumstances who don’t have much power to change their circumstances are ignored at best (women without “agency” might as well not exist, in the eyes of supposed feminists) and are subject to contempt at worst (no insult is considered worse than “victim”).

      Padme had a lot of power to begin with (she had political influence and could defend herself physically), but she loses that power in Revenge of the Sith, as do all the morally good characters (who stay morally good). Palpatine takes over the Senate and the democracy Padme had fought for dies (“with thunderous applause” suggesting no one else will help Padme if she tries to undo the creation of the dictatorship). Her Jedi friends are killed and her own husband turns evil, leaving her with no real allies and even if she had taken a weapon with her when she decided to confront Anakin, it’s made clear that no amount of physical strength can match Anakin’s Force abilities.

      Padme simply doesn’t have much power at this point and none of that is her fault, but instead of sympathising with her, those obsessed with “strong female characters” hate her. They don’t understand that sometimes individuals just don’t have the power to change the world on their own and how much power someone has is really a product of their circumstances rather than their own internal characteristics. When you have no political influence, no friends who aren’t forced to go into hiding and facing up against entities with supernatural levels of physical strength, power isn’t going to magically come to you. Padme’s story isn’t pleasant or uplifting, but it does reflect the real life conditions of some women and shouldn’t be dismissed, neither should the stories of real life women who don’t end up “strong” and “empowered”.

      2. Strength (or rather stoicism): A “strong” woman should be able to handle anything according to modern day “feminist” logic. Women are despised if they “whine” or are in any way unhappy with their circumstances. This same thinking gets applied to Anakin too (how dare a character who’s whole story is about him turning evil because his fear and anger consumed him not be happy all the time, how dare he not like the fact that his mother was killed and that his wife was going to die, how dare he feel remorse for committing horrible acts, a man feelings things, how dare he!). No matter how messed up things get our culture expects everyone to go through life with a smile on their face. We’re supposed to “handle” and “cope with” anything that happens to us. A “strong” woman is supposed to be able to “handle” being mistreated and persevere in spite of everything. Silly me, I thought feminism was about women as a group fighting back against their abuse!

      Padme tries to fight back by opposing the war and the attempts by Palpatine to gain power. She then tries to convince Anakin to return to the light and attempts to leave him when he refuses, which prompts him to choke her (which somehow becomes a reason to dislike her). Padme does her best to fix the problems she sees happening, but she fails and loses everything, causing her to lose the will to live (if you accept that interpretation of what happened in place of the idea that Palpatine drained her life force, which I will for the sake of argument). Thus she’s not super stoic and able to “handle” anything, so she’s hated for her supposed weakness of character. What’s a strong women meant to do in these situations? Smile and “cope with” the destruction of democracy, the mass murder of the Jedi, including innocent children and being choked to the point of passing out, I guess, or else have the magical ability to stop all that from happening.

      The real icing on the cake for me is Padme gets attacked for losing the will to live because she should’ve been strong enough to stay alive for her children, because babies are everything I guess and it’s not like there were others who could’ve taken her of Luke and Leia, oh wait, there were. Women should not be despised for failing to put their biological children first and they definitely shouldn’t be despised for totally justified feelings of despair. I would’ve gone a step further and had her outright commit suicide, because having her die from “losing the will to live” is a little dumb, but suicide would’ve cemented her status among supposedly feminist prequel haters as a “weak woman”.

      I would like to see all the angry prequel opponents go through half of what Anakin or Padme went through. These people can’t handle the fact that their favourite film franchise contains films they don’t like. Imagine if they had to put up with the sort of problems the character they’re hating on had to. The result would probably involve a whole of vengeful murders and lost wills to live.

      Personally, Padme was a little to feminine for my taste (I proudly oppose femininity as well as masculinity). I’m no fan of fancy, sexualised outfits or flower-filled picnicks and she perhaps forgave Anakin more than she should’ve, but she was able to use aggression when necessary (when fighting against the Trade Federation invasion of Naboo and in the arena on Geonosis) and she did try to dump Anakin after he slaughtered the younglings, even though she believed (correctly) that there was still good in him. So she isn’t a submissive idiot, she just fought hard in a way that didn’t totally rely on violence and unfortunately lost. She would indeed have made a good Jedi. She was a complex and balanced character, rather than the simplistic “strong female characters” that we’re supposed to want. I respect for that.

      • Marshall Says:

        You hit the nail right on the head, Independent Radical. There’s far worse portrayals of women in the media and yet these so called feminists would rather focus their attention on a “strong female” head count in a space opera. I don’t recall men choking their female partners to death after watching “Revenge of the Sith” but look at how many men have shown violence toward women after watching porn.

        And don’t worry I like radical feminists. 😉

    • maychild Says:

      I saw a gushfest review of TFA which said ecstatically of Rey: “Finally, a woman in SW who does more than get pregnant and die.” I am deadly serious.

      • Independent Radical Says:

        Wow, that’s horrible. Did they miss the part where Padme saved Naboo from the Trade Federation invasion? Probably too busy whining about the fact that Jar-Jar Binks existed to pay attention. What about Leia? Were they too busy worrying about the prequels to remember that she played a leadership role in the rebellion, particularly during the evacuation of Hoth and that she saved Luke at the end of Empire Strikes Back? I don’t like the fact that she played a damsel in distress role in New Hope, did the whole “no means yes” thing with Han in Empire Strikes Back and was sexualised in Return of the Jedi, but I wouldn’t neglect her completely.

        Prequel trilogy hate has really taken over these people’s minds. I actually liked Force Awakens when I first saw it, but the fact that people are using it as an excuse to further attack the prequels is driving me nuts. Why does everything have to be liked at the expense of the prequels?

        To Marshall – For some reason I can’t reply to your comment directly so I’ll just put what I have to say here.

        First, thanks for the reply!

        Secondly, I’m not a huge fan of the “there’s far worse” argument in general, but it’s clear prequel haters don’t care about feminist issues in other contexts, even other contexts within Star Wars such as the portrayal of Leia’s relationships with Han. I would argue that the way Padme was portrayed isn’t even a bad thing to begin with (though what happened to her was clearly very negative), but that it could be used to draw attention to fact that women’s real lives aren’t all individual “empowerment” and sexy butt kicking fun. No matter how smart and competent a woman, is an aggressive man (himself the product of a messed up culture) can still screw up her life and there may be nothing she can do about it, since no amount of individual power can fix a systemic problem. Acknowledging that reality is not a bad thing in my opinion, so long as sympathy rather than hate is directed towards victims of such tragedies.

        Thirdly, I’d be interested in empirically finding out what the effect of Revenge of the Sith is on attitudes and behaviour towards women, because the actual effects of a film and not how people feel towards it is the ultimate measure of how feminist or anti-feminist it is (data doesn’t lie, angry men on the internet do). For example, there are scientific studies showing that pornography and other violent media (I include pornography as a subset of violent media, because most popular pornographic scenes contain enough aggression to make Anakin look like a sweet, gentle guy) are correlated with and cause aggressive attitudes and behaviour.

        I’m not aware of any scientific studies regarding the psychological effects of Star Wars in particular, but I would argue that Revenge of the Sith is probably less likely to encourage violence against women because it doesn’t sexualise or glamorise such violence. One of the key themes of the series (and of that scene) is that anger, aggression and brute power are not always the best way to solve conflicts and that relying on them can lead one down a bad path. I struggle to think of famous fictional male characters besides Anakin who regret committing brutal acts of violence (yes, that’s the point of the infamous “no” scream at the end of the film, though there may have been a better way to communicate that) towards women or anyone else. It’s just far too normalised in our culture.

        Again thanks for replying. Unfortunately, radical feminists are about as popular on the internet as Jar-Jar Binks nowadays.

      • Marshall Says:

        I saw that review. It’s from the “feminist” website Jezebel which is, surprise, surprise! owned by men. So is the Mary Sue.

      • lazypadawan Says:

        Jezebel sucks; it’s what would happen if the characters of Mean Girls took a women’s studies class in college and decided to start a blog.

  3. cathiecat2000 Says:

    when I read the NYT’s article, esp the part about Padme’ I was totally ticked off. I went on the TFN boards and expressed I was not a happy camper. It was nice to see others feel the same as me. To me there is no Star Wars without Padme’ Amidala Naberrie Skywalker, Period!!

  4. Hoggle Says:

    i see Padme & Anakin as the cosmic couple of Star Wars.

    Padme had many of the same flaws as Anakin, just in opposite ways & diff circumstances (& those flaws were not exploited via deep Sith sorcery the way Anakin’s were) & in different ways she was learning from them. An example of this in TPM, when she is shouted down in the Senate due to her sense of decorum, where as in AotCs early deleted pol scene, she is taking no @#%^.

    Padme’s strength in force symbiance was the latent power at work in the galaxy to Anakin’s increasing external Jedi powers. Palpatine had to get her out of the way before he could be successful in AotCs, & when she was engaged in that arena she was right about what was going on from the outset without knowing the particulars. Again in RotS she was the latent force trying to salvage the situation with the republic, as she was also in trying to deal with Anakin’s problems caused by Palpatine’s growing sith powers over him & Jedi/Palpatine disputes of Anakin. If she hadn’t been weighted down by her relationship to Anakin & everything going on related to that, she probably wouldn’t have been so hands off in starting to form an stronger senate alliance & bringing in to the Jedi what was going on in the senate in the republic’s name, to stop Palpatine.

    From the shooting scripts & cut scenes of last two prequels, there is obviously alot more going on with Padme than meets the eye, & her death is a more universally mystical one (which included the cut lines to the effect that she was fighting what it was that was causing the pain of her death).

    Also Portman’s acting in RotS helped paper over some thinness in weight to alot of important diff weighted cross sectional elements of the story that were sig reduced & which otherwise may not have stayed glued together.

  5. Kim Says:

    Padme is my favorite female character in “Star Wars”. I grew up with Leia, and still love her character in Episodes 4-6, and Ahsoka is awesome, too. I wish the deleted scenes involving Padme were included in both AOTC and ROTS because they give more insight into her state of mind, but I’ve never felt she was weak or stupid in the prequel trilogy as it is. She stayed true to her ideals, was always kind, but never spineless, and the tragedy is she was crushed by the complete betrayal of Anakin and the utter collapse of the Republic she worked so hard to save. It makes me sad that she was so overwhelmed with sorrow it killed her, but it’s never made me feel contempt for her.

    • Nariel Says:

      Very well said! Padmé is one of my favorite characters too, and I think people dismissing her as weak are missing the point.

  6. Jacobesico Says:

    By all means, lets form the People for Padmé group.

    By the sound of it, that article must have been written by a child having a tantrum because he didn’t like the prequels.

    Padmé is an amazing character. Write her off at your own peril, Disney.

  7. Rebel Je'Daii (@SWForce4EU) Says:

    I honestly liked Padme from the start more than I liked Leia. While Leia had certain reason to be angry she always was angry. Padme had reason to be angry too (if not as much – her planet didn’t get blown up) but she adapted and grew much faster, I felt, than Leia did.
    I’m pretty disgusted with the media these days. It’s like real journalism that at least tries to be impartial is DEAD and its all paid for by someone with an agenda.

  8. ladylavinia1932 Says:

    Padme was the wisest character in Eps 2 & 3, forgot to put that.

    I don’t agree. I’m not trying to tear down Padme. But I just do not want to put her on a pedestal. She was a complex character in her own right. And she made some big mistakes in all three movies.

    If Padme was this all wise, ideal woman that many in fandom seemed to regard her, I would find her boring. And Padme was not a boring character.

  9. George Shot First Says:

    Well put, LP. I honestly can’t think of a stronger female character in all of SW, even including Leia. Queen. Senator. Warrior. Mother. Always compassionate, always fighting for what she believes in. How does that not qualify for at least an honorable mention in any article lauding the quality of Star Wars female characters?

    • Hoggle Says:

      I put Leia as the most powerful character in SW as it was 1-6.

      So as highly as i rate Padme, & i see her as a living counterpart to Anakin the most raw powered Jedi ever, Leia is the most powerful character there was.

      I mean in eps 4-6, Leia was just starting to stretch her wings, yet she catalysed the forces to destory two death stars, save Luke, choke Jabba to death – about the only time when it’s direct force for her – turn Vader back to Anakin, & blow the Emperor up in the second Death Star which essentially makes his Empire unable to continue/function from what we know of prior eps at least.

      It was all latent power so doesn’t really get associated with Leia the way is was, but here’s the thing, she was only just starting to come into her own & has already wiped the deck with what took out the republic & Jedi order in the PTs.

  10. susanbowes Says:

    I agree with George Shot First.
    Padme WAS the strongest female in the entire saga. I completely disagree with anyone who thinks she’s weak-willed when she gives in to death. Padme died because she’d rather give up life itself than give up her belief in Anakin. – “There’s good in him… still.” – She loved him that much. Anyone who could still love a man who turned so evil is extremely strong-willed!

    • Heidi Says:

      Your comment reminded me of the Biblical story of Samuel and Saul. It took a long time for Samuel to finally give up on Saul for turning evil, kept praying it wasn’t so.

      I can only imagine how draining it would be on Padme if she stayed alive and was a witness to the continual evil of Vader. I think that fate would have been worse than death.

  11. Anthony Echevarria Says:

    “A lot of the feminist types in geek world only want “kickass” wish fulfillment women characters and they think that every kung fu kick in the face or every male taken down is a strike against the patriarchy.”

    I think that’s why Black Widow gets a lot of criticism from people who are dissatisfied with Marvel’s handling of women in the cinematic movies. A lot of people put her on a pedestal because of her being a kickass martial artist spy, ignoring the fact that Black Widow…is scary in the comics. She’s scary in the films. :-/ Do you really want to know a person who has almost no basic personality of her own, and molds herself entirely to others’ expectations in order to best manipulate them, and exploit them in order to keep herself alive? To me, that doesn’t really sound like a person worth knowing. I’d rather know someone like Barbara Gordon, or Diana, or yes Padme, personally, because they’re tough, capable – but also compassionate, than know someone like that. :-/ She may be a good agent, but it’s like James Bond, or Frank Castle, in that you really don’t want to spend too much time with that person. And a lot of fanfic authors capitalize on this, with Tony Stark in particular taking shots at her “lurking horror” personality. 😀 She’s not psychotic…but she’s pretty damn close. I’m looking forward to Captain Marvel taking the female superhero in a brand new direction.

    In gaming terms, I would rather know Heather Mason personally, rather than Bayonetta. (A popular female character among fanboys.) Bayonetta may be a ‘kick ass female’, but she’s also a psychopath. Heather Mason shows strength, courage, and drive, but she also doesn’t lose her humanity in the process, and isn’t afraid to show off a bit of her ‘feminine’ side. Or The Boss (from Metal Gear Solid 3), who may be superior to any man in combat (at least until the end), but also shows nobility, intelligence, and shows she has a heart. Why, that sounds like most of the likable male characters out there, doesn’t it? 😉 (Like Padme, The Boss was also a mother, btw, which plays a huge role in her story, and also has repercussions for that universe later on. She’s a pretty nice character, created by Kojima. 🙂 ) Lara Croft was the same way (like Bayonetta, fyi), until Crystal Dynamics ‘fixed’ her and then rebooted her. (She works a lot better now. 🙂 )

    Oddly enough, this is something that is currently being fixed on Marvel’s TV series, with characters like the women of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Daredevil, and the other shows. Melinda May is as tough as Natasha Romanoff, but she also had a husband, a relationship, and even has some friendships that she’s currently cultivated. She has a hard exterior, but once you crack it like a nut, there is an actual human being underneath. 🙂 I think part of this may be due to the time you have to develop a character in a TV series, but part of it is also due to the TV writers’ understanding that you don’t have to be ‘silent, psychotic combatant’ to be a kick ass female. She’s not a killing machine. Natasha Romanoff is a killing machine.

    (And I like Natasha, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t find myself being blind to her flaws.)

    I don’t like Leia’s angry attitude, to be honest. And she seems to be kind of a wimp, doesn’t she, with the way she let Han walk all over their marriage, and abandon everything they ever cared about? I have no doubts Han’s issues are part of what drove Kylo Ren to the dark side. (That, and Ren being an idiot.) I’m not saying that to offend anyone, but I just find it hard to believe that the tough, take-no-nonsense Leia we knew from the original movies would let Han walk away without an explanation. :-/ And even then, I never liked their relationship all that much in the first place. All that arguing may turn on a lot of female and male viewers, but it never did much for me. (And I know Leia’s attitude is justified, btw, I’m just saying I don’t like that type of character in general, male or female.) I find Padme to be a lot more diplomatic, and agreeable. Padme saw her whole world fall apart, and that was part of why she gave up in the end. I’m not putting down Leia, I’m just saying that that type of character was never for me, in the first place, and I find Padme much more appealing. Leia was what was needed at the time, but we’ve come a long way since then. 🙂 Padme, Aeryn Sun, Dana Scully, Peggy Carter…we’ve had a lot of kick ass female characters since then, who aren’t afraid to show their feminine sides, haven’t we? 😉 Am I even making sense? Rather than trying to go back, and pushing every every strong female character into one [silent] box, we should keep pressing forward and keep coming up with new types of characters for people to enjoy. That’s the way I feel about it. 🙂 Padme is a part of that: she’s one of the strongest female characters I’ve ever seen, and the haters can’t take that away, no matter how much they try to deny it. 😉

    (Count me among those who never fantasized about ‘Slave Leia’. I like the color scheme, but the outfit itself is hideous.)

  12. Heidi Says:

    I don’t get the “weak” argument. Should I apply that to real life and claim to a recent widow that their wife was weak for dying while giving birth?

    Yeesh! that kind of thinking doesn’t translate well.

    George’s early description of Padme was simplistic, but dang if it it didn’t describe her pretty well. Padme is kind, she was beautiful and unfortunately for Leia, very sad.

    Padme and Anakin are both my favorite characters and the dynamic of their relationship is what drives it. I really don’t care what others think of them, I know when I see them I see something worthwhile to gush over.

    And to all the “geek” dads out there, isn’t Padme exactly the type of woman you would hope your daughters would grow up to be like? She’s gentle but not naive. She’s wise, well read, articulate and uses diplomacy to settle matters. Beautiful, inside and out and dresses with dignity. Wants to be married and settle down with kids. I don’t see what not to love here. Those “Strong” female characters are for the most part too prickly for anyone to handle and in real life would probably end up lonely and bitter because of it.

    But despite all Padme has to offer, she’s apparently guilty by association with the prequels…

  13. Treasure Ryder Says:

    This is a wonderful response to the New York Times article. My first experience of Star Wars was through a Star Wars: The Clone Wars episode featuring Padme. It was her strength, conviction and kindness that drew me into the universe. There is a whole generation of younger fans who were too young for the movies and have grown up with The Clone Wars. For them, Padme and the other prequel era characters are their Star Wars. It is disappointing that one of my favourite characters in the universe appears to be continually forgotten or considered irrelevant to the wider saga.

  14. PrinceOfNaboo Says:

    Padmé is certainly the most unfairly overlooked character in Star Wars. Anakin might get more direct critisicm but there is also a pretty strong underground appreciation for the complexity of the character (which Padmé hasn’t).

    Padmé, on the other hand, got first dismissed as a Mary Sue in TPM and later as a weak woman in ROTS which is – of course – both far from the truth.

    Padmé is a character that was beyond the stereotypes of what’s supposed to be “masculine” and “feminine” and also made it obvious that a person’s development is not always linear. Padmé was both strong, rational and emotional. Emotionality is not a weakness, it only becomes a weakness when it clouds your judgement. That never happend with Padmé, she had the strength to step away from Anakin even though she was carrying his children.

    The outrage over her death – even though I agree that the explicit dialogue could have been more sublte – only shows how uneducated people have become about classic storytelling.

  15. Anika Skywalker (@manicpixiedane) Says:

    I want to join People for Padmé. I feel like I have been defending her for 20 years and I love finding like minded people!

  16. Kathryn “LadyJediScientist” S. Says:

    Very well said LP!!

    This whole attitude of omitting Padme is utterly lubricious! She is strong, multidimensional character and excluding her from discussions about strong female characters in pop culture makes no sense!!

    Interesting fact, the exact same situation occurred with Leia not that long. I watched a special on PBS which was focused female icons in pop culture from the 1970s to the mid 1990s. The special aired on the network in 2010, I think. Leia was not included in this special. I thought this was very bizarre and I did some research online to find out why. It turns out most feminists at the time did not consider Leia a feminist role model because of the slave girl outfit. She is in this outfit for maybe 5 minutes out of the whole film and yet, this enough time to cancel out everything else Leia does in the series. It has only been recently that the feminists have changed their tune about Leia and have embraced her mainly because Abrams decided to make her a general. (Side note: I wasn’t impressed by the decision to make Leia a general. I actually thought it was a bit of a cope out, but that’s another discussion.)

    The bright side of this is the perception of Leia changed. I’m already seeing a shift in the perception of Padme, and it’s not coming from any of Disney’s marketing campaigns. The change is coming from the fan themselves. StarWars.com did not include Padme in its recent article for the international day of the girl and the fans responded with #WeWantPadme. As a result, the article was updated to include Padme.

    The more we speak out about her importance as a character, the more Padme will be viewed in a positive light.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      I actually do remember stuff like what you described about excluding Leia from discussion about pop culture and women. It’s like what Independent Radical was saying, someone who isn’t all powerful and in control all of the time is not truly “feminist” (even if she disagrees herself with the slave girl bikini).

      Some of the change in tune IMO also comes from Carrie being outspoken about her bipolar disorder and continuing to perform.

      • Independent Radical Says:

        To be clear, I don’t fault Leia for the sexualised outfit, since within the narrative of the film she didn’t have a choice in the matter, so I don’t think she’s a bad role model (though I think the focus on feminist role models is misguided and individualistic to begin with). I just object to the decision by the film makers to represent her that way. I feel it was aimed at titillating the audience and didn’t add anything to her story.

      • buick runner Says:

        Story I heard was Carrie asked George to show off more of her figure, which is supposedly where the slave girl subplot came from. Even in the bikini, they still used duct tape like in ANH to reduce her side boob exposure to keep ROTJ family friendly.

      • susanbowes Says:

        As far as Carrie asking George to show off more of her figure – not according to her on her one woman show. (Can’t think of the title of the show… sorry.) Anyway, Carrie said she HATED wearing the slave costume. She also said that George wouldn’t let her wear a bra, him saying women didn’t wear bras in space. Ha, ha, ha. 🙂

      • buick runner Says:

        Supposedly she didn’t like it because it was very uncomfortable. However, she and her stunt double went to the beach wearing their metal bikini outfits and there are pictures of their trip on the net.

      • susanbowes Says:

        She did that for publicity most likely. I highly doubt Carrie wore the outfit because she liked wearing it. Can you imagine voluntarily sitting in the sun wearing a costume made mostly of metal? OMG!

      • Marshall Says:

        Come to think of it, at the end of “Alien”, Ripley strips to her skivvies – which revealed more than Leia’s bikini and is the subject of much NSFW art on Tumblr – and nobody complains about her being objectified.

      • susanbowes Says:

        That’s because Alien was made much later than SW. Things were a lot different when Carrie wore the slave suit.

      • Marshall Says:

        Actually “Alien” came out before “Return of the Jedi” and I’m referring to how people are reacting to both scenes today in a more femgeek-conscious society. It just seems double-standard (and I love both Alien and ROTJ).

    • Hoggle Says:

      Leia becoming abit of a lost cause battleaxe General with a long gone dysfunctional marriage & a homocidal psycho galactic menace son leaving a trail of carnage in his wake….it’s sort of funny, i guess, perhaps, maybe maybe; alot of people appearently enjoyed it so what the heck!

      Not my cuppa though for my ultimate symbolic character to the resolution of the first six movies.

  17. buick runner Says:

    Padme’s death is a reuse of an dropped idea from a early version of ANH. In a early script for ANH, Luke has a brother who is spiritually injured by Vader though the dark side which is fatal. C3PO attempts in vain to render aid stating such injures contradict logic and science. I believe Anakin unintentionally fatally spiritually injured Padme by his misdeeds in his attempt to save her. It is why the medical droids could not understand what was wrong.

    • susanbowes Says:

      buick runner:
      I don’t think that’s why the medical-droids couldn’t understand why Padme was dying. I think it’s because they never experienced anyone who loved someone so much that they gave in to death rather than do something against their principals – such as Anakin asking Padme to join him on the Dark Side.

      • buick runner Says:

        I believe the ultimate idea for her death is supposed to be mythical and poetic, not logical which is one reason why the droids who can only think in logical terms can’t understand. Obi says to Dex if droids could think likes us, then none of us would be here. It seems from that article that some fans cannot think beyond droid level.

        Her broken heart I would consider a spiritually injury along with many other factors such as her failure to save the Republic, aiding Palps in gaining his position, not wanting to break her principals, she really had a full plate. Padme is a strong woman who has a unhappy ending which breaks current trends which is why some don’t like her.

      • susanbowes Says:

        I totally agree with your logic. Apparently you can think beyond the droid level. 🙂

    • Hoggle Says:

      I see that she dies the same time as across the galaxy Anakin is putting on the Vader mask, & that in shooting script/shot scene her dialogue is that she fighting agaisnt physical pain also, suggestive that it was more mythical forces at play with her ‘will’ to live – which to me will related to Anakin and his mythic role as relates to midichlorians and the prophecy.

  18. cathiecat2000 Says:

    I seriously like the idea of Padme’s death being mythical and poetic. However I still think Yoda put a whammy on her and placed her in stasis in a secret place. I know they went to Naboo and I also believe they never found a body or ashes. Yoda will return to awaken her when the time is just right.

  19. Pedro Felipe Says:

    One of the best, if not the best character in the entire saga. Loved the Gunray vs Queen vibe in The Phantom Menace, and how that carries on on Attack of The Clones. Nute Gunray hates her and wants revenge throught episode II. I love when she kicks that alien best and Nute says: “She, she can’t do that! Jango! Finish her off!” It’s on on my top lost of favorite scenes

  20. Pedro Felipe Says:

    Those deleted scenes in Revenge of The Sith were aweasome!!!! I understand why they cut it and I absolutely think it was the right choice for pacing, storytelling and dramatic reasons. But they were, really, really good. The Palpatine vs Padme disagrement were aweasome! “She’s hiding something, I can see it in her eyes.”

  21. ~AuroraRS~ Says:

    Yes. Yes. Oh my gosh, yes! Especially when you were talking about all the feminists who think that the only way to be a “strong female character” is by kicking and shooting men, and that being quiet and gentle makes you weak.

    Also, I don’t think she lost the will to live. Has anyone else here heard the fan theory where Sidious killed Padmé through the Force so that Vader could live (and complete his transition to the Dark Side)? It totally makes sense to me. Padmé was not the sort of person who would give up on her children.

  22. ladylavinia1932 Says:

    I don’t buy the theory that Sidious killed Padme using the Force. It’s just silly to me and another example of fans using Palpatine/Sidious to explain the mistakes, bad decisions or other negative traits of the other characters.

    Between Anakin’s attack on her and giving birth to twins, it is not surprising that when Padme finally gave in to despair, her emotions ended up affecting her health permanently. A person’s emotional state can affect one’s physical health.

    I also noticed that very few people want to admit that Padme had her weaknesses. There is nothing wrong with that. Having both strengths and weaknesses made Padme a well rounded character and not one-dimensional

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