Step aside boys. Star Wars is no longer about Han Solo, even though he is an awesome character. These days, it’s all about the women in the films. From Padme to Rey, these characters prove that women can do more than just idle by while men take control of every situation. They may not have perfect endeavors, but the fact of the matter is that they transcend out of the gender barriers and prove that a woman’s beauty is defined by her abilities, not her looks.
Here are some of the galaxy’s greatest women:
She’s not only Darth Vader’s weakness, but also one of Naboo’s greatest strengths. Between liberating the citizens of Naboo from the Trade Federation’s invasion, becoming a senator of her home world after her two terms of royalty ended, and putting her life on the line to fight the Confederacy of Independent Systems, she showed that a queen doesn’t need a king to lead people to greatness. Society tends to portray women as vulnerable bystanders to dangerous situations, but Padme proved that women don’t have to stand on the sidelines.
- Zam Wesell
Zam may not have the most screen time, but her role is definitely significant. She was a female Clawdite bounty hunter, meaning she could change her appearance, and was the one assigned to assassinate Padme. What makes Zam so significant is the fact that she is one of the only female assassinators in film history to not be hyper-sexualized. In fact, it’s later revealed that Zam’s true appearance isn’t too attractive, proving that women’s femininities don’t need to be emphasized just because they’re taking on traditional male roles. Aside from her feminist progress, Zam is, perhaps, one of the most focused characters in the series. She shows that, regardless of what the end goal may be, a true leader is organized and plans ahead to ensure that she is successful in her missions.
- Maz Kanata
Maz is the sage of the latest Star Wars. At more than 1000-years-old, Maz has seen numerous struggles against the Dark Side, and, over time, acquired the ability to be sensitive to the force, even though she’s not a Jedi. Though she acts as a wise grandmother to Han Solo, Maz is very unlike the traditional grandmother figure. She encourages the other women, most notably Rey, to not just sit back and watch terror unfold, but to take control of the situation and fight against the Dark Side. Maz may not be one of the most familiar characters, nor have a high leadership position, but she is living proof that leadership isn’t all about the role; it’s about the attitude.
- Captain Phasma
Despite the disappointment that the audience never actually sees Captain Phasma’s face, the fact that Phasma is a female captain – one of the highest ranked positions of the First Order –shows that women have proven that they can do more than sit back and watch others fight; they can join in the war themselves. Captain Phasma is proof that women are strong, powerful and trustworthy, especially in times of struggle. She is consistently accountable, even when she is proven wrong or misguided in a situation, and inspires her followers to be accountable, as well.
- Mon Mothma
Not only was she a revolutionary leader, but Mon Mothma was also a politician, serving on the Galactic and Imperial Senates. In many cases, Mothma was a major key in pursuing peace between the warring galaxy. After the Republic transcended to the Dark Side, she planted the initial seeds needed to start a rebellion and bring peace back to the galaxy. Mothma was one small person who made a very large difference, showing that it only takes one person to influence years of positive change and that the ability to inspire others is an incredible trait to have.
- Leia Organa
Leia is the princess that Cinderella, Elsa, Belle and every other Disney princess should strive to be. She went above and beyond royal obligations and became a politician, and, eventually, a leader of The Resistance. Leia was never afraid to get her hands dirty. Rather than directing all of those around her, Leia helped in the fight, many times, alongside Han Solo. She always displayed such confidence and decisiveness that it’s difficult to envision her as being weak or leading her followers in the wrong direction. Leia proved that being a princess doesn’t mean fancy dresses and ball gowns; it is being born into an opportunity to lead alongside those who wish to make the world a better place.
Star Wars fans may be just as clueless as Rey when it comes to where she came from, but there’s no doubt in knowing where she’s going. Rey is introduced as a scavenger who just so happens to be force-sensitive. Throughout The Force Awakens, Rey is adamant about staying on her home planet in hopes that her family, who abandoned her when she was young, will come back for her. But, after lots of support and encouragement, she finally realizes that when one has the power to make the change, that power becomes a responsibility. Being aware that, sometimes, responsibility means sacrificing your own desires to ensure the health and happiness of others, makes her one of the most ideal leaders and role models.
Leaders aren’t always people in high positions. They’re those who respect, appreciate and influence others to pursue a better future for others.