On the anniversary of President Donald Trump’s first year in office, men and women across the country took to the streets to protest. And if their protest signs are anything to go by, they carried The Force — yes, the Jedi Force — with them.
The government shutdown, the protection of Dreamers, the #MeToo movement, and the upcoming midterm elections were all serious issues that inspired protestors to get out and march, and for some protestors, the language and images of the Star Wars resistance fit in perfectly to sum up their real-world resistance.
Perhaps this is no surprise, given the feminist undertones of The Last Jedi, the film’s unprecedented inclusivity of characters of color that are as complex as white counterparts, as well as the late Carrie Fisher’s status as a feminist icon. With all of that as background, “A woman’s place is in the resistance!” and #RebelScum became battle-cries at this year’s march.
Sometimes, it was a direct quote from the film that inspired protestors: “That’s how we’re gonna win. Not fighting what we hate, but saving what we love.”
At other times, it was Princess Leia herself that protestors looked up to, with her image serving as a symbol of strength:
While others reminded marchers that the princess also got involved in politics to effect change (referring, perhaps, to the record number of women that have run for office since Trump’s election?)
In real life, as in the beloved Star Wars franchise, the exciting moments of action - whether it’s space battles with the empire or protests in the streets - need to be sustained by continued action.
At the end of The Last Jedi, there is a moment when, aboard the Millennium Falcon after another escape, Rey asks Leia, “How do we build the rebellion from this?”
Leia responds with a loving smile and conviction: “We have everything we need.”
The turnout and the energy at the Women’s March 2018 shows that the resistance, in real life, also has everything that it needs.