Saturday, February 25, 2012

Queen of Naboo by day, Kickass heroine by night.

Let's talk about Star Wars. I mean, how has this not come up before? This series is one of the most popular, spanning at least three generations, maybe more. Star Wars has been recreated in many different medias. First there were the books, then the movies by George Lucas, then Lego Star Wars, Star Wars comic books, and a Star Wars cartoon on Cartoon Network. I've grown up watching these movies, and while I still don't understand the details, or even the politics within the stories, there's no doubt that this futuristic battle between good and evil will be talked about for many generations to come.
I want to talk about Padmè, or Queen Amidala. She is one of the strongest and most witty characters in episodes 1 to 3. First of all, she became queen of Naboo when she was just 13 years old (according to Wookiepedia) and then became a senator within the Galactic Senate. She ruled with charisma, and was diplomatic in her decisions while ruling over Naboo. She was smart and knew how to gain trust with her allies as shown by her kneeling before Boss Nass (this is a video), the leader of Guangan. She isn't afraid to be in the middle of battles, whereas other leaders would be hidden away safe from harm.
Let me just say that Padmè is a badass. During the Battle of Geonosis (refer to the video below), she, Anakin, and Obi Wan, are tied up to poles, in the middle of a death ring waiting to be eaten alive by crazy creatures. Now Anakin and Obi Wan, the Jedis (I mean really, you have the force but you can't get out of the shackles?), just sit there for several minutes trying to figure out what to do, and Padmè quickly gets out of her shackles and starts planning how to get out of the ring. She's smart and basically has a plan even before she is tied to the pole. This is an amazing portrayal of her wits and quick thinking, as well as female empowerment.
Lastly, Padmè is full of compassion, when she first hears of Anakin's transformation into Darth Vader, she does not believe it and searches for him to try and save him from the dark side. Once she realizes that he has become the Sith Lord, she is heartbroken, and soon dies in childbirth, but makes sure that her twins are safe and hidden from Anakin. Padmè is an amazing role model, as a tough, warmhearted, brave heroine, who fights for what she believes in.


  1. First off, your post made me very happy. I cannot believe overlooked Padmé as a prime heroine. Not only in these clips show how heroic she is, but the fact that she has become such an icon in society also shows her status as a heroine...similar to many other heroines, Padmé has her own Halloween costumes and are seen as young girls can look up to (while those that have seen Star Wars). Also, the part that truly showed how heroic she is was in the first clip when she comes forward and shows herself as the true Queen Amidala and disregards her decoy. She shows true heroic strength in both these clips.

  2. While I agree with what you've said, there are also aspects of Padamé's character that embody stereotypical gender norms, and it is important to acknowledge them. Padame dies at the end of the third movie because she has "lost the will to live", a direct result of the heartbreak she received from Anakin. In a sense, Padame dies because the man she loves has left her (it is more complicated I admit but this is the jist of what happened) and has lost her identity as a result. This seems to project the notion that Padame, while strong in the beginning, fell to the power of love and men, and was unable to rekindle the strength that she once possessed in the face of her love for Anakin. While I love Padame as a character, she is portrayed as weak in the end, and falls to the hand of gender norms even though she was originally strong and independent.

  3. Padmé may be a strong female character, but what about her daughter Leia? If you recall in Episode VI, Leia is captured by Jabba the Hut and made a slave. The outfit she is made to wear and the way she is treated are both sexual and sexist. Here is a video of it if you don't remember: . Any way you look at it, that outfit was not just meant to be a working slave's outfit, but a sexual toy, a pretty plaything for Jabba. However, in the end she does end up killing Jabba the Hut. Even though she was originally portrayed as nothing more than a sexual body, she manages to overcome it in the end and prove her worth. Does this justify her previous sexualization?

    It is also interesting to note that the episodes with Leia were made before the episodes with Padmé. Is the difference in portrayal simply a character difference, or a change in the times, of how society viewed women?

  4. I do agree that Padmè's death does portray her as weaker than she originally seemed. Which was somewhat disappointing. However, can you imagine if the man (or woman) you loved suddenly succumbed to evil and you could do nothing about it, and he even thought you were against him? I'd be a little helpless too (not sure about the loss of will to live though..)
    As far as the differences between Leia and Padmè I was reading about Natalie Portman and how she actually felt the need to be more powerful and independent because of Carrie Fisher (the actor who played Leia). Her notorious scene where she is bound and enslaved by Jabba the Hut is very sexist, but I feel that was the point. It makes viewers more angry that she was captured and evokes an even more satisfying feeling when she does kill Jabba. Also, Leia has been portrayed as a strong, independent woman, and in fact she was enslaved by Jabba after she went after him to save Han Solo.

  5. I don't think Padme becomes a weaker character just because she was in love. Yeah, she died from heartbreak, but Annakin kind of went crazy too. Though I see the point to a degree that he turned evil when he couldn't handle the love, and she just died.
    Personally, one of my favorite parts of Episodes I-III are Padme's outfits. Her outfits are absolutely stunning, but also really feminine. Why don't they show her in badass outfits most of the time. I think that this fact adds to her character. She is ultra feminine in her dresses, but when the time calls for it can still handle herself in a really bad situation. It makes her a more complex character by not being really girly or really badass. She shows a balance between the two that is really important. Girls shouldn't have to pick an ultimatum in a role model but see that there are many different aspects to being a woman.


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