A survey on the Star Wars fandom has found that political beliefs could be the reason why many fans disliked Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Given how divisive The Last Jedi was, it should come as no surprise that Star Wars fans have some pretty strong opinions about the eighth installment in the long-running franchise.
Of course, Star Wars: The Last Jedi got plenty of glowing reviews, but a vocal minority condemned the film. Some Star Wars fans expressed their disdain for The Last Jedi’s supposedly feminist politics by harassing actor Kelly Marie Tran who plays Resistance fighter Rose Tico to the extent that she ended up quitting social media. As it turns out, political beliefs may influence how some fans viewed the follow-up to Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Now, according to a survey conducted by social scientist Mark H. White II, there may now be tangible proof after he found that Star Wars fans that tend to have sexist and conservative beliefs and a negative attitude towards political correctness also tend to dislike Star Wars: The Last Jedi. To understand White’s findings better, a bit of background on his survey is necessary. The previous phase of his research found that there are three main types of Star Wars fans: Prequel Skeptics (fans of the original and sequel trilogies, but not the prequels), Saga Lovers (who rate the entire franchise favorably), and TLJ Disowners (who dislike Star Wars: The Last Jedi).
By asking survey respondents a series of targeted questions that determined whether they demonstrated "hostile sexism" and "benevolent sexism," White found that TLJ Disowners expressed more sexist beliefs than Prequel Skeptics and Saga Lovers. TLJ Disowners also reported more conservative politics and anti-PC sentiments than Prequel Skeptics and Saga Lovers.
More broadly, White found that Star Wars fans who demonstrated sexist and anti-PC beliefs were more likely to enjoy the original and prequel trilogies, but less likely to enjoy the sequel trilogy. White also discovered that the more sexist and anti-PC a Stars Wars fan is, the less likely they are to like the characters Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, Rey, and Rose Tico, who have faced the brunt of sexist critique leveled at the sequel trilogy.
It’s worth noting that White frequently asserts his findings are by no means proof that everyone who dislikes Star Wars: The Last Jedi is sexist. With a relatively small sample size of around 5,000, White’s survey could never by representative of the entire Star Wars fandom, and there are indeed many Star Wars: The Last Jedi detractors who dislike the film for a whole host of reasons that have nothing to do with sexism or anti-progressive attitudes. White does, however, believe his findings are evidence of a positive correlation between disliking the Star Wars sequel trilogy and having sexist, conservative, and anti-PC beliefs among some fans. Arriving at the opinion that some of the backlash Star Wars: The Last Jedi got was unwarranted, White concludes that because of their political beliefs, some Star Wars fans were predisposed to hate The Last Jedi.
Source: Mark H. White II
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019