anghraine: anakin in rots looking down; text: lost (anakin [lost])
[personal profile] anghraine
caerrigor at Tumblr asked:

Have you ever seen people explain why they think Kylo Ren is a whiny entitled MRA dudebro? Because I feel like I've only seen them take it as read and go from there.

The closest things I’ve seen to reasons are

Reason 1) He tells Rey she needs him to teach her, even though she kicks his ass. Mansplaining!

What I haven’t seen acknowledged: by the time of the duel with Rey, he’d been stabbed in the shoulder. And had a bleeding wound in his side from a generally fatal weapon. And had inflicted enormous emotional trauma on himself by way of his totally fucked moral compass. And had just fought someone else. And was winning the fight when he made the offer and waited for her to think it over, rather than shoving her into the abyss of death under her feet.

It’s not that she didn’t legitimately beat him! But people act like she trounced peak Kylo Ren with a hand tied behind her back rather than winning a hard-fought duel under favourable conditions. (Same thing goes for the Mary Sue people >_>)

Also, the people insisting on “you need a teacher” = mansplaining have presumably never seen The Empire Strikes Back. This is the standard emotionally-compromised-Darksider party line. There is nothing gendered about it, or about anyone’s treatment of her. That’s a wonderful breath of fresh air–or would be if people didn’t seem incapable of even imagining a world where a young woman doesn’t grapple with misogyny at every turn.

Rey’s story is not Girl Fights Sexism. It’s a young woman getting a classic, pure, sparkly Hero’s Journey with all the bells and whistles, and nobody quite knows what to do with that.

Reason 2) As Leia’s son, he’s quasi-royalty and comes from a position of immense class privilege, and feels entitled to valuable items that actually belong to other people. Or to no one.

What I haven’t seen: any acknowledgment whatsoever that Leia’s status is inextricably bound up with the genocide of her people. Nor have I seen any distinction drawn between his class privilege as an Organa and his sense of identity as a Skywalker. His entitlement is never remotely linked to class. It’s concentrated on the legacy and possessions of his natural grandfather, a former slave from a poverty-stricken desert controlled by gangsters.

As we all know, believing you have a right to inherit the belongings of your dead grandparents is basically like burning money in front of homeless people.

Reason 3) He was supposed to be Darth Vader Mk 2, but isn’t an invincible (?), inscrutable badass expressing nothing (??) but icy displeasure.

Rather, he broadcasts his bewildered cultist angst instead of suppressing all emotion but rage as a Dark Lord ought. He’s coming apart at the seams and admits to it, which is impotently whiny, but also something to do with school shooters. And not, say, a struggle with his indoctrination. He never succeeds at anything except freezing a laser in midair, psychically holding people immobile, sensing a random stormtrooper’s emotional upheaval, telepathically extracting information, deflecting blaster bolts, knocking someone unconscious with a thought, holding his ground when shot by the bowcaster of death, and trashing an uninjured combatant in a duel. He even cries about having to murder his father, the wimp.

Also, he has a young, vulnerable, moderately unconventional face and lustrous helmet-defying hair. VADER WAS BALD AND SCARRED AND PREMATURELY AGED, OK.

It’s almost like being young, half-trained, and not actually Darth Vader were integral to his character or something.

...I could have answered this less snidely but I have no patience for any of this shit, so.

on 2016-07-23 03:08 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] alatefeline
I would like to respectfully disagree with your take on the character and this response to the character. However, I imagine you don't need me to explain at length in your space, so I'll leave my statement at that unless you want to hear more.

on 2016-07-23 04:04 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] alatefeline
Okay.

on 2016-07-23 03:53 am (UTC)
sathari: split iage of Rey and Kylo with the respective captions "Light" and "Dark" (Rey and Kylo- Light and Dark)
Posted by [personal profile] sathari
I love your take on Kylo here. As you probably knew.

And! Concurrent-opinion time!

More reasons that his offer to teach her is not mansplaining:

- At that point in the duel, he was in fact beating her. And instead of sneering at her about this fact, being all, bwhaaahahaha you'll never ~best me~--- he pretty much offers to call a halt to the hostilities and teach her how to get even better at kicking his ass! (Which she had done once already, badly enough that he went running to Snoke over it.)

- Even though she does beat him twice, and may ultimately have more raw Force power than he does (jury still out on that one), at this point, Rey is 19 and has spent all of the life that she can remember thinking that Luke Skywalker was a myth and that the Force is... mostly that thing those mystics over in Tuanul worship? That may or may not be real and isn't a part of her life if it is? Kylo Ren, on the other hand, is a good decade older and he has spent all of his life not only knowing that the Force is real but having it be an integral part of his family history and his upbringing; he started training with Luke Skywalker, his very own uncle, when he was (per Bloodline) apparently young enough that his dad never got to start teaching him how to fly, which even in our world can start pretty young and definitely in his (cf. his grandfather the nine-year-old podracer), and he went from there to training with Snoke. Even if Rey is more natively talented, Kylo is way more knowledgeable about the Force, full fucking stop. She's like a math or music prodigy who may well go on to be one of the greats but at the beginning of her career still has a lot to learn from teachers who may not have her natural gifts but still Know More To Start With.

- I would argue that the Force, and knowledge of it, is all up in Kylo's sense of himself--- possibly the biggest damn factor in his life to date; it's why he was sent away from his parents to his uncle, it's... well, it's just pretty much the main thing everyone interacts with him about, that and his family (which is also pretty bound up in the Force). He's offering her a big piece of himself there, like, the only thing that anyone's ever thought was important about him, he's offering to share with her.

- Related to the above, his Force talents aren't just the biggest thing about his own sense of himself, they're a big part of his family history and legacy--- and we know Grandpa Anakin's legacy is important to him because he says so! He's not condescending to her by offering to teach her--- he's inviting her into the in-group. In fact, arguably, given the importance of the Force in his sense of his family's legacy, he's basically inviting her into his family--- here, come share in this thing that we all have, be one of us. (LOL MARRIAGE PROPOSAL LOL.) (I'm sure that you've read The Quiet Padawan, right? If not I'll link you.)

- Related to all of the above: Rey is a damn scavenger from a backwater planet. She doesn't know the ways of the Force. He is arguably removing cultural and social barriers to access-to-education for her. If he were One Of The Good Guys, ~the discourse~ would probably be about what a lovely progressive thing this is for him to do--- recognizing talent in someone from a low-SES background and trying to give her an opportunity to use her talents. (Which, you know, from his point of view? That's just about probably damn well what the poor bastard thinks he's doing. Because he does think the Dark side is where it's at.) (Not to mention that he seems to be aware of Han's mentorship of her, and, welp, he's just removed that support system, so, hey, the thing to do is offer her a ~better~ one, right?) (Oh, Kylo, honey, you are so like your namesake, Ben Kenobi, with your ~certain points of view~ and ~truths you cling to~. *pets his pretty hair pityingly*) (And, yeah, right after, she does in fact get sent off to finand presumably train with Luke, but neither of them actually had any way of knowing that would happen; right now, it is legit for Kylo to think that he's pretty much the best shot she has at getting trained in the Force--- or really, getting any kind of opportunities, given that he'd just offed the one guy who was mentoring her. It's ass-backwards screwy but it's rather well-meant, in the sort of screwed-up Dark-side-but-feeling-the-call-to-the-Light kind of way that is just basically how Kylo Ren rolls. And which is why I love the poor sorry hot mess of a human disaster.)

Also, this? This:

There is nothing gendered about it, or about anyone’s treatment of her. That’s a wonderful breath of fresh air–or would be if people didn’t seem incapable of even imagining a world where a young woman doesn’t grapple with misogyny at every turn.

Rey’s story is not Girl Fights Sexism. It’s a young woman getting a classic, pure, sparkly Hero’s Journey with all the bells and whistles, and nobody quite knows what to do with that.


THIS FUCKING THIS. Exactly. I cannot get over how amazing it was to me to see two generations of our Legendary Space Family--- of dudes in our Legendary Space Family--- invite Rey to join their team. Like, there is none of that usual story where the girl-hero has to fight to be allowed to join the boys' club of heroes! The dudes just both invite her along! I want to draw sparkly hearts around this! It's awesome!

And I... can probably work myself up to having more thoughts on the class privilege/family legacy aspect, and the brainwashing aspect, but I suspect I'll start working outward into concentric circles of headcanon. Because boy howdy do I have all the thoughts about both Ben Solo Organa's upbringing and also his attachment to Snoke. (I mean, you've seen my blue-bambi post of doom about that, I don't need to repeat myself.) (Things like, "a Senator's telepathic young son is going to pick up a lot of confusing stuff about politics from Mama's Senate cronies who visit the house and probably walk away with the idea that the Republic is run by a bunch of lying liars who lie because he is not at the developmental stage to think in shades of gray by the time he goes to Luke" and... oof, well, I have a theory about Kylo ending up feeling that he owes Snoke a life debt following the events of <>Bloodline but that's not only a headcanony extrapolation, it's a headcanony extrapolation that needs a trigger warning for suicidal ideation, so.)

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anghraine: from the 2005 p&p: darcy standing at a piano while georgiana plays it (Default)
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