An impossible conundrum

It’s rather remarkable that in this long article about female fans doing to the new Star Wars what female fans always do – which is turn literally everything into sordid romance – that the author can’t possibly figure out why nearly all of them are intent on putting Rey together with Kylo rather than with the nominal hero of the piece:

In those days, as now, fan-fiction was a hobby largely undertaken by women; though solid data is sparse, most of it shows cisgender men in the minority by a wide margin. There’s no single agreed upon answer to the question of why this is, but one common explanation cites the desire to create narratives outside the male perspective that has historically ruled the entertainment world. Interviewed by Fangirl Chat in 2014, Maggie Nowakowska, a prominent member of the early Star Wars zine scene, recalled that this was an explicit goal of hers: “We wanted to make sure we got some female Jedi in there because we were afraid the boys would get on it first and the next thing you’d know women were never Jedi.”

Not all fan fiction centers on romance, but a good portion of it does. In many fandoms (The Force Awakens included), “slash” stories about men getting with men tend to be very popular: perhaps for some of the same reasons lesbian porn is popular among straight men, or because pop culture generally tends to create more (and more fleshed-out) male characters than female ones, or because media has historically lacked for queer love stories. Even when the subject of a story is a heterosexual relationship between leading characters, foregrounding romance can be a transgressive move depending on the source material. At one point in the ’80s, Lucasfilm broke with a policy of mostly ignoring fan fiction by sending publishers warning letters because of a story that featured love scenes between Han and Leia….

 “There’s a curve as to which ships are the most popular and which are the least. That Reylo is bigger than Finn and Rey is surprising to me.”

It’s true: Stories by fans about The Force Awakens’s two lead heroes falling in love are far outnumbered by ones about the movie’s heroine and its village-slaughtering villain doing so. One common explanation for this says that Rey and Kylo are simply the most fascinating people on screen. J.J. Abrams has talked about his philosophy of movies being “mystery boxes,” and certainly both of these characters, with Rey’s unexplained backstory and Kylo’s hazy motivations, fit that description.

There’s also a level of moral unsettledness that make them stand out. Kylo is visibly tempted to turn back to good; Rey has more pressing concerns than the fate of the galaxy. Ricca explained it to me in terms of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Rey’s focused on the bottom, on survival, while Kylo highmindedly obsesses over being the best Dark Sider he can be. “Having the two meet as equals is bizarre, and hints a lot of things,” Ricca said. “Some of those things are explored in Interstellar Transmissions, and a lot of them aren’t, because there’s so much potential.”

The problematic fact that they are attempting to avoid mentioning is that Finn is black. The reason so little fan fiction is written about Finn and Rey is because, despite being under constant barrage by Hollywood and the advertising industry pushing miscegenated propaganda, the vast majority of white women simply don’t find black men to be as attractive as white men. Like calls to like, as it has always done and as it always will do.

However, the article does indicate the primary problem with science fiction and fantasy today. Most of it simply isn’t genuine science fiction and fantasy, it’s merely professional fan fiction.