‘The Force is Female’ is not about Star Wars

'The Force is Female' is not about Star Wars - Bent Corner

There’s a picture floating around the Internet, as pictures often do, that shows Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilms, standing with three women. They’re all wearing t-shirts that say, “The Force is Female.”

What the photo means depends on who you ask. Some say it’s proof that Kathleen Kennedy is a militant feminist who wants to kill all men. Either that or take away men’s child visitation rights and make them all pay more in child support.

Others say it’s an indicator of why Disney’s Star Wars movies have more female characters, especially in leadership positions. Others aren’t saying anything because they’re just t-shirts.

I’m in the latter group.

I watched a YouTube video this morning where the host was bringing up the photo and trying to make a big deal about it. The video drove me to take six minutes and conduct a proper Internet search. My goal was to find the source of these t-shirts. This is what I was able to find.

“The Force is Female” is from Nike

The t-shirts were part of a marketing campaign by Nike. They had nothing to do with Star Wars. They were part of a campaign to get more women to wear Air Force One shoes, probably the greatest athletic sneaker ever made.

'The Force is Female' is not about Star Wars - Bent Corner
Nike Air Force One high-tops designed specifically for women.
'The Force is Female' is not about Star Wars - Bent Corner
The Force is Female Air Force One low-tops.
'The Force is Female' is not about Star Wars - Bent Corner
The exact t-shirts worn in the infamous photo, except Kathleen Kennedy’s t-shirt was black because she’s from the Dark Side.
Another version of a “The Force is Female” shirt. This model has probably never watched a Star Wars movie.
'The Force is Female' is not about Star Wars - Bent Corner
This photo is from Nike.com.

Of all the photos, the one shown above is the most offensive. Who in their right might wears Air Force Ones in bad weather? There’s snow on the ground. The ladies in the above photo don’t seem to care about their shoes. I’d go barefoot before I’d wear a pair of Air Force Ones in the snow.

This is what it says on the official “The Force is Female” page on Nike.com:

'The Force is Female' is not about Star Wars

Nike’s campaign has nothing to do with Star Wars

Nike’s “The Force is Female” has nothing to do with Star Wars. If it did, they would have a photo of Aunt Beru wearing a pair of minty fresh Air Force Ones. They don’t. I’ve looked.

If memory serves, Adidas released Star Wars-themed shoes when the awful prequels came out. I think Vans is making Star Wars shoes now. I don’t really know because I don’t really care.

Let not yourself be offended by the t-shirts of others

If you allow someone’s t-shirt to offend you, you’re doing something wrong. I don’t think I’ve ever been offended by the actions of a stranger, let alone by a t-shirt they were wearing, so it’s hard to put myself into the mindset of someone who has. The closest I get is when I see someone wearing Jimmy Buffett’s clothing or anything to do with the New York Yankees. Like most moral and rational people, I hate Jimmy Buffet, and I hate the New York Yankees. When I see someone wearing that filth, I turn my head and don’t look.

It works for me.

46 thoughts on “‘The Force is Female’ is not about Star Wars”

  1. why would kathleen kennedy wear “the force is female” shirts if she’s not affiliated with nike in any way? air force ones were never referenced as “the force” before this point either. really jogs the noggin as to the reasoning behind wearing these shirts.

    1. Were they wearing Air Force Ones? I know I feel like a vampire bathing in holy water when I wear Addias shoes and a Nike shirt. I’ve never purchased a shirt that was tied to a specific shoes because then I could only wear it with those shoes.

    2. This is the dumbest argument I’ve read all month.

      You have a woman who si the [resident of Lucasfilm, best known for its work on the Star Wars franchise, whose most pivotal concept is The Force, and you tell me her “The Force is Female” T-Shirt Brigade isn’t Star Wars related?

      Get real.

        1. That was a pedantic response. I’m sure you know what they intended to say.

          Nike can use the terms they like, and Kathleen Kennedy can wear and support what she likes.

          However, as someone who has worked in movies for decades (Kennedy, not me), she should be aware of how something like that would be seen, especially in that situation and in her position. It’s hardly a massive logical leap.

          That would suggest that she’s either stupid or provocative – certainly unprofessional.

          People wouldn’t have bothered that much if the movies were good anyway.

          Was my spelling ok?

  2. the facts speak for themselves. there is a pattern in the new star wars movies to tell us that all guys are crazy lunatics with mental health problems and all women are flawless and make no mistakes and can do Jedi stuff without any training which took luke a lot of time to learn.

    i am not offended by that. i just point to the fact that there is a radical feminist elite who wants to turn the table and put women on the top while throwing men into the dirt.

    when i see that (Ghostbusters for example) i don’t whine around. i do what you did about the football shirt. i go away and refuse to feed this feminists with my money.

  3. Yes, the president of Lucas Film wearing a shirt that says The Force is Female has NOTHING to do with Star Wars. When she picked out that shirt she didnt even think about the most influential and iconic franchise in the world, that she is the head of. Either this is true and she’s a moron, or it isnt and you’re the moron

    1. Show me where Nike claimed the campaign had anything to do with Star Wars. That’s what I was pointing out in the post you’re commenting on.

      I spoke nothing about Kathleen Kennedy‘s motivation for wearing the shirt. I don’t know what that is, but if it was to make girls of all ages feel more empowered, then good for her.

  4. If you have spent a bit more time than 6 minutes then you would have known that the bad robot logo in the back drop is a production house involved in star wars episode 7. Clearly she is there to promote something related to star wars wearing that shirt. Please be logical when making arguments. It may be simple to omit for you, but for those who spent their time and money making her a bilionaire, this is hurtful.

  5. We all KNOW darn well the statement Kathleen is trying to make with that shirt and photo.
    It’s not like it hasn’t been smeared all over the Disney Star Wars movies.

    1. How dare she try to make women and girls feel more empowered. Not only were we subjected to women with their icky lady parts in major starring roles, but we also have to deal with women wearing the t-shirts they want to wear without first obtaining the approval of a man first.

      This is what Admiral Ackbar warned us about when he said, “It’s a trap!”

      1. the problem is they have lead acting roles since the early 90s ( terminator 2, alien series, flatliners, xena warrior princess, X-Files, silence of the lambs. I could literally go on for days because there are so many) this has nothing to do with making women feel empowered they’ve been empowered for the past 40 years. this is just about making masculine traits seem evil stupid and useless and that women are the only ones capable of accomplishing things and without any effort or growth

  6. You look at the bright side: Kathleen Kennedy wants to empower women. She’s in a position to do that, her public statement will have a large impact.
    This is good.
    Until you find out that contrary to you, Kathleen is not on the bright side. She wants men out of Star Wars. She wants some kind of revenge against society. Promoting women empowerment, why not. Aggressions, name calling against supposingly priviledged white men, no. Sorry, my friend, you are kind-hearted but she’s on the dark side.

  7. Also this was proven to be false haha! Nice try though but Kathleen even stated in her speech at the very event that “The force is female”. Plus it was about 20+ people wearing those shirts. Debunked.

    The fact that you needed to try and debunk this as ‘a coincidence’ proves how DISGUSTING and sexist the stunt from KK was.

    1. Where did I use the phrase ‘a coincidence’? You use the phrase in quotation marks as though you are quoting someone. You are not. I never said wearing of the shirts was a coincidence, nor did I imply it. I only pointed out the shirts were not created to be part of Star Wars, but a campaign to sell the Nike Air Force One to women.

      Consider yourself properly debunked. You’re welcome.

  8. “If you allow someone’s t-shirt to offend you, you’re doing something wrong.”

    I can’t totally agree with that statement. It’s not hard to put a blatantly offensive (actaully offensive not the Yankees or Jimmy Buffet) symbol or wording or both onto a clothing article and get very intense feelings because of it. The Force is Female is not one of them for me personally, but I can see how the traditional rabid fanbase and predominant consumer of the Star Wars saga for years could begin to feel a bit ostracized (not much, they’re still watching the films, just not multiple times in theaters).

    Let’s be real, the shirt is from a Nike campaign but that doesn’t mean she wore it with Nike in mind, she absolutely wore it as a symbol for the direction she wants Star Wars to head in. Ultimately all the fans want are good stories, some respect for their building of the franchise, and not to feel like their 40+ years of fandom are being trivialized.

    1. The way I look at Star Wars is like how I look at an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet. I take what I want and leave a lot of it for someone else. I loved the original Star Wars franchise as a kid/young adult. I cannot count how many times I’ve watched the original three movies. I don’t like how Lucas modified them later with CGI. I didn’t care for the prequels. I never got into the novels or comics. I loved Rogue One and The Force Awakens. I did not like The Last Jedi. I never got into the animated offerings.

      The things I disliked will never alter my opinion of the things I like. I do not have to consume and like everything. I enjoy what I want. I leave the rest for other people to enjoy.

      I’m sure there are people whose favorite Star Wars movie is The Last Jedi. There are even some people who don’t like the movies, but love the books. All that’s fine and good. It doesn’t affect me in the slightest.

      1. how could you possibly like them the choreography itself was a joke. take the fight scene in the giant red room. the choreography for that fight is embarrassing. if you compare it to the light saber fights in the prequels there is simply no comparison the actors worked way harder to create beautifully choreographed lightsaber battles that are consistent and dont have weapons that disappear in the middle of a fight. that’s an error youd see in a low budget film not in something like starwars a huge multi million dollar franchise

  9. Rick. Star Wars movies aren’t political campaign ads or some party’s manifesto. So I don’t understand why you say if Kathleen is doing all this to make young girls feel empowered “good for her”. How is good prioritizing Politics over Art, in Arts?

  10. I always wondered the background behind all this, not gonna bother fact checking because you seem to be legitimate in your claims on all of this, either way though, interesting to see the truth of it all.

    Kennedy has always been made out as a SJW Boogeyman in Star Wars fandoms, and honestly, I don’t really care much for her at all, but it’s important to get the facts right and to not make shit up. So, thanks for the doing the legwork and getting to the bottom of this all. If it ever gets brought up now, I know I can correct the spread of misinformation.

    Cheers man.

  11. I actually never had a problem with the TV shirt even if it was Star Wars related. Just make a good movie.

    My comments are not directed at the author of this article but my thoughts in general.

    If Kathleen Kennedy is trying to create a positive female message through Star Wars, she’s misguided. Star Wars is a fantasy movie and should not be a vehicle for political messages. Make a political movie or a serious movie if you want to send a message. For Example, “On the Basis of Sex” about Ruth Bader Ginsburg. That is a story about a remarkable woman that was sadly mostly overlooked. As a matter of fact, all the women on the Supreme Court are remarkable. Perfect example of diversity without sacrificing quality.

    There are a lot of female directors making incredible movies without trying to cram an agenda into their films or at least not being so on the nose about it – kathryn Bigelow, Penelope Spheeris, Mary Harron, Rungano Nyoni, Penny Marshall, Jodie Foster, and the list goes on.

    The point is, become empowered by doing good work, by being better than those that would dismiss you. Women do not really become empowered through contrived diversity, seeing sexism everywhere, or labeling people that have an opposing opinion as sexist.

  12. The fact is the force is not female so the t shirt is offensive and divisive and it clearly was a ploy from KK to insert her politics into a place it doesn’t belong, a star wars photo op.

      1. Rick.. The Fact is The Force is an energy field created by All..Living…Things. Kathleen Kennedy just doesn’t understand this franchise regardless of any agenda. Using Star Wars as a way to channel real world politics isn’t going to help her case though. Star Wars isn’t what it’s “creators” say it should be but it is what it’s true creator George Lucas intended it to be. And we should stay true to that while also being expansive creatively regardless of who runs the show now. Are you sure you love the original films? You’d rather have corporate sleaze dictate what the force should be without even considering that very crucial bit of dialogue by Obi Wan from the very first Star Wars movie? You’ve totally sold out ideologically haven’t you. Get real..

      2. And also there was clearly an aim to parallel that slogan with Star Wars. Do you take everyone for a fool? It may not have been directly tied with Star Wars marketing but it was obviously used as a means of promoting the female gender through the guise of a Nike advertisement. It’s too coincidental to not take that into context what they are trying to say. Yeah t shirts are harmless to most people personally but I can at least acknowledge what the aim here is and it’s biased.. it’s an attempt to put standards on what’s visual and uncontrollable. Gender has no standard. No standard needs to be set because we are who we are and not amount of gender identity mongering is going to change what reality is. Gender doesn’t matter. But what’s in our minds and spirit independent of others is something we need to strive to fully embrace and accept. In a way that is what the force is representative of when Yoda is talking about the luminous make up of our existential shell. Yoda expands upon what Obi Wan explains to Luke so beautifully.

      3. The actual Fact is Rick.. The Force is an Energy Field Created By All.. Living… Things.. And there was clearly an aim to parallel that slogan with Star Wars. The mere fact that “Force” ties into Star Wars is contextually enough to put two and two together regardless of it being a Nike slogan that isn’t promoting Star Wars directly. Do you take everyone for a fool?

  13. Context is king when posting to the internet.

    If you are known to have a high ranking position at Disney/Lucasfilm and you wear a shirt referencing “The force” then it is reasonable for people to assume it is a reference to Star Wars unless you specifically say it isn’t.

  14. The proper actual factual context of this photo is that it was high school children that wanted to have a selfie with someone famous. This photo was taken at the Archer Film Festival in LA. A Film festival that promotes and encourages high school girls in their film undertakings.

    The shirts are from a Nike campaign.

    The story is a children’s story similar to Sleeping Beauty, etc. Who on a bright day in a far off kingdom ruled by an evil monarch, blah, blah. This one just has spaceship AND weird horses…

    How insecure can some men be? I watched the film and felt successfully entertained. Not as good as I remember the original 3 to have been but that is part of looking back, things look better than they actually were because we choose to remember the good. With PTSD patients literally cannot remember parts of what happened. Go read up on psych if you want to know more.

    Some say the problem in this country is old white men. Some would technically describe me as such. I would counter by saying that it is not age, race or gender that is the problem but the fact that the majority of power lies with a group that is past their prime and as such threatened by a fairy tale, threatened by a young person who happens to be a girl, threatened by any change around them because they have lost the ability to handle change. They have become rigid.

    So immature and insecure that they need to identify with a male character in a film to feel their old blustery selfs and since that character in this fairy tale now happens to be female their insecurity in their own masculinity and their limited perspective will simply not allow them to see the film for what it was intended – Entertainment.

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