A pair of Toronto feminists are tackling politics through fandom — they’re doing their part to carve a space for better female representation in the media through their freshly launched zine May The Force Be With Her.
They call themselves the Space & Time Collective. The feminist duo, writer Caitlynn Fairbarns and illustrator Sophie Paas-Lang, have combined their passion for fandom with their politics in an illustrated history of the women in the Star Wars franchise.
“It’s episode one through seven of Star Wars,” Fairbarns explains the project focused on offering a media and feminist analysis of the franchise, “Of how women are represented and treated during [these] movies.”
May The Force Be With Her aims to deconstruct the media representation of women throughout the films — delving deep in the development of the characters onscreen. Breaking down screen time, discussing character evolution and more — through words and pictures Fairbarns and Paas-Lang critically analyze a franchise that has been thriving for almost 40 years — and what it may mean to its extensive audience.
Their first run has sold to folks in the UK, Sweden and the United States — and was limited to 100 copies. Of course, the pair are ready to print future runs as demand increases.
“I think Star Wars has always been popular and important to many people — lots of people grew up on it,” says Fairbarns, who thinks the franchise is keeping up, for the most part, with the social political times. In terms of diversity and representation, she thinks Star Wars seems to be delivering it with the latest instalment Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
“I feel like we’re all starting to look at media more critically — doesn’t mean you love anything less. It could mean you love it more and you’re asking more from it,” says Fairbarns. “I think fans are becoming more invested in their fandom(s) and they’re asking more from it.”
The Space & Time Collective aren’t limiting themselves to this project. In fact, if this continues to be successful the pair have plans to do future projects in the same vain. They’re considering touching on other fandoms and even exploring the history of fanfiction.
For more information about May The Force Be With Her, check out spaceandtimecollective.com.
Image credit: Space & Time Collective/Tumblr/solosleia