The Dark Side Feminist

HALLOWEEN 2015: BY LIZ GABRIEL

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Star Wars is not short of tragic tales and hard-hearted warriors. While Darth Vader may be one of the greatest villains of all time, there are plenty of women in the Star Wars universe who chose the dark side of the force. You’ll find several strong women in this galaxy, for how else would these tales be so epic in nature?

Have you ever heard of this dark side feminist? She was a former Nightsister, Asajj Ventress.

She once thought she’d be great. She was, in her mind, supposed to be the next Sith Lord, and with more luck, she probably would have been. If not for the treacherous disloyalty of Count Dooku, the lonely Asajj may have successfully taken the place beside Sidious, and trained Anikan Skywalker.

Asajj was no stranger to war and cruelty from an early age. Stolen from the clan of witches she was born into, she was raised as a slave, taken by pirates, then trained by a stranded Jedi. While she was always force-sensitive, she was able to master the Jedi style of combat. However, her world was not one of peace. It is no big surprise that after her Jedi master was killed, she eventually embraced the dark side. Perhaps it was also her witch heritage, for they are no friends of the light side of the force. But all she knew was betrayal, and loss. Looking back at many Sith Lords, those of the dark side are no stranger to loss, so perhaps this is another reason it was so easy for her to turn. Wanting to prove herself, she accepted Dooku’s offer to train her.

Little did she know she would be another pawn.

The Clone Wars became a game of proving your loyalty, strength and power. Asajj had the latter two, as she had demonstrated in her lifetime… but would she be loyal to Dooku? That is a more interesting aspect of Ventress. While we watch her journey through the Clone Wars, the subtle hints and mysteries we witness may say more than actual stories and episodes.

When she began to hate Dooku, it was clear that there was more than just the desire to become a Sith Lord driving her onward. She was raised and trained by a Jedi, but without the traditional aspects of the Jedi Order; he was more of a father-figure in her life. Perhaps she was trying to fill that place, trying to fulfill the desire to have someone accept her. But eventually, she learned the truth: there were no plans to keep her around. Sidious never intended to keep her and Dooku followed the will of Darth Sidious.

Before she was betrayed, Asajj enjoyed herself immensely, reveling in making the clone troops suffer, planting fear in the Jedi, and watching each victory over the Republic. Her content state of being, though short-lived, was proof that she believed the next position of Sith Lord would be filled by her. Yes, she was cautious, but there was no one else who wanted her place. Her rival, General Grievous, was no Sith, and Count Dooku was old. She had every chance in the world to take her place in the ultimate position of power. But of course, that was not to be.

After she was betrayed, however, who did she hate more? Count Dooku, or herself for letting her ambition blind her? She survived an assassination attempt, and went back to her home world, only for her Nightsisters to be slaughtered before her eyes. Asajj had no other option but to find her identity; not in her home world, her power or position, but in herself, alone.

In time, she began to have a change of heart. She never was one to murder without cause, slay or ruthlessly strike fear in the innocent. Perhaps this was because her early training was protecting the innocent from pirates. This instilled in her not the desire for blood, but justice; her version of justice and not the Jedi’s.

After she became a lonely wanderer, she began to do what she could to help others like her. After the slaughter of her family, she tried bounty hunting. This led to her helping a kidnapped girl from being forced to marry. Later, Ahsoka Tano, a loner in her own right, was aided by none other than Ventress at the end of the Clone Wars series. It was not just girls she helped, but those who had once been her enemies, even some Jedi. While she may have struggled inside, wondering if she was to be an overlord or a savior, she ultimately chose to be a hero of sorts. Perhaps what she did with her time after her struggles says more about who she is. She could have chosen to become even harder, and let her scars of war define her. But her roots, those of turmoil and strength, proved that she would never bow to weakness.

Instead, she became a feminist. How many women can say they survived training, assassination and slaughter from warlords? Maybe she saw her past self in the women whom she saved. She had been each of them; a slave, a padawan, a victim. She created her own destiny and her own legend. A Star Wars feminist who just so happened to embrace the dark side for a while. ♥

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Liz Gabriel has loved writing ever since she was a young girl.  She loves all things geek, nerd, sci-fi, fantasy and fiction.  Her goal is for as many people as possible to meet her characters, and to share her love of fiction with every book geek in the world!

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