From a comment I left at Uncouth Reflections, on the topic of progressive status signaling in the creation of the new Star Wars movie:
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I’m more convinced that the whole butt-kicking babe trope has little to do with progressive status signaling, but is instead a form of autogynephilia — nerd boys feeling an emotional rush from imagining themselves as babes — mixed with standard nerd revenge fantasies against vapid jocks (that’s why she has to be a butt-kicking, patriarchy-thwarting babe, rather than a housewife babe or a supermodel babe).
I call these types “latent transgenders” because they don’t openly present as female (cross-dressing, etc.), but still invest loads of psychic energy in a make-believe persona where they’re female (why not imagine themselves as butt-kicking dudes?). See earlier posts on the general topic and the specific example of women's MMA.
The butt-kicking babe tends not to engage in any sexual activity because the socially stunted nerds are still in the stage of development where they’d rather receive a bunch of attention for being awesome (hot), rather than get into an adolescent or adult relationship. And seeing their avatar get it on might make them feel gay — which I don’t think they are. Unless, of course, their avatar gets it on with another girl — an increasingly popular scenario for nerd masturbation in 2015.
If the babe were the object rather than the subject of nerd sexual fantasy, meaning someone he wanted to bed, then the butt-kicking babe would get it on with a male character with whom the nerd viewer would identify. But she doesn't, so it's not a typical pornographic portrayal. It's something much weirder, where they identify with the babe herself rather than the guy who gets to bed her.
Progs don’t really care about Star Wars, and besides the creators are already fully leveled up members of the prog clan. There’s little left for them to gain. And girls are much more amenable to playing with boy-oriented toys than vice versa, so they don’t care if the protagonist is male.
The over-riding rationale for making this movie is fan service — offering any drug that fanboys are addicted to, and spiking the potency to 11. Therefore the point of making the protag a butt-kicking babe must also be part of nerd wish fulfillment, i.e. to stoke their latent transgender revenge fantasies.
“Would you Force me? I’d Force me.”