Skip to main content

Star Wars can help Katie & other girls by doing more than just blogging

As a blogger, I am still constantly amazed at how fast some of our stories spread around our world. The story of first-grader Katie being bullied for liking "Star Wars," hit a chord with many SW fans. It went viral with such fury that Star Wars blogger Bonnie Burton responded:
As any Star Wars fan worth his or her weight in midichlorians can tell you, there is no one single “type” of Star Wars fan. Star Wars fans are both genders, all ages, all races and all nationalities. [...]

My point is, ladies love Star Wars too, and we should all support their right to geek out just like the guys. Little girls need to know they have every right to pick up a lightsaber as the rest of us.

Star Wars itself is full of strong, independent female characters who wouldn’t have taken any guff from 1st grade boys who clearly don’t know their Star Wars characters. 
To that I say "Hell yeah!"

But I also want to say to Star Wars & George Lucas...You can do more. You can show the world, boys and girls, that you really do mean the words that Burton writes. If Lucas & Co. are strong enough to get paid each time someone uses the term "droid," then they can insist that companies who use Luke, Leia, Darth & Yoda to sell us things from bedding to clothing, do it in a gender neutral manner. You gonna slap Yoda on a t-shirt? Sell it in both departments or a special Star Wars section. If you are going to hurray the return of Classic Star Wars on bedding, you need to control how it impacts kids. How can a little girl know that she can pick up a lightsaber if Star Wars bedding is located in the boys section of the Pottery Barn Kids catalog and not the girls?

If you head over to Target's online store, do a search for Star Wars. 116 items are under "Boys Toys" and 15 under "Girls Toys." Oddly, a girl can find MLB & NBA bedding at Target, but not Star Wars. Hint, it's located in the boys section.

Kids are kids. They are constantly learning and as anyone who has spent time with a kid for 10 minutes knows, they pick up everything you say and do. They might not show it right away, but a few days later when your precious 7-year-old throws an F-bomb, you flash back to your own f-bomb from Monday in traffic. How else does my daughter know to yell at cars to "move it!"

I can already hear people mumble or yell, "This doesn't matter!"

Tell that to the boys in Katie's class who think that Star Wars is a boy thing. Where do you think they learned it? From other boys, parents who say "Don't play with that, it's a girl thing!" and from stores that so cleanly label girl things with pink & glitter and boy things with black & red flames. Hey! That's kinda how the Leapster Star Wars handheld looks!

Yes, girls can shop in the boys section and I can buy things online from boys categories. That's not the point. The point is that each time we separate out toys, clothing, any item between girls & boys we send a message to kids. And they are freaking listening. Then we get stories where first graders are bullying and harassing a classmate over a freaking Star Wars water bottle because she is not confirming to what they believe girls should do and act. And when that happens, you break Master Yoda's heart.

PS: Dear Katie: You are an amazing young person. My daughter is 7 and has been Princess Leia for Halloween 3 times. Don't stop being you for anyone. Ever. Not when you're in first grade or when you are in college. I'm 35, almost 36, and I still try to do my hair like Leia. Much love and strength my fellow Jedi!

Comments

CraftLass said…
Oh, I so agree with this! I was an absolute Star Wars *freak* as a kid in the early 80s and got teased mercilessly myself, aggravated even more by not wanting to always play Leia when the boys would deign to let me play Star Wars with them (Leia is fantastic, but I just wanted to mix it up a bit, play from a different perspective). Gender stereotyping needs to end, every time I pick up one of the catalogs mentioned I just get angry and depressed, remembering how much I felt lost among girls and girly things. Still do, most of the time.

Thanks for this piece and I hope people at Lucas are listening...
I hadn't heard about this! I'm in total agreement. I adore Star Wars, which means Maybelle has now been Yoda twice for Halloween (she's not old enough to choose her own costume). I hate all this gendered marketing crap.
Veronica said…
Thanks for the comments!

I hope that by drawing attention to the role stores/merchandising does to maintain gender lines, we can see that it's not just the boys who need a talking to.

Popular posts from this blog

Review: Mary: The Adventures of Mary Shelley's Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Granddaughter

Mary: The Adventures of Mary Shelley's Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Granddaughter by Brea Grant My rating: 4 of 5 stars View all my reviews

Frederick, A Virtual Puppet Performance - Read by Michael Shannon

WOW...this is my first post during the Coronavirus pandemic! I hope you and your loved ones are healthy and safe. Thanks to the Chicago Children’s Theatre, the city’s largest professional theater devoted exclusively to children and families, for launching a new YouTube channel, CCTv: Virtual Theatre and Learning from Chicago Children’s Theatre. To kick if off we are treated to Frederick. Here's hoping this helps with your little ones. Or is a comfort to everyone of all ages. Chicago Children’s Theatre’s all-new virtual puppet performance was created while all of the artists were sheltering in place, working with resources limited to what they had in their homes or on their laptops. Frederick is directed by CCT Co-Founder and Artistic Director Jacqueline Russell. Puppets and sets were designed, built and puppeteered in a home studio by Grace Needlman and Will Bishop, CCT’s Director of Production, the creative team behind CCT’s annual series of Beatrix Potter puppet show

Book Review: Wolfpack by Abby Wambach

Less than a year ago, Abby Wambach took the stage at Barnard's commencement and gave a speech that shook many, including myself, to the core . Her speech went viral and I made the above image in order to share the highlights of her speech. Earlier this month Abby released the speech in book form. Wolfpack : How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power, and Change the Game is short (less than 100 pages) but is much more than just her speech . You get a peek into how the speech came together and why she said everything. And because the book is short and is an expanded speech, it moves quickly. I feel that it moves with the same ferocity that Abby use to move down a soccer field. And you might find yourself cheering as she takes you through the story. Abby has always been one of my favorite players. The way she ran amok on the pitch was exactly the way I felt I played sports. Never caring how you looked and giving it your all. Leaving it all on the field. When she retired from socc