Recently, columnist and mom Carrie Goldman wrote an essay in Chicago Now about bullying in schools and why parents should start teaching their children as soon as 1st grade how to deal with being bullied. She spoke from the heart, not just because it’s an issue all parents must grapple with, but because her own young daughter Katie was being bullied FOR LIKING STAR WARS!?!
Here’s the excerpt from her article Anti-Bullying Starts in First Grade:
She wailed, “The first grade boys are teasing me at lunch because I have a Star Wars water bottle. They say it’s only for boys. Every day they make fun of me for drinking out of it. I want them to stop, so I’ll just bring a pink water bottle.”
I hugged her hard and felt my heart sink. Such a tender young age, and already she is embarrassed about the water bottle that brought her so much excitement and joy a few months ago.
Is this how it starts? Do kids find someone who does something differently and start to beat it out of her, first with words and sneers? Must my daughter conform to be accepted?
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.
And not only are there millions of women who love Star Wars, there famous, talented women who love Star Wars like pop star Lady Gaga, country/pop singer Taylor Swift, actress Megan Fox, actress/producer Drew Barrymore, actress/producer/writer Tina Fey, actress Michelle Ryan, comedian/actress Margaret Cho, award-winning actress Helen Mirren, MTV’s own Liz Lee, 90210 actress AnnaLynne McCord, supermodel & reality TV star Adrianne Curry, actress & gamer goddess Felicia Day, Jane Wiedlin from The Go-Go’s, singer Tanya Donelly, Jenny Conlee from The Decemberists, MSNBC news host Rachel Maddow, not to mention all the cool gamer gals in Team Unicorn! And that’s just to name only a few!
Let’s not forget our awesome female actresses in our films & The Clone Wars animated TV series who also love the franchise such as Ahsoka Tano actress Ashley Eckstein (who loved Star Wars so much she started her own sci-fi themed fashion line Her Universe), Aurra Sing actress Jaime King, Padmé Amidala actress Catherine Taber, Barriss Offee actress Meredith Salenger, Asajj Ventress actress Nika Futterman, Shaak Ti actress Tasia Valenza, Duchess Satine actress Anna Graves… just to name a few.
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.
It’s these female characters like Ahsoka Tano, Princess Leia, Senator Amidala, Aurra Sing, Asajj Ventress, Mon Mothma, Aayla Secura, Barriss Offee, Luminara Unduli, Mara Jade, Darth Talon, Sy Snootles, Zam Wesell, Jocasta Nu, Ackmena, Jaina Solo — and many MANY more — who little girls (and us big girls) can learn a lot from when it comes to being ourselves and fighting for what we believe in.
Kids can be cruel. They’re just trying to figure who they are and the friends they want to hang with. They want to be themselves, but they don’t want to be made fun of for being different. Sometimes standing up for what you love isn’t as easy as it looks when you have a gang of little girls snickering at you or a bunch of boys calling you names for liking something they think is just for them.
I should know. Not only was I bullied all through school for loving Star Wars, Doctor Who and anything else with an awesome robot in it; I decided to write a book about it for other girls who have to deal with bullying called Girls Against Girls: Why We Are Mean to Each Other and How We Can Change.
But here’s how WE as Star Wars fans can help RIGHT NOW:
- Support your kids/nieces/nephews when they say they love Star Wars and The Clone Wars — even if it’s a character you don’t happen to like — *cough*Jar Jar*cough*
- Pay attention to younglings when they look depressed. They might be suffering from bullying at school and could use a Yoda-like ear to talk to.
- Make sure your younglings understand that Star Wars is for guys AND gals.
- Finally, show your support of young Katie who was bullied for having a Star Wars water bottle at school by leaving comments here on the article that started it all and here on this blog entry calling for more geek girl support. Katie’s mom is reading all these supportive comments to her, and I bet she’d love to hear your Jedi-like words of wisdom.
- If you’re on Twitter, show your support of Katie liking Star Wars with the hashtag #MayTheForceBeWithKatie
UPDATE: So many people are leaving supportive comments so they made a second page to leave comments here.
May the Force be with guys AND girls…. always.