Hey, it’s my turn to tag in. *slaps Nanci’s hand* I can do this. If you look back in the archives, I’ve got a post called Why Star Wars Needs Women. Why don’t you go read that while I drag out the soapbox?
You know, this soapbox keeps getting heavier. It seems like it keeps getting more difficult to step on to, too. I know it’s my own perception, though. It has nothing to do with the actual weight of the soapbox or my own strength. It has everything to do with exhaustion. You see, I’m tired.
You know why? Because I have to keep repeating myself. Because I have to keep shouting myself hoarse and jumping up and down and saying “HEY YOU, HOW ABOUT THE GIRLS?”
People conveniently forget that women invented science fiction. (Haven’t read Frankenstein? You should.) They don’t know that the history of science has been rewritten to excise the contributions of hundreds of women. They don’t realize that there are systematic social roadblocks in the way of women and minorities entering into science and technology. Don’t believe me? Maybe you’ll believe Neil DeGrasse Tyson in his response to the man who used to be the president of Harvard University.
Tyson points out that to have women and minorities in science, “[Y]ou gotta come up with a system where there’s equal opportunity.” You know how some of that starts? With representation in media. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the original Star Trek and the influence that its intentional representation had. (And yeah, I’ve called JJ out on screwing that up in the Star Trek reboot too.) Star Wars can’t do that?
Star Wars can do better.
So why am I so tired? Because when we get a casting list like this, it seems like all the work I do, everything I work for, everything I try to teach my cousins and my students, everything–has been worth precisely a hill of beans.
But Tyson points something else out. To become an astrophysicist, he says “I looked to become something that was outside the paradigms of expectation of the people in power. Fortunately, my depth of interest was so deep, and so fuel-enriched, that every one of these curveballs I was thrown, and fences built in front of me, and hills that I had to climb, I just reached for more fuel and I kept going.”
So here we go. Yeah, it needs to be said. Again. And we’re going to keep saying it.