An Open Letter to Wookieepedia

Dear Wookieepedia,

I generally try not to get involved in discussions of feminism in fandom–at least not here on the blog.  I don’t think any one really wants a not-so-short introduction to feminism here (and yes, I am qualified to teach Women’s Studies at the university level, in case you were wondering).

What started as a joke-and yes, I’m willing to say it probably started as a April Fool’s joke with no ill intentions-has just snowballed into a real problem.  And it all could have gone away if you’d apologized, admitted mea culpa, asked forgiveness and taken it down.

But I’m not going to lecture you.  I’m not going to pull out my Gloria Steinem quotes.  I’m not going to talk about marginalization.

I am going to share something I read on Tumblr a few weeks ago.  It read something like this:

“When you victim-blame, a woman who you love and care about very quietly decides she can no longer trust you.”

But you say, “Victim-blaming?  Where was the victim-blaming?  Since when have we done that?  You’re arguing something completely different!”

Am I?

People took offense to the post.  And then others started firing back.  This wasn’t Wookieepedia’s fault, they said.  This was the fault of the people who were being offended!  And suddenly, those who were offended were told that it was their fault, that it they are the problem with fandom, that they don’t know how to take a joke.  This is textbook victim-blaming.

Oh, and by the way, when you victim-blame over something to do with women or women’s bodies, a woman you know, perhaps one you love or care about, very quietly decides you can’t be trusted.

That’s bullshit?  Is it?  One in four women are sexually assaulted by the time they reach the age of 22.  Most of those cases go unreported.  Now count the women in your family and think about what you might not know and what you haven’t been told.  And when you’re telling this story in earshot of one of them, think about whose trust you might have just lost, because you’ve shown that you have no respect for women’s bodies or for their feelings about their bodies.

I know I won’t be in a room alone with you.



11 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Wookieepedia

  1. Well said. Wookieepedia administrators, take heed: you have handled this entire affair in very bad form. Whether it's an article about breasts or a penis, neither sexes take kindly to being marginalized as human beings and having their body parts put on for show, all for the lame excuse of "It was an April Fools' joke, lighten up". The best thing you can do now, is to apologize for your utter disrespect of and disregard for the integrity and feelings of Star Wars fans (and people) everywhere. Regardless, your actions will likely not be forgiven (or forgotten) soon.

  2. “When you victim-blame, a woman who you love and care about very quietly decides she can no longer trust you.” - This! I need this embroidered on a throw pillow.

  3. I wasn't able to find out what was actually done, but it sounds like Wookieepedia had an april fools prank about the breasts of Star Wars characters. Is that correct? If that is the case - please correct me if I'm wrong - then maybe it is more George Lucas's problem since he has had so many female characters wear VERY revealing outfits for no good reason other than titillation. As a Star Wars fan I find what George has done with characters like Ahsoka to be appalling. Some female fans try to say it is "empowering," but I think that is an excuse that can't be backed up. How is dressing like in what our world would look like a hooker empowering? Men aren't supposed to objectify the female form, yet Lucas and co. have drowned fandom in images that do just that. It's like a woman flashing men and then yelling at them for looking! People are calling for the official site to take down links to Wookieepedia while they ignore what the official site is showing young fans every day. Has anyone criticizing Wookieepedia considered the fact that Lucas has given them multiple examples of the very idea that the critics object to? Maybe the critics should be reflecting on the object of their fandom a little more. Again, correct me if that isn't what happened.

    • First, you must be new. We've discussed the inherent issues with Ahsoka's hypersexualized wardrobe for a long time. This strawman won't work here.

      Second, no this isn't the cause of outrage. Read up.

  4. Pingback: Why the Wookieepedia article on breasts is a big deal | Club Jade

  5. Pingback: Wookieepedia's Apology Falls Well Short | Tosche StationTosche Station

  6. Ahsoka's outfit has more holes than swiss cheese yet they're not complaining. No sir, Wookieepedia's breast article is worse.

    • It's almost like you're intentionally missing the point and trying to strawman away from it by using the slut shaming arguments to distract from what people are ACTUALLY complaining about.

      And you must be new here, because we've been complaining about how Ahsoka was dressed for a looooong time.

    • I'm sure your mother asked you some variant of this question when you were young: "If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?"

      Just because one person does something doesn't give you the right to do it as well. Objectification is objectification, no matter where it comes from, and it's not okay in or out of universe.

  7. I can't believe it's requiring such a crusade to get this article taken down. Besides being in poor taste, it's just a profoundly stupid joke and I don't understand the unwillingness to give it up. I don't know what the review process is at Wookieepedia, but the appropriate response by whoever's in charge should have been "what, are you dumb? no. of course not. no." And then it should never have gone live. No one should even have to explain the larger issues in play here. The fact that people are bothered by it at all should be enough to make you delete your stupid, unfunny, utterly worthless joke. If there were anything clever or thoughtful or subversive about it at all it might bear some consideration, but as it stands it's basically just a billboard telling the world "hey look at me, I'm stunted".

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