The Force Awakens: A New Hope

Star Wars was my life growing up.  I could quote all of the movies, and then one Christmas an aunt bought me Shards of Alderaan as a gift, and I realized there was an entire expanded universe out there for me to read.  And holy cow, did I read them.

I’ve talked about what it was like to grow up as a geeky teenage girl before, and therefore why it’s so important that Star Wars feature women.  At that point, Lucasfilm hadn’t yet been sold, and the prospect of Episode VII was still something that would never ever happen.

And yet, here we are.  We stand ten days away from Episode VII, which, to all appearances, features a lead female character.  It features an African-American actor as one of the leads, and a Hispanic actor, and Jessika Pava, the Hapa Pilot Queen of Bria’s Heart.  The commercials for tie-in products have featured girls challenging antiquated gender roles–one using that exact phrasing, mind you. The Campbell’s soup commercial for the Star Wars chicken noodle soup features a little boy and his two dads.  A Disneyworld commercial shows an adult African-American woman playing with a lightsaber.  This Halloween, I saw X-wing pilot uniforms for little girls.

Matthew made a compelling argument in his TFA hopes column that Star Wars has been a signpost for the way the movie industry moves.  If he’s right (and I see no reason to think he’s wrong), it’s a good time to be a Star Wars fan.

As most of you know, Shane and I had a Little Jedi (though my Imperial sympathizing husband might give her a different name) at the end of August.  She is a beautiful little girl who had a Wonder Woman onesie for Halloween, complete with shoes (with capes on the back).  My best friend cross-stitched the Avengers logo on a onesie for her.  Brian and Nanci bought her a BB-8 plushie.  Shane and I bought her a DC friends Golden Book.  One friend works at the Marshall Space Center and sent NASA merch.  Another friend sent Superman and Batman bibs.  The very first thing I got for her–and the way we announced that we were expecting a little one–was a Green Lantern onesie.  Oh, and we’ve already shown Little Jedi her first episode of Star Trek.

This child is already close to peak geekiness, and she hasn’t even learned to crawl.

But as she gets bigger, she’s going to have options.  She doesn’t have to go hunting in the boys’ section for t-shirts with Green Lantern symbols.  There is an entire line of Star Wars clothing for girls, thanks to Her Universe. She will see girls playing with Star Wars toys on television.

So if there’s one thing that I hope for out of TFA (other than a really awesome Star Wars movie), it’s that I hope that the incredible combined media power of Disney, Lucasfilm, and the Star Wars franchise continues to have an impact on the way our society sees girls, women, and their interests.

My little Jedi deserves that.

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