So I was at my friends’ house, and their young daughter was playing with a toy that consisted of simple metal locks mounted on a wooden board. She spent quite a while—especially for a toddler—manipulating the various chains and fasteners to open doors that revealed images of cheerful farm animals.
Having successfully figured out how to expose all of the horses and chickens, she moved on to a different activity, at which point another toddler swooped in, his brow furrowed as he began clicking and twisting the pieces. A relative saw him and marveled to the room: “Look at that! Isn’t that just like a boy? He’s already mechanically minded!”
The girl, by that logic, was apparently sliding bolts home by sheer chance as she fumbled around searching for a fairy princess or unicorn or something.
I was offended on a 2-year-old’s behalf. As a father of two daughters myself, maybe I’m more acutely aware of this sort of behavior than is the average so-and-so, but it still bugs me. And it’s why I’m eagerly anticipating Dec. 16, known as Wear Star Wars, Share Star Wars Day.
Never heard of it? I’ll explain. I only wish there were some way I could make my words scroll up the page. Maybe hold the paper up to your face and slowly slide it along while humming some John Williams. Or if you’re reading this online, scroll the text down your monitor while you, uh, hum some John Williams.
Are you doing it? Okay. Here goes.
“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away …”
Actually, any true Star Wars fan could tell you that those opening words aren’t part of the iconic rolling introduction to the space saga. In the film, the blue letters sit in one place before giving way to the yellow wall of text floating off into some forced-perspective distance. And then the Imperial star destroyer comes rumbling in, firing at the Rebel Blockade Runner …
Yeah, I’m a geek. It’s a trait I’m proud of, and it’s one I hope I pass on to my daughters, because girls can be geeky, too.
Last year, the geekier parts of the Internet—which I occasionally frequent—unified in solidarity behind Katie, a 7-year-old girl who was being teased at school because she liked Star Wars, evidenced by the themed water bottle she carried to school. Only boys, she was told by her classmates, are allowed to like Luke, Leia, R2D2, and the rest.
Katie’s mom blogged about the playground boy vs. girl push, and the post caught the attention of prominent geek bloggers and Star Wars voice actors, who shared Katie’s story with their own readers and fans. Faster than you can nail a womp rat in Beggar’s Canyon, a holiday was born.
The purpose of the day is twofold: First, celebrants are encouraged to wear some sort of Star Wars memorabilia. Don’t have a full-body Admiral Akbar costume with mask? A related T-shirt will do. Second, and more importantly, celebrants are also encouraged to buy a sci-fi toy—something geeky and cool—and donate it to a gift-giving charity with the stipulation that it go to either a boy or a girl.
Yes, girls like lightsabers and blasters. And Yoda. And Han Solo. For some reason, they really like Han Solo.
Not sure she’ll go for the Force? Honestly, anything geeky is fine: sci-fi, fantasy, superheroes. After all, you don’t need a hairy chest to wear a cape.
And as awesome as Wonder Woman and her sister heroes are, it’s OK for girls to like Batman. Or Superman. My older daughter is partial to Spider-Man, and while I’m not a huge fan of the web-slinger myself, I’m proud that she can tell me that Peter Parker lives with his Aunt May. I’m a little worried, however, about her younger sister, who squeezed a pair of plastic Mr. Potato Head glasses onto her nose and said “I’m Superman!”
“No,” I sighed. “You’re Clark Kent. Superman doesn’t wear glasses.”
But I know she’ll figure it out, especially with people like me—like you—making sure geekery doesn’t solely hover in the realm of boys.
You could stop by the nearest chain store and find something suitable to give or donate, sure, but don’t forget to look at local shops: Dr. Cain’s Comics and Games at 778 Marsh St. in downtown San Luis Obispo has some Star Wars comics, books, and gear. Captain Nemo Games at 565 Higuera St., also in downtown San Luis Obispo, carries Star Wars comics, graphic novels, action figures, and miniatures. Jamie’s Games and Comics at 1024 North H St. in Lompoc has some Force-related merchandise as well.
Buy it. Give it. Let girls be geeks.
But if you really, really care for the children in your life—girls and boys—you’ll start them at Episode IV: A New Hope, as God intended. ∆
Executive Editor Ryan Miller is scruffy looking, but not a nerf herder. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.