Nasa / Space

Donate a Star Wars toy to send an antibullying message

Star Wars isn't for girls is the message one seven-year-old female received from her male schoolmates. Find out how you can show support for this young Star Wars fan.

Even though Star Wars has gone mainstream, it seems some geeks -- especially geek girls -- are still bullied for being fans of the franchise. In case you haven't already heard about Katie Goldman, the first grader who loves Star Wars, here's her story.

Katie has a Star Wars backpack and matching water bottle. For the first couple months of school, Katie filled her water bottle with pride. Then one day, she suddenly decided that she'd be better off using a pink water bottle. After much probing by her mother, Katie finally admitted that the boys tease her relentlessly every day at lunch because Star Wars isn't for girls.

First off, I commend Katie for drinking water at lunch; she should be proud of herself for making healthy decisions. Way to be an individual! Second, she's quite right to like Star Wars -- the movies are fun, say something about society, and feature great aliens and cool technology.

As for Katie's water bottle selection plight, we all know that bullying is mean and wrong. I think some boys are just jealous because they secretly want to carry pink water bottles and feel that they can't due to social stigmas. Many of us who are grown geeks were bullied for being "different." I liked geek movies, excelled at science, and enjoyed math, which made me a prime candidate for becoming a bully victim; I remember members of the cheerleading squad putting spitballs in my hair (spitting nasty wads of goo through a straw is not ladylike, by the way). In fact, a great many women remember being bullied about our geeky preferences. Many of these geek gals also admit to eventually altering themselves in order to better fit in; I ended up altering my outward behavior as a result of the bullying. Geek gals, we can't stand idly by while one of our own hides her water bottle from view.

Support for Katie from the geek community

There is now a Facebook group, Support Star Wars and Geek Pride for Katie, and the geeks are coming out in force this Friday, December 10, 2010 to support Katie and geek pride everywhere. The idea is to wear your favorite Star Wars gear, and donate Star Wars toys to charities that will put those toys in the hands of needy kids. Sure, it's good for the Star Wars franchise, but there's a chance that the toy drive will introduce a great many more girls to Star Wars. So, needy kids get toys, geeks show some pride, and Katie is less likely to stand out in a crowd (which might make her feel less like an outcast, though the geeks are in agreement that she is certainly anything but an outcast).

Even if you don't wear Star Wars gear this Friday, I encourage you to spend a few dollars and donate a Star Wars toy to a toy drive in your town. You'll do so much good in so many ways.

Read more online coverage of this story:

About

Nicole Bremer Nash is Director of Content and Social Media for HuTerra, where she uses SEO and social media to promote charitable organizations in their community-building and fundraising efforts. She enjoys volunteering, arts and crafts, and conduct...

11 comments
disasterboy.info
disasterboy.info

I'm not someone who is opposed to the availability of war toys, but I do see some irony in the message being sent when you buy kids war toys to prevent bullying. Despite the fantasy, Star Wars toys are mostly war toys. Maybe its the same naive militarism that sustains violent bullying as the naive sexism that sustains gender harrassment.

info
info

I think this is a case of the anti-bullying message being taken a bit too far, and out of context. Like the 'don't spank your child, treat them as an adult and reason with them' way of thinking. They ARE children. They are NOT adults. Few people may remember clearly, but I do. I was pretty damned smart for a kid, but now I realize that my reasoning process was nowhere NEAR adult comprehension. I was teased and bullied, and I knew it was wrong. But I ALSO knew that it wasn't my fault, and it wasn't even theirs. The formative years are just that. Even with parents that are frank and open about what they tell you, you just don't have the information you need or the ability to process it. Life is simple for you, but you know that it isn't for adults, so you're trying to figure it out. You also know that adults can't really help you deal directly with your peers. That comes from practice and experimentation. So to try and impress this 'adult' message on kids at this age will ultimately be futile. One good example was when I was about 10yrs old. I was out playing when I saw the 8yr old girl across the street playing in her front yard with no shirt on. So I asked her if she was a boy! ;) I puzzled about why she didn't have her chest covered. EVERY girl in this society seemed to have to do that, didn't they? Same thing probably applies here. Boys like blue and Star Wars. Girls like pink and Barbies. If there's any deviation from this simple thought, different kids will react in different ways trying to reassess what they 'know' to be 'right'. Some will accept and make the adjustment in their heads, some will go into denial, some will go on the offensive... They're just trying to figure things out for themselves...

maj37
maj37

I agree and think we also need to try to define the line between teasing and bullying, and before someone jumps me I will just say that no not all teasing is bullying. When I was a kid I got teased a lot for various reasons but I survived. maj

The Flaming Maiden
The Flaming Maiden

I agree that teasing and bullying are not the same thing; however, the line is subjective. Teasing becomes bullying when the behavior persists and the recipient experiences upset over it. See the EEOC's definition of s. harassment; the same concept applies. The real point here though is that this seemingly small incident has encouraged the geek community to come together, at least a little bit, and do some real good in the world. Go donate a toy- it doesn't have to be Star Wars, but it's really about the action not the item. The online knitting community regularly holds fundraisers for different charities and the mantra used for said fundraisers is "If a person can afford yarn, that person can afford to give a few dollars, and a few dollars from many adds up to a lot." If you can afford a computer and geeky toys, and a Star Wars water bottle ;), then you can afford to donate a $3 toy. I encourage you to go out today and make some geeky kid's holiday better. I will.

amgillard
amgillard

I was hoping you would offer us a T-Shirt as a Christmas prize for the best suggestion - I would like one that says : Circle 2 (Left) - Surviving the night on Hoth 725:1 Circle 1 (Right) - Successfully navigating an asteroid field 3270:1 Circle 3 (Bottom) - Surviving an attack on an Imperial Star Destroyer ... Centre - Never tell me the odds !

sissy sue
sissy sue

The Feminist movement of the late '60s is by and large a failure. Certainly, we see more women in positions that were traditionally male-dominated. For the highly educated, affluent woman, the movement has been productive, but it hasn't done much to change our culture or to uplift women without means or education. Women still struggle with body-image issues. People and the media in general are still more interested in the packaging than interested in "the inner woman." Women continue to be paid less than men for the same work. And little girls are still aware that there are subjects and interests in which there are "No Girls Allowed."

zbuglady
zbuglady

I was born in the early 1950s. I'm well-educated now, but my family is working class. When I was growing up, working class women couldn't be hired for any "trade" jobs -- outdoor/construction work that paid better than service work. Very few military jobs were open to women, so that route to training and career was relatively closed. There was no such thing as rape within marriage from a legal standpoint. A woman who had sex before marriage (voluntarily or not) was "damaged goods". Banks would give a husband access to the wife's money routinely but not the other way without the husband's permission (happened to my mother) -- because a married couple was one person and that person was the husband. Getting child support from a man who didn't want to pay it was all but impossible. Anyone who says that the feminist movement didn't accomplish anything for working class women is poorly informed. Yes, there were missteps and failures, but there will be that in any movement. Keep in mind that for every progressive movement there is a backlash movement that is just as determined and often better funded.

unellen
unellen

#1 reason why feminist movement of 60s failed. The feminists failed to reproduce in large enough numbers to carry on the tradition -a la shakers (we were also trying for 0 pop growth at same time) As for being a geek, I am one and proud of it. I was also so geeky as a child I didn't notice any bullying although that was mainly because when I was in school, I was in school, I went home for lunch and didn't stay after for anything. Recess wasn't too much of a problem because I preferred being with only one or two friends (who weren't geeks, so they didn't know I was one) It's been a while since I read the star wars books so I don't remember her name, but it would be fun to hand out the red head as a toy (i doubt they even make one) Now there was a tough woman.

robo_dev
robo_dev

posteriors. Ages ago when some bullies decided to try to physically carry my sister to the headmaster's office for smoking, she dispatched one football player with a well-placed kick from her Fry's boots, and the other with a direct shot to the eyes with chemical mace.

seanferd
seanferd

And little boys need to know that they have the option of not being @$$#013$. There is still a lot of cultural baggage. People need to quit beating on themselves and others with their weird expectations and demands of conformity thereto.