After Hours

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.

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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...

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