As Eve Vawter has told me, I am into some weird shit. I’ve told y’all about prepping, Juggalos and my hate of all things crafty. But I have yet to share with you one of my favorite obsessions (one sure to embarrass the crap out of my kids when they’re teenagers). Star Wars.
Yes, I am a full on, movie loving, comic obsessed, rabid Star Wars fan. I’ve read pretty much all of the books (even the terrible ones) and I know a great deal of Star Wars trivia. You simply can’t love something this much and not have it rub off on your kids. My oldest daughter especially enjoys the franchise, and we’ve even been to comic-con a couple of times.
I think most people who aren’t huge fans like us don’t realize the scope of the Star Wars fanbase. Much like other sci-fi franchises (think Lord of the Rings or Star Trek), Star Wars has a HUGE following. But more than that, Star Wars fans see themselves as a culture. Now, I’m not one of the serious devotees that considers Jedism an actual religion or anything, but I do enjoy the camaraderie of it all.
Star Wars and other so-called geek fare isn’t typically something one would think of when thinking of being a mom, especially when you’re the mother of daughters. I’ve never gotten any strange questions when my son wears a Chewbacca t-shirt (or Doctor Who, superheroes, or really any geek-related thing), and I wish I could say the same for my daughters. When my oldest daughter was a little over a four years old, I took her to my favorite part of Central Park. She was wearing her favorite Star Wars t-shirt, one with Boba Fett being all badass, and feeling mighty fine. I was completely taken off guard when another parent at the park gave me a little wink and a nod and asked her if she enjoyed wearing her brother’s hand me downs. I brushed it off with a laugh and explained that no, the shirt was hers. The exchange baffled me though. Girls can like Star Wars and other sci fi things too, DUH.
Eventually I came to have a fun group of like-minded friends (some parents, some not) who enjoyed the same things I do, including Star Wars (and basically anything geeky). Like myself, a lot of women who get into sci fi and geek stuff are introverts, so finding people I could relate to wasn’t always easy. But it was worth it.
Still, my favorite people to talk about, read about and of course watch Star Wars with is still kids. My oldest and I watched the original (and superior, obv) trilogy when she was three and we’ve never looked back. The beauty of Star Wars is that it’s not only great for adults, but also (and perhaps especially) great for kids. The movies, comics and books contain themes of political strife, racial tension, democracy, social justice and much more. Of course, now that George Lucas has decided to pimp his intellectual material to literally everyone on the planet, the quality of what you’re reading or watching varies (I’m looking at you, new trilogy), but when it hits the mark it hits it HARD. The book Shatterpoint, by Matthew Stover, is a great example. It explores topics like genocide and racism (in the setting of Mace Windu’s home world) and read more like literature than fan fiction. I will be happy to have my kids read it when they’re older, and certainly not less valid simply because it’s a Star Wars book.
Recently it was announced that Lucasfilm (who was recently bought by Disney…I’ll give you a moment to grieve…okay, carry on) will be producing a new trilogy, this time written by Michael Arndt and directed by J.J. Abrams. Of course, as a fan I have high hopes for this new set of films. It would be hard not to, anything would be better than the last three movies. Hell, I’d rather watch Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill sit through a tense, silent lunch meeting where everyone is clearly uncomfortable and hates each other than the last three abominations, but I digress. The real joy I will get from the new trilogy is being able to discover a brand new portion of something I love with my kids.
My favorite part of sharing my love of sci fi with my kids is that it’s ours and ours alone. Since my husband isn’t a huge fan of it (don’t worry, I love him anyway), Star Wars (and geeky things in general) is something that I can share with my children that is just ours. Like me with my dad before us, it’s a great bonding tool, and nothing is better than snuggling up on a rainy Sunday when TBS inexplicably plays the original trilogy (or even the terrible one) for the tenth time in a month, and just getting lost in the magic.
(Image: getty images/Julia Sonenshein)