Girl bullied for liking Star Wars

This has been all over the internet today, so apologies if you’ve heard it already. A girl was bullied for – of all things – bringing a Star Wars water bottle to school:

But a week ago, as we were packing her lunch, Katie said, “My Star Wars water bottle is too small. It doesn’t hold enough water. Can I take a different one?” She searched through the cupboard until she found a pink water bottle and said, “I’ll bring this.”

I was perplexed. “Katie, that water bottle is no bigger than your Star Wars one. I think it is actually smaller.”

“It’s fine, I’ll just take it,” she insisted.

I kept pushing the issue, because it didn’t make sense to me. Suddenly, Katie burst into tears.

Response has been pretty overwhelming – There are 300 comments on the original post and more than a thousand on Epbot, who’s been spreading the word. It’s pretty much all over Twitter and even Tumblr this evening. But that’s no reason not to drop in a word yourself.

UPDATE: Bonnie at StarWars.com and our pal Mandy at The Adorkable both have messages for Katie and other girls.

13 thoughts on “Girl bullied for liking Star Wars

  1. JaclynGFC

    It makes me so angry to hear about this little girl getting grief for expressing her love of Star Wars. To Katie: Keep the faith. It does get better and know that there are lots of us Star Wars fans (both men and women alike) who have your back. We all think you are beautiful and wonderful and you deserve to like what you like. no ifs ands or buts.

  2. LadyElaine

    When she was little, my daughter was told (by a boy, of course) that girls weren’t allowed to like Star Wars, or wear Batman t-shirts, or be able to read Harry Potter in first grade (after all, none of the other first graders could!).

    Middle school was hell for her. These days, though? These days she runs a Star Wars RPG, played by–you guessed it–a bunch of guys.

    Bullying is wrong, no matter what you get bullied for. I believe that difference-shy kids are the children of difference-shy adults. They never learn, and they never pass on to their kids, that the world would be much less interesting–or advanced!–if it weren’t for the “weird” kids!

  3. Briannakin

    I’m in grade 12 and I’ve been bullied since kindergarten because I’m in a wheelchair and talk differently. Last year some jerk decided to tease me, not because of my disability, but because I had a star wars lunch kit. It actually felt good for a change to be bullied for something I choose to have, not something I dont have any choice in.

  4. jedifreac

    I wonder if there is something Star Wars fangirls (and fanboys!) can do to help fight this perception that Star Wars is only for boys. It’s ingrained on such a systemic level.

    Sure, there’s Ashoka and Princess Leia, but when all the underoos and t-shirts are in the boy’s section of Target, and when all the Star Wars toys are in the boy’s section of Toys R Us, kids get a message from adults early on that Star Wars is a male thing. Even if little girls are getting the message that there is a role in Star Wars for them, BOYS aren’t being taught that Star Wars fandom should be equal opportunity.

  5. jawajames

    jedifreac is right – while we can talk on the internet all we want.. when it comes down to it at a level that is geared at kids, it comes down to marketing, and Star Wars mass market merchandise is pretty much all geared for boys. (Even watching the ads during Clone Wars shows the target audience that advertisers see – lots of Nerf weaponry, superhero toys, etc.)

    Hopefully as Her Universe shows that selling to female fans is profitable, others will see the market potential of making Star Wars for everyone.

  6. Nanci

    I bought my 7-year-old cousin a toy lightsaber and a Star Wars shirt (from the boys section, of course) for her birthday. She opened all her presents and said thank you for all of them (including the girly Barbie movies), but when she pulled out the lightsaber, her eyes lit up and she grinned like crazy. She and her four-year-old brother have just started liking Clone Wars and it warms my heart each time I see them and they come running up to me to talk about Star Wars (something I’ve been trying to get them to like for years!).

    I was lucky; I started liking Star Wars when I was in middle school and I didn’t get made fun of a lot for it (I got good grades and was awkward for most of middle school, so I got made fun of for that instead). In high school I became known as “the girl who loves Star Wars,” but I never really got made fun of for it. It was expected for me to always be reading a Star Wars book and have the latest info about the Special Editions and then the prequels.

    It makes me sad that today, with The Clone Wars and characters like Ahsoka and Padme, not to mention the classic Princess Leia, that Star Wars is still stereotyped as a boy thing. And people wonder why companies like Her Universe are appreciated so much.

    Now, if only they would start releasing girls’ sizes. :)

  7. Kelly

    This isn’t about girls and Star Wars. This is about anything kids can find outside whatever the perceived “norm” is and picking at it. It wouldn’t matter if she were the only girl on the planet who was a Star Wars fan, the school should not tolerate students ostracizing other students like this.

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  9. DanMadsen

    It’s a shame that anyone should be bullied for liking Star Wars but Katie already now knows that there are many girls who LOVE Star Wars thanks to the amazing response she has received. Ashley Eckstein has made it her mission to let girls know that Star Wars and everything Sci-Fi is not just for boys. For the last couple of years she has been working closely with Lucasfilm through her company, Her Universe, to give girls the opportunity to show their love and interest in Star Wars. She is definitely leading the charge! I know Katie is going to get some very cool things soon!

    Dan Madsen
    Her Universe
    http://www.heruniverse.com

  10. Stephanie

    You hang in there, Katie!! Someday those boys’ll know that girls are perfectly capable of liking Star Wars!!
    I’m 12 (8th grade) and you can’t imagine the looks I get when I mention anything about Star Wars. I remember one day in 6th grade clearly, when we had to tell our partner our favorite movie. Mine happened to be a guy, and when I told him my favorite was ESB, he exclaimed, “Girls can’t like Star Wars!”
    That’s why I love Her Universe. Finally, the girl fans have a voice! Thanks so much, Ashley!

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