To be honest, I hadn’t planned to write more about Wookieepedia’s page on breasts. I’m already on record as disapproving, twice. Outrage fatigue happens even to the outraged, and quite honestly I don’t have the temperament or patience to continue to explain Feminism 101 to this fandom.
But the page and one of the responses ended up on Tumblr – one of those areas of fandom where you do actually see female majorities in many circles – and I remembered why it’s important that we keep speaking out.
Here are some of the responses on Tumblr to those posts:
“Don’t ever join the Star Wars fandom, it’s a disgusting place where you’ll encounter attitudes like these for the sake of an April Fool’s Day “joke” the moment you venture outside of your social circle. I seriously mean it, like, I’ve stopped trying to drag my non-SW female friends into this mess *exactly* because of this stuff, and I’ve stopped trying to pull my friends who’ve left it back in.” – nicolecieux
Wow, guys. Super fucking classy. I’m so goddamn proud to be a Star Wars fan right now. – thelibrarina
There are days when I’m glad I’m not more into the Star Wars fandom at large. This is one of those days. – ta-dala
Part of the reason I left the SW fandom and never looked back… – lordofhaladin
Let’s get something out of the way: This isn’t about the nudity. The artwork itself is beside the point, because the whole reason that page exists? It’s not because breasts are particularly important in the Star Wars universe, that’s for sure. It’s pure titillation, ‘oh, we’re so naughty,’ because it’s just so easy to write an article on biological functions and pretend that’s the point. But what real need is there for that on a Star Wars encyclopedia? None.
There’s already plenty of objectification going on in this franchise, in this fandom…. Do we really need to add more? And on, of all things, a highly visible and respected fandom resource?
I value Wookieepedia. I don’t have the time, energy, or sheer pedantry to contribute these days (disclosure: I did design their logo, back in the day) but I believe it’s a great resource for fandom, and I hate to see it dragging itself down and willfully alienating people (not just women) for the sake of a schoolyard joke. Wookieepedia is – or should be – better than that.
Is the article itself, if perceived in a vacuum, fairly minor? Yes. But that’s the thing: Fandom isn’t a vacuum, life isn’t a vacuum, and we see things like this all the time. But you know what these things say to women in a setting like the front page of the Wook? “You’re not welcome here.” “This isn’t for you.” And the responses? “Relax, it’s funny” and my personal favorite, “your concerns are not valid because I, as a member of a totally different demographic, don’t see what the big deal is.”
So is it any wonder we turn around and we go back to our own areas of fandom? To fanfic and Tumblr and Livejournal and private mailing lists and all the other places over the years? If we’re lucky, if we’ve found or formed our own groups. But not everyone has that. How many woman and girls have just walked away? How many are simply and irrevocably alienated by offhand misogyny?
And then people wonder why there are so few women ‘in fandom.’
That’s why we make a big deal out of this sort of thing. It’s not okay, it’s not acceptable, and we’re done just letting it pass with a token shaming. Grow up already, because we’re not going to shut up about this kind of thing until it actually stops happening. It reflects badly on the Wook and on the fandom as a whole.
But hey, boobies. Ha ha.
- An open letter to Wookieepedia.
- Wookieepedia’s official statement, my response, Tosche Station’s response.
- Another response from ex-Wookieepedian Mike Overby.
- The page is now up for a deletion vote. I doubt it will come to anything, but it will be interesting to compare this vote to one back in 2007.
- Eleven-ThirtyEight’s Mike Cooper on the issue.
- The Wook’s April Fools ‘joke’ is a topic on the latest Full of Sith.