A lot has changed since George Lucas first introduced us to a galaxy far, far away. For one thing, the Star Wars universe has a lot more women and people of color in it now. That's a refreshing change. Star Wars has always had fans from all walks of life, but having representation on screen makes it much easier to relate, especially when you get to see people who look like you be heroes.
But there is still a persistent feeling that Star Wars is only for a certain type of person. Young adult author N. J. Simmonds tweeted that her 7-year-old wanted very badly to wear her Star Wars T-shirt to school, but was having a major anxiety attack about it. She was convinced she'd be mocked for her fandom, telling her mother folks would laugh at her for liking "boy stuff."
My 7 year old daughter's crying in bed right now because she wants to wear her Star Wars t-shirt to school but is scared her classmates will laugh because she likes 'boy stuff'. I'm so sad/angry for her. Please RT and comment so I can show her how awesome girl #StarWars fans are.— N.J.Simmonds (@NJSimmondsTPK) March 6, 2018
Simmonds reached out to her Twitter fans and the Star Wars fandom at large. Lots of people responded to say that the movies aren't just for boys:
I’m a 17 yr old girl (its my birthday today!) I love Star Wars, and I wear my Star Wars t-shirt to college. Star Wars isn’t just for boys, it’s for everyone. You want to wear your Star Wars t-shirt then you wear it! And if they do laugh then they’re the ones with a problem 😊 pic.twitter.com/szevLjTBOw— Kara Luke (@karaaluke) March 6, 2018
Just told my 5yo girl this and she said: "No, that's not right because Star Wars is good and girls and boys can wear anything they want to." She then followed with "Can I be Rey tomorrow and not wear my uniform?" "No."— Jenn Bridgwater (@jennbridgwater) March 6, 2018
Hi Friend--I have a 9 year old granddaughter and I remind her that people who tease others are feeling weak and insecure, and trying to make others feel that way as well. If a classmate teases, ask them "Why do you want to hurt me? Do you feel sad? I'm sorry if you feel badly."— Lora Burnett (@LoraBurnett10) March 7, 2018
Star Wars girl AND mom! In high school (mid 90s) I nervously wore a Boys ringer t-shirt with C-3P0 & R2-D2 to High School. It turns out that I ended up relating to a lot of other kids who liked Star Wars who didn’t realize I liked Star Wars. Sometimes it’s a conversation starter!— 🌈🤷🏼♀️👩🏼🎤Sailor Wendy Lady🧟♀️☕️🌮 (@NerdRage42) March 7, 2018
Getting all that support from everyone must have felt great. But not as great as hearing from Luke Freaking Skywalker. Mark Hamill responded to tell Simmonds' daughter that the Force is in all of us, especially women:
And his response is making everybody cry:
Dude holy crap. You are a legend to many. And this a great way to handle it. Very cool— Jack Barakat (@JackAllTimeLow) March 8, 2018
This is why MH is the greatest ❤ ...And mama, you have the world's coolest daughter!!! ❤❤🌷— Em Harriss (@EmHarriss) March 8, 2018
Guess what? It worked.
I always say that to her too. She went in, happy to wear it, and no one said anything. The fear of ridicule was greater than what actually happened. Lesson learned. Although all these amazing messaged have really made me proud of a world full of such awesome women!— N.J.Simmonds (@NJSimmondsTPK) March 7, 2018
Simmonds daughter was afraid of ridicule, but Star Wars fans everywhere supported her. She also learned a valuable lesson—almost no one cares as much about what you are wearing as you do. And if you're looking for someone who didn't care what anyone thought about her, check out Carrie Fisher. A princess and an incredible woman.
Which is a fact that Hamill acknowledged himself when he saw that his response had gone viral:
May the Force be with you, kid.