1st Grade Geek Girl Is Getting Bullied For Liking Star Wars? Not On My Watch. Geek Squad, Activate

Thursday, November 18, 2010

1st Grade Geek Girl Is Getting Bullied For Liking Star Wars? Not On My Watch. Geek Squad, Activate

If you're not up for a rant and a call to action, move along. Because I am SO not going to let this slide.

Fellow Geek Girl Jill Pantozzi posted a Facebook link to this article over at EPBOT about 1st grader Katie being bullied by her classmates for carrying a Star Wars water bottle to school. The article asks for other geek girls to drop a note of support to Katie so she realizes she's not alone in this.



Okay, that right there was already enough to send me over to the site and I was about to add my comment to the (currently) 364 but I wanted to click on the original story to get the details on this just for my reference.

And this is where I saw this. It wasn't in the first link and it took me some reading to find it, but this is what really bugged me.

Katie loves Star Wars, and she was very excited about her new items. For the first few months of school, she proudly filled her water bottle herself and helped me pack her lunch each morning.
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.
She wailed, "The first grade boys are teasing me at lunch because I have a Star Wars water bottle. They say it's only for boys. Every day they make fun of me for drinking out of it. I want them to stop, so I'll just bring a pink water bottle."

The boys are teasing her because Star Wars is for boys and, to top it off, she thinks she needs a pink water bottle to avoid more hassle.

::geek girl growl::

Okay, I'm not sure who's raising these boys, but I've got half a mind to whap their parents up the head for the varying levels of wrong here. Star Wars isn't just for boys. It never has been. And this poor kid -- who's just out there expressing herself (and who had a water bottle that matched her Star Wars backpack. Extra coolness points!) is getting flak to the point that she's willing to come home and give up something that makes her happy to avoid being teased.

I don't know about you, but I'm hoping someone from the Star Wars Universe shows up at this kid's school just to surprise her at class. Or that Lucasfilm sends her something special, or that someone does something to reinforce for this kid just how cool she is for being a Star Wars geek girl at her age.

Think I'm making a big deal? This isn't just about the water bottle. This is about identity and this kid's got enough to deal with.

"I don't want to be too different," Katie lamented.  "I'm already different.  Nobody else in my class wears glasses or a patch, and nobody else was adopted.  Now I'm even more different, because of my Star Wars water bottle."

Hey Katie. I know lots of girls who went through the same thing at your age. Who got teased for being different and who liked things other people thought were for boys. Who wore glasses and who were adopted and who had other things that made them "different" than the "normal" kids.

The truth is, it's not easy being different sometimes. But every one of those girls has gornw up to be really amazing and unique and special. They're geek girls and they love Star Wars and some of them even live in Chicago. ;-)

Katie, honey, you have lots of girls out here who love Star Wars and who think you're super cool.

You're not alone.

I promise. I really, really promise.

Update: The geek girl force jumped on this. From Bonnie Burton to Felicia Day and all the geek girls and guys in between.  I am amazed by each and every one of you.

Nov 22 Update: There's been a HUGE response on this issue. You're gonna want to check it out here. Katie - An Ordinary Story with an Extraordinary Response



19 comments:

  1. I wish there were some way that we could all gather and throw a Star Wars themed party and show her just how not-alone she is. I just saw that Dark Horse Comics are sending her some Star Wars books, which will hopefully help rally her spirits!

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  2. Dear Katie,
    Star Wars is NOT just for boys. In fact, one of the best characters in the movies is an awesome kick-butt princess (who was also adopted), and the awesome space pirate guy loves her exactly *because* she kicks butt, not in spite of it. Be proud of what you like, especially when the things you like maybe aren't exactly what everyone else things you should like, because that's what makes you special and unique and cool. Also, glasses let you see, and that's a really really good thing. (trust me, I've worn them for years)

    Love,
    Jessica
    (Another Star Wars loving geek girl with glasses)

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  3. Other kids can be so cruel...they see someone who's "different" and they pounce. Well guess what, kids? We're all different. This kid is tall. That one is chubby. That girl over there is Asian. That boy has asthma.

    And Katie likes Star Wars.

    Really? That's a reason to tease her? Because she'd rather talk about light sabers than Barbie dolls? Guess what? So would a *lot* of little girls! Lots of girls like Star Trek, Doctor Who and comic books, too

    We're *all* different, and that's what makes us beautiful and special.

    You go, Katie! From one glasses wearing geek-girl to another...be yourself and be proud!

    Love,
    Susan

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  4. Katie,
    I wish I were still in first grade... so I could hold your hand.

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  5. When I was six and seven and eight years old and Star Wars was brand new, I loved the movie, and I still do. As Jessica says, Princess Leia is beyond awesome - she saves everyone more than once!

    My daughter is almost six, and she's the only one of my kids who'll go on Star Tours at Disney with me, who'll sit and watch the original films with me (I don't ask any of them to watch the prequels, sorry) and to share one of her names with that fantastic princess.

    Maybe some day the two of you will meet at a con or on a fansite - in fact, knowing how large and how small the world of fandom is, I am sure you will.

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  6. I emailed Lee Kohse, Lucas arts artist http://www.leekohse.com/. Hopefully he can pass the word on to his colleagues.

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  7. Star Wars is cool. Katie, you are cool.
    The force is with you.

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  8. I'm an adopted geek girl who wears glasses too and I so just want to give this poor girl a hug. I was picked on in school for various reasons too and I know what she's going through. But if you read this, Katie, we fellow geek girls can promise that it does get better. You just be who you are and that makes you way cooler than those dumb boys. (and if Star Wars was just for boys, why would they make Princess Leia way cooler than everybody else? ;)(Plus Ewoks. I liked Ewoks when I was in the 1st grade)

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  9. I'm an adopted, glasses wearing girl too, Katie. And I happen to like a lot of geeky stuff normally only boys like, such as the card game Magic: The Gathering. I'm usually one of a handful of girls out of hundreds of players, and I get teased. I was teased all through school for being different, like wearing historical costumes as my every day clothing. Pink isn't needed to be a girl(I personally avoid it like nothing else!), and the teasing and taunts might hurt now, but you are strong and well-sure of yourself, as proven by the love of something as awesome as Star Wars. I know several of my guy friends, who at 20, only wished the girls they knew were that cool. Things will get better, just never forget to stay true to what you love.

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  10. Dear Katie,

    When I was in college studying electronics engineering I was the only girl in my class. I studied very hard and even harder than the boys because they had been allowed to take classes in high school I couldn't take because I had to take sewing and cooking. I did my best but I still had to work harder than all the boys for many years.

    Then I got the best job in the world. I was hired by a company called Microwarehouse to help people fix their computers over the telephone. There were as many girls as boys there and everyone helped each other get the work done and help the people.

    In January of 1992 I finished my apprenticeship. In an official ceremony I graduated as a real Jedi Knight. You see, when you must help people who are far away you must rely on the force to 'see' the best way to get them to help you help them.

    Today I am a mother and grandmother. My Jedi certificate is in a box. My cruiser went to India, But I continue to help people with what I've learned and I am very proud to be a smart woman who can do what some men and boys and other women cannot.

    If the force is strong within you then you will understand what I am going to tell you. Jealous some be. Down hold you. Care not you cry. Remember, Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. Fear not young one training. Many are women who choose the path of light.

    Be well, be smart.

    Sincerely,
    Candy Pizzulo Kushnir
    Jedi Master

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  11. Well said! I hope you posted a link to this for Katie over at the original site, because it's brilliant.

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  12. I used to get teased in school too. People are just jealous because they're afraid people will make fun of them for liking whatever they are into. I decided to carry a lunchbox when I was in
    8th grade. People made fun of me. The next year when I stopped everyone started to carry lunchboxes. Kids are cruel. Just keep being you. =)

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  13. I understand wanting to whap the parents of the boys upside the head, but what about the girls parents? Surely they deserve a good whapping upside the head for raising a daughter who sources her self-esteem from the boys.

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  14. Katie, I got made fun of in school a lot, too. I had glasses and braces, and I was obsessed with the Spice Girls. Two of my best friends told me every other week that they weren't gonna be my friends anymore because I was too big of a nerd, and because I liked the Spice Girls too much. You know what? My teeth are straight, I can see, and I still like the Spice Girls. And Star Wars. I plan on giving my first son the middle name Vader. And you know what? My friends now think all of that is awesome. People will accept you for who you are, so never pretend to be someone else. Everything that's happening now will only make you stronger :)

    PS- I know another girl who was actually adopted (from another country) and has to wear glasses and a patch. You're not alone!

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  15. Hi Katie, please, don't listen to these boys. You're not alone. Girls just love Star Wars in USA, in United Kingdom, here in Brazil and in the whole world.
    I'm a boy and I'm sayin' You can use your Star Wars bottle, there is no problem about it. If those boys keep boring you, say them Princesa Leia and Padmé are Girls either!
    Just like Brea said:

    "People will accept you for who you are, so never pretend to be someone else. Everything that's happening now will only make you stronger :) "

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  16. ":Anonymous said...

    I understand wanting to whap the parents of the boys upside the head, but what about the girls parents? Surely they deserve a good whapping upside the head for raising a daughter who sources her self-esteem from the boys."

    Okay, seriously, she's 6. She doesn't source her self-esteem from boys - she just doesn't like being teased. Are you telling me at 6 years old, you were so wise as to be immune to peer pressure and class bullying? You'd be the only one. Kids tease each other - it's part of the dark side of our human nature (some people never give that up) and it's nice to see people doing something to make it easier for her to take.

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  17. *sigh*

    Sometimes I hate my gender.

    As if geek boys are SO cool that they can say some nice gal who likes what they like ISN'T cool.

    Schmucks.

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  18. Dear Katie
    My 4 year old daughter is obsessed with Star Wars, so much so, we can only call her Luke. We think it is great you love Star Wars so much.
    Keep your chin up Katie and try not to worry about the boys are saying. They are probably just jealous that you know so much about Star Wars and they don't.
    May the Force be with You!!
    Love Ruth and Ella.

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  19. Mkay, well, if Geek Force Activate has been called...

    I'll form the head!

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