Mark Hamill reached out to a seven-year-old girl via Twitter, who was scared that she would be laughed at for wearing a Star Wars t-shirt. Her mother posted about the dilemma of her daughter on Thursday, and numerous people reached out to encourage her, along with Luke Skywalker himself.
Star Wars is not “Boy Stuff”
Mother of a 7-year-old N.J. Simmonds posted on Twitter that her daughter wants to wear her Star Wars t-shirt to school but is scared that her classmates will laugh because she likes '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.— Author N J Simmonds (@NJSimmondsTPK) March 6, 2018
Her Tweet received immense support from people, who encouraged the little girl to embrace her choice with pride. And how Star Wars belonged to girls as much as to boys.
My dad was a stormtrooper in the 1st film made, me and my sister are massive fans, my son and daughter are equal fans. My cousin Karen dresses up as a jawa on weekends and has legally changed her name to a Jedi name. In our houses it's an everybody thing— Simon (@Johnnywas25) March 7, 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
Howdy. I'm NASA Rey. I cosplay as Rey while driving Mars rovers and flying NASA's TIE fighter. pic.twitter.com/Rw0yAceIfx— Keri Bean (@PlanetaryKeri) March 7, 2018
So glad she did it! Here’s me dressed as a pirate & my 6 year old dressed as the queen of hearts meeting Darth Vader! She owns several Star Wars t-shirts, as well as other merch. pic.twitter.com/y0XuO2AbSi— Mike Rickard (@Narshada) March 7, 2018
Hamill, who recently received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, also came across Simmonds' tweets. He had some great advice for the little girl.
Just tell her to feel free to use this gesture if her classmates give her any grief. "Boy stuff"? PLEASE! The Force is, & always will be strong with females here on Earth & in galaxies far, far away.— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) March 8, 2018
♥️- mh pic.twitter.com/lAI4AGr0sc
Mark Hamill also used Princess Leia’s example to prove that Star Wars was a story of a strong princess.
Many parents shared stories of their children who were going through a similar struggle. These tweets point out that it's about time we shun gender stereotyping in choices of toys, clothes and hobbies for children.
Choices of our children should not be dictated by social norms.
Both genders have long suffered consequences of gender stereotyping. Society and our gender specific ideas heavily influence the choices of our children. Girls are afraid of being ridiculed for liking toy trucks or video games. They are afraid of being mocked by their friends for choosing to do” boy stuff”. Similarly, many boys give up on playing with dolls or buying unicorns and kitchen sets, because they know their friends and peers will shame them.
In a way we all are responsible for filling these toxic gender stereotypes in their heads.
It starts with us buying pink for girls and blue for boys. We encourage girls to play with dolls and kitchen sets. We roll our eyes and say “boys will be boys” when they show tendencies of violence or aggression. The imbalance that we see amidst the two genders in our world, finds its roots in such stereotyping.
We need to initiate a change in perception of gender identity in schools, homes and on social media. We all know of kids who come from homes where roles and choices are dictated by gender. Such children bully other children to fall in line. It's not their fault though. It is the fault of their families who encourage their behaviour.
Just as it is important to stand by a child who dares to choose as per his or her liking, we need to stand up to parents and social outfits who instigate gender stereotyping in children. This means changing our approach to everything from personal conduct, cartoon shows, to clothing and toys as well. Also, it’s not wrong to give children feminine or masculine choices. But it is wrong to make the choice of which one to pick for them.
Pic credits: scooops
Also Read : Are we stereotyping gender roles with toys?
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.