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Melinda’s Brew : Pass On What You Have Learned

Melinda’s Brew : Pass On What You Have Learned

That’s a pretty tall order.

I never really gave too much thought about those six little words in Yoda’s missive to Luke before the great Jedi Master took his last breath and became one with the Force. Other than it opened up a path for Luke, that is.

And then it happened … back in 1989. I became a parent, repeating that momentous, awe-inspiring event in 1992. I was blessed with two beautiful daughters, and not for one split second did I doubt – nor did their father, by the way – that our girls would be brought up on Star Wars.

Erin, our oldest, and Caitlin were born during the Dark Times (otherwise known as the time when not too much was happening in the galaxy far, far away). However, by the time Erin was in grade school and Caitlin into her toddler years, a new wave of Star Wars toys started showing up on store shelves. Novels began to appear in bookstores. It wasn’t long before the girls amassed quite a collection of action figures, a few ships, and other paraphernalia that began popping up in stores. Already familiar with the Star Wars Saga (now known as the OT 😉 ), the girls spent countless hours setting up and playing through intricate, elaborate space fantasy scenarios set on Tatooine, Endor, the Death Star. Sometimes they took over entire rooms in the house – which we wouldn’t use for days, of course! 😉 (I never had the heart to make them dismantle their setups as the sun set on the first day of their transportation to the galaxy far, far away. It usually took expecting company or when they’d eventually move on to some other activity for me to utter the infamous “Girls, it’s time to take down your diorama.” That usually met with groans and grumblings.) Many a time I fabricated a reason to pass through the room in which they were playing just so I could listen to their imaginations take flight. 🙂

My girls were growing up with a love of – and appreciation for – Star Wars. Tom and I couldn’t be happier. 😀

Erin and Caitlin Back To Back

[That’s Caitlin on the left; Erin on the right.]

Years ago, one of my good friends asked me: “Melinda, are you forcing your daughters to like Star Wars?” I couldn’t help but let loose a little chuckle at her use of the word “forcing” … considering its relationship to the world of Star Wars (maybe I’m just a bit warped – in a geeky sort of way 😉 ). I had to pause for a moment or two before responding. Was she being serious? My friend’s query was posed during one of her visits when she witnessed the girls’ taking-over-the-house setups. I chose to interpret her inquiry as one of jest, and responded in kind (although she had no idea about the reference I was making 😉 ): “No, I have not forced them to like Star Wars. They are not weak-minded.” (To this day, this particular friend never has seen a Star Wars film. And she’s proud of that fact! I like her anyway. 😉 )

A healthy interest in everything Star Wars both Erin and Caitlin had – and still have. 🙂 No, they no longer play with their action figures. However, their bedrooms still are decorated with their personal favorite collectibles – Erin’s: artwork and Princess Leia and Queen Amidala 12-inch dolls; Caitlin’s: artwork, Legos and Gentle Giant statuettes. Even her bedding and window treatments revolve around Star Wars. How cool is that! 🙂 At 24 and 21, respectively, neither has indicated she has outgrown her “childhood” room decor. Star Wars is ageless, timeless.

Recently, there’s been some grumblings on the internet about the upcoming “Rebels” series and the next installment in the film saga regarding the lack of female characters – and action figures representing said characters. When news started filtering down the pike, and male characters and action figures were getting the attention (about “Rebels”, mainly), some female fans began complaining … complaining … complaining. Here we go again! The Powers That Be are pandering to the male fan base – and ignoring the huge contingent of female Star Wars fans. Has no one heard the word patience?

A) It is a key marketing ploy to let news filter out gradually. Too much of a good thing can lead to information overload … which leads to a disinterest in said topic.

B) Quite frankly, the best was saved for last (where “Rebels” has been concerned). 🙂 Everyone will have his or her own opinion about who is the key character in “Rebels”. I say it will be Hera, the female pilot of Ghost. She was the last regular character named – and if fans just exercised some patience, they would have been more than satisfied by what they learned. From everything Dave Filoni and team have said about Hera, she’s spunky, adventurous, not afraid to mix it up, and she’s the conscience of the group. If that isn’t enough about which to be excited, Hera isn’t the only regular, strong female character in the show! My daughters would love Hera and Sabine – and the male characters, too. (I say “would” because neither of them watch animated series anymore … unlike their parents. 😉 )

The reason I bring this up is – as a female who is a HUGE fan of the Star Wars Saga, who has raised two girls who have enjoyed the galaxy far, far away since they were very young, I think too many people complain about a shortage of female Star Wars characters. It’s about quality, not quantity. Yes, I could sit here and argue that it would be nice to have a plethora of strong female characters up on the big screen for little girls to look up to, but we’re talking about a world of make believe. Girls would be better served to look at their mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, neighbors, grandmothers, etc. for real role models.

When I’d take the girls shopping, and we’d stop at Target or Wal-Mart, in particular, we’d always make our way to the Star Wars sections in the toy departments. Each of the girls would be allowed to choose one action figure, sometimes two – to open, incidentally! They never really cared if the characters were male or female. That’s not to say Erin, in particular, wouldn’t have appreciated more Padmé figures. It wasn’t because she was lacking in female toys with which to create her elaborate Star Wars scenarios. She loved – still does, as a matter of fact – the beautiful, intricate costumes Tricia Biggar created for Natalie Portman’s character in the PT. Erin would have liked to have a Padmé action figure depicting every outfit Luke’s and Leia’s mother wore. Who could argue with that? (In this regard, I think Hasbro missed the boat on a successful marketing campaign. 😉 )

There is more to this story. However, I’m going to stop right there to keep the length of this post … manageable. lol Look for the conclusion in my May 15 post. I intend to include some photos – that undoubtedly will embarrass the girls all these years later (although I think they look as cute as can be! 🙂 For me, it will be a wonderful trip down Memory Lane.). Until then, MTFBWY 🙂

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13 Comments

  1. Lisa
    May 1, 2014 at 13:03 Reply

    Growing up with Star Wars – I was 8 when the first movie came out – I never felt I suffered from a lack of female characters. I understand where certain fans are coming from, but I don’t want characters created just to satisfy public outcry. If having more females in the cast serves the story, then so be it. If not, then that’s fine by me, too. My geek heroes have always been male, anyway – The Doctor, Luke Skywalker, Superman, Batman, Captain America…

    As you point out, our REAL heroes should come from REAL life. Then, my list is much shorter – My Mom is my hero! Guess what? She’s a woman! 😉 (Miss you, mom!)

    Looking forward to the conclusion of this entry. Glad you’re back and feeling better!

    1. Melinda
      May 1, 2014 at 13:32 Reply

      I am right there with you, Lisa! I never have cared if a character on screen was male or female. It always has been about the characteristics that individual exhibits. 🙂 And I’ve always tried to get that point across to both of my daughters. More of that will come out in installment # 2. 🙂

      You know Luke is my favorite Star Wars character. 🙂 Sure, Luke is of the male persuasion, but it is who he IS and what he accomplishes (and tries to accomplish) in his life, how he lives his life (through the EU) that touches me, speaks to me. 🙂

      In real life, my dad (rest his soul) is my hero. 🙂 Don’t get me wrong. I think my mom is a pretty terrific individual. Had you had the pleasure of knowing my dad, you would understand why I have chosen him as my hero. He may not have been perfect, but he was pretty darn close. The fairest person I ever knew. 🙂

      Thanks for the well wishes. It really is grand to be back! 😀

  2. Becca Benjamin
    May 1, 2014 at 20:38 Reply

    Welcome back! Happy to hear you’re doing well 🙂

    Wonderful topic for discussion, my friend. It couldn’t have been “timed” better….with all the grumblings going on over the newly announced cast. Of course, I’m so not one for I negativity. Every so often I slip or teeter towards that dark side, but I always find my way back to the light 🙂

    I totally agree with the “quality” versus “quantity”, not just in this case, but in all things.

    Looking forward to part 2 and I love the picture of the girls 🙂

    1. Melinda
      May 3, 2014 at 21:31 Reply

      I think most of us are so absolutely thrilled about Episode VII, the news that is filtering down the pike about it, Rebels, TCW and everything else Star Wars that those who have been grumbling will be drowned out. 😉

      Thank you for your kind words. 🙂 I always am happy to have you stop by. 🙂

      I love that photo of Erin and Caitlin, too. 😀 They’re so grown up … but still like to have fun. 🙂 Time goes by so very quickly. Sometimes I wish I could slow it down. 😉

  3. jaymo2yp
    May 2, 2014 at 10:44 Reply

    Girl Power! 🙂

    Your girls are beautiful, by the way…and so are you!

    My first real role-model was Leia. I was 7 when I saw ANH. I loved pretending to be her. I think I mentioned in another post or forum that for a few years I often stopped myself before doing something to ask “what would Leia do?” I was very unsure of myself at that point in my life. Always second-guessing, and my self-esteem was definitely not good, to say the least. Leia’s character helped me with that!

    I totally agree with you that the quality of these female characters is what’s most important, not the quantity. It makes the whole thing more meaningful.

    1. Melinda
      May 3, 2014 at 21:53 Reply

      Well, my girls certainly are beautiful. 🙂 I agree with you there.

      I think Leia is a great role model! Yes, she may be fictional, but even a fictional character can be a beacon. 🙂

      Look at the wonderful, incredible woman you are now. 🙂 It’s an honor and privilege to know you, to be your friend. 🙂

  4. Kathy Griffee
    May 2, 2014 at 21:51 Reply

    Your girls are beautiful! I can’t believe Caitlin was only 14 when I met her! Time sure flies!

    Being a teen-age girl when ANH came out, of course, I was in LOVE with the male characters. 🙂 I wavered back and forth between them, but in the end, Luke won out!

    But I always wanted to BE Leia. I styled my (blonde) hair like hers–not the buns, but I did wear my hair in the long braid like at the end of ANH. So geeky!

    Unfortunately, my daughter doesn’t share my passion for SW. I tried so many times to get her to watch the DVDs with me to no avail. She was always the Disney princess sort…. Hey! Maybe there is a chance! 🙂

    Can’t wait for pt 2!

    1. Melinda
      May 7, 2014 at 11:19 Reply

      Time certainly does fly! Too fast, in my opinion. 😉

      I think that’s so cool you were able to style your hair like some of Leia’s dos. 🙂 I never had long hair, so that would not have worked too well (without a wig, of course lol). To this day, Leia is probably my very favorite female character in filmdom. Padme is up there, too, but of the two, Leia really is the stronger. 🙂

      Yes, now that Disney owns Star Wars, I think you can make the case that both Leia and Padme are Disney princesses. 😉 I see it. 🙂

      I hope you — and everyone else — like Part 2. 🙂

      MTFBWY 🙂

  5. Dan Z & Cory Clubb
    May 12, 2014 at 11:50 Reply

    Very strong and well said! Looking forward to part 2.

    Dan

    1. Melinda
      May 15, 2014 at 09:22 Reply

      The wait is over … 😉

  6. Jeff McGee
    May 20, 2014 at 21:57 Reply

    I love these stories!!!!! I’m glad I waited to read it until part 2 was posted, I don’t do well with anticipa……tion. Great work Melinda!!!

    1. Melinda
      May 26, 2014 at 16:15 Reply

      lol 😉

      That’s a lot of reading … considering I don’t write very short blogs. lol

      MTFBWY 🙂

  7. Melinda’s Brew : Pass On What You Have Learned (2) | Coffee With Kenobi
    May 22, 2014 at 15:27 Reply

    […] cower in the corner while their supposed stronger male counterparts “saved the day”! I said it Part 1 (you read that, didn’t you?) of this two-part blog, and I’ll say it again – it isn’t about quantity, it’s about […]

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