Music, Books, and Psycho Space Robots: A First Grade Leia
***”Music, Books and Psycho Space Robots” is a regular column published on Primary Ignition by Kevin Kenealy, staff writer and Nightmare Fuel Provider. The views expressed here are his, and do not reflect the views of the staff of Primary Ignition.***
December 10 was Support Star Wars and Geek Pride Day for Katie Sorenson.
Sorenson is a first grade girl who was bullied for being a sci-fi fan, and most notably, a Star Wars fan. She brought a Star Wars water bottle to school in Evanston, IL. After a while of being bullied, she wanted to bring an ordinary pink water bottle to school because she was tired of the treatment.
Kids at Katie’s school insisted that Star Wars was only for boys. Sorenson, who was already a bit of a target because she wore glasses and an eye-patch over her lazy eye, now had to give up her love of Star Wars.
So a fan set aside December 10 on Facebook, when everyone was encouraged to wear a Star Wars shirt or any other paraphernalia in support of Sorenson and anti-bullying. Many people – 34,181 to be exact – joined in this makeshift Rebel Alliance. ThinkGeek, an online retailer, sent Katie a lightsaber. Artist Scott Zirkel sent Katie a cartoon where she was depicted as a Jedi Knight. A first grade class in California got behind the effort by sending Katie letters of support.
Then Katie’s school showed their support. The school worked towards instilling an anti-bullying policy and December 10 marked a “Proud to Be My Day” where kids were encouraged to wear whatever it was they were interested in, be it sports, princesses or the like.
Katie reminds me of Princess Leia in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. While Leia was a strong character, she was running out of hope, which is perhaps why the movie is called A New Hope. Katie is that rebel character, that one who stays true to what she believes in. But there comes a point where you’re surrounded by villains (or an evil empire of first grade bullies) that weighs on you.
She was beginning to turn, to conform when her friends began to arrive. Even though Leia didn’t give the Empire the location of the rebel base, she was forced to choose a planet for the Death Star to explode by telling Vader the rebel base is on Alderaan. “Help me Obi Wan Kenobi; you’re my only hope,” she says in her message to R2-D2.
Sorenson is a strong person because she stayed true to what she believes in. Her nature to conform was human, but her friends were there to battle off the evils of the empire. Leia was the same way.
Star Wars can in a lot of ways be compared to bullying in the classroom. It’s a story of good versus evil – of the Rebellion against the Empire. The Empire well outweighs the Rebel Alliance in size and power, but the Alliance has values and friends they believe in. This is lacking in the Empire, which eventually bring about their destruction. There’s a lot more themes to the Star Wars story, but just comparing these two environments, I’d say this holds true.
Sorenson amassed a Rebel Alliance that was just too powerful for the Empire and was able to bring peace and justice back to her world; hopefully the message will spread to the rest of the universe, or at least to schools everywhere.
Front page image from StarWars.com.