Superpower

1 min
at 10:43 PM

The new Star Wars movie is playing to critical acclaim, and at least one character is drawing a whole new type of fan to the venerable brand. Kaylee Fagan has this Perspective.

Growing up, I was never particularly girly. Some of my favorite childhood toys included rubber dinosaurs and hand-me-down Big Wheels.

Although I embraced my tomboy side, I often felt alienated by media — especially TV and movies — that I somehow knew weren’t made for me, because I was a girl. I was especially turned off by Star Wars.

Despite never actually watching the films as a kid, I grew up surrounded by this franchise. It bothered me that all the boys I knew had lightsabers like Luke Skywalker’s, while Princess Leia was left out of toy campaigns... because her most notable props were a silly hairdo and a slave bikini.

As I got older, it became more intentional. I refused to see the movies when friends offered to loan them to me, and I rolled my eyes at the men who insisted I would love Star Wars, if I just gave it a chance.

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To date, three separate boyfriends have verbally retold 6 movies worth of plot to me. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that I just didn’t care.

And then, in 2016, I did something I promised myself I would never do. I reluctantly went and saw my first Star Wars film, Episode VII: The Force Awakens.

The inhibitions to which I clung so tightly for so long melted away as I was introduced to the newest protagonist, a young woman who fixes and flies spaceships, saves the lives of the men around her, and is insanely strong with the force.

By the end of the film, I was fully converted to the dark side--pun intended. Any lingering inhibitions were obliterated when Rey, still unsure of her place in the resistance, fights the bad guy with Luke’s blue lightsaber, which brought tears to my eyes as I cheered her on.

Today, I have a Star Wars button on my backpack, a BB-8 bobblehead on my desk, and a Last Jedi movie poster on my screensaver.

Now, I am so excited for all the little girls who will get lightsabers to play with this year, and will grow up watching this incredible female character, surrounded by a diverse cast that admires and supports her.

Representation in popular media is so important. Little kids notice when people they identify with are left out of movies, and we should be noticing too.

With a Perspective, I’m Kaylee Fagan

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Kaylee Fagan is a video journalist. She lives in Concord.

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