I was shocked when I read the article at http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/12/09/geek.girls.katie/index.html about Katie Goldman, the 7 year old that was teased for taking a Star Wars thermos to school because the boys told her that "girls don't like sci-fi."
I beg your pardon. Many of us do. This article even acknowledges that about 50% of Sy-Fy viewers are female - and that's from the numbers that they know of. I'm surprised that rising generations aren't aware of the death of this stereotype.
On the one hand, I can understand Katie's delimma. In fact, I just overcame a bit of the same thing myself. I've always loved science fiction, even since childhood when I watched the the original Star Trek series with my big brother. I'm a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Star Trek, The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, and any movie that spends a ridiculous amout of money on special effects - the more otherworldly, the better. I have an entire bookcase that is solely dedicated to my science fiction and fantasy novels, which are a special treasure. But in 10 years of writing, I just found the courage to actually take a chance at writing science fiction last month during National Novel Writing Month.
After six months of research, I pounded out the rough draft of a 51, 640 word science fiction novel titled Splinter, making me a winner of the 2010 National Novel Writing Month. In it, I destroyed the world, threw the survivors on a space station orbiting Jupiter, and ripped open the fabric of space and time to give them glimpses of parallel universes that gave them hope of saving themselves from the very fate they brought on. And my protagonist? Dr. Leigh Lorene Lybrand, a geophycisist who wound out stuck in this fate by unlucky chance and rising to it by choice.
Not bad for a girl, if I do say so myself. Heck, I even welcome you to read it - yes, I was bold enough to post the rough draft at my portfolio at Writing.com. You can see it at http://www.writing.com/main/books/item_id/1723136-Splinter . I may not be a world class writer, but I am proud of this work. As a lover of science fiction, I'm darn proud to have finally written some of my own.
Science fiction isn't a boys club and frankly, I don't believe it was ever intended to be male dominated. Ever since Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, I believe that women have not only loved science fiction, but have played a big part in sci-fi stories. Eowyn slew a ringraith (The Lord of the Rings). Susan and Lucy were good and powerful queens of Narnia (The Chronicles of Narnia). Padme/Queen Amadala was a powerful political leader for Naboo and her daughter, Princess Leigh, was an influential leader for the rebellion (Star Wars). Hermonie Grainger is a powerful and knowledgable witch that has held her own for 7 years at Hogwarts and beyond (Harry Potter). Captain Kathryn Janeway not only lead her crew through the Delta Quadrant, but came face to face with their most powerful enemy, the Borg, numerous times. She not only stood against them and their Queen, but took one of them on board as a member of her crew (Star Trek - Voyager). And the list goes on and on.
Science fiction is about finding your true, authentic self and the strength of human character, and that's a message for all of us regardless of gender, race, socioeconomic status, or any other category you can come up with to sectionalize people. We are all a unique creation and we find joy in being our authentic selves, true to who we are and what we love. I believe that strong, female characters are part of these stories to show that this strength lies within us all and there truly are no limitations to the human spirit.
So Katie, you carry that Star Wars thermos with pride. There's nothing wrong with you. In fact, I'd say there's a lot right. You are true to yourself . Most people - even adults - are scared to be themselves. At age 7, you've stumbled on a truth that many struggle to understand. We are all different. Our mission in life is not to conform to the world, but to be true to ourself and to stand up for what we love and believe in. We should all be so strong.
Stand up for what you love, Katie, and may the force be with you!