A Plea for Leia

Bear with me for a moment. I am about to go all geek over this blog. It does have a point if you will stick with me to the end.

I love Star Wars. I am one of those. I will watch it. I will talk about it. And I will write about it. In the original three movies, there are three main characters, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia Organa. She is the one I am choosing to focus on in this post. Here are just some of the AWESOME things about Princess Leia.

* At 20 she is a senator. Her people trusted her enough to send her as their representative to an intergalactic body of government.

* She is such a high standing rebel that they trust her with the Death Star plans.

* She is able to hide those plans in a droid and then over-ride his basic program to get him to deliver them to Obi-Wan Kenobi in a matter of minutes after Darth Vader boards her ship.

* She takes out a Stormtrooper.

* She doesn’t pee herself when Darth gets in her face or when his nasty looking torture droid does either.

* She trash talks Grand Moff Tarkin.

* She totally pretends to sell out the rebels and then doesn’t.

* I’m pretty sure that after Luke, Han, and Chewbacca got her cell open, she could have saved herself.

* Ain’t no time for crying over the lose of a planet when evil must be overthrown!

* She was one of the last out when the Hoth base was being evacuated. She had to be hauled out.

*  She so did not fall for Lando’s charm.

* She shoots her way out of Bespin only to turn around to save her friend.

* Two words. Thermal Detonator.

* Despite being dressed as a sex slave, she manages to take out a three ton slug using a chain to choke him.

* Despite being shot, she takes out a stormtrooper.

While she does ALL OF THE THINGS, she is almost always dressed in very serviceable clothing. The clothes are made for the actions she will most likely be doing. Even her nice dress at the awards ceremony in Episode IV seems comfortable and easy to move in. There is only one outfit she wears in the whole series that is not. It is the one that she is forced into by a perverted, power-hungry mafia boss slug. It’s the slave outfit (and even this one includes sensible shoes).

Out of the at least ten different outfits she wears in the movies, guess which one the only Leia action figure in the Star Wars aisle at Target is wearing?**

This says to me that the toy makers and stores are not only not interested in girls who are fans, they are not interest in children of either gender who are either. They are marketing the toys to those they think will buy them and to them it is the middle-aged, expendable income having, misogynistic, sexually repressed fan boy. This is such a small percentage of the Star Wars fan base. SO SMALL. THE SMALLEST (in more than one way). They are buying a stereotype. Apparently, they either don’t want to pay for market analysis, or theirs is horribly skewed. And it is sending a message to both boys and girls about the importance of women not just in a movie series but society as a whole. These kinds of representations permeate life outside of fiction and fantasy. To ignore the role Leia played in the movies is not unlike ignoring the role women have played in history all together.

Toys are meant to help children explore the world through imagination and play. To exclude a female character in her more powerful and useful roles sends a poor message to all children.

**Note: It is the only Leia. None of the empty pegs were for Leias, and there are no other Leia figures on the web site. Even at Amazon, the only Leias seem to be vintage ones. CJ loves the Playskool Heroes toys, action figures made for younger kids, they don’t even make a Leia anymore nor do any of the other female Star Wars seem to be widely available.

Growth Through the Furry

I wrote this post with this one in mind.

Pet ownership is often a cycle. We look to keep the role of animal companion filled. At the death of a pet, some go out almost immediately to find a new friend, others wait a while, sometimes a long while. But almost always, at some point, another snout is sniffing your crotch.

It is never a replacement for the wet nose that went before. Rather, I imagine it this way. We carry a little pet cemetery somewhere in the vicinity of our spiritual heart. When the new pet tongue starts to lick your hand or puts a head in your lap, flowers start to bloom on the last grave in the line. Each grave has its own individual look and scent, as many varieties of flowers and greens adorn the plots as there were personalities in those they pay tribute to.

Those blooms of love keep a scar from forming. They insure that the grave becomes one of memorializing, not grieving. It is yet another gift from those critters more wiser than humans  can ever hope to be.

Meet Benjie whose presence has little buds growing from Hobbes’ little mound of dirt. (He doesn’t sit still for long.)





I Do Not Suffer from Depression

In the aftermath of the lose of Robin Williams, many have spoken up about dealing with the disease called depression.

I am not one of them.

I do not have depression. I have been depressed, but never have those feelings seemed endless, which seems to be the truly insidious thing about depression. It is not that a person is depressed. It’s that he or she can’t imagine not feeling that way. The tunnel is missing the point of light at the end that has always been there for me when I have been down. I can’t imagine that.

No, I mean I can’t imagine that.

I cannot know what that must be like because being depressed and knowing it will end is bad enough. And that, I think, is the key. I cannot understand. And it seems that what I can do to help someone with depression is more about what I shouldn’t do. I should not try to understand. I should not try to “fix” it or make suggestions on how to “fix” it. Because things like ice cream, a movie, a workout, a cry session do not fix depression like they might have fixed me when I was depressed. I can not flip a switch that will turn on their pinpoint of light to make the tunnel seem less hopeless. And so often we want an equation. If I do A + B – C and you find D + E then you will be able to enjoy life again.

I can not do. I can not understand.

I can love. I can accept. I can take what is given and not ask for more. I can understand that there is no cure, so that each small change for the better must be celebrated.

At least this seems to be the message those dealing with depression are sending. I am trying my best to listen.