Why I'll Be Taking My Daughter (Gasp!) to See the New 'Star Wars'

Star Wars"Aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?" One of my favorite lines ever ... from one of my favorite movies ever: Star Wars. I could quote a lot more lines from the franchise. And I can't wait to go see the latest episode with my daughter -- but not because the new director, J.J. Abrams, has somehow made it "mother-daughter friendly."


When I heard that J.J. Abrams told Good Morning America that the Star Wars franchise "was always a boys' thing" and a movie "that dads take their sons to," my jaw literally dropped.


THEN he went on to say, about his upcoming movie, Star Wars: Episode VII, "Though that's still very much the case, I was really hoping this could be a movie that mothers could take their daughters to as well."

Still very much the case?

A boy's thing?

What on Earth?! The director has since backtracked and sort of apologized, calling his patronizing statement "stupid" during a Twitter Q&A:

Well, I'll agree with the "stupid" thing, but I'm not sure I'm buying this explanation. Why did Abrams think OTHER people perceived Star Wars as a "boy's club?" Even if he meant to say it's always been perceived as a boy's thing but shouldn't be, he STILL said he hoped his installment would be something that mothers could take their daughters to. Obviously, he thinks he's doing something special to make his episode "girl-friendly." Gee, how great. But guess what?

News flash! I'm not going to take my 12-year-old daughter Isabella to see the new Star Wars because Abrams is somehow making it more accessible to "moms and daughters." My husband and I are both excited to take her, because we both love Star Wars. We grew up with it. We have, of course, shown Isabella all of the movies (in the order in which they were released, in case you were wondering). And we all can't wait to see the next installment, even though judging by the trailer it looks like it could be even cheesier than Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (aka, that one with Jar Jar Binks).

The Empire Strikes Back is the first movie I remember seeing in a theater. I was 4 years old in May of 1980. FOUR. And I vividly remember it. I remember sitting in the theater seats, and watching the film, and I remember sitting there while the credits rolled, completely shocked. How could this movie end with Han Solo still frozen in carbonite?! What was going to happen? How could they just leave us like that?

The epic themes of good vs. evil; the journey of a hero (and heroine); the power of the mind and the capacity of the heart; the questions of identity, of self, of family, of nature vs. nurture; the thrill of adventure and damn good love story ... these aren't things you need to be a boy to appreciate.

No, I never had a Princess Leia action figure. But man, did I want to BE her! I loved everything about Leia, from her amazing braid buns to how brave and fierce she could be. (And yes, I love the gold bikini, too. What can I say? I was always a girly-girl.)

Sure, when I watch the movies now, as an adult, it drives me crazy when Leia tells Han she loves him -- and he just says, "I know." Maddening! But ... swoon. (I've pretty much been in love with Han Solo for 35 years.)

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When first episode of the second trilogy came out, in 1999, I stood in line with my group of friends -- both guys and girls -- for hours. We had a blast. We loved it. No, we weren't in costume like some of the people there, but it never occurred to me that this was a "guy" movie and the girls were just along for the ride.

I really cannot wait to see Leia, Han, and Luke together again on the big screen. Just hearing the music in the trailer gives me goosebumps -- it's like revisiting a seminal, formative part of my childhood. Those characters, that world -- it was magical. And I've loved introducing my daughter to that same world. Because it already belonged to me, no matter what anyone else might think.

One last word to J.J. Abrams. If you really wanted to make a groundbreaking movie that somehow reaches out to the other half of the population, you could have started with your team not asking Princess Leia to lose weight for her return.

Or am I really getting ahead of my time?



Image via StarWars/YouTube

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