January 28th, 2018
(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m 6 years old, and I’m Luke Skywalker, blowing up the Death Star in his X-Wing and using the Force… until I go outside to play Star Wars with the neighborhood kids, and I’m told I can’t be Luke because I’m a girl. I have to be Leia instead. Nothing wrong with Leia, but she’s the girl. She’s my only option, otherwise, I’m not allowed to play.
I’m 7 years old, and I’m She-Ra, with a pegasus and sword and… and no one wants to play She-Ra, because He-Man is better, stupid girl, duh. No boy wants to play a girl character. Duh. Stupid girl.
I’m 8 years old, and I’m Liono, with the Sword of Omens, telling me the future and defeating my enemies… until I can’t, because I’m a girl. I have to be Cheetara, even though I don’t like to run around really fast. She’s the girl. She’s my only option.
I’m 10 years old, and I’m a Ninja Turtle. I have these cool weapons and know martial arts… until I can’t be, because I’m a girl. I have to be April. She doesn’t get to do much, but she’s the girl. She’s my only option. If the other girl wants to play, she gets to be April, and I’m out, because she’s prettier.
I’m 14 years old, and my father yells at me again to stop being such a girl. Stop being weak. Stop being stupid. Stop being you.
I’m 17 years old, and set foot in a comic shop for the first time, only to be told girls don’t read comics. I must just be trying to impress my boyfriend. I don’t even get to ask if they had that book I read part of, with the beautiful woman who was Death, who saved a teenage boy.
I’m 24, and I’m Jean Grey, the powerful Phoenix, but turned into some weird Scarlet Witch hybrid who must die at the hands of Wolverine, because Logan just needed a little more angst.
I’m 28 and I’m Commander Shepard at the helm of the Normandy, but just having the OPTION of a female player character sends hordes of men into a blind rage, intent on stamping out any joy I might derive from this. I have to mute tons of keywords online and play in friends-only groups if I want to avoid being called a cunt for the sin of logging into multiplayer with a female avatar.
I’m 32 and I get a job running a comic shop. I tell my boss I’d like to have ladies nights. He asks, “But when is men’s night?”
I’m 33 and I’m Rey, facing down Kylo and digging deep to survive, despite being terrified. I’ve been fighting my whole life, though, and I manage to get out of it alive. I spend the next 6 months listening to every other guy who comes into my shop informing me that she’s a Mary Sue and how stupid it was to crowbar her in just for the sake of appeasing the females and pandering to feminazis.
I’m 34 and I get to be a Ghostbuster! My heart sings as I dual-wield proton guns, but when the battle’s over, I have to listen to all these guys trash it and talk about how women just aren’t funny and should stop trying.
I’m 34, and I am NOT MCU Black Widow, who categorizes herself as a monster because she can’t have children, who laughs as her male coworkers make rape jokes at the office party. I am NOT MCU Scarlet Witch, who is a problem for the men to deal with, who has to stay home and cook dinner while they take care of business, because she’s just too emotional.
Today, I’m 35, and I’m Diana of Themyscira, striding across a battlefield as everyone follows her lead. I’ve been waiting for this battle my whole life. Going into the movie, I had yet to see a single bad review, from anyone, regardless of gender. I had heard no one saying the movie was pointless or stupid or just another instance of women ruining everything. There is this tall, powerful, beautiful female hero, and no one is acting like it’s their job to tear her down. I look at the trending topics today, and everyone still loves it. The naysayers are a fringe minority. There is valid criticism, as the movie isn’t perfect. It has some problems, but overall, it’s GOOD. Finally. This is what it feels like. So yeah, I cried. I cried a lot. I’ll probably mist up a lot more times when I watch it. Everyone should get to feel like that.