Fandom: The Next Generation
It all started for us when our six-year-old daughter Raeli announced that Star Wars was for boys. It terrifies me how that school playground of hers seems to be a hive of binary gender policing, as the kids develop an overly elaborate, crowd-sourced set of rules for boys and girls. I’m not just talking about pink for girls and dump trucks for boys - every colour, shape, activity and interest seems to be pinned down, analysed and tagged with ‘girl thing’ or ‘boy thing.’
Naturally, I spend much of my time in a frustrated huff, deprogramming whatever the latest weird gender theory is.
This time, it was my honey’s turn. Determined to prove to Raeli that Star Wars was awesome for everyone, he got hold of the original movie and sat down to watch it with her. I’ll admit I was skeptical as to whether she’d yawn through it, but she quietly took it in and the next day after school asked if she could watch it again. It was a success!
For weeks afterwards she asked questions about Obi Wan, and Luke, and Leia.
On a roll, my honey tried her on Empire Strikes Back - he is thoroughly invested in the idea that this is the best film of the trilogy, and in particular wanted to not spoil her for the ending. He had spoiled himself as a child by reading the novelisation first, and was really keen that Raeli get to experience what he had missed out on...
Yep. He wanted it too much, and Raeli didn’t come to the party.
Empire scored a resounding ‘meh.’
And yet, and yet... yesterday, she built a lightsaber out of Mega Bloks.
I’ve had rather more luck with her on the matter of Doctor Who, to the point where she identifies any good-sized cardboard box as a possible Pandorica, draws chalk cracks on the pavement, and plays K9 (and his feline equivalent, K-ten) games in the playground with her friends - boys and girls alike. She has also played Astro Boy games in the playground, sometimes with girls who have never seen the show! I also take great pleasure in her Wonder Woman obsession. There’s something utterly delicious about passing one’s geekitude on to our children - and seeing them form their own games and reactions to the show through role playing, fan art and (my personal favourite) mashups!
I knew, when my daughter earnestly explained to me that she was pretty sure that Obi-Wan Kenobi regenerated just like the Doctor, that the future of fandom was in safe hands.Tansy Rayner Roberts
is the author of Power and Majesty
(Creature Court Book One) and The Shattered City
(Creature Court Book Two, April 2011) with Reign of Beasts
(Creature Court Book Three, coming in November 2011) hot on its tail. Her short story collection Love and Romanpunk
will be published as part of the Twelfth Planet Press “Twelve Planets” series in May.
This post comes to you as part of Tansy’s Mighty Slapdash Blog Tour, and comes with a cookie fragment of new release The Shattered City:
I was awed. There was nothing but dim lamplight down here, and yet I swear I saw daylight gleaming from their blades. They moved in formation, so secure in their own power and competence. I had handled a knife half my short life, but I had never owned such a thing as those swords.
In that moment, I forgot the dark and lovely boy. I knew nothing but envy. I wanted to be like them, those coves and demmes with the shiny blades.