One of the great accomplishments of Star Wars is its wide cultural appeal. A story spoken in a universal language of myth, it encourages a wide array of opinions on the characters and their actions. From Obi-Wan’s first clues to the nature of Luke’s parentage in 1977 to the conclusion of Revenge of the Sith nearly three decades later, fans have brought their own unique perspectives to interpreting Star Wars.
Particular phrases or events from the movie can take on a life of their own in fanon. The unsavory establishment we don’t like to visit is a wretched hive of scum and villainy; the might of the Empire is symbolic of oppression we each face in our own lives. Obi-Wan’s famous line about our reality and our truths as perceived “from a certain point of view” has served for decades as a fandom moniker to capture the varying opinions than can define Star Wars fans, from fanzines to message boards to blogs and podcasts and more. In the era when message boards dominated the fandom narratives, many fans often felt marginalized and pushed aside. Most notably it was women, people of color, or anyone who didn’t fit into a tidy heterosexual box who found themselves moderated into silence.
Web 2.0 gave those marginalized fans a venue to create blogs and other means to elevate their own voices under their own control. Sites like Club Jade and conventions like GeekGirlCon led the way, empowering women to have a voice in Star Wars discussions. The phrase “from a certain point of view” has been used by bloggers who discuss diversity and normalization of Star Wars to capture the essence of their message: that Star Wars is the biggest venue for various viewpoints to be expressed, not just the perspectives of what has become an entrenched white male fiefdom of fans.
After Celebration V, I started FANgirl to rise above the bullying I had experienced as a female fan. One of my immediate goals was to mentor other women and promote healthy open dialogue between all types of fans. As a prose storyteller I believe that show-not-tell is the most effective way to open people’s hearts and minds to each other.
So how better to show that Star Wars is for everyone than to assemble fans from diverse backgrounds to share their insights in a fun, lively discussion?
On Sunday, April 19, at 11:00 a.m. on the Fan Stage (Room 303ABCD), Tricia Barr will moderate “From a Certain Point of View: The Diversity of Opinions in Star Wars” at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim.
The panelists represent a diverse cross-section of fandom. They also have been selected for their track records of interacting positively within the Star Wars community.
Linda Hansen-Raj – FANgirl Blog
Jay Shah – Eleven-ThirtyEight
Opinions may vary, but by the end everyone will be reminded that we have an important commonality that brings fandom together: a love of Star Wars.
We encourage everyone to participate with the hashtag #SWCADiversity
Many thanks to Johnamarie Macias for taking the time to create graphics for this panel.
Tricia Barr took her understanding of brand management and marketing, mixed it with a love of genre storytelling, and added a dash of social media flare to create FANgirl Blog, where she discusses Star Wars, fandom, and strong female characters. She is one of four authors on the upcoming Ultimate Star Wars from DK Publishing, has written several feature pieces for Star Wars Insider magazine and is a contributor for Her Universe’s Year of the Fangirl. Her FANgirl opinions can be heard on the podcasts Hyperspace Theories and RebelForce Radio Presents Fangirls Going Rogue.
Tricia Barr’s novel, Wynde, won the 2014 Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal for Best Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror Ebook. She was also part of Silence in the Library’s successful all-female creator science fiction and fantasy anthology Athena’s Daughters, which is available now. For excerpts and tales of her adventures in creating a fictional universe, hop over to TriciaBarr.com.