So SoonerCon was absolutely amazing and I had the best time, but there was one panel I went to on Saturday that made me really mad. It was called “Strong Women Are Star Wars.” Sounds amazing, right? Timothy Zahn was going to be on the panel, and I was really excited to go celebrate the women of Star Wars and hear Zahn’s thoughts about it (considering he’s created a few of those strong women).
But as soon as it started, it became clear that it was going to be very different than I had envisioned. Almost all the rest of the six panelists (other than Zahn and one woman who ran a geek podcast) knew very little about Star Wars. One man freely admitted that he didn’t even like Star Wars, and he and another man proceeded to loudly vomit words for about 70% of the entire panel even though they had nothing of import to say (figures). The other two women who didn’t know Star Wars very well talked for about 25% of the rest of the time, and while they had some good things to say, most of it was negative — the opposite of a celebration of the women in Star Wars. Zahn’s comments were incredible, thoughtful, and illuminating, and I would have loved to hear more from him, but he was barely given a chance to speak (nor was the lovely podcast lady).
The entire thing turned into a “let’s bash Star Wars” session, and trust me, while I know there are problems with my favorite franchise, and I expected and looked forward to some discussion about the need for feminism in Star Wars, this was terrible. They basically came to the conclusion that Strong Women Aren’t Star Wars — except for Leia; she’s cool, I guess. I came out of there fuming, as did many others I talked to. It was a low point in an otherwise amazing weekend and I’m still mad about it