Coffee & Rant – Why Was Rey Left Out of Star Wars Toys?

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On my very first Coffee & Rant post, I want to talk about a little something that brought up old memories and brings up angry ranty rage up to the surface of my otherwise quiet and timid demeanor.

It was written on the Hypable site that Rey was intentionally left out of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens toy sets.  They excluded her because the idea here is that boys will not want to play with a product that has a female character on it, which in turn makes me think what kind of boys are you people raising? and Also what about the girls that want to play with Star Wars toys? Don’t they get to be represented in the toy sets? Don’t they get a choice of choosing Rey over Barbie?

A Girl in the 90’s Who Wanted Action Figures

Growing up in the 90’s (I was born in 1986..yes I turn 30 soon, No I don’t think I’m too old for this shit) I had an interest in the action figure aisle, but I was always handed Barbie dolls, Disney Princesses, and Polly Pockets. Which by the way I enjoyed, but I also loved playing outside, playing soccer, and coming home covered in dirt. I had constant scabby knees from falling while playing random games. I was a tom boy 80% of the time. When I was in third grade the Power Rangers became the really popular tv show for kids. I loved the Red Ranger, and not because I thought he was cute, but because I wanted to be the red ranger. Red was my favorite color, and it was the color of my favorite Portuguese soccer team Benfica. But when I said I wanted to be a Power Ranger for Halloween, I was given the Pink Ranger suit. That was the girl Power Ranger, and so that was going to be my costume. It didn’t register at the time, but years later I thought about how I actually hated the color pink as a kid, and somehow I still ended up being the Pink ranger. When it came down to buying the action figure of the Power Ranger I wanted…I refused to get the Pink Ranger, and my parents probably a little reluctantly at that time, Bought me the Red Ranger Action Figure.

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That’s how it has always been right? Girls have to do girly things, and Boys do what boys do, but what happens to the kids who have different interests? I hated being told that something was only for boys. Growing up around my older brother and his friends, I wanted to jump from the Garage roof with them, I wanted to play sports, I wanted to do the boys only things. But the media and the entire world was screaming that I was supposed to be into dresses, princesses, and boyfriends.

Rey is Important for Girls and Boys

Rey symbolizes something bigger. Not only is she the main character of the best selling movie of ALL TIME, she represents little girls like me, who were told that Star Wars or anything else remotely “masculine”  was meant only for boys. She is showing the world that women and young girls can and will do anything that boys and men do. She is empowering young girls, and she is showing young boys that YES, girls can have lightsabers too! So why in this day and age did a giant corporation think that putting a MAIN CHARACTER in their toy lines would be a mistake? The answer to that is that we have a long way to go before we reach true equality. Of course this is a first world problem, but it is a representation of a much bigger issue. Women and girls are still not taken seriously. Even though we are definitely a force to be reckoned with, we are still seen as damsels in distress. This is something that just needs to change. It is 2016, I can still play soccer better than most men I have crossed paths with, don’t believe me? Let’s take it to the field. Stop saying shit like “That’s a girl color” or “That’s for boys” Newsflash! Inanimate objects DO NOT HAVE GENDERS. My pink coloring pencil isn’t lifting up its skirt and flashing its vagina around. Soccer balls don’t need to come in pink for me to be interested in them. So Star Wars toys can include Rey, and if your son mouths off about it, then you have a bigger problem on your hands and need to educate him better. Children are too young and too innocent for adults to be telling them things that will sucker punch their self esteem. Don’t do that shit.

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Girls are not just lying in wait to turn a certain age and simply become sexual objects for men. That is not their purpose, so stop treating them as such. Strong girls will grow up to be strong and brilliant women.

Rey is a representation of that, and THAT is really what scares the white men in suits making these shitty decisions.

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My coffee has gone cold, and this rant is over! Let’s discuss this issue!! Comment down below!!

MATG

 

 

Trouble in YA Paradise

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I am specifically using The Hunger Games as my opening image for a reason. You will catch onto it soon.

There’s trouble in YA fiction paradise, and it has been stirred by a white male author who I wanted to originally leave nameless, but at the same time I want to tell you who it is so you can decide whether it is worth your time to read his book. I try so hard not to tear into writers, because I myself am an aspiring author, and I wouldn’t want it done to me, but this falls under an exception and here is why.

Scott Bergstrom wrote a book called The Cruelty, and it has apparently garnered him so much attention, that the book already has a movie deal. I would be happy for any author to get this because I still strongly believe that YA publishing is pushing the industry forward, but I am not happy about this particular deal. This book is described by Publishers Weekly as:

“Bergstrom’s heroine is Gwendolyn Bloom, a Jewish, slightly overweight 17-year-old, who is transformed into a “lean warrior with hair dyed fire-engine red,” during her mission to rescue her father, a kidnapped diplomat. Her search takes her into Europe’s most dangerous slums, and into contact with gangsters, spies, and arms dealers.”

I would like to give the writer the benefit of the doubt as many other YA authors have tried to do, but let’s be honest those writers are probably nicer than me. The description is there because he wrote the book this way. As if a female needs to lose weight to become empowered, or important. I will come back to this clusterfuck in a second. The real problem I have with this is the fact that this writer decided that he was going to put down the entire YA Sector of fiction by saying:

“The morality of the book is more complicated than a lot of YA so I wanted to try doing it on my own,” Bergstrom said. “In a lot of YA, the conflict takes place inside a walled garden, set up by outside adult forces. If you think of those stories as a metaphor for high school, they start to make a lot more sense, but that was one thing I wanted to depart from.”

and the even bigger cock of a quote:

“I’m inspired by the world around me. What troubles me about so much of today’s fiction aimed at young adults is that its set in an imaginary time and place.“

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So you’re troubled by imagination and those who can create worlds you probably could only dream of creating? You don’t come out of the gate as an arrogant prick, and those two quotes tell me all I need to know about this writer. He is coming in with his chest puffed out and his nose up in the air claiming that he’s writing something different, something unique. Sorry sir but your trope has been done before, and not just in YA. It’s sad really that men think it’s okay to write young women this way. When your target audience is young women. Here’s where you, and all those people backing you will run into some snags in the near future, your target audience isn’t simple minded. Your target audience has grown up reading amazing and strong female characters and they have reached a point in their reading lives that they don’t want to be told that as a female, the only way to feel like an empowered warrior is to lose weight. NO ONE wants to read that. I know I don’t.

But apparently someone thinks that females of the world need this shit.

“Kicking butt to save your dad is actually a lot easier for me to swallow than kids killing kids in The Hunger Games.”

That’s a quote from his agent’s neighbor or someone who read the story, and apparently never actually read The Hunger Games. The Hunger Games is one of the most morally complex YA novels out there. Katniss throws all of her heart and soul to save not just her sister, but also so the future of Panem would be more than just “kids killing kids”, and not to mention it paved the way for so many other YA novels to be published, unfortunately that includes this story by Mr. Bergstrom.

If you go on twitter and look at the hashtag MorallyComplicatedYA you are going to find that the target audience of your novel Mr.Bergstrom is highly offended by your remarks and your plot. How does that saying go? You shot yourself in the foot? You may have gotten all those deals rolling in, but I am going to gather by the truly empowering females all over social media aren’t falling for your shit, and in fact might be turning on you. You offended an entire genre, you insulted fellow writers who could have backed your story, you offended the entire female gender with your remarks. I wish you luck, because you are going to need it from this day forth.

I imagine your agent and your publishers are all feeling a little nervous now, and will probably force you to apologize. Hope you try your best to sound genuine, but fantasy seems to be a concept you cannot grasp.

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I could continue tearing into this, but I think I will sign off now. Just know, all young females deserve to read empowering characters, yours is not one of those, and everyone seems to know that.

Peace and Love

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