KATIE GOLDMAN: “I dressed up for Halloween as Princess Leia. I like her because she and Luke are brothers -- brother and sister, I should say. They’re adopted like I am.” (WGN)
The Force is with her -- with Katie Goldman, the seven-year-old girl whose story has captured the hearts of nerdy Internet users everywhere. An avid Star Wars fan and adoptee, Katie was excited when her mom bought her a Star Wars backpack and matching water bottle for her first grade year -- but it didn’t last.
Chicago’s WGN has the story.
LESHOCK: “Proudly bring her Jedi watter bottle to school, Katie did, but soon she had a change of heart.”
KATIE GOLDMAN: “When I first brought it, some boys at school teased me and they said that only boys like Star Wars, not girls. I felt really bad.”
Katie’s mother wrote about the incident on her ChicagoNow blog, ‘Portrait of an Adoption,’ and the Internet caught on fast -- the post received so many responses they had to open a second page for comments.
Then the Goldman family began receiving messages and gifts from thousands of sympatethic supporters, bloggers, websites, and celebrities, including several actors who voice characters on the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
On MSNBC, Carrie Goldman talks about how the extraordinary reaction was completely unexpected.
CARRIE GOLDMAN: “The main message of this particular article was, teasing, if not intervened with early, climbs that slippery slope to bullying later. ... And as a side note, I said, by the way, if there are any female Star Wars fans out there, can you let Katie know? And all of a sudden there were thousands and thousands of Jedis practically standing on my doorstep.”
A writer for CNN spoke to the president of the SyFy network to see whether the boys’ assertion holds any weight -- and consider that myth busted.
"It has this misconception that it's about the guys living in their basements. Our audience has been about 50-50. … I think it's one of those urban myths that's existed for a very long time: They are the stereotypical sci-fi fan, and people ignore women and families. ... then you look at who's going to see 'Harry Potter' or 'Spider-Man' or 'Twilight.'”
Finally, a writer for Viva La Feminista says, the story is important for other reasons -- it shows how gender plays into the bullying of America’s youth.
“[E]ach time we separate out toys, clothing, any item between girls & boys we send a message to kids. And they are freaking listening. Then we get stories where first graders are bullying and harassing a classmate over a freaking Star Wars water bottle because she is not confirming to what they believe girls should do and act. And when that happens, you break Master Yoda's heart.”
The Goldman family says many of the gifts Katie received will be donated to children in need.