When I was growing up, sci-fi and other nerd pursuits were not considered mainstream.
Sure we had novels and some tv shows, but nothing like it is today.
I don’t recall a lot of sci-fi movies until Star Wars came out.
Who remembers the 1977 Star Wars? And I don’t mean seeing it later. I mean seeing it in the theatres.
I was little when it came out, and we were living in Quebec at the time, but I did get to see it in Montreal in English. I know I didn’t understand a lot. What I did get mattered: three unlikely people teamed up to fight the bad guy.
Okay, so I was 5 at the time. And what really hit home was Princess Leia. Not because she was a princess, because in 1977 princesses weren’t the big thing they are now. No, it was because she was a wise cracking, self-rescuing woman.
Stop for a second.
I’m not getting on a gender-based soap box here. Just a nod to the fact that my heroes in the 1970s were few and far between.
Wonder Woman. Bionic Woman. Sometimes Daisy Duke.
When I talk about the impact Star Wars had on me growing up, anyone who lived through it felt the same way.
When I encounter someone who saw it a decade or two later, the impact isn’t there. It’s just another sci-fi movie in a long line of sci-fi movies. Not especially special, even.
Prior to Star Wars, I was Andy from Toy Story. All about my six shooters, horses and being a cowboy.
Yes, I was that girl. The one that scrubbed up reluctantly and died every time I was forced into a dress.
A total embarrassment for a 1970s mom. Ha.
Cowboys were mainstream, at least where I was living just outside of Montreal. Hell, pirates were pretty okay too. No one played space stuff.
Not until Star Wars came out.
I’d go so far as to say that Star Wars started the mainstreaming of nerd and geek pursuits. It was cool to love Star Wars. So cool, there was roller disco to go with it. And t-shirts. And all the merchandise.
There’s a lot to be grateful for when it comes to the impact Star Wars had on our culture and on pop culture in general. No one saw it coming. We’re still feeling the reverberations today.
And for me personally? Star Wars made me look up and out beyond my little girl dreams.
I drew, played, painted, and dreamed of outer space and going on adventures. I dreamed of travel and risk and friends as yet unmet.
And I know that so many other people did too.
I’m grateful to Star Wars for validating nerds everywhere. And I’m grateful for how it completely changed my path. Upward and onward.