Girl Bullied For Liking Star Wars Becomes Stormtrooper

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By Karen Valenzuela, @VictoriaNoir89

With all of the negativity flooding your newsfeeds on your computers, televisions, and phones, it’s nice to get a break once in awhile and read about humans doing good things for other humans.

Enter 8-year-old Star Wars fan Layla Murphy who lives in Norfolk, Virginia. She found some old Star Wars toys of her dad’s and became fascinated with the insanely popular franchise in a galaxy far, far away. She went to Star Wars fan conventions and had an R2-D2 jacket that she loved to wear.

But Layla’s mom, Nicolette Molina, said her daughter “started coming home more quiet and less of herself, and started asking not to wear her shirts and R2-D2 jacket.” Her bullies didn’t think a girl should like Star Wars. Layla was even asked if she was turning into a boy.

When the local chapter of the 501st Legion, a Star Wars fan group that has worked with local hospitals and American Cancer Society in the past, heard about Layla being bullied, they banded together to help her see that there was nothing wrong with her passion.

They released a statement on their Facebook:

“Layla is yet another young girl who was teased at school for liking Star Wars amongst other “boy” things. As a result of the bullying, Layla began to lose herself. She stopped wanting to wear her R2-D2 jacket and Guardians of the Galaxy shirt out of fear of being ridiculed. 501st Garrison Tyranus led the charge and rallied messages of support from #501st members all over the world to encourage Layla to be herself. Taking it one step further, Layla became the next recipient of the custom Stormtrooper armor originally built for another girl (Katie Goldman) who was in a similar situation. After suiting up, Layla was whisked away to meet “Weird Al” Yankovic at a local concert where 501st members were participating on stage. This excited young #StarWars fan now proudly carries the trading cards of her 501st supporters in a Chewbacca backpack and can’t wait for the next opportunity to troop in armor. Her favorite part of wearing the costume? She loves when people say, “What a cute little boy!” only to discover that there’s a girl under that helmet! #BadGuysDoingGood #HeartOfTheForce #StopBullying”

STAR WARS GIRL TNM PIC 1

The idea that Star Wars is inherently something that only boys should like isn’t just idiotic, it’s completely archaic. Just look at Princess Leia, who is one of the most iconic characters in sci-fi. Is she not a woman? Is she not a powerful, strong, independent woman? And why shouldn’t girls enjoy the idea of fighting with lightsabers? Why shouldn’t they want to enter a pod race or fly an X-wing for the Rebel Alliance?

Why are children still being bullied for the things they are passionate about, whether it’s a girl who loves Star Wars or a boy who loves Sailor Moon?

But this is a different world than the one I grew up in. In a lot of ways, this world is kinder than it was even 15 years ago. Bullying isn’t tolerated, especially not of kids this young. There are many, like the 501st Legion, who jump to curb the negative effects bullying can have on children. Bullying can change the way children see themselves in the worst way, and that can last into adulthood.

So to all the people out there, adults and kids alike…

If you’re passionate about something, whether it’s Star Wars, Star Trek, Metal Gear Solid, Minecraft, Sailor Moon, Jane Austen, Akira Kurosawa, comic books, computer engineering/programming…you go ahead and own that. You own it, you enjoy it, and you put it out into the world without shame, without worrying about who may or may not judge you for it. Because there will always be someone who judges you, but then there will be thousands of other people who like the same thing, who are just as passionate about Star Wars as you are. And they’ll have your back.

Layla, we’re here for you. We support you. You rock that R2-D2 jacket and Chewbacca backpack!

And to the rest of you nerds, you’re safe here at The Nerd Machine.


    2 Comments

  1. duncan hennyAugust 27th, 2015 at 10:01 am

    “A little short for a stormtrooper”

  2. JayneAugust 27th, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    I love this story … Thanks Karen

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