Just in time for a tidal wave of new toys to hit the market—we’re only about a week away from FORCE FRIDAY!—I’m making steady progress on the Star Wars room. You’ll have to forgive the truly horrible quality of these photos, I was tired and just taking quick snaps on the phone. Still, I think this gives a decent idea of how it’s coming together.
Empty space above the Stormtrooper shelf will eventually feature mounted Stormtrooper and Shadowtrooper helmets. First Order Stormtrooper helmet from The Force Awakens will live on the shelf where classic trooper helmet currently resides. I’ve got more posters and art to fill the blank space on Vader gallery wall. Not sure if I’ll mount the Vader helmet when it arrives (preordered from Anovos) or rearrange the shelf space there.
It’s very much still a work in progress, but it’s come a long way over the last few months. And if I ever get tired of the display there are a half dozen plastic tubs still filled with toys that I can swap out.
I’m probably going to regret posting this. Even so, here it is: I don’t understand the current hoopla surrounding Target stores.
Target recently announced that they’re going to stop gender-labeling certain departments of their stores—specifically Toys, Home and Entertainment. Instead of specifying which toys or bedding options are aimed at girls or boys, they’ll live in generic toy and bedding sections. Despite Target’s assurance that they’re not changing clothing departments, there is alarm and panic in some circles.
Why does it matter what I think? Well, for starters, this is something to which I’ve given a lot of thought over the years, not just as a knee-jerk reaction to the corporate announcement. Moreover, I’m seemingly in the minority on this when it comes to my demographic: the aforementioned “some circles.” I’m an unapologetic evangelical Christian and a conservative. I may lean a bit more towards the moderate end of the spectrum in some regards but I still identify as part of the political right. Assuming Trump isn’t the nominee—and there’s not a better 3rd-party candidate—I’ll likely default to voting Republican in the next presidential election.
While I’m sure there are other arguments to justify the Target outrage, these are the two I’ve heard most vehemently:
1. Franklin Graham (who I largely respect), among others, alleges that Target’s decision discredits God’s creation of two distinct genders, male and female.
2. Target’s move is said to be a slippery slope towards making everything (including clothing) gender-neutral, empowering an increasingly liberal world.
To the first, I genuinely fail to understand the direct correlation. Yes, I believe that God did create male and female for one another physically and emotionally. Beyond just the complementing anatomy, I believe He endowed each sex with certain qualities and characteristics. However, the fundamentals of said qualities and characteristics are obviously not distributed identically from person to person, regardless of their sex. It is those subtleties and differences that make each of us the “fearfully and wonderfully made” individuals who were knit together in our mothers’ wombs. [Or perhaps you believe that our lives are dictated by genetic coincidence, and that’s your prerogative.]
Which brings me to the decades I’ve had to consider this whole thing. I’m a girl, and I’ve got the plumbing, hormones and 32 years of living it to back me up. But I’m not exactly a girly-girl, and I never have been. I played with Barbie dolls, tinkered with fashion and swooned over boy bands, yet from my very earliest memories I know that I loved Superman, Ghosbusters and Star Wars. Those weren’t exactly marketed for girls in the ’80s…nor are they today.
There are girls who enjoy superheroes and trains and dinosaurs. For that matter, there are boys who like to play with stuffed animals and dolls rather than action figures and toy weapons. That doesn’t mean they will grow up to be transgendered or unable to fill traditional societal roles. And regardless of what they grow up to be, we as Christians are called to love. Period. You don’t have to agree with his or her lifestyle, but you must love him or her as a fellow human being created in God’s own image. I digress.
As an adult, it’s easy to justify buying toys or sheets from whichever store section you please. As a child, though, it can feel like running the gauntlet just to get a glimpse of your favorite characters on store shelves. No matter how much parents embrace and encourage a child’s enthusiasm, it can feel like you’ve crossed some invisible line that makes you inherently weird because you’re a little girl in the boys’ section (or vice versa). Even if you’re too young to read, you can see the signage that makes it impossibly clear that you’re out of your proverbial lane.
Now I’m not advocating we petition Star Wars to incorporate pink into their packaging (please, don’t use pink!) or demand that Barbie streamline to androgyny. They don’t even have to live side by side on the shelves—that wouldn’t make much sense from a merchandising standpoint anyway. But why as an overarching categorization do we have to label them ‘Boy Toys’ and ‘Girl Toys’?
There are plenty of stores that don’t differentiate, Kohl’s among them. They have a toy section. Plain and simple, TOYS. Know what else they have? Housewares and bedding that aren’t blatantly separated based on which sex “should” like the designs. I’ve not heard any complaints about/threats to boycott Kohl’s nor TJ Maxx/Marshalls, which merchandises in the same way. So why the outrage over Target; is the problem that they were overt in informing us about the changes? We petition for transparency then protest when we get it.
To the second point, it’s true that small moves and counter-moves can eventually culminate in big shifts. And maybe the end-game for places like Target is to ultimately shift culture in favor of more European, post-Christian norms and mores. I’m not one of their executives, but this feels like a somewhat paltry move if that’s the goal. More likely, I suspect they just see dollar signs and ebb with the tide of money.
I do think
Christians people in general need to be cognizant of what’s going on with society. And, by all means, talk with your wallet and support the companies that you feel best represent your values.
For me personally, I see a lot of the other things happening in our world today that cause more distress than signage in a toy section or home goods. I sincerely don’t understand how this is the best battle to wage…let alone the right hill to die on.
Greetings, fellow Blog World™ denizens. Now that we’re a full 2 months past Star Wars Celebration (SWCA), I can safely assume you are probably already satiated from others’ musings. You can safely assume that I’m going to ramble on about it anyway, mostly because IT. WAS. AWESOME.
Severus super-surprised me with 4-day passes all the way back at Christmas 2013. Time crept ever so slowly until we finally hit April of this year and then everything kicked into lightspeed. Han’s 12-parsec kessel run would feel like a snail’s pace compared to how quickly the 4 days of SWCA flew by! So we’ll slow it down and take each day at a time with the blog posts.
First things first, we did not sleep on the concrete floor at the convention center overnight to catch the JJ Abrams panel. In fact, we bought our airfare well before the panel was even announced, let alone scheduled, so we didn’t stand a chance of getting there in time to make it to the main stage. Our flight arrived at LAX just after 7:30 am but a ridiculously slow rental car company ensured we wouldn’t make it to Anaheim until just before 10. That didn’t keep us from seeing the big Force Awakens (TFA) panel, though…kind of. We watched the live stream of the event on my phone. In the car. In a Burger King parking lot. And I cried like a little girl after they rolled the trailer.
Truth be told, I’ve gotten misty eyes every time I’ve seen the trailer. Every dang time—which is a lot considering I make a point to watch it frequently on Apple TV and we’ve seen it twice in 3D ahead of Age of Ultron. It’s so much better than I could’ve ever imagined, as it rings so true to the heart of the original trilogy. I’m going to be so broke when all of the merch hits stores Labor Day weekend!
When got to the convention floor just after the TFA panel wrapped up, it was pretty quiet. We passed a lot of people leaving, presumably to nap somewhere other than on concrete, which made the main hall very easy to navigate.
Because I was stupid or naive or just had residual clouded judgment from the emotional toll of the trailer, we didn’t take as many photos then as we should have. Instead, we walked around to get the lay of the land.
I promptly fell in love with the new TFA trooper armor that Anovos was displaying, only to find that it wouldn’t be available for preorder until later this year. Then I found some vintage toys that I wanted to buy, only to find that they were priced at least double what I was willing to pay. And so I kept my money for another day.
Day 1 also featured a panel with Emperor Palpatine himself, Ian McDiarmid. Never have I seen such a charmingly terrifying person. Truly, listening to him read an excerpt from “The Jedi Doth Return” is as satisfying as putting down a good scratch on a bad itch. But you don’t have to take my word for it…
To wrap up our first day, we visited The Force Awakens exhibit. Costume displays for Kylo Ren, Snowtroopers and Flametroopers were my absolute favorites; I’m so glad we got to see the details up close.
Obviously these pictures are just a first step into a larger world (Obi-Wan fans said “hey-o!”)—full photo album is up on my share site (here).
Coming soon to the blog, a look back at Day 2. Stay tuned!
In a few months, I’ll celebrate 6 years of working in Creative at Hallmark Cards. Not long after I started, there were boxes and boxes of some plastic-y sleeve thingies for free. I didn’t know what they were, I didn’t know what I’d do with them but I knew they were free, and that was enough for me. I am, above all else, a bargain hunter and pack rat.
In all fairness, I was also working part-time at the library and thought we might be able to use them for crafts. Yes, that was justification.
Anyway, I kept a handful of the plastic-y sleeve thingies (PSTs) for myself in the event I had a keen idea one day. I happened across them in a box last week; the planets aligned and BAM! my keen idea hit.
Most of my Star Wars toys came from garage sales and thrift stores when I was a kid. I did, however, get some straight off the pegs at the toy store—my mom had the forethought to save the cardbacks for those figures. Most are worn from handling or covered in clearance stickers, some suffered from an overly excited little girl ripping off the blister packaging to get to the toy and one apparently served as a notepad for said little girl (I scrawled my name across it). They’re in pretty rough shape, but I absolutely love them.
The PSTs looked like they might be a good fit as cardback protectors, so I gave it a shot. Alas, they weren’t a good fit… They were PERFECT!
As I worked my way through the stack of cardbacks, I grew increasingly concerned that I would run out of PSTs. The library recently purged a lot of stuff, so I was certain I wouldn’t be able to replenish my supply there. I pondered how I might post a request on the want-ads at work: “WANTED, plastic-y sleeve thingies that we had here 5 years ago.”
Worry occupied my mind as I slipped the cardbacks into the PSTs. Soon I realized there weren’t any cardbacks left. There weren’t any PSTs left either. I had kept the exact number that I needed—not one more, not one less. That number, in case you’re wondering, was 24 (which also happens to be one of my favorite Switchfoot songs).
Your world view might tell you this was a brilliant case of coincidence, kismet, a stroke of good fortune. For me, it was also a reminder that God provides for even the smallest of concerns.