How many people have one geeky t-shirt is their arsenal? How many of us have 20 or more geeky graphic, pop culture, movie, or puny t-shirts in their arsenal? I fall into the later category, and anyone who knows me would say I’m an established nerdette. I do not feel the need to prove my love for fandoms, films, and books, but I do enjoy showcasing my passions through the medium of clothing and accessories. Oddly enough, I seldom cosplay for Comic Con despite my training as a costume designer (probably because I spend the weeks prior working on costuming a full theatrical show and thus lack the time to pull something together for myself). Instead I express my love through casual wear, mostly t-shirts and tanks. A year ago at said convention, I was in search of something different to my usual trappings: I wanted something I could wear at work.
Many geeks I am sure suffer from the same problem: you cannot wear that to work. Whether you’re a business professional or a retail wage slave, chances are you’re not permitted to wear certain colors, prints, or styles of clothes to work. Beyond “not permitted,” there is also the “advise strongly against wearing that as a career choice”; my TARDIS dress will clearly sabotage my future (even if it is from the future). The argument of professional integrity and uniformity are not lost on me, but even if I wasn’t a geek I would still feel calcitrant about the strictness of work attire. Would it truly cause a rip in the time space continuum if I wear a colorful printed shirt?! Would polka dots will be the ruin of us all!? I’m not trying to lead a rebellion and claim we should all be allowed Ren-Fair attire and accoutrements on the job (although swords would be amazing), but I still look for little subterfuges despite my years of conformity.
On the last day of Comic-Con 2017 I found the accessory I wanted. I was buying a couple of marvel tie-clips for my husband (because I believe geek chic is equal gender opportunity) when I saw them lying on a black velvet cushion. They were not silver (that would be gloriously out of my price range) but they fairly well made silver-esque disc earrings of the Rebel-Alliance insignia of Star Wars. Beside them were Captain America shield earrings (also sorely tempting, but not my gut choice), thus I made the Force(d) choice.
Full disclosure: as a member of the Rebel Alliance you’d find me tucked away in the kitchen or medical bay; the red-shirt, if you will forgive mixed fandoms, of the bunch. My father loved it and my mother claimed she loved it first, thus Star Wars was my first foray into the Sci-Fi Fantasy genre. I grew up idolizing Skywalker and Solo and thinking that Princess Leia was my kind of princess (the closest Disney Princess of my ilk was Belle because: books!). My mother gave me a set of tiny bendable action figures: the epic struggle played out in plastic on the coffee table. Mostly ignored Episodes 1-3, and totally missed the Clone Wars series. After that, other interests overtook me: I was a proud Hufflepuff; a Time Lord’s companion; and empathized with “I could do this all day” Steve Rogers. Star Wars filled the need for my first fandom, and always nostalgically recalled this love from my childhood. The classic fight for “good” epitomized by the symbol of the Rebellion: the hardest fight to win is the one most worth winning.
I must admit I was pleasantly surprised by the responses, both initial and ongoing, I have received by this simple accessory. Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t compliment me on my choice of jewelry when I “Go Rebel”. Even on their first outing I sparked a Rebel vs. Empire debate with three Target employees at the returns counter. A little girl the other day with a very chipper voice said “She’s wearing the Star Wars symbol”, inaccurately but ever so cutely. Over the past year I have enjoyed wearing these frequently at work, subverting the dictates of my corporate overlords and bringing a smile to my customers’ faces. A feeling of “New Hope” arises in me when people acknowledge things they like, even if it puts their perceived image on the line. My point is the “being a rebel” is about being willing to stand out (even in the smallest ways you can) to be true to yourself and the things you believe in. If you’re like me in that you labor under the dictates of a questionable policy or expectation, if you disagree with a seemingly imperial dictate, and you think the war is too great for one person to triumph: see if you can find that little battle you can win. Remember, the force is with you.