There Are More of Us

“General, what’s our next move?”

No one had ever asked me anything like that before. I looked up from yet another round of hateful tweets, the abuse wearing me down faster than I’d expected. I’d been sure I could handle it. They were just mean tweets. Just a bunch of YouTube videos that called me things I’ll never repeat.

“What now?”

Except they weren’t just mean Tweets or hateful videos. To have an opinion about Star Wars on social media makes you enough of a target.

Being a woman in this fandom means that if you stand up and speak out against anything hateful, you will be hunted.

And we were hunted.

“My friends. I’m sorry. I thought we had a shot. There’s just too many of them.”

I’d led a group of Star Wars fans into a battle I’d thought we could win. And it felt like we weren’t going to make it out alive.

I never understood how Poe Dameron felt in that moment on Exegol. Facing a menace without a face. Admitting, in front of everyone who’d been counting on him, that he might fail.

I never knew that kind of despair. Until today.

Project Stardust is an idea born from the ashes of hatred. One morning in June 2020 I made the unsettling discovery that I was working for a racist running a Star Wars fan website. 

I quit — the entire writing staff quit; we burned the whole thing down. And I found myself, once again, lost. Desperate for a place in this fandom where women could call the shots. Where women could decide how to approach Star Wars news, share their opinions, celebrate what they love, and not have to worry about their opinions being constantly dismissed.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one with this frustration. Before that same day ended, I had a group of over 40 women begging me to start a Star Wars site — one led by women, for women. One that would promote positivity and inclusivity. And most importantly, a place where female creators could show off their Star Wars things. Because they’re beautiful things, and they deserve to be seen.

After months of planning and prep, the week of our scheduled launch, I casually but excitedly tweeted about Project Stardust. And overnight, I became Poe Dameron in that X-wing on Exegol. Trying and failing to defend my team. Trying to take every shot on their behalf. Trying to stay hopeful … and failing at that, too.

All I wanted was to make this fandom better. All I wanted was to give underrepresented Star Wars fans a platform to speak up, to celebrate. To love.

I am writing this with a broken heart and a wounded soul. But this is my promise to all of you: No matter how hopeless things seem, I will not back down. We will not give up.

Project Stardust is for every female/femme/NB to share their words. Their art. Their designs. LGBTQ+ creators don’t always get the love they deserve; we’re here to give it. Women of color don’t always get to show off the Star Wars things they’re making; we’re here to yell about it (and share all the links).

Star Wars is for everyone. And we’re tired of certain fans showing us otherwise.

Until we can silence the hate and civilly co-exist, it is our time to lead the charge.

They can intimidate us. Insult us. Gaslight us. Bully, harass, and terrify us.

But they cannot overtake us.

“There are more of us, Poe.”

Turn the corner. See the ships. The people. The hope.

There are more of us.

Just when we thought we wouldn’t ever make it off the ground, the love in this community saved us. It didn’t erase the hate, the harassment, the pain. But it gave us a reason to keep flying. To keep fighting.

There are more of us.

Stand with us, and together, we can change the fandom. Together, we can save the galaxy.

Meg Dowell

Founder/Editor-in-Chief, Project Stardust