At a ceremony on Wednesday, President Obama awarded the National Medal of Arts and Humanities not only to Star Wars creator George Lucas, but also to a slew of incredible women such as Joan Didion, Anna Deavere Smith, and Elaine May.
The other women who got the award were Lin Arison (founder of the National Young Arts Association), author Jill Kerr Conway, novelist and essayist Marilynne Robinson, Natalie Zemon Davis (pioneer in women’s studies, author, historian), and Joan Meyers Brown (founder, choreographer, dancer, and artistic director for the Philadelphia Dance Company). Twenty-four people won the award in total.
President Obama himself said:
This is just fun for me because I feel like I know you all, because I’ve enjoyed your performances; your writings have fundamentally changed me.
The plethora of women winning the award and the range of fields they come from are exciting to see honored with an award of this caliber. Strong intelligent creative ladies doing awesome things is always something we like to see!
Though I’m not sure Lucas should be getting any awards after the terrible Star Wars prequels, there’s something to be said for the President honoring a pioneer of the sci-fi genre — a genre which often goes unacknowledged as an art form among snobs of all kids. The fact that Lucas got this award sustains the trend of the sci-fi/fantasy genre becoming increasingly recognized for its importance and its creative value.