I’ve recently been revisiting The Mandalorian with the podcast Pink Milk. With an amazing panel of beautiful people that I’m falling in love with, we’ve been looking at season one through a queer lens. It’s easily one of the most important projects I’ve ever been a part of.
When we got to episode two “The Child,” one of my favorite scenes in the entire season happens towards the end. The Mando, Din Djarin, has defeated the Mudhorn with the help of Baby Yoda. To get his ship parts back from a group of Jawas, he brings them a large egg. The jawas unceremoniously cut open the egg and start ravenously consuming the yolk as Din looks on in disgust.
I’ve always loved this scene. On the surface level, eggs are one of my favorite foods. I love eggs of all kinds, but I particularly love soft boiled eggs. That smooth, silky yolk when it’s made correctly is divine. I love eggs to the point of receiving some friendly teasing from close friends.
I jokingly began to call myself a “Gross Jawa Man” every time I made eggs. I would playfully chant, “Suga! Suga! Suga!” just like the jawas as I waited for my food to cook. It became a little in joke with myself about these characters that I found surprisingly relatable.
Not so surprising was people’s reactions to the jawas and the egg scene. It’s understandable as it’s kind of gross watching a group of little aliens consume a giant raw egg.
But as I prepared for paneling with Pink Milk, I was taking notes on the scene trying to see it through a different lens. I really felt for these jawas. I’ve always loved them, their sass, their “no fucks to give” attitude towards Mando. I knew I felt a camaraderie with them, but I couldn’t put my finger exactly on how.
The same night, I got hit with a nasty bout of GERD. GERD is a more extreme type of acid reflux that can lead to chest pressure, discomfort in the upper abdomen, and dry cough (which makes it REALLY FUN to play “Is this GERD or COVID” the last few months). My GERD is sometimes so bad that I cough up whole pieces of food and choke on it. It also makes me super gassy as I am constantly burping.
It makes me feel really gross. It’s quite embarrassing at times. Especially when it comes up in formal settings, guesting on shows, or just around normal people. People are supposed to be polite and control how quietly they burp, but I sometimes physically can’t. I can’t always control burping quite loudly. It’s something that I’ve come to live with. For a long time, I was pretty ashamed of it. I didn’t want to be this kind of gross person with my body making me feel disgusting.
Luckily, I have come to terms with it and myself through a surprising medium: podcasting.
On my Star Wars show, Jaig Eyes and Jedi, we pride ourselves on being the “classiest” podcast in the galaxy. Meaning, we’re a bit rude, raunchy, tell dumb jokes, swear, and we act a bit gross. So when I burp loudly, my co-podcaster Chris is there to cheer it on. This has been surprisingly comforting as it’s helped me accept and own my body. I have a space where I can be openly me. I shouldn’t have to be ashamed over a medical condition that I have. Everyone burps, farts, and has gross body things. Why did I have to feel like “the Other” for something I can’t always control?
It also got me to thinking about how some things in our culture should be more normalized. I read a ton of Am I the Asshole? over on Reddit to know how many normal bodily functions like menstrual cycles aren’t comfortable for people to talk about. When it comes to mental health, people aren’t always comfortable discussing things like anxiety or depression.
Speaking as a queer person, I don’t always feel like I act queer enough. I don’t look how I wish to look. I currently have long hair. My ideal image is a short undercut. I don’t currently see myself when I look into the mirror. I can’t speak for my trans guys, gals, and non-binary pals, but I have to wonder if it’s a similar feeling. Is this also something they feel when people use the wrong pronouns?
Like with podcasting, I have found a space where I can feel my queerest no matter what. That’s with either my close friend group or at conventions like 221B Con. 221B Con in particular is a wonderful queer convention that has incredible fan discussions. It’s about 60% Sherlock Holmes, 40% all other media and fandom talks. But more specifically, much of it is queer fandom discussions. That is the space where I feel like no matter what I look like, even if I don’t see myself in the mirror, I can be myself.
Which brings me back to these jawas.
Din represents part of normal society looking in and not understanding the community that the jawas have built for themselves. Jawas have normalized their way of life in their community. They’re allowed to enjoy a snack together that they’re excited about as a group. They’ve normalized this behavior. They don’t see each other as being gross. This is how they act, because it’s a safe place to be who they want to be.
The jawas are my “classy” podcast. They’re my 221B Con. People like Din are the ones who don’t understand, because they haven’t educated themselves. They don’t get why pronouns are so important or can’t say the word “tampon” without feeling uncomfortable. They don’t understand the intricacies of mental health and that therapy is important. They are the judging norm, deeming the egg and jawas as gross, because it’s not part of their daily lives. The jawas are the “Others.” Therefore, they’re not the same as normal people. But it’s Din who is not normalized to other cultures in the galaxy and these concepts.
And the jawas are me. I’m not the norm simply by being queer. I’m not the norm by proudly burping without shame, because I have a legitimate disease that I can’t control. I shouldn’t have to be ashamed of any of these fact, but normal culture continues to try and shame me. But I don’t have to listen to the normal people thinking I’m weird or gross.
I’m just me. If that makes me a gross jawa man, then I’m very proud to be one.
Check out Pink Milk Podcast and the amazing Mandalorian panel that I’m part of!
Pink Milk is also on YouTube and Twitter too!
Read my other reviews for The Mandalorian here!
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