Living Up to the Legacy: How the New Star Trek Can Be as Progressive as the Old

So, we all know by this point that there is going to be a third Star Trek movie and there’s even recent news that the cast has signed on for a fourth. I’m super excited about this because I actually kind of like the new Star Trek movies. Granted, I didn’t enjoy Into Darkness all that much, but I did enjoy the first of the new reboots. There are, however, several issues I have with the new movies. I don’t think the writers understand how alternate timelines work, and so the movies have suffered, but I’m mostly annoyed by the lack of progressive themes and messages that were so inherent to the Star Trek Original Series (TOS).

There are several things that I could talk about here, but today I am going to strictly focus on the cast. When TOS first aired, it was considered revolutionary in terms of representation. There was a Black woman who was in a leadership position and a Japanese man who was also in a leadership position and was in charge of piloting the ship. Neither were stereotyped or portrayed unfavorably, nor were they looked down on by any other crew members. While there were still issues over how people of color in the cast were paid and treated, as well as how much actual air time they got on the show, there is no denying that for its time, Star Trek was revolutionary. Nowadays, not so much. Originally, the TOS cast was supposed to represent the world in microcosm to show how Earth had united. In the 60s having some white people with accents, two people of color, and two to three women was considered enough to show that unity. Now I look at the cast of the rebooted movies and think: “Damn, that’s a lot of white heterosexual cisgender able-bodied men.” It doesn’t really have the same effect anymore. And if the new reboot movies really want to up their game, I think it is time to add to the cast. So what do the new Star Trek movies need in order to have them same impact that the original series had? Well, several things.

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Sexualized Saturdays: The Sexist & Racist Themes Portrayed Through the Orion Slave Girls

Ah, Star Trek, a TV show that gives us a glimpse of a utopian future where everyone in the Federation is equal and the government secretly looks the other way and even condones sex trafficking. Wait—what was that second part? Oh, nothing much. Just the conveniently overlooked fact that in order to keep at least somewhat peaceful relations with the Orion Syndicate, the Federation sometimes ignores and even sometimes seems to condone sex trafficking. But hey, it’s okay, right? Because the Orion women like being taken advantage of and sold as slaves…

Yep, one of my least favorite things about the Star Trek universe will forever and always be the Orion slave girls.

Trigger warning for rape, rape culture, rape apologism, sexism, racism, abuse, sex trafficking, and slavery after the jump.

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Sexualized Saturdays: If the Bechdel Test Isn’t Feminist, What Is?

bechdel test original comicRecently a group of cinemas in Sweden decided to institute a ratings system based on the Bechdel test. As moviegoers enter one of these cinemas, they would see a rating by each advertised movie, telling them whether or not the movie had passed the test. Controversy ensued, with the Telegraph calling the test “damaging to the way we think about film” and the Guardian almost immediately rebutting by saying it was “a provocation that works”. Both sides of the argument have some merit to them, but it’s clear that the Bechdel test now has enough cultural clout to propel a more in-depth discussion on feminism and gender in the film industry. The test has long been held up as a measure of how feminist a movie is, but does it really fulfill this purpose? Or is it time for this test to make way for newer tests like Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Sexy Lamp test or the Mako Mori test?

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Fanfiction Fridays: seperis’s Reboot Series

It’s been quite some time since I’ve recced a Star Trek fanfic, and even longer since I’ve been active in the fandom, but I’ve been meaning to recommend this fic for ages and the time has finally come.

Spock_&_Kirk_Mind-MeldAuthor seperis’s Reboot series is made up of a few separate fics all set as part of the same storyline/universe. The first part, You’ll Get There in the End (It Just Takes a While), is a pon farr fic, but it puts a spin on the trope in a way I haven’t seen in other fics. Continue reading

Fanfiction Fridays: Lunch and Other Obscenities

When it comes to fanfiction, what I read is about 90% shippy, whether it’s het, slash, or femslash. I look to fanfic to portray in-show, -book, or -movie relationships in a way I wish their source text would and so I tend to avoid gen fanfic. In fact, I’ve probably linked to most of the gen fanfic I’ve ever really liked already in this segment. But every once in a while I come across something that’s really great, and Lunch and Other Obscenities by Rheanna27 is one such fanfic.

This story is set in the Star Trek reboot (aka Star Trek XI) universe, and focuses on the relationship between Gaila and Uhura as they start at Starfleet. They’re assigned as roommates because Gaila’s last name is transliterated Uhu, and they immediately start off on the wrong foot. It’s less that they dislike each other as people, and more that both of them adhere to cultural norms, which, though totally acceptable by their species’ standards, the other finds taboo and gross. Over the course of the fic, Uhura learns to question what she sees as ‘normal’, to accept the things she first considers ‘weird’, and that effective cross-cultural translation can save both relationships and lives. And, okay, it does have a teensy bit of Spock/Uhura in there but it’s not at all the focus of the fic, and their relationship is canon in nu!Trek, so I still consider gen fic.

I discovered it on a list of fanfic that passed the Bechdel test, and I found it a really refreshing portrayal of female friendship as well as an intriguing look at the way norms can differ across cultures and the way things that are second nature to one group can be absolutely taboo to another group, without either group being necessarily morally superior.

Here’s the link again—go check it out!