Science Fiction Film & Television

‘A friendship that will define you both’: Star Trek and the devolution of American masculinity

Science Fiction Film & Television (1970), 9, (3), 417–438.

Abstract

This article compares the shift in the presentation of masculinity in the rebooted Star Trek films to masculinity in the original series and in fan fiction. It argues that, unlike their original counterparts, the rebooted Kirk and Spock exemplify aspects of hegemonic masculinity that are counter to the principles of Star Trek, reflecting post-9/11 reactionary politics. At the same time, however, fan fiction and fan communities celebrate the more liberatory potential of the reboot universe for new sexual identities and sexual expression. This article argues that this swapping of ideology reveals the ways in which Star Trek’s true essence lies not in what it does or does not present but in how it inspires audiences to strive for a utopian future.

Access Token
£25.00
READ THIS ARTICLE
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Alexander, David. ‘Gene Roddenberry: Writer, Producer, Philosopher, Humanist’. The Humanist 51.2 (1991): 5–30, 38. Gene Roddenberry: Writer, Producer, Philosopher, Humanist The Humanist 51.2 5 30 Google Scholar

Anderson, Eric. Inclusive Masculinity: The Changing Nature of Masculinities. New York: Routledge, 2009. Inclusive Masculinity: The Changing Nature of Masculinities Google Scholar

Bacon-Smith, Camille. Enterprising Women: Television Fandom and the Creation of Popular Myth. Philadelphia: UP of Pennsylvania, 1992. Enterprising Women: Television Fandom and the Creation of Popular Myth Google Scholar

Benshoff, Harry M. and Sean Griffin. Queer Images: A History of Gay and Lesbian Film in America. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2006. Queer Images: A History of Gay and Lesbian Film in America Google Scholar

Blackman, Robert H. and J. Michael Utzinger. ‘A Post-Roddenberry Star Trek’. The Cresset 73.1 (2009): 36–9. A Post-Roddenberry Star Trek The Cresset 73.1 36 9 Google Scholar

Blair, Karen. ‘Sex and Star Trek’. Science Fiction Studies 10.3 (1983): 292–7. Sex and Star Trek Science Fiction Studies 10.3 292 7 Google Scholar

Box Office Mojo. ‘2008 Domestic Grosses’. N.D. >http://www.boxofficemojo.com/yearly/chart/?yr=2008> Accessed 22 Aug 2015. Google Scholar

Box Office Mojo. ‘Star Trek’. N.D. >http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=startrek11.htm> Accessed 22 Aug 2015. Google Scholar

Box Office Mojo. ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’. N.D. >http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=startrek12.htm> Accessed 22 Aug 2015. Google Scholar

Coker, Cait. ‘Everybody’s Bi in the Future: Constructing Sexuality in the Star Trek Reboot Fandom’. Journal of Fandom Studies 3.2 (2015): 195–210. Everybody’s Bi in the Future: Constructing Sexuality in the Star Trek Reboot Fandom Journal of Fandom Studies 3.2 195 210 Google Scholar

Cole, Shannon. ‘Nobody’s Gay in the Twenty-Third Century: Star Trek Reboot Fanfic and Foucault’. Film and History Conference. Hyatt Regency, Milwaukee, 13 Nov 2010. Nobody’s Gay in the Twenty-Third Century: Star Trek Reboot Fanfic and Foucault Google Scholar

Collins Smith, Anne and Owen M. Smith. ‘Pragmatism and Meaning: Assessing the Message of Star Trek: The Original Series’. Participations 8.2 (2011): 74–84. Pragmatism and Meaning: Assessing the Message of Star Trek: The Original Series Star Trek: The Original Series 8.2 74 84 Google Scholar

Conway, Christopher. ‘The New Star Trek: An End to the Greatest Bromance of All Time? Or How Spock’s New Romantic Life Challenges the Sentimental World of Classic Star Trek’. Prof. Conway’s Homepage (9 May 2009). >http://drconway.wordpress.com/2009/05/09/the-new-star-trek-an-end-to-the-greatest-bromance-of-all-time-or-how-spocks-new-romantic-life-challenges-the-sentimental-world-of-classic-star-trek/> Accessed 21 Sep 2010. Google Scholar

Cranny-Francis, Anne. ‘Sexuality and Sex-Role Stereotyping in Star Trek’. Science Fiction Studies 12.3 (1985): 274–84. Sexuality and Sex-Role Stereotyping in Star Trek Science Fiction Studies 12.3 274 84 Google Scholar

Donaldson, Mike. ‘What Is Hegemonic Masculinity?’ Theory and Society 22 (1993): 643–57. What Is Hegemonic Masculinity? Theory and Society 22 643 57 Google Scholar

Driscoll, Catherine. ‘“One True Pairing”: The Romance of Pornography and the Pornography of Romance’. Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet. Ed. Karen Hellekson and Kristina Busse. Jefferson: McFarland, 2006. 79–96. “One True Pairing”: The Romance of Pornography and the Pornography of Romance Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet 79 96 Google Scholar

Fiedler, Leslie. Love and Death in the American Novel. New York: Criterion, 1960. Love and Death in the American Novel Google Scholar

GLAAD. ‘2015 Studio Responsibility Index’. N.D. >http://www.glaad.org/files/2015_SRI.pdf> Accessed 23 Feb 2016. Google Scholar

Green, Shoshanna, Cynthia Jenkins and Henry Jenkins. ‘“Normal Female Interest in Men Bonking”: Selections from the Terra Nostra Underground and Strange Bedfellows’. Theorizing Fandom: Fans, Subculture, and Identity. Ed. Cheryl Harris and Alison Alexander. New York: Hampton, 1998. 9–40. “Normal Female Interest in Men Bonking”: Selections from the Terra Nostra Underground and Strange Bedfellows Theorizing Fandom: Fans, Subculture, and Identity 9 40 Google Scholar

Greven, David. Gender and Sexuality in Star Trek. Jefferson: McFarland, 2009. Gender and Sexuality in Star Trek Google Scholar

Helford, Elyce Rae. ‘“A Part of Myself No Man Should Ever See”: Reading Captain Kirk’s Multiple Masculinities’. Enterprise Zones: Critical Positions on Star Trek. Ed. Taylor Harrison, Sarah Projansky, Kent A. Ono and Elyce Rae Helford. Boulder: Westview, 1996. 11–31. “A Part of Myself No Man Should Ever See”: Reading Captain Kirk Enterprise Zones: Critical Positions on Star Trek 11 31 Google Scholar

Hunt, James. ‘Top 10 Star Trek: Enterprise Episodes’. Den of Geek (4 Nov 2009). >http://www.denofgeek.us/tv/star-trek/20237/top-10-star-trek-enterprise-episodes> Accessed 23 Feb 2016. Google Scholar

Hunting, Kyra. ‘Queer as Folk and the Trouble with Slash’. Transformative Works and Cultures 11 (2012) >http://journal.transformativeworks.org/index.php/twc/article/view/415> Accessed 28 Jun 2016. Google Scholar

Jenkins, Henry. ‘Five Ways to Start a Conversation about the New Star Trek Film’. Confessions of an Aca-Fan (12 May 2009). >http://henryjenkins.org/2009/05/five_ways_to_start_a_conversat.html> Accessed 21 Sep 2010. Google Scholar

Jenkins, Henry. ‘Star Trek Rerun, Reread, Rewritten: Fan Writing as Textual Poaching’. Critical Studies in Mass Communication 5.2 (1988): 85–107. Star Trek Rerun, Reread, Rewritten: Fan Writing as Textual Poaching Critical Studies in Mass Communication 5.2 85 107 Google Scholar

Jenkins, Henry. Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture. New York: Routledge, 1992. Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture Google Scholar

Jones, Bethan. ‘Fifty Shades of Exploitation: Fan Labor and Fifty Shades of Grey’ . Transformative Works and Cultures 15 (2014) >http://journal.transformativeworks.org/index.php/twc/issue/view/16> Accessed 28 Jun 2016. Google Scholar

Kant, Immanuel. Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Essay. 1795. Trans. M. Campbell Smith. London: George Allen and Unwin, 1917. Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Essay Google Scholar

Kant, Immanuel. ‘Answering the Question: What Is Enlightenment?’ 1784. Trans. H.B. Nisbet. London: Penguin Books, 2013. Answering the Question: What Is Enlightenment? Google Scholar

Kimmel, Michael. ‘The Cult of Masculinity: American Social Character and the Legacy of the Cowboy’. Beyond Patriarchy: Essays by Men on Pleasure, Power, and Change. Ed. Michael Kaufman. Toronto: Oxford UP, 1987. 235–51. The Cult of Masculinity: American Social Character and the Legacy of the Cowboy Beyond Patriarchy: Essays by Men on Pleasure, Power, and Change 235 51 Google Scholar

Kimmel, Michael. ‘Masculinity as Homophobia: Fear, Shame, and Silence in the Construction of Gender Identity’. The Masculinities Reader. Ed. Stephen M. Whitehead and Frank J. Barrett. Malden: Blackwell, 2001. 266–87. Masculinity as Homophobia: Fear, Shame, and Silence in the Construction of Gender Identity The Masculinities Reader 266 87 Google Scholar

Lamb, Patricia Frazer, and Diane Veith. ‘Romantic Myth, Transcendence, and Star Trek Zines’. Erotic Universe: Sexuality and Fantastic Literature. Ed. Donald Palumbo. Westport: Greenwood, 1986. 236–55. Romantic Myth, Transcendence, and Star Trek Zines Erotic Universe: Sexuality and Fantastic Literature 236 55 Google Scholar

Lewis, R.W.B. The American Adam. Chicago: UP of Chicago, 1955. The American Adam Google Scholar

Lothian, Alexis, Kristina Busse and Robin Anne Reid. ‘“Yearning Void and Infinite Potential”: Online Slash Fandom as Queer Female Space’. English Language Notes 45.2 (2007): 103–11. “Yearning Void and Infinite Potential”: Online Slash Fandom as Queer Female Space English Language Notes 45.2 103 11 Google Scholar

Marshall, P. David. ‘The Promotion and Presentation of the Self: Celebrity as Marker of Presentational Media’. Celebrity Studies 1.1 (2010): 35–48. The Promotion and Presentation of the Self: Celebrity as Marker of Presentational Media Celebrity Studies 1.1 35 48 Google Scholar

Movie Insider. ‘Star Trek’ (21 Jul 2009). >http://www.movieinsider.com/m71/star-trek/production> Accessed 19 Feb 2016. Google Scholar

Osteen, Mark. ‘Noir’s Cars: Automobility and Amoral Space in American Film Noir’. Journal of Popular Film and Television 35 (2008): 183–92. Noir’s Cars: Automobility and Amoral Space in American Film Noir Journal of Popular Film and Television 35 183 92 Google Scholar

Pascoe, C.J. Dude, You’re a Fag. Berkeley: UP of California, 2007. Dude, You’re a Fag Google Scholar

Penley, Constance. ‘Brownian Motion: Women, Tactics, and Technology’. Technoculture. Ed. Constance Penley and Andrew Ross. Minneapolis: UP of Minnesota, 1991. 135–61. Brownian Motion: Women, Tactics, and Technology Technoculture 135 61 Google Scholar

Porter, Jennifer E. ‘To Boldly Go: Star Trek Convention Attendance as Pilgrimage’. Star Trek and Sacred Ground. Ed. Jennifer E. Porter and Darcee L. McLaren. Albany: State U of New York P, 1999. 245–70. To Boldly Go: Star Trek Convention Attendance as Pilgrimage Star Trek and Sacred Ground 245 70 Google Scholar

Selley, April. ‘“I Have Been, and Ever Shall Be, Your Friend”: Star Trek, The Deerslayer, and the American Romance’. Journal of Popular Culture 20.1 (1986): 89–104. “I Have Been, and Ever Shall Be, Your Friend”: Star Trek, The Deerslayer, and the American Romance Journal of Popular Culture 20.1 89 104 Google Scholar

Tropiano, Stephen. The Prime Time Closet: A History of Gays and Lesbians on TV. New York: Applause, 2002. The Prime Time Closet: A History of Gays and Lesbians on TV Google Scholar

Wallace, Benjamin. ‘What’s Up, Spock?’ New York Magazine (16 Oct. 2011): 66. What’s Up, Spock? New York Magazine 66 Google Scholar

Worland, Rick. ‘Captain Kirk: Cold Warrior’. Journal of Popular Film and Television 16.3 (1988): 109–17. Captain Kirk: Cold Warrior Journal of Popular Film and Television 16.3 109 17 Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Kies, Bridget