Gender and Sexuality in Star Trek

Allegories of Desire in the Television Series and Films

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About the Book

Studying the Star Trek myth from the original 1960s series to the 2009 franchise-reboot film, this book challenges frequent accusations that the Star Trek saga refuses to represent queer sexuality. Arguing that Star Trek speaks to queer audiences through subtle yet provocative allegorical narratives, the analysis pays close attention to representations of gender, race, and sexuality to develop an understanding of the franchise’s queer sensibility. Topics include the 1960s original’s deconstruction of the male gaze and the traditional assumptions of male visual mastery; constructions of femininity in Star Trek: Voyager, particularly in the relationship between Captain Janeway and Seven of Nine; and the ways in which Star Trek: Enterprise’s adoption of neoconservative politics may have led to its commercial and aesthetic failure.

About the Author(s)

David Greven is Professor of English at the University of South Carolina. His books include Representations of Femininity in American Genre CinemaThe Bionic Woman and Feminist Ethics and Gender and Sexuality in Star Trek.

Bibliographic Details

David Greven

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 239
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4413-7
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5458-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction—Star Trek, Gender, Race, Allegory, and Desire      1

ONE—LONELY PLANETS
Original Star Trek, the Male Gaze, and the Allegorization of Desire      9
TWO—FUTURES END
Star Trek Allegory and the Representation of Queer Characters      34
THREE—PROJECTING DESIRE
Holograms, Artists, and Gay Male Allegory      48
FOUR—QUEERING GENDER
Voyager’s Neelix as the Male Mother      74
FIVE—THE SEETHING SKIN
Star Trek, Masculinity, and Race      97
SIX—THE TWILIGHT OF IDENTITY
Enterprise, Neoconservatism, and the Death of Star Trek      118
SEVEN—WHITE WHALES
Rage and Masculinity in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek: First Contact      135
EIGHT—AN EPIC FOR WOMEN
Star Trek: Voyager’s “Dark Frontier”      165
NINE—THE ECHO OVER THE VOICE
Star Trek: Nemesis and Patriarchal Narcissism      187

Afterword—J. J. Abrams and the Fate of Trek      203
Chapter Notes      211
Bibliography      223
Index      229

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “a fine pick…a fascinating read for those trying to understand pop culture and sexuality in today’s world”—Midwest Book Review
  • “an exhaustively researched book that covers storylines and characters from all of the incarnations of the Trek myth including the recent movie re-imagining of the storyline…I can’t imagine you’ll find a better book on the subject”—Scarlet
  • “Greven manages to offer new, even radically different perspectives on Trek in parts of this engaging and readable book…offers new insights into gender (predominantly masculinity) and sexuality in Trek across the various series. As well as offering an intriguing revisionist view of STOS, it also engages with installments that have not so far received much critical examination (such as the 2002 movie Nemesis, or the latest film), largely avoiding covering ground that is too familiar. The focus on individual episodes and/or characters allows for detailed analysis…at its best, Greven’s approach matches theory with text in stimulating and insightful fashion.”—Lorna Jowett, Critical Studies in Television
  • Gender and Sexuality in Star Trek maintains a clear focus and presents an engaging argument, centered on an allegorical reading of gender, sexuality and race in the monomyth. In developing this, Greven analyzes how, while Star Trek does not directly represent gay or lesbian characters, queer desire can still be read allegorically and ironically by the significant gay fan base…gives an excellent basis for continued engagement with this ‘maddeningly and exhilaratingly complex’ monomyth.”—Elspeth Kydd, Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media