Star Trek: The Motion Picture Essay

Star Trek: The Motion Picture Essay

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The film I’m discussing is Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The film, which takes place in the 23rd century, is about the newly appointed Admiral Kirk and his crew taking back the Enterprise in order to stop a force that is threatening Earth. Although problematic with regards to gender issues, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, along with the original television show and the other movies, used aliens and the futuristic as a tool to examine race and sexuality issues in a way that hadn’t really been explored before in such a mainstream way. I’m going to discuss race, gender, and sexuality issues one at a time, first just discussing it in general in regards to the original television series and the films, and then I’m going to relate them specifically to Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
The way Star Trek dealt with race was especially revolutionary in that day in age. In fact, in its third season, Star Trek: The Original Series has the first ever on-screen interracial kiss in an episode called “Plato's Stepchildren.” The kiss was not romantic in any way because the characters were literally being forced to kiss, and there is even doubt as to whether Shatner and Nichols were actually kissing in the scene, but to most it was really more about the moment, the pure fact that Captain Kirk kissed a black woman (Shock! Horror!) and what that signified, than it was about the actual kiss. The series also progressed the racial dialogue in less overt ways; the series often had aliens that were representative of certain race issues going on in that time period. In one alien species, each person had half of a black face and half a white face, and some members had complications and discrimination based on which side was white or black (Bernardi, ...

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...made huge strides forward in creating an interesting and unique outlook on race and relationship/sexuality issues, for the most part, but was severely lacking when it came to gender issues even though it attempted to become more progressive on that front as well. I discussed all of these issues in the context of Trek franchise as a whole as well as specifically in the context of Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Works Cited
Bernardi, Daniel. ""Star Trek" in the 1960s: Liberal-Humanism and the Production of Race." Science Fiction Studies 24.2 (1997): 209-25. JSTOR. Web.
Greven, David. Gender and Sexuality in Star Trek: Allegories of Desire in the Television Series and Films. Jefferson, NC: McFarland &, 2009. Print.
Hassler, Donald M., and Clyde Wilcox. "Gender Identity in Star Trek." Political Science Fiction. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina, 1997. Print.

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