Star Trek was just for women

A friend just shared something rather interesting in chat with me:

(9:42:40 AM): Btw, something you might want to do for Hathor. I had a talk with a male friend who insisted the new Star Trek movie was made only for women.
(9:42:44 AM): And I stared at him, shocked.
(9:42:53 AM): Apparently character interaction is for girls.
(9:43:13 AM): So I countered, “Oh, were Uhura and Gaila talking about communications in their underwear also for men?”
(9:43:17 AM): women, even
(9:43:45 AM): He stopped, and went, “Oh.”

Responses? What we’re looking at here is a faulty observation, acknowledged to have been faulty once the other person points out the flaw. The fact that he made the observation is less interesting to me than why he made it. Boys undergo a shocking amount of conditioning to reach a point where feelings bore them and/or make them uncomfortable, and girls are also heavily conditioned to put emotions ahead of actions or logic. I always wonder in cases like this, is it really that he feels that way, or feels he’s supposed to feel that way? Or has he perhaps gotten this idea from a misogynistic pal who sees merely including women as an act of stealing something from men? It certainly has that ring. “Hey, not quite every second and frame was dedicated to explosions and or female semi-nudity! Therefore, we men have been robbed!”

A secondary question: was the original Star Trek ever not full of character interaction and emotional drama amidst all the cool action?


  1. says

    I think the opening weepy scene of Jim’s birth and his crying parents may have put off a few of these types of guys, who think anything with married couples/babies/lovers dying is automatically for women. Even though the person being born in this case was James effing Kirk.

    TOS was mostly just Spock and Kirk being buddies and having adventures together, and some of the movies (I guess specifically Wrath of Khan) had some touching emotional stuff going on between the guys. If Star Trek was *just* explosions and space stuff, I don’t think it would’ve been as successful as it was, and frankly, it was a whole LOT of explosions and space stuff. And frankly, a lot of men loved this movie.

    I think this: Or has he perhaps gotten this idea from a misogynistic pal who sees merely including women as an act of stealing something from men? is bang on.

  2. Dom Camus says

    I think part of the thing here is that if you go to see a film and the style is radically different from what you expected (and hoped for) there’s a tendency to seek out analytical explanations. So “It’s for women” in this case is an instance of “It’s for some large demographic that does not contain me”.

    Boys undergo a shocking amount of conditioning to reach a point where feelings bore them and/or make them uncomfortable

    I certainly know what you’re getting at here, but I think it’s a narrower effect than this. Some feelings are encouraged and others suppressed. Even within Star Trek canon, Captain Kirk’s tendency to emotional response as compared to Spock’s “cold” logic is very much in keeping with the way boys are socially conditioned.

  3. Patrick J McGraw says

    Definitely. Certain emotional responses are encouraged in boys, others must be suppressed or you risk being seen as “weak/feminine.” The disconnect between what I learned at home (from my hippie parents and Fred Rogers) versus what I learned everywhere else was noticeable to me even as a small child.

  4. Karakuri says

    My male friend loved the intro scene for the emotion rather than the explosions, and he’s not exactly discerning when it comes to gender attitudes.

    TOS was full of character action which appealed a lot more to women than that in the movie, e.g. Spock’s rather cute way of hiding his feelings (e.g. when he tried to deny his desperation after being saved from certain death), the constant banter between him, Kirk and McCoy, the very slashable friendship between Kirk and Spock…the movie’s character interaction was same old Hollywood fare with only a hint of familiarity, to me anyway.

  5. Karakuri says

    By that I don’t mean “character interaction” was the appealing part to women, but the fact that it centered around likable male characters and without typical annoying female characters.

  6. says

    TOS was heavily dependent on the character interaction between the Spock/Kirk/McCoy triumvrate, so I’m not sure what this guy is basing his analysis on.

    But the misogynistic friend thing is possibly the best theory.

  7. says

    I haven’t seen the movie yet, pesky popcorn allergy and all, but I have heard from some female fans that they thought certain scenes – like Kirk being born – were just gratuitous and out of place for what is being billed as a “Star Trek” movie.

    Yes, the triumvirate Kirk/Spock/McCoy is a central part of the franchise, but, most folks are going for space opera with a bit of social commentary – but not too much. That is what all of the Star Treks are. If you get too much of something else, it will be discordant to the viewing public.

    I admit, if I’m going to see a movie that is supposed to be about space battles and action, even I, a woman, will be annoyed if there is too much of the Movie of the Week element in it.

    The question for any movie is – does the scene move the story forward in a way appropriate for the story? I’m going to enjoy finding out whether I think the inclusions were as gratuitous as some of the folks I have been reading have suggested. (Blogs of all sorts, really.)

  8. says

    I just watched this film with a bunch of girls over the weekend. I admit to a big guffaw when Uhura mentioned being “orally sensitive” or something similar during a conversation with Spock, since I’d seen the film before and already knew she was a cunning linguist. Hardy har. Also, Spock always was my favourite character and I thought young Zachary Quinto did a masterful job with him.

    I wasn’t particularly thrilled with the whole birth scene stuff at the beginning either, nor did I think there was much in the way of dire villainy. Eric Bana was beyond banal as Nero and the threats were just so large in scale it was hard to feel like they really did impact anyone personally, except when Spock loses his mother. And even so, it should have been more heart-wrenching than it was, given how Spock’s emotional reaction to all of that is what Kirk has to play against later.

    As to the second question, some of the best early episodes were all about heart and emotion. Edith Keeler, the Onlies, that empath one which name eludes me. It was very good of the show to focus on people as emotional beings as much as being people capable of winning battles against all odds. Some of the biggest battles a person will face will be fought from the heart, after all.

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