October 7, 2013
Society’s Views Amid Star Trek
It has been said that Star Trek is simply a western in space. The show was roughly set 250 years into the future, so would it be so profound to depart from the western-cowboy manner of writing? In season one’s twenty-third episode called “Space Seed” primeval stereotypes of women and Native Americans are exploited to boost ratings for the show.
Only in more recent years have women portrayed strong, confident, and independent women in film and television; prior to these years they only resembled homemakers, damsels in distress, and seductresses. When the women make their appearances Star Trek they are garbed in mini skirts, whereas the men on the show do not even wear clothing that may allow them to display their muscular physique. The contrast in the men and women’s clothing further exaggerates the women’s sex appeal. The writers juxtapose the sexual connotation of the women’s clothing with the bright, almost holy lighting that appears onto the women’s zoomed in faces. This action makes the women appear innocent and pure. The two notions of putting the women in mini skirts, all the while portraying them as innocent beings only creates more of a desire for the female characters to appear on screen.
A consistent theme that seemed to make an appearance in early television was racism toward Native Americans. When Columbus first met the Arawak peoples (Native Americans) he stated that they are handsome and well-built people. This is also what McGivers said when she walked into the old starship with the slumbering space travelers. This seems to be an allusion to Columbus’ time and appears to highlight that the crew of Starship Enterprises assumes that they are much more advanced than the people in suspended animation. Furthermore the writers decided to make the villain of the episode appear to be a Native American man (Kahn). Kahn’s eventual exile from the starship along with his people seems to be...
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