Eros in the Mind's Eye: Sexuality and the Fantastic in Art and Film

By Donald Palumbo | Go to book overview

17
Sexism in Space: The Freudian Formula in "Star Trek"

MARY JO DEEGAN

Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise, its five year mission to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

These words, spoken at the beginning of each televised "Star Trek" episode, set the stage for the fantastic future. Although the "Star Trek" series was cancelled in 1969 after only three years of production, it generated a large cult following that flourishes still today. One reason for the series' remarkable longevity is its depiction of the future as a Freudian fantasy. This Freudian vision draws on cultural myths embedded in the patriarchal dominance of men over women characteristic of Western civilization.

According to Freud, both sexes are driven by three instincts-- sex, aggression, and the death wish--but men have the most powerful instincts, and they are most driven by their desire to have power over other men. This Freudian worldview is dramatized aboard the starship Enterprise, where women are secondary figures who either provide romance or reveal that any woman's desire for power is "abnormal." But men "normally"

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