The sex kitten aliens (The Caitians) in Star Trek: Into Darkness that indulge so many patriarchal fantasies are… Asian. I don’t know why I didn’t catch it the first time I watched this, but I’m pretty annoyed now.
Let me tell you a story that explains why this outrages me.
I had the honor of attending the Asian American panel at Dragon*Con with Garett Wang (Ensign Kim from Star Trek: Voyager), Peter Shinkoda (Dai from Falling Skies), and Justin Lin (Director of oh so many Fast and the Furious movies). It was a fascinating panel about the struggles Asian American actors face, even if it was peppered with racial slurs from a lady in the audience who felt she had the right to say them because she had married and Asian man.
But there were something wrong with that panel, and it was because it was only about Asian American actors. Actors. Never once did the subject of actresses come up, nor were there were any other actresses on the panel.
Firstly, I will never say that Asian American actors don’t have a tough time getting representation, but in comparison to the representation that Asian actresses gets, they have it significantly easier.
After all, compared to Sulu, who becomes a bad ass Captain that everyone initially underestimates, the representation of Asian women is low; their only appearance being that of the Caitains.
Asian men are never relegated to sexualized male power fantasies, or pornographically-driven subplots where their existence depends on the white male pleasing them.
And this is exactly why this scene bothers me. Those two sex kitten aliens could have literally been anyone, but they chose Asian twins.
The Asian Twin Fantasy isn’t a new fantasy, and it is always a degrading one in media (one need look no further than Austin Powers for that). It’s not only misogynistic, it’s imperialistic. Why it’s in Star Trek in this day an age only goes to show how little Asian American women representation has really gone, and why more attention needs to be paid to it. It also illustrates how deeply ingrained patriarchal conceptions of Asian women really are.
And to make things worse, you know what that species is SUPPOSED to look like?
Like, come ON. If you think “alien cat person” and the first actors that come to your mind are Asian women, youuuuu need to take a step back and realize what you just did…
I want to thank you for bringing up that point. I couldn’t find the words to express it properly, so I’m glad you jumped in with exactly the right ones :)
Someone articulated it.
I also like how JJ Abrams used this scene to justify putting Carol Marcus in her underwear later in the film, arguing that this scene sexually objectified Kirk so there needed to be a scene where a woman was sexually objectified [STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS MY OLD FRIEND]
that last point tho
hmm. it’s almost as if a self proclaimed scifi enthusiast and writer straight while male director has almost zero idea of how to not be a sexist ass with played out straight male supremacy shit. which is funny because you’re supposedly trying to give us a real and exciting representation of the future yet it stays right back to the 1950s with the sexism. this dude needs to go back to writing class asap so he can at least know when he fucks up and not back it up like he’s been doing alongside robert orci and alex kurtzman who can write great action but [feels like] they hand their papers over to 6 year old boys when it comes to writing about women and realistic man to woman relationships.
In other news: He stays on his same old bullshit.
are smart people capable of enjoying movies or entertainment in general?
intelligent individuals are fully capable of enjoying films and entertainment when it’s done correctly, without it being tarnished or disrespected. but when it is, i am more than proud to see that they stand up and speak out against what was once a beautiful hopeful future, that grows beyond disrespect toward others and takes joy in its differences. instead of trying to bring a philosophical idea, it’s being sold for cheap laughs, explosions and needless over-sexualization instead of offering admirable positive roles, to men, women, and aliens. there is beauty in all humans and showing it is not terrible, but to make it - to treat a being as just that is a problem.
—Gene Roddenberry (via azura-skye) —
Majel Barrett-Roddenberry (born Majel Leigh Hudec; February 23, 1932 – December 18, 2008) was an American actress and producer. She is best known for her role as Nurse Christine Chapel in the original Star Trek series, Lwaxana Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and for being the voice of most onboard computer interfaces throughout the series. She was also the wife of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. As the wife of Roddenberry and given her ongoing relationship with Star Trek - participating in some way in every series during her lifetime - she was sometimes referred to as “the First Lady of Star Trek”.
Happy Birthday Majel. Any future Star Trek projects just won’t be the same without you.
people all over the world finding star trek is beautiful, people disregarding its history and philosophy is heartbreaking
did people in this century forget that 13 comes after 12….not 3?