Can I say how much the “just a horny teenage girl who only want to see two hot guys bone” meme as relates to female fans is really starting to get on my nerves? Problematic elements like fetishization are problematic, not denying, but “the TNG fandom is so small and it’s all the fault of those fangirls”—no. No, stop it.
(Couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that pop culture has a bit of a shelf life, and that the Abrams reboot is the newest—and youngest—iteration to hit the screens, could it?)
Don’t get mad at sherlockismyholmesboy, those are my tags! Get mad at me!
1. and 2. Actually, I suppose you are right. I guess they just don’t appear on my dashboard quite as much as Kirk and Spock do and therefore I didn’t think of them.
3. *sigh* I’m a bitter young lesbian who has noticed that almost every seriously popular show on tumblr has one major thing in common: there are two (or more) male characters who are supremely shippable together. I see really fantastic programs that don’t get any attention what-so-ever and I can’t help but wonder about the reason. Warehouse 13, as an example off the top of my head: really strong female characters, a woman of colour in a major authority position, a canonically gay character and a canonically bi female character, and two really shippable female characters. All things you’d think tumblr would SALIVATE over, but…no one cares. And just…look at the major programs that are popular - Supernatural, Sherlock, Hannibal, and Doctor Who. Three out of four have major male/male ships. I actually really like all of those programs and I even ship a bunch of those ships, but can you understand why I’m kinda bitter about not seeing as many women on tumblr as men? And that bitterness led to those tags. Mea culpa, I am sorry. You are right, the TNG fandom is smaller than the TOS fandom because the reboot happened and it is not the fangirls’ fault- but I also think maybe it should be considered that other factors are at work here, and not just with TNG.
So, like, yeah, the “horny fangirls only want to see hot guys bone” thing is annoying. Because it’s not actually all about that - there are a lot of queer women who ship male/male ships, and I am sure it’s not just about that for straight girls either. But it is really annoying to see ten posts about Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine for every one post about Nyota Uhura. And I specifically follow more people who post about women or lesbians or queer women! So I get that it’s a become a thing to make fun of slash shipping fangirls, and that sucks! Because I am a fangirl! Look at my blog, I am such a fangirl - but of girl/girl ships and female characters and stuff. And I’m not saying that makes me better or anything, I’m really not. I’m just saying that maybe we should think about why male/male ships and primarily male characters are so popular on this website.
I think this is a discussion worth pursuing, even if it is straying away from the original graphic somewhat (and perhaps even from this blog’s Star Trek focus).
As someone who’s primarily invested in TNG-era Star Trek I can understand not-in-front-of-the-klingons's point - the TNG/DS9/Voyager/Enterprise fandoms are a tiny, tiny part of Tumblr, especially compared to the Reboot and even the Original Series.
Of course, I’m not at all surprised by this.
Next Gen celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, Deep Space Nine its 20th. Enterprise was cancelled 8 years ago.
So naturally people are discovering Star Trek through the Reboot movies - especially younger people like me, the shows are older than we are! Without a parent/friend introducing you to them, what would motivate you to watch a 10-25 year old series compared to something modern?
Thanks to my Dad I’ve been a Trekkie my whole life - though my obsession with the franchise really began in full as an early teen. But for me Star Trek has always been separate from my other fandoms, I never really shipped characters, except in Enterprise (by the time I got around to watching it I was in my late teens, which might have something to do with it, that and the fact that all of its characters are in their underwear on a regular basis), so for me my love of Star Trek has nothing to do with Kirk/Spock or any other pairing.
Maybe that’s why, despite the fact that I’ve been on Tumblr for 2 years now, I only actively searched out fellow Tumblr Trekkies about six months ago when I started to become aware that they actually existed :P (Before then I just assumed that I was one of a rare bunch who actually enjoyed old shows just as much as, if not more, than modern ones.)
Because I do primarily think of Tumblr as a place for fangirls and shipping. As frenchfrysplash noted, there are plenty of absolutely fantastic shows (some that I’d even argue had plenty of shipping potential) that completely fly under the Tumblr radar, despite being just as brilliant, if not more so, than the shows Tumblr actively loves - which DO primarily feature two shippable male characters.
I never really considered it in that light before, but it seems like Star Trek fits in that category (of fantastic shows flying under the radar) as well.
It doesn’t matter how much more brilliant and engaging and well-written the TV shows are, or that their treatment of women - while not being perfect - is much better than in the reboot. It seems like people would much rather discuss their headcanons for how McCoy and Kirk snuggle, or every single quote ever said by Zachary Quinto, Chris Pine or any other member of the reboot cast.
Is there anything wrong with that? No, of course not, people should be allowed to do what they want.
But does it make me sad as a Trekkie? You bet it does.
I know, I’m opening myself up to a world of hate by saying this, so I’d like to add a disclaimer that this doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the Original Series or the Reboot for what they are, or that I don’t want to celebrate or discuss them in the future, but that first and foremost I love the 90s/00s Star Trek TV shows.
So the fact that there are legions of fans going on about how much they love Star Trek and its cast who are only referring to the reboot - which as far as I’m concerned is lacking the most important part of anything with Star Trek in its title, Gene Roddenberry’s vision - while the TV shows are only watched and loved by a tiny group of people here, makes me genuinely sad.
I’m a fangirl too. I love shipping as much as the next girl, both M/M and F/M and F/F and anything in between. And I have nothing but the utmost respect for all of the actors in all of the TV shows and movies.
But I can’t reconcile my fangirl self with my Trekkie self. Although there is a level of overlap, ultimately they’re two separate entities. One likes to read fanfic until 2 am and enjoys reblogging gifs and fanart and talking to people on Tumblr. The other stays up researching on Memory Alpha, writes long posts like this one and analyses every episode while she’s watching it, because she’s seen it so many times already she just can’t help herself.
Neither of them is better than the other. Both of them are a part of me. But the former is what Tumblr is primarily made up of. The latter I’m meeting more and more of through the Directive, but they’re still in the minority.
… Also this ended up being much longer and more rambly than I intended, apologies!
I don’t really divide my fanship up into “This series fandom but not that series fandom” when it comes to Star Trek (except for “Enterprise” which I cannot like despite my best efforts, though I have been told I should get into the later seasons which did improve, so there is that).
I started out with the Original Series, and after that the Animated Series (this was before The Next Generation was even a possibility). I like The Next Generation, I probably like Deep Space Nine best of the series post-TOS, and I can get on with Voyager (though again, I felt that they wasted a lot of time there not knowing exactly what they were going to do with the characters or would they keep it strictly ‘no short cuts home’ or give in and let them have a short cut home).
So for me, ALL the TV series are part of “my Star Trek fandom”.
The movies, I admit, I think of differently, as big screen adaptations and as additional extras. But the movies based on and developed from the canon of TOS are definitely part of canon; the TNG movies are part of canon and brought the stories of the characters to their natural conclusion; DS9 managed to do that within the arc of the television show so there is not the same necessity or opportunity for a movie (e.g. they resolved the War with the Founders).
Reboot Trek is a whole other story. It’s gone back to TOS television show but diverged in very particular and marked (and deliberately so) ways. It’s ignored the build-up of the Federation universe and the advance in time with TNG, DS9, And Voyager; it made a decision not to take the Enterprise route when revitalising the franchise and go back to the very beginning of the Federation, pre-Kirk and crew.
So basically it went back to where it all began, back to what is probably the most widely known iteration of Star Trek in general pop culture (you can bank on someone knowing the name, at least, of Spock even if they mis-call him Doctor Spock not Mr Spock; you can’t be sure the average guy or girl in the street will have heard of Picard or Janeway) for very deliberate reasons: they needed to pull in the punters to watch the movie, they needed to attract an audience beyond the core of Trek fans.
But then we have the whole J.J. Abrams problem which we’ve discussed on here (the notion that the core audience is male - which I think probably is a case of general movie-goer demographics (‘what age group goes to watch action movies?’) and is not meant to be reflective of Trek fandom in particular - so the appeal to them with the ‘sexy underwear shots’ etc.).
Which means that reboot Trek is meant to be taken differently, I think. I think they’re deliberately drawing a line, making it a ‘stand on its own’ franchise (so the idea of the split-off timeline where things in reboot!verse turned out differently than in prime timeline!verse, such as Kirk’s father’s death) and they want it to be split off from the movies (and TV shows) which have preceded it for a new start and to appeal to a new audience.
That makes it tricky to relate it to Trek as a whole - it’s got the same characters (more or less; they kept the names, Spock is still a Vulcan, Kirk is still a straight white guy from Iowa, etc.), it’s based on the originating universe, but it’s conceived as a new departure. So is it fair to discuss it in terms of its predecessors? If it is a new version of “Kirk and Spock and the crew meet for their first mission”, I think it is fair to criticise it by holding it to the same standards.
But on the other hand, if it is a different universe (and it is), then it’s like criticising the Mirror!verse for promoting Sulu by having him kill off his predecessor in the post. Mirror!verse is shitty in ways we all know (treachery, assassination and exploitation including bargaining for sexual favours as facts of life within, ruthless conquest and wholesale murder and genocide to those outside the Empire); Reboot!verse is shitty when it comes to women (it would seem), as well as the Khan Incident (changing a canonically subcontinental Asian character to being a white British one).
If we think of reboot Trek as ‘real’ (our universe) Trek, it’s dreadful. If we think of it as an alternate/parallel universe, then of course it’s still poor, but for reasons to do with how events worked themselves out in that reality.
A perfect moment from the convention - when a singalong of Dr Horrible’s Singalong Blog turned into an impromptu re-enactment of a couple of scenes. I’m there in the front row with my phone pretending to be a camera.