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Old June 13 2013, 10:20 PM   #126
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Location: La Belle Province or The Green Mountain State (depends on the day of the week)
Re: Star Trek Into Darkness & The Bechdel Test

Pauln6 wrote: View Post
BillJ wrote: View Post
Ovation wrote: View Post

I think there are exactly as many women as the filmmakers intended to have and I have zero problem with that (meaning I have zero problem with the filmmakers producing a film that reflects what they, rather than anyone else, wants). I would have zero problem with that if the ratio of men to women in the film was reversed, if that is what the filmmakers wanted. What I don't want is for any artistic production to decide that it is more important to meet the requirements laid down by the Committee of the Way Things Ought to Be than to put out what they want.

Art of any type--commercial, fine, big-budget, tiny budget, (fill in the blank)--should always reflect the desires of the artist (in the broad sense of "makers of the art"). Artist wants to make a Tarantino-esque bloodbath in the Trek universe? That's ok. Wants to make a version with an explicitly pro-feminist message and theme? That's ok. Wants to make an action-adventure movie just like the one that came out last month in the cinema? That's ok. Do I have to like each option equally? Nope. It is entirely my choice whether to like, dislike, love, hate, viscerally loathe, adore…the film (or other artwork) in question. BUT, I have no right to expect satisfaction on my terms. I have the right to partake of the artistic endeavour and judge it according to my views. The artist has the right (one I will vociferously defend) to put out exactly what he or she wants--subject to whatever praise or criticism it engenders once in the public space. What I will NEVER countenance is the idea that an artist has an obligation to satisfy an arbitrary set of criteria to meet the expectations of the self-appointed guardians of The Way Things Ought to Be. When that becomes a requirement, it stops being art (good, bad or other) and becomes propaganda. The world has enough propaganda already, thanks.
God damn, this is a beautiful post.
And it's in the true spirit of Star Trek! Prejudice should be fought in all its forms... oh no, wait... It's also crap. The producers aren't deliberately choosing to use male characters for artistic reasons, they're simply tone deaf to gender balance.
The why is irrelevant. It remains their choice. You have NO right to expect satisfaction on your terms. You can hope for it, be disappointed when it doesn't happen--still aren't entitled to it.

The post is advocating the worst type of status quo - it's ok to make a movie with all the black folks are downtrodden menials if that's your artistic intent? Thank the stars Uhura survived that kind of crap.
Yes. It is entirely ok--if that is what the filmmaker wants. Of course, the filmmaker is also subject to all the criticism such a choice would generate. But the filmmaker should NEVER be prevented from that choice because it doesn't meet someone else's expectations.

But more to the point, since when has gender equality been arbitrary? It's one of the most fundamental things that should have been rectified in Star Trek's utopian future decades ago. TMP probably came the closest but even there all the security guards were male.
The filmmaker doesn't have to take any of that into account. He can't expect to avoid criticism about it, either. And representations of gender balance in art are always arbitrary. You might believe that gender balance won't be an issue in some utopian future (I don't find Star Trek all that utopian, incidentally), but that doesn't mean it won't be.

Lastly, I don't expect fiction and entertainment to present me with a society that meets my expectations of justice, equality and so on. Nice if it does (as long as that's what the artist wants AND as long as it makes sense within the artwork). But it was a requirement, I would enjoy a far, far narrower set of artwork (in the broad sense of art) than I actually do. I am quite capable of distinguishing between fictional situations and reality. Watching the Three Stooges did not lead me to start banging people on the head with frying pans and watching non gender-balanced fiction did not turn me into a misogynist. Doesn't work that way.

You seem to think my endorsement of an artist's right to create what he or she wants, regardless of the expectations of others, represents an endorsement of all the resulting choices. Two different things.

CrazyHorse89 wrote: View Post
Ovation wrote: View Post
CrazyHorse89 wrote: View Post
The difference is that Star Trek has always had some kind of agenda at its heart: feminist, liberal, egalitarian, whatever. If you sell your programme or film as a 'progressive vision of the future', then don't use women as sexual objects to ogle at.
Again, entirely up to the filmmaker. And why specify women here? Kirk is set up in the same fashion in each film. Why not, especially in reference to a "progressive future", say "don't use people as sexual objects to ogle at."?

Star Trek Into Darkness and Star Trek 2009 are not overtly sexist, but they certainly contain problematic gender dynamics. I don't think modern-Trek should treat one half of the population as window dressing or (God knows the old versions certainly did). It's boring, it's anachronistic, and it's letting down young boys and girls.
Not really. What would really be "letting down young boys and girls" are parents who allow entertainment to substitute for the hard work of teaching values to their children. If any parent feels strongly enough about a particular value, they will take time to pass that value on to their children and ensure they've understood it. If that is done, then the children should not be so easily swayed away from that value by a 2 hour bit of entertainment. Indeed, if the lesson is well-learned, the children will raise the value conflict on their own (if they're too young, the parents are free to point out the conflict). However, the filmmakers have NO OBLIGATION to produce something that won't "let down" any particular "young boy or girl". No obligation whatsoever. We, as the audience, are NOT entitled to be satisfied on that score--ever. We merely have the right to agree or disagree with what we see and say so.
Who said anything about obligations?

Unfortunately, children and adolescents are very impressionable and live in a world of 24-hour media which presents masculinity and femininity, men and women, and sexuality in a very specific way. Even with the best parenting and the strongest will, children cannot help but internalise and externalise the culture around them. Wouldn't it be brilliant if Star Trek, a show about the future, and a semi-utopian future at that, actually had a place for women who were not glorified mannequins?

Now, that's my opinion. I don't think that all movies should do this or that because it's politically correct. What I'm saying is that I think certain films could do this and that in a bold, fresh, and innovative way. A way, coincidentally, that gives young people a positive alternative to the status-quo.
I agree. I simply don't think it should be done because there is an obligation to do so and while you may not specifically feel obligation is at play, it is certainly at play in a number of things I've read, here and elsewhere, in relation to the issue of gender balance, gender dynamics and so on in this film.
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