Check out this post if you haven’t read about the Star Trek course I’m taking yet!
Why is it important to see yourself on television? Why is television an important subject for scholarly study and how does what we watch shape the world we live in?
Star Trek, even in The Original Series back in the 60’s, was all about promoting diversity. Characters of all backgrounds were put in positions of authority and importance, as were seen not just as token characters but significant roles that are still beloved today. The kiss between Kirk and Uhura was long touted as the first on-screen interracial kiss, and even though it technically wasn’t, it certainly made an impact on popular culture. Nichelle Nichols (who played Uhura) even worked with NASA in the 70’s to help promote diversity amongst real-life teams of astronauts.
There’s no doubt that relatable characters are important in any story-telling medium. Viewers (or in the case of books, readers) need someone they can latch onto to really live out the adventures. Sure, you can use your imagination a little, but I think the ideas really hit home when you can find a character you truly relate to.
As the mother of two girls, I love to see so many more strong female characters on the screen. I nearly cried at seeing exactly that in Wonderwoman and the new Ghostbusters. While they aren’t trekkies like I am, there’s certainly a lot for them to see in Janeway, Dr. Crusher, and others.
While television could easily be dismissed as mindless trash that we use to waste our time, I do feel that it shows us a lot about who we are and what we will become, or even what we want to become. It’s simply another method of storytelling, just like classic literature. Star Trek itself has certainly molded and been molded by real life.
Is there a character you particularly relate to? I’d love to know!
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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois. She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University. Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside Detective. Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous. Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world. You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.