Avast! Thar be spoilers ahead!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Gender Neutrality in the 24th Century

To Boldly Go*

I have embarked on epic marathon of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It seems that our Tivo has recorded 42 episodes of Star Trek over the weekend which is beginning to threaten our ability to record other shows. I actually have only 38 episodes to watch since I saw a few of them recently during my New Years marathon. For every episode, I like to watch the title sequence, even if I already heard it 8 times that day. One of my favorite things about The Next Generation is the subtle change in the sequence, from "no man" to "no one."

I often wonder if people who make fun of trekkies ever know what they are making fun of. Is it the cheesiness or some of the plots or the magic of warp drive? Well, probably not the latter. But I love that science fiction has pressed progress in gender, race, and sex equality. It is a small change but now the opening title, the journey to go boldly into the unknown, includes women. I am sure people will say that "man" is used in the sense of "mankind" but there is no ambiguity in "no one". Star Trek lore also claims that the change was not only for the sake of gender neutrality but also species neutrality.

*Yeah, the split infinitive ("to boldly go" instead of "to go boldly" or "boldly to go") bugs me and my grammar loving, Latin-studying background. Part of me also thinks that he rule against split infinitives is rather an archaic one that is no longer problematic in English.

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