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Fighting for the FutureEssays on Star Trek: Discovery$
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Sabrina Mittermeier and Mareike Spychala

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789621761

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789621761.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

‘We Choose Our Own Pain. Mine Helps Me Remember’

‘We Choose Our Own Pain. Mine Helps Me Remember’

Gabriel Lorca, Ash Tyler, and the Question of Masculinity

(p.307) ‘We Choose Our Own Pain. Mine Helps Me Remember’
Fighting for the Future

Sabrina Mittermeier

Jennifer Volkmer


This Chapter argues that Captain Gabriel Lorca, upon first look, is the archetype of the Starfleet Captain in the vein of Kirk and Picard: a white, middle-aged, (presumably) heterosexual man. However, his reveal as a Terran effectively recasts the character from a capable leader to a white supremacist sociopath, and is thus powerfully subverting the trope of the action hero, and in turn, that of the Starfleet Captain. Discovery thus actively criticizes pervasive ideals of masculinity of the genre (and beyond) through Lorca. It further does so via the character Ash Tyler, who also represents an alternative concept to the traditional action hero. Unlike Lorca, whose sexual prowess is referenced often, Tyler engages in a romantic relationship, an aspect usually neglected in on-screen romances of male heroes. Additionally, he is a rape survivor, again successfully subverting the established gender roles of the genre. This chapter discusses both Lorca and Tyler in order to highlight Discovery’s engagement with, and subversion of genre tropes, and its criticism of traditional ideas of masculinity.

Keywords:   Star Trek, Star Trek Discovery, Starfleet captain, masculinity, gender roles, tropes, rape, white supremacy, Gabriel Lorca, Ash Tyler

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