Women, Star Trek, and the early development of fannish vidding

  • Francesca Coppa Muhlenberg College
Keywords: Fan vid, Gender, Quantum Leap, Star Trek

Abstract

This paper argues that the practices and aesthetics of vidding were structured by the relationship of Star Trek’s female fans to that particular televisual text. Star Trek fandom was the crucible within which vidding developed because Star Trek’s narrative impelled female fans to take on two positions often framed as contradictory in mainstream culture: the desiring body, and the controlling voice of technology. To make a vid, to edit footage to subtext-revealing music, is to unite these positions: to put technology at the service of desire. Although the conflict between desire and control was particularly thematized in Star Trek, most famously through the divided character of Spock, the practices of vidding are now applied to other visual texts. This essay examines the early history of vidding and demonstrates, through the close reading of particular vids made for Star Trek and Quantum Leap, how vidding heals the wounds created by the displacement and fragmentation of women on television.

Author Biography

Francesca Coppa, Muhlenberg College
Director of Film Studies Associate Professor, Department of English Board member, Organization for Transformative Works
Published
2008-08-21
Section
Theory