Meghan, I too was at my local cineplex on Friday night, ready to indulge in some Star Trek goodness . I may be more of a fangirl than you-I was primed to love it, and I did!-but I agree that the Kirk/Spock dynamic was the richest in the film. But there’s another key relationship that I thought was even more fascinating-the one between Spock and Lt. Uhura. First off, it’s fantastic that Uhura finally feels like a major character, even though she still hasn’t graduated to wearing pants , and even though much of her role here is to provide romantic relief from the bromance and the action scenes. But pairing her with Spock is kind of brilliant. As you point out, Meghan, Spock has always been “oddly vulnerable,” and in this film he’s also sensitive and sexual (in a very reserved sort of way) and, well, kind of a mama’s boy. Do you remember how, in the Simpsons , Lisa was always reading “Non-Threatening Boys Magazine”? I can imagine Lisa with a pull-out centerfold featuring our favorite Vulcan-which is just to say that nerdy teen girls (and, she says raising her hand, the women they grow into) are far more likely to swoon over Spock than Kirk. He’s our very own Mr. Darcy !
And Meghan, to respond to your other hypothesis-that Spock is the rational male in the Kirk/Spock pairing, while Kirk is the emotional female-you might be interested in this journal article by Francesca Coppa, on women and early Trek fandom . She points out that, in the original Star Trek pilot, the first officer was actually a woman-a woman who was “aloof, unemotional, and tactically brilliant,” not unlike the Vulcan who would eventually replace her. In Coppa’s words, the character of Number One offered “a 1960s picture of an unnatural-for which read: strong, highly rational, technologically minded-woman,” not unlike the female scientists who were some of Trek’s first, and most devoted, fans.