Women of SF: Lwaxana Troi, Star Trek

No 37 in Godard’s list of 100 women in science fiction

Lwaxana Troy is the daughter of the Fifth House of Betazed, the Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx, and Heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed.  She is also the mother of Counsellor Deanna Troy who works on board the star ship Enterprise.

The evolution of Lwaxana Troi is a great example of a talented actress breaking the limits originally set by the Star Trek writers.   From a feminist perspective, her character’s first appearances are not at all promising.  She begins as a figure of fun, the sexist humour being based on the idea of an older woman expressing her sexuality.   But, over the course of the series, Lwaxana becomes something far more interesting, a woman who refuses to conform to the emotionally repressed, well-behaved world of Star Trek the Next Generation, a world in which she cannot be anything other than a highly disruptive force.   As a result, Lwaxana becomes a point at which emotional authenticity can enter the show, loudly expressing anger, grief and desire, as well as implicitly and explicitly criticising other characters for their conformity, insipidity and self-repression.  The only episode of The Next Generation that makes me cry is a Lwaxana Troi episode.   Although she plays an alien, Lwaxana is often more ‘human’ than the human characters; she messes up all the time, but her mistakes are always based on genuine feeling.   By the time we reach Deep Space Nine, Lwaxana has become a figure of dignity and emotional courage.

Plus her outfits are awesome.

Classic quote:  “I’ve lived a full life. Sometimes its overflowed a bit, but I enjoy living”.

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