Tuesday, May 11, 2021

This Starship Troopers Scene Means More Than You Think

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The scene takes place in a communal shower where all of the recruits, both male and female, are present — and, of course, are buck naked. Kitty’s line of questioning evokes a variety of responses. One recruit simply wanted to get off the family farm, Luke Skywalker-style. Another has political aspirations, and “you have to be a citizen for that,” she says, “so here I am.” Another was accepted to a prestigious university, but couldn’t afford the tuition, and yet another wants to have children — and “it’s a lot easier to get a license if you serve.” Another recruit wants to be career military. Finally, Kitty lands on Rico, who basically tells him what he can go do with himself — but Dizzy won’t let him off the hook, telling the other recruits that he enlisted “because of a girl.”

It’s interesting to note that the entire vibe of the scene is chummy, but not flirty; nobody’s eyes ever dip below the neckline, and there’s a clear implication that all recruits are equal in each others’ eyes. It might be a mark of a truly egalitarian, enlightened society — were it not for a couple of the answers sprinkled in among those that one might hear today, in real life, if they were to ask a soldier why they signed up. Sure, there have got to be a ton of active duty service members who have their eyes on a career in the military, or who saw service as a great way to pay for school or to gain life experience outside their home towns. But the subtext of the responses involving citizenship and the licensing requirement to have children is plain — and lines up nicely with Verhoeven’s subversive take on Heinlein’s novel.

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