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Old July 17 2011, 08:14 AM   #95
Kirsten Beyer
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Location: Los Angeles
Re: Questions for Bring Back Janeway Panel

Dear Ms. Beyer,
thank you so much for the opportunity to send my statement and questions to you for being answered or considered in your panel at the Shoreleave Convention 2011.
My name is Dr. Barbara Pommerenke. I come from Germany. You might know me under my nick name Kathryn J. I use on the internet. Iím one of the founders of the Bring Back Kathryn Janeway Campaign and Facebook group. Here are my statement and questions:

Franchise owner CBS, who has to approve every Star Trek book before it gets published, had insisted that Janeway shouldn't be really dead but with the Q. We all know the Q as being extremely self-centered as well as we know Janeway as hating the stagnating life in the Continuum.

#1 Why did the Q save Kathryn Janeway? Why did Janeway go with Lady Q? There has to be a plausible reason, which isn't told yet.
Hi last, we have a chance to talk...and by the way, I think your English is fabulous given that you're from Germany. If I spoke German, I'm sure mine would suck compared to your English.

I think you're right that there has to be a good reason why the Q saved what they did of Janeway, and obviously that story hasn't been told yet. I can't tell you why right now but I can promise you that any story featuring Janeway's return would sure as hell answer that for you...or I wouldn't buy it either.

#2 Are you agreeing with those who say that there are no more stories to tell about Janeway?
Nope. Not even a little. You might look at some of the earlier questions in this thread for more of my thoughts on this, but that's the bottom line.

I worry about the clear sexism in Trek literature. Why else are more female main characters killed than male ones and why is NO female character allowed to come back with normal body and normal power (e.g. Janeway, Jadzia Dax, Tasha Yar, Kes...) while almost every male main character was resurrected after only a short time (Spock, Kirk, Sisko, Trip, Data...). Other female main characters are simply taken off active duty (e.g. by sending them to a monastery like Kira Nerys). The Star Trek characters are FICTIONAL characters, they DON'T HAVE TO die nor stay dead. This is what fictional characters for: To be idols for generations and it would be a shame to deny future generations of women to be inspired by Janeway as a smart commander, brilliant scientist and caring "mother" of the ship. No other Trek character ever inspired and even changed the life of thousands of women all over the world.

#3 How do you feel as a modern, emancipated woman about the sexism in Sci-Fi in general and in Star Trek in particular?
This was actually one of the issues we discussed at some length in the panel at Shore Leave.

I simply don't agree that Trek or Trek literature is sexist. I don't see it. I've looked a little at the math and here's what I see...

Janeway...killed in Trek Lit but still alive in Trek Online continuity.
Jadzia Dax...killed on the series because the actress wanted out of her contract and replaced by Ezri Dax, also a woman.
Tasha Yar...killed on the series because the actress wanted out of her contract and then brought back in "Yesterday's Enterprise" as well as a number of times on screen and in the literature as Sela.
Kes...evolved, used heavily in the String Theory trilogy, and replaced by another woman...Seven of Nine.

Spock...killed on screen and brough back in the next movie.
Kirk...killed on screen and brought back/still alive in the Shatnerverse continuity.
Sisko...killed or taken by the Prophets depending on your opinion on screen and brough back by Trek Lit after 9 books in the series had explored events after his purported death.
Trip...reported dead but never seen on screen and brought back in the first book that appeared after this.
Data...killed onscreen and brought back in the comic books.

I guess I don't see how the men you use as examples are faring significantly better than the women in Trek Lit. You also have to take into account that there are always more men in the various show's ensembles so more of them are going to have stuff happen to them. This has also made me wonder why so many of the female actresses on Trek seem to want to leave the series before they're done but the men really stay put. Maybe the women have better career opportunities after Trek than the men. I don't know.

When you look at the big picture I see plenty of men and women in command positions, though on screen we always see more men than women in the main ensembles...and that does suck but is part of Hollywood. If you figure out how to fix that one, let me know. In Trek Lit, however, we've got so many women in postions of authority...Fleet Commander, Captain Afsarah Eden, leading the Voyager fleet, B'Elanna Torres, Fleet Chief Engineer, Seven of Nine, who has chosen never to accept a rank in Starfleet but is the first person anyone calls when there are Borg issues, including the President of the Federation. Personally, I think Seven has made the right choice. To join Starfleet now wouldn't be so much a promotion as a limit on her freedom as an individual. Nancy Conlon, Voyager's chief engineer. Captain Farkas of the Quirnial. Captain Glenn of the Galen. Captain Ezri Dax of the Aventine. President Bacco and her Chief of Staff, whose name eludes me at the moment. The Romulan President/Praetor, whatever they call her is a women...Captain or is it Admiral Shelby...while the men have Picard, Riker, Sisko, Martok...and...Calhoun?

There are ways to limit the characters you want to include that can sway the numbers to support your preference, but overall, I don't see it. I think it's worth noting that all of this really boils down to killing Kathryn Janeway who was the most prominent female figure in filmed Trek and because it seems the men haven't received the same treatment, that must be evidence of sexism.

I see the reverse. To give Janeway some sort of protected status because of her sex, to say that because she is such a prominent female character, we can't kill her, that's a kind of reverse discrimination that worries me. If we could...and obviously do...kill male characters, why do the women get a pass? If we're really all about IDIC and presenting a universe in which sexism is no longer an issue, then nobody can be special. And the last thing I think about when I'm looking at a person or a character's respective abilities is the configuration of their reproductive organs.

I don't expect you to agree, but that's what I see.

#4 What do you think about taking the most inspiring Trek character to women away from them, when they are obviously the majority of Trek fans?

The base of my statements you can look up here:
Thank you.
Barbara Pommerenke
I think that taking Janeway away for 2 1/2 books when there are still 170+ hours of filmed Voyager and dozens of novels in which she is alive does not limit in any way her ability to function as an inspiration to women of all ages everywhere. I don't judge a person's capacity to inspire by when or how they died. I judge it by how they lived and though Janeway might continue to do more inspirational things were she still alive or to be brought back, I think her legacy is pretty safe.

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