So I've just finished going through TOS for the first time (yay!). A friend had warned me that the last episode is often seen as sexist. I'm thinking (hoping) the episode itself isn't sexist but rather the situation of women not being allowed/easily welcomed into the rank of starship captain is the sexism, certainly....Hmm, but when a woman-within-a-man's-body does become captain and fails at it, is it an implied form of sexism that she fail at it? I want to say no, because Janice Lester was clearly crazy--that's why she fails.
But maybe there is still an implied sense of the gender being a variable in her failure--what if the episode was instead of a male rival switching bodies with Kirk? It'd be quite a different episode; persuasion that the aggressor would have been able to force a switch would have been easier....
Janice is more than just a rival to Kirk, but also the other half of a failed relationship--which, frankly, makes me not understand why she'd want to inhabit Kirk's body. I mean, isn't the idea of inhabiting an ex's body for the rest of your life a repellent idea?! But there is also a sense of Janice delighting in being a man (could transsexuality play a role in this?), and yes, I understand that she wants to captain the Enterprise, thus the body-switch with Kirk.
The ending of the episode feels like it has an emphasis on Janice's 'failed femininity', as Kirk says she could have led a life "as rich as any woman's, if only..." How do you understand this "if only"? It feels like there are so many possibilities of implications here (if only they made the relationship work? If only she didn't aspire to be a captain? If only women were more easily welcomed into the rank of captain? etc.).
What do you make of Janice Lester? What do you make of this episode/what's the takeaway?