RSS iconTwitter iconFacebook icon

The Trek BBS title image

The Trek BBS statistics

Threads: 141,355
Posts: 5,503,073
Members: 25,121
Currently online: 519
Newest member: MsMarrielle

TrekToday headlines

IDW Publishing March 2015 Comics
By: T'Bonz on Dec 17

Paramount Star Trek 3 Expectations
By: T'Bonz on Dec 17

Star Trek #39 Sneak Peek
By: T'Bonz on Dec 16

Star Trek 3 Potential Director Shortlist
By: T'Bonz on Dec 16

Official Starships Collection Update
By: T'Bonz on Dec 15

Retro Review: Prodigal Daughter
By: Michelle on Dec 13

Sindicate Lager To Debut In The US Next Week
By: T'Bonz on Dec 12

Rumor Mill: Saldana Gives Birth
By: T'Bonz on Dec 12

New Line of Anovos Enterprise Uniforms
By: T'Bonz on Dec 11

Frakes: Sign Me Up!
By: T'Bonz on Dec 11


Welcome! The Trek BBS is the number one place to chat about Star Trek with like-minded fans. Please login to see our full range of forums as well as the ability to send and receive private messages, track your favourite topics and of course join in the discussions.

If you are a new visitor, join us for free. If you are an existing member please login below. Note: for members who joined under our old messageboard system, please login with your display name not your login name.


Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > Deep Space Nine

Deep Space Nine What We Left Behind, we will always have here.

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old May 4 2012, 03:23 AM   #1
ElimGarak
Ensign
 
Shouldn't Changelings be entirely genderless?

And, assuming that's true, how is it that one goes about choosing a gender to imitate?
ElimGarak is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 4 2012, 04:41 AM   #2
JustKate
Rear Admiral
 
JustKate's Avatar
 
Location: Indiana, USA
Re: Shouldn't Changelings be entirely genderless?

It depends on how you define "gender," doesn't it? You're assuming that the only role for two (or more, I guess) sexes is reproduction, but that isn't necessarily so. That's the biological role, but couldn't there be sociological roles as well? There are on Earth, but of course we may not be the norm.

I am just working my way through DS9 now, after not watching it (particularly the final seasons) for many years, so I could be misremembering, but...do Changlings have gender? I mean, are they born with one? Odo chose to be male, of course, but then Odo was deeply affected by the solids around him, so he isn't necessarily typical.
JustKate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 4 2012, 07:04 AM   #3
Timo
Admiral
 
Re: Shouldn't Changelings be entirely genderless?

Indeed, we have never heard of a Changeling having anything as Solid as sex/gender. The designation of Jens Salome's character as "Female Changeling" is not a native one, used by the Changeling and its cohorts themselves. Heck, AFAIK, it isn't even a canonical one (mentioned in dialogue by any character)!

Timo Saloniemi
Timo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 4 2012, 07:44 AM   #4
RoJoHen
Awesome
 
RoJoHen's Avatar
 
Location: QC, IL, USA
Re: Shouldn't Changelings be entirely genderless?

Timo wrote: View Post
Heck, AFAIK, it isn't even a canonical one (mentioned in dialogue by any character)!
Perhaps not, but they definitely refer to her as "she."
__________________
I am the Quintessential Admiral.
RoJoHen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 4 2012, 09:06 AM   #5
Seventh White Boomer
Rear Admiral
 
Seventh White Boomer's Avatar
 
Location: Jono
Re: Shouldn't Changelings be entirely genderless?

Timo wrote: View Post
Indeed, we have never heard of a Changeling having anything as Solid as sex/gender. The designation of Jens Salome's character as "Female Changeling" is not a native one, used by the Changeling and its cohorts themselves. Heck, AFAIK, it isn't even a canonical one (mentioned in dialogue by any character)!

Timo Saloniemi
Makes you wonder what she put on the peace treaty when she signed it...

She was called the Female Changeling on screen by non-Dominion characters.

As for why she was female it is possible that Founders who deal with Solids often develop a preference that leaks into their Changeling humanoid form for whatever reason. Or it might just be that she/it/the Great Link decided on the spot to appear obviously female because Odo was identifying himself as a male to better the odds of getting him to leave his old life behind and just used it from then on.
Seventh White Boomer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 4 2012, 09:12 AM   #6
DS9 Gal AZ
Captain
 
DS9 Gal AZ's Avatar
 
Location: I have always been here
Re: Shouldn't Changelings be entirely genderless?

Changelings can assume any gender they want. As said above, the term "gender" is actually more of a cultural connotation, a state of mind, while someone's "sex" is comprised of the physically male or female attributes. Thus, a biological/physical male can have a female "gender" and vice versa (transexualism). With changelings, I imagine sex/gender is more of a conscious choice, since they can be literally anything they want. I think Odo probably took the form of a male humanoid as opposed to a female because Dr. Mora, the humanoid he had the most contact with in his early life, was male (he did admit to copying his hairstyle, after all).

As for how changelings reproduce without having a physical sex, it hasn't been explained. They could be hermaphrodites in their "natural" state or they could have some form of asexual reproduction.

As to the "female" changeling, I think she assumed that gender/sex role because she sensed it would be easier to manipulate Odo that way.
__________________
"You do not understand, but you will." - Kosh to Sheridan, in "Interludes and Examinations."
DS9 Gal AZ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 4 2012, 11:45 AM   #7
DevilEyes
Rear Admiral
 
DevilEyes's Avatar
 
Location: basking in the warmth of the Fire Caves
View DevilEyes's Twitter Profile
Re: Shouldn't Changelings be entirely genderless?

DS9 Gal AZ wrote: View Post
As for how changelings reproduce without having a physical sex, it hasn't been explained. They could be hermaphrodites in their "natural" state or they could have some form of asexual reproduction.
Since Changelings are all a part of the Great Link, it seems most likely that it's a type of asexual reproduction in which another part of the Great Link is produced and becomes self-aware. They're liquid in their natural state and they change shapes, it's obvious that no sexual reproduction (which includes being hermaphrodites; two hermaphrodites are still going to have sexual reproduction, and hermaphrodites do have sexual characteristics, they just have both sexes, while Changelings have none).

RoJoHen wrote: View Post
Timo wrote: View Post
Heck, AFAIK, it isn't even a canonical one (mentioned in dialogue by any character)!
Perhaps not, but they definitely refer to her as "she."
Because they have to refer to her as something and "it" would be strange and offensive to human ears, since it's normally used for things rather than people. They refer to her (sic) as she because she looks female, but that doesn't mean anything.
__________________
Treason, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

my Buffy/Angel rewatch
DevilEyes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 4 2012, 12:05 PM   #8
Timo
Admiral
 
Re: Shouldn't Changelings be entirely genderless?

...We don't even know whether the Bajoran or Klingon or Trill languages have genders in the first place; perhaps it's an artifact of the Universal Translator?

She was called the Female Changeling on screen by non-Dominion characters.
I stand corrected. Could you give examples?

Since Changelings are all a part of the Great Link, it seems most likely that it's a type of asexual reproduction in which another part of the Great Link is produced and becomes self-aware.
The jury is still out on whether the Changelings are even biological creatures at all. Yeah, Odo has DNA - but is that for real, or mere pretense, something Odo instinctively learned from the Bajorans? Adult Changelings can easily transform into things that cannot be biological, such as fire. Even the young Odo can shift some of his mass "elsewhere", and hide his real, physical commbadge "elsewhere" as well while becoming what appears to be a pile of tiny shards of glass; these feats cannot be achieved by biology, or indeed by a truly physical creature of any sort.

We may speculate that the orange goo is the "natural" state of Changeling existence, rather than yet another illusion - but even in that case, we lack data on whether that goo contains DNA or is just a weird physical manifestation of a fundamentally abiological, aphysical, supernatural lifeform. In these circumstances, asking whether Changelings reproduce sexually or asexually is probably just about as meaningful as asking whether God begat Christ (or, say, Adam) through sexual or asexual reproduction.

Timo Saloniemi
Timo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 4 2012, 12:19 PM   #9
Deckerd
Fleet Arse
 
Deckerd's Avatar
 
Location: the Frozen Wastes
Re: Shouldn't Changelings be entirely genderless?

Just because something looks like glass, or an iron sculpture, rock or fire doesn't mean it isn't organic. Sole mimic the pebbles they rest on but nobody thinks they're made of pebbles.
__________________
They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance.
Deckerd is online now   Reply With Quote
Old May 4 2012, 12:50 PM   #10
Timo
Admiral
 
Re: Shouldn't Changelings be entirely genderless?

The specific examples above are in a completely different category, though - there's no way fire could be biological and still have the effects demonstrated in "Chimera". Unless it's a telepathic illusion instead of a physical one, and based on mass delusion. But that wouldn't explain half of the tricks Odo pulls off elsewhere.

Odo can certainly be biological on occasion. But there are occasions where he simply can't. And everybody's tricorder keeps telling as much as well. If biology is occasional and optional, then it stands to reason that it's just one facet of this whole pretending-to-be-things issue - that a biological appearance is just one form of pretense, easily achieved by somebody whose skills extend to all those abiological feats.

Timo Saloniemi
Timo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 4 2012, 01:36 PM   #11
Deckerd
Fleet Arse
 
Deckerd's Avatar
 
Location: the Frozen Wastes
Re: Shouldn't Changelings be entirely genderless?

Why can't fire be organic? Do you know what fire actually is? Does anyone?
__________________
They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance.
Deckerd is online now   Reply With Quote
Old May 4 2012, 02:10 PM   #12
Timo
Admiral
 
Re: Shouldn't Changelings be entirely genderless?

An odd question. Let's see if I understand it correctly.

1) What fire is ITRW ain't a mystery - a flame is just gas ionized into plasma by heat, a process that in itself ceases all biological processes. A biological creature all aflame is no longer a biological creature.

2) What a phenomenon with the observed properties of a flame is, if it isn't really a flame... Well, that can be nailed down pretty nicely as well. It has to be partially transparent, fluid, and emitting heat and light. Swarms of small biological lifeforms (say, bacteria) might manage the partial transparency, fluidity, and emission of light at moderate intensity. Emission of heat at levels one might mistake for those of a flame is another game entirely, though; biological life would self-immolate if attempting that, and this is already assuming it possessed the required energy source, which it probably wouldn't. Arguably, combustion would provide the energy, but then we're back to a simple non-biological flame.

3) Yes, we might be mistaken about the nature of the fire-like phenomenon we see - we might not "know" what it is. But if we observe the above characteristics, then we are either correctly observing fire, or then being subjected to an intense telepathic attack that renders all our observational powers null and void. I don't really think Changelings work in that latter fashion.

Timo Saloniemi
Timo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 4 2012, 06:13 PM   #13
Seventh White Boomer
Rear Admiral
 
Seventh White Boomer's Avatar
 
Location: Jono
Re: Shouldn't Changelings be entirely genderless?

Timo wrote: View Post
She was called the Female Changeling on screen by non-Dominion characters.
I stand corrected. Could you give examples?
Luckily I rewatched an episode where it happened 3 days ago. When Kira and Quark go to talk to Odo about Rom's arrest in "Favor the Bold" the Bajoran guard outside his quarters calls her the "Female Changeling".

As I was trying to hunt this down I came across a bit in "Behind the Lines" where Odo and the Female Changeling talk about her name and she states she has no name because she doesn't need one as the Founders don't feel the need to differentiate themselves from each other.

Last edited by Seventh White Boomer; May 5 2012 at 08:37 AM.
Seventh White Boomer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 5 2012, 03:12 AM   #14
Uxi
Lieutenant Commander
 
Uxi's Avatar
 
Location: Southern California
Re: Shouldn't Changelings be entirely genderless?

Their reproduction is established, right? That's what Odo was. Likely some form of parthenogenesis. I would guess they can reproduce a sort of clone if they're alone but for genetic/cellular diversity still reproduce sexually combining cell halves of their DNA-equivalents from gametes while all mixed together in the Link. Possible they're really strange and combine in three's or even greater multiples but probably unlikely.

Speculating about the Great Link and the ability for smaller groups individuals to Link together (as we saw Odo and the Female do several times), it's interesting to hypothesize that there could have been opposing Links in their ancient past. Given the way Odo was influenced and sort of brainwashed after Linking, it's easy enough to see them some wanting to avoid Linking with foreign groups and maintaining their own ideas/subgroups and the Great Link merely destroyed or assimilated competing Links... at least until they experienced that the solids were a greater and perpetual existential threat (or Solid friendly Links were driven extinct).
__________________
---
"No matter where you go, there you are."
Uxi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 5 2012, 03:17 AM   #15
Rķu rķu, chķu
Fleet Admiral
 
Rķu rķu, chķu's Avatar
 
Location: Mr. Laser Beam is in the visitor's bullpen
View Rķu rķu, chķu's Twitter Profile
Re: Shouldn't Changelings be entirely genderless?

The Founders used to be solids, didn't they? Perhaps gender is a vestigial trait to them. They kept it even though they don't "need" it.

Or perhaps they've been imitating gendered species for so long that they can't help but assume traits like that.
__________________
"A hot dog at the ballpark is better than a steak at the Ritz." - Humphrey Bogart
Rķu rķu, chķu is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 11:14 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
FireFox 2+ or Internet Explorer 7+ highly recommended.