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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old September 12 2013, 07:22 PM   #1
Noddy
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No female starship captains in the 2250s-60s?

This is certainly what is strongly implied in "Turnabout Intruder", via Dr. Janice Lester's dialogue. But since we now know that there were female commanding officers in Starfleet well before this time, as well as after, how we reevaluate what this episode states?
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Old September 12 2013, 07:31 PM   #2
BoredShipCapt'n
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Re: No female starship captains in the 2250s-60s?

Simples. Enterprise isn't canon.
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Old September 12 2013, 07:36 PM   #3
C.E. Evans
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Re: No female starship captains in the 2250s-60s?

Noddy wrote: View Post
This is certainly what is strongly implied in "Turnabout Intruder", via Dr. Janice Lester's dialogue. But since we now know that there were female commanding officers in Starfleet well before this time, as well as after, how we reevaluate what this episode states?
Lester was either insulting Kirk about no female captains in his personal world (you chauvinistic pig!) or she was being hysterical and overdramatic.
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Old September 12 2013, 07:36 PM   #4
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Re: No female starship captains in the 2250s-60s?

It is clear that women were not barred from Starship command as one was commanding Enterprse in "The Cage"/"The Menagerie." I'd say Lester meant either (a) there were not currently any female starship captains or (b) Kirk's social circle of staship captains was all male.
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Old September 12 2013, 07:49 PM   #5
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Re: No female starship captains in the 2250s-60s?

The thing to remember is that Janice Lester was psychotic. It's easy enough to interpret her belief that women weren't allowed in command as a paranoid delusion, a rationalization for her own inability to measure up. Of course that's not how Roddenberry apparently intended it; it's pretty clear that he intended the episode to say "It's crazy for women to aspire to do men's jobs and they should be happy in their own separate societal roles that are valuable in their own way." But given Lester's irrationality, it's easy to treat her as an unreliable narrator and dismiss her assertions. Kirk appearing to accept her premise could simply mean that he was humoring her delusions.

In the novels and comics, there are female captains serving contemporaneously with the events of TOS. The Vanguard novels feature Captain Atish Khatami of the Endeavour and Captain Hallie Gannon of the Bombay. (Also Captain Rana Desai, but she's a starbase JAG officer rather than a starship commander.) John Byrne's IDW comics, in a different continuity, feature Pike's Number One as a commodore in command of the Yorktown toward the end of Kirk's 5-year mission.
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Old September 12 2013, 08:02 PM   #6
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: No female starship captains in the 2250s-60s?

Noddy wrote: View Post
This is certainly what is strongly implied in "Turnabout Intruder", via Dr. Janice Lester's dialogue. But since we now know that there were female commanding officers in Starfleet well before this time, as well as after, how we reevaluate what this episode states?
One of those things best ignored and forgotten, along with Captain Pike's sexism.
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Old September 12 2013, 10:47 PM   #7
BoredShipCapt'n
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Re: No female starship captains in the 2250s-60s?

It's not impossible to imagine that at some point before TOS a number of female starship captains started going mad and neuroscientists claimed to have found some facet of female brain structure that made women peculiarly susceptible to madness under the combined effects of deep space and the strain of command. (And maybe Number One was... different, of course.) In an abundance of caution, Starfleet made the controversial decision to exclude women from starship command (with which Kirk did not agree).

By the time of The Wrath of Khan, they had a pill for it.

* * * * *

Alternatively, you could perhaps read "Your world of starship captains doesn't admit women" to mean Kirk couldn't serve on the same ship with someone he was in a committed relationship with. (After all, they'd have to be on the same ship to roam among the stars and kill each other, wouldn't they?) This would dovetail with Kirk's "no beach to walk on" soliloquy about the loneliness of command in "The Naked Time"; as captain, he's married to the ship.

In her psychotic state, Janice wants to take revenge on Kirk and his world of starship captains, not just by becoming a captain, but by becoming him.
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Old September 12 2013, 11:07 PM   #8
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Re: No female starship captains in the 2250s-60s?

I think you need to take this episode in the context that it was written in the 60's when the US was very male oriented and the idea of a woman in charge of anything was rare.

Fast forward to the late 90's & early 2000's when Voyager/Enterprise aired and the idea of a females in position of authority is pretty well accepted - so women have already been shown to command starships.

So yea, you get some inconsistency. I mean do whatever you want to make this fit the Star Trek narrative in your mind but it just comes down to the change in attitudes regarding women over 50 years.
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Old September 12 2013, 11:09 PM   #9
Mysterion
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Re: No female starship captains in the 2250s-60s?

Best to just chalk this up to:

a) Janice Lester was somewhat bat-shit crazy, and

2) Gene Roddenberry was a sexist piece of crap sometimes.
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Old September 12 2013, 11:43 PM   #10
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Re: No female starship captains in the 2250s-60s?

Christopher wrote: View Post
The thing to remember is that Janice Lester was psychotic. It's easy enough to interpret her belief that women weren't allowed in command as a paranoid delusion, a rationalization for her own inability to measure up. Of course that's not how Roddenberry apparently intended it; it's pretty clear that he intended the episode to say "It's crazy for women to aspire to do men's jobs and they should be happy in their own separate societal roles that are valuable in their own way."
Yet Rodenberry introduced a female First Officer in the original pilot. And that was apparently shot down by the studio for the 2nd pilot.

But I agree it seems that the intention of the script was to say that females aren't suited for such jobs especially Kirk's last line and Spock not disagreeing. I think we all wish at that point Spock had piped up listing names of females Starship Captains past and present.

I know GR was credited with the story but did he actually write the dialog.
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Old September 12 2013, 11:58 PM   #11
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Re: No female starship captains in the 2250s-60s?

CommishSleer wrote: View Post
Yet Rodenberry introduced a female First Officer in the original pilot. And that was apparently shot down by the studio for the 2nd pilot.
It was NBC who objected, I believe. But per Solow & Justman's Inside Star Trek, the network was fine with the idea of a female first officer; they just didn't like Roddenberry casting his mistress in the role. If he'd just recast, they would've welcomed the character, and she could've stood alongside other strong '60s heroines like Emma Peel, Cinnamon Carter, and Agent 99. But he couldn't admit that, so he blamed it on network sexism.

(I think Lee Meriwether could've made a good Number One.)


But I agree it seems that the intention of the script was to say that females aren't suited for such jobs especially Kirk's last line and Spock not disagreeing. I think we all wish at that point Spock had piped up listing names of females Starship Captains past and present.

I know GR was credited with the story but did he actually write the dialog.
He wrote the outline solo, and it's pretty much the same as the final episode, with the addition of a really chauvinistic, even vaguely homophobic tag that was mercifully dropped.

Remember that GR also came up with the story for "Mudd's Women," which is just about tied with "Turnabout" for the title of most sexist TOS episode. It's hard to believe those didn't reflect his views to some extent.

I think that in his own way he valued women, but he accepted the assumption of the era that women's value was in different societal roles than the ones filled by men. Sort of a "separate but equal" mentality. He definitely placed a lot of importance on masculinity as distinct from femininity; that tag in the T:I outline conveys a definite dread of masculinity being undermined by feminine influence.
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Old September 13 2013, 12:13 AM   #12
CommishSleer
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Re: No female starship captains in the 2250s-60s?

Christopher wrote: View Post
CommishSleer wrote: View Post
Yet Rodenberry introduced a female First Officer in the original pilot. And that was apparently shot down by the studio for the 2nd pilot.
It was NBC who objected, I believe. But per Solow & Justman's Inside Star Trek, the network was fine with the idea of a female first officer; they just didn't like Roddenberry casting his mistress in the role. If he'd just recast, they would've welcomed the character, and she could've stood alongside other strong '60s heroines like Emma Peel, Cinnamon Carter, and Agent 99. But he couldn't admit that, so he blamed it on network sexism.

(I think Lee Meriwether could've made a good Number One.)


But I agree it seems that the intention of the script was to say that females aren't suited for such jobs especially Kirk's last line and Spock not disagreeing. I think we all wish at that point Spock had piped up listing names of females Starship Captains past and present.

I know GR was credited with the story but did he actually write the dialog.
He wrote the outline solo, and it's pretty much the same as the final episode, with the addition of a really chauvinistic, even vaguely homophobic tag that was mercifully dropped.

Remember that GR also came up with the story for "Mudd's Women," which is just about tied with "Turnabout" for the title of most sexist TOS episode. It's hard to believe those didn't reflect his views to some extent.

I think that in his own way he valued women, but he accepted the assumption of the era that women's value was in different societal roles than the ones filled by men. Sort of a "separate but equal" mentality. He definitely placed a lot of importance on masculinity as distinct from femininity; that tag in the T:I outline conveys a definite dread of masculinity being undermined by feminine influence.
I always believed GRs story of how the network objected to a female First Officer. I'm definitely going to have to get "Inside Star Trek".

I'm now thinking that looking at what GR orginally wrote in the tag, "Turnabout Intruder" could have been a lot worse.
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Old September 13 2013, 01:15 PM   #13
Forbin
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Re: No female starship captains in the 2250s-60s?

Christopher wrote: View Post

(I think Lee Meriwether could've made a good Number One.)
Oh wow. That would have been awesome. Great idea.
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Old September 13 2013, 02:43 PM   #14
Garrovick
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Re: No female starship captains in the 2250s-60s?

Janice Lester was a raving nutjob, and I'd cast a very skeptical eye on any statement she made.
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Old September 13 2013, 02:47 PM   #15
J.T.B.
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Re: No female starship captains in the 2250s-60s?

Attitudes were different, certainly, and usually not what we'd call enlightened: ("One day [Lt. Palamas will] find the right man and off she'll go, out of the service"). But in the very first episode filmed, while Pike was gone, Number One was in command of the Enterprise, in effect the captain. That's a fairly strong, positive start; too bad it wasn't expanded upon in the course of the series.
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