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

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Old September 16 2013, 05:59 PM   #61
J.T.B.
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Re: No female starship captains in the 2250s-60s?

Christopher wrote: View Post
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/\ Or thought that they were far enough out on a limb as it was, and didn't want to take on more challenges...
That too. Historically, overcoming prejudice has had to be done with baby steps; push too far and you provoke a backlash.
Yeah, there was kind of an ingrained reluctance for popular entertainment to take the lead on social issues. Summed up in that old Hollywood saying, "Pictures are for entertainment; if you want to send a message, call Western Union."
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Old September 16 2013, 06:19 PM   #62
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Re: No female starship captains in the 2250s-60s?

^Well, no, what I'm saying is that they did take on social issues, but there was a limit to how much they could challenge the audience to change its views. Push people too far and you provoke a backlash. You can achieve more progress in the long run if you do it incrementally, move people forward a step at a time.
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Old September 16 2013, 06:25 PM   #63
J.T.B.
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Re: No female starship captains in the 2250s-60s?

Christopher wrote: View Post
^Well, no, what I'm saying is that they did take on social issues, but there was a limit to how much they could challenge the audience to change its views. Push people too far and you provoke a backlash. You can achieve more progress in the long run if you do it incrementally, move people forward a step at a time.
Right, I'm just saying as much as there was a desire to push the boundaries, there was also a countering force that said, "don't go too far, it's not worth it."
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Old September 16 2013, 11:44 PM   #64
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Re: No female starship captains in the 2250s-60s?

The Old Mixer wrote: View Post
"It's just that I can't get used to having a woman on the bridge. No offense, lieutenant...you're different, of course."
Which was said not two seconds after standing next to a woman on the bridge who was not Colt or Number One.
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Old September 17 2013, 05:07 AM   #65
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Re: No female starship captains in the 2250s-60s?

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^What's startling is that he misspelled his own mistress's name.
Maybe he had dictated it to someone. (Sounds kind of dirty...)
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Old November 21 2013, 12:24 AM   #66
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Re: No female starship captains in the 2250s-60s?

It isn't just what Lester says, but the way Kirk generally agrees with her that gives credence to her claims.
I'm watching my shiny new TOS blu rays, and will watch this episode carefully when I come to it, to see just how clear or vague it is that women really can't be starship captains.
I would point out there's a big difference between a woman sitting in the captain's chair commanding temporarily as first officer and actually being captain.
I remember in a thread in the Lit subforum someone said there's a book that says there was a 100 or so year period where women were banned from being starship captains. Which doesn't prevent a woman from holding the rank of captain while working a different job besides leading a starship.
But then there are books like Vanguard that contradict the sexist ban by having female captains anyways.
I never liked that it was suggested that women couldn't be starship captains, but once that was in place, I'd be curious to see a story that explored the issue, why it happened in the first place, and the resolution being that the ban was lifted and a worthy female officer be promoted to starship captain.
I think there's wiggle room with the Enterprise era that there were female starship captains then, and the ban began somewhere between there and TOS era.
It is a good point to remember TOS was a product of it's era, and it's prejudices. I do like when I read a TOS era book that does things the way I think they should've been done, with stronger female characters with authority.
In a related note, have any of the novels had gay characters in TOS? Vanguard in TOS era certainly has, but what about TOS novels? I know there have been in ENT, TNG, DS9 and Voyager novels. As a gay man I really appreciate finally seeing gays in those stories, and I think that gives me an understanding of how women are written in Star Trek is important.
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Old November 21 2013, 12:34 AM   #67
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Re: No female starship captains in the 2250s-60s?

Enough of us have seen the episode several times to know it all comes down to interpretation. If you choose to believe that it's supposed to say women in TOS can't command a ship then that's probably how you'll interpret it. If you believe that TOS just never actually got around to showing it then you can interpret the scene as Kirk just not bothering to get back into an old argument. And seeing how Lester shows herself to be crazy it's understandable Kirk knew the futility of trying to argue with someone who isn't all there.

And although it's often discounted the fact is we did see a woman in command: the Romulan Commender in "The Enterprise Incident." And she commanded a whole squadron and not only a single vessel. Granted you can argue she's an alien, but in context of a 1960's television show the actress was playing a woman in position of command authority.

This issue keeps arising as if some are trying to find a definitive answer. I don't think there is one because the series doesn't say anything definitive about it one way or the other. So we come back to interpretation.
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Old November 21 2013, 12:45 AM   #68
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Re: No female starship captains in the 2250s-60s?

I know this whole thing is related to one line by a madwoman in the last episode of the series. Roddenberry was already washing his hands of Star Trek, the show had already been cancelled, and everyone else was just trying to get the thing out the door. I don't think Janice's line should be interpreted literally. She tells Kirk, "Your world of starship captains...", not "Starfleet's world..."
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Old November 21 2013, 12:46 AM   #69
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Re: No female starship captains in the 2250s-60s?

It's not so much a question of how to interpret the episode as it is a question of how it should be retconned, so that it can be a part of a continuity that we find acceptable.

Like it or not, the intent of the episode is glaringly obvious. I've seen it several/enough times to know what an embarrassment it is. It may be canon, but I'd sooner throw Turnabout Intruder off a cliff than accept it into continuity the way it was written.
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Old November 21 2013, 12:47 AM   #70
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Re: No female starship captains in the 2250s-60s?

borgboy wrote: View Post
It isn't just what Lester says, but the way Kirk generally agrees with her that gives credence to her claims.
That's the kind of agreement that goes "Uh, yeah, sure" while secretly thinking to yourself "What a raving nutbar she is."

Lester is obviously looney-tunes. You only have to watch three minutes of her to see that. Therefore, absolutely nothing she says should, or even can, be taken at face value.

Besides, think about it: How likely is it that in the perfect future utopia Gene always wanted to create, they'd leave just ONE detail out?
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Old November 21 2013, 12:50 AM   #71
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Re: No female starship captains in the 2250s-60s?

It's not about how I want to interpret it, but what I saw and heard.
Just like I want to think Kirk and Spock are madly in love, but that's not really the intent of the series. I'm well familiar with subtext and making up my own stories though. Just as an example. I think it's obvious what was intended. I try to make the books work with continuity too though, and the books have both touched on this and contradicted it.
And yes, the Romulan commander is fabulous. I'd say they could get away with having the bad guys have a strong female leader more than they could with the good guys.
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Old November 21 2013, 12:54 AM   #72
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Re: No female starship captains in the 2250s-60s?

You can tell somebody to your face that you agree with them, but not really do it. You're just doing it to be nice to them, and/or you're afraid that they'd suddenly chop you into fragments with a machete if you don't. If Kirk ever told Janice he agreed with her, trust me, that's why he did it.
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Old November 21 2013, 12:57 AM   #73
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Re: No female starship captains in the 2250s-60s?

TOSalltheway wrote: View Post
That could mean there are very few female captains. More importantly it could mean that "I" didn't make it so it is naturally systemic discrimination.
One could even choose to interpret it that the world of starship captains does not allow women to be truly themselves.

(Or one could simply ignore "The Turnabout Intruder" as an embarrassingly bad instance of chauvinism even for TOS Trek and even for the era. Though I know that's not a possibility for some. )

The chauvinism of Trek reflected a spirit of the times, but there was a tradition of action (or just active) heroines in popular culture to draw upon by the time it was being made: Honey West, Annie Oakley, Sheena, Modesty Blaise et cetera. It wouldn't have had to be undertaking some big "message" in dialing down the chauvinism a notch. I think it just probably reflects a preference of Roddenberry's at the time.
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Old November 21 2013, 03:44 AM   #74
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Re: No female starship captains in the 2250s-60s?

I don't recall trying to fit into continuity being an issue before TNG. Wasn't there a female starship Captain in TVH in 1986? And Alan Dean Foster made reference to Kirk reflecting on Uhura likely being a fine starship Captain sometime in the future in one of ADF's adaptations of the TAS episodes. It could have been his adaptation of "Beyond The Farthest Star" but I'm not sure.

I still think it comes down to how one interprets what's onscreen and influenced by assumptions or preconceptions brought to watching the episode. I never took Lester's ranting as evidence a woman couldn't command a starship in TOS particularly after seeing Number One clearly being second-in-command in "The Menagerie." I always saw it as Lester basically accusing Kirk of not having any room for her in his "world," his life of starship command, not that Starfleet wouldn't allow a woman to command.

Oh, well. This issue will just continue to keep going round and round.
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Old November 21 2013, 03:52 AM   #75
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Re: No female starship captains in the 2250s-60s?

borgboy wrote: View Post
It isn't just what Lester says, but the way Kirk generally agrees with her that gives credence to her claims.
Within the episode, yes. But it's a bad, stupid episode. This is all make-believe, you know. You're allowed to ignore parts of it, especially parts that the rest of the canon also ignores. "Turnabout Intruder" was a mistake and its stupid, wrong, sexist claim about female captains has been thoroughly tossed out of canon by Enterprise, just like "The Alternative Factor"'s idiocy about antimatter and "Threshold"'s idiocy about transwarp and STV's idiocy about the center of the galaxy being a 20-minute commute have been kicked out of canon by later productions that rightly ignored them.


I never liked that it was suggested that women couldn't be starship captains, but once that was in place, I'd be curious to see a story that explored the issue, why it happened in the first place, and the resolution being that the ban was lifted and a worthy female officer be promoted to starship captain.
Where's the benefit in that? It was a bad idea resulting from a 1960s mindset. I don't see anything desirable about claiming that human civilization had some major backslide in gender equality for a whole century. That would be an awful path for the future to take and it runs counter to Trek's fundamental optimism. That's part of why "Turnabout Intruder" was such a bad episode -- because its sexism betrayed the series' own principles. I think even the older Roddenberry would've gladly disowned it as a mistake if he'd been asked.


In a related note, have any of the novels had gay characters in TOS? Vanguard in TOS era certainly has, but what about TOS novels?
There's a thread in Trek Literature about LGBT characters in the books. I think there must be some TOS characters in the list there. I know there's at least a reference to a lesbian married couple in the Crucible trilogy.
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