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

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Old January 5 2014, 01:46 PM   #31
Warped9
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Re: Should they have had a female Commodore in TOS?

CommishSleer wrote: View Post
Warped9 wrote: View Post
And by "nothing" I mean there is nothing throughout TOS that contradicts what Roddenberry established in "The Cage."
Except that we never saw any woman in TOS over the rank of Commander.
There is also what Lester said and Kirk's response to it that may contradict it.
If Lester had said Starfleet doesn't allow anyone but white men to be the Captain of a Starship I believe we had some evidence to prove that wrong. I don't believe we have any evidence to prove Lester wrong except showing that a woman was allowed to be in temporary command of a ship once.
This is pointless. How many commanders did we actually see? A small handful out of at least hundreds. That's hardly a meaningful representational sample. And Lester discounts herself by her own behaviour.

The only reason this issues persists is because some want to see something that isn't there.
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Old January 5 2014, 04:25 PM   #32
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Re: Should they have had a female Commodore in TOS?

Warped9 wrote: View Post
This is pointless. How many commanders did we actually see? A small handful out of at least hundreds. That's hardly a meaningful representational sample. And Lester discounts herself by her own behaviour.

The only reason this issues persists is because some want to see something that isn't there.
I really can't speak to the intentions of the writers of "Turnabout Intruder", since I wasn't there. But, in universe, it really makes no sense that a woman could be a first officer yet not be eligible to be a captain. We're talking about interstellar distances here. It could be weeks, months or years before a ship could make it back to its home port and if something had happened to Pike somewhere along the way, a woman would have effectively been captain for the entire time.
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Old January 5 2014, 05:19 PM   #33
Warped9
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Re: Should they have had a female Commodore in TOS?

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Warped9 wrote: View Post
This is pointless. How many commanders did we actually see? A small handful out of at least hundreds. That's hardly a meaningful representational sample. And Lester discounts herself by her own behaviour.

The only reason this issues persists is because some want to see something that isn't there.
I really can't speak to the intentions of the writers of "Turnabout Intruder", since I wasn't there. But, in universe, it really makes no sense that a woman could be a first officer yet not be eligible to be a captain. We're talking about interstellar distances here. It could be weeks, months or years before a ship could make it back to its home port and if something had happened to Pike somewhere along the way, a woman would have effectively been captain for the entire time.
Very true. That example alone illustrates how demeaning it would be to Number One (as example) to bring the ship home and then be relieved with nothing more than a pat on the head. If she's capable of assuming command then she's qualified to actually be given the rank and post. And so why would any woman choose a command path knowing well in advance that the best she could hope for was First Officer?
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Old January 5 2014, 07:20 PM   #34
Armored Saint
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Re: Should they have had a female Commodore in TOS?

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We did see a single Human female in command of a ship in TVH, but other than that the movies showed male Starfleet commanding officers.
We also see an Indian Starship captain (with an accent) and many aliens Starfleet officers. As I said sooner in this topic, the majority of human characters shown in previous Star Trek material were americans. It doesn't mean that Starfleet was before a club for white-american dudes.
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Old January 6 2014, 10:35 PM   #35
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Re: Should they have had a female Commodore in TOS?

Armored Saint wrote: View Post
We also see an Indian Starship captain (with an accent) ...
And he was male.

and many aliens Starfleet officers.
And how many of them were female ship captains?

It doesn't mean that Starfleet was before a club for white-american dudes.
We also saw Asian, Black, Indian and Latin Starfleet officers during TOS.

Kirk and Scott were played by Canadian actors.

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Old January 7 2014, 02:43 AM   #36
Armored Saint
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Re: Should they have had a female Commodore in TOS?

T'Girl wrote: View Post
We also saw Asian, Black, Indian and Latin Starfleet officers during TOS.
But with a majority of WASPy characters. We have Uhura, Chekov and Sulu, but the typical redshirt's name beging with O' or finish with son.

Kirk and Scott were played by Canadian actors.
You don't need a Danish actor to play Hamlet or an Italian for Romeo Montaigu. Patrick Stewart is from England and played a "French" captain. (John Cleese made a better French dude. )

Scotty seems to be the only anglophone whose not from USA and I think it was still usual to met Scottish immigrants (and not simply of Scottish descent) in North-America in the 60's.
Shatner and Nimoy are both jewish and portrayed WASPy characters (Grayson sounds pretty Anglo-Saxon).

T'Girl wrote: View Post
Armored Saint wrote: View Post
We also see an Indian Starship captain (with an accent) ...
And he was male.
Take a look of senior officers introduced in the first three movies:
- TMP, Admiral Nogura (it sounds Japanese, but we don't see him) and Captain Decker, a white American.
- Captain Terrell, black, but American
- Admiral Morrows, black, but American, Captain Styles and Captain J.T. Esteban, spanish family name, but American accent and anglo-saxon initials

I'm not seeking for racism, I'm pretty sure it was absolutely not the case. For me, what we see in STIV is the start of an adjustment that really became effective with TNG and following series. This adjustment it's not into the Star Trek universe, but outside, into scripting and casting.

T'Girl wrote: View Post
and many aliens Starfleet officers.
And how many of them were female ship captains?
And how many aliens neither Vulcans nor Klingons did we see in first three movies? Not a lot. Of course, there was logistical reasons, but what whe see in STIV is also a part of this adjustment.

There's nothing in TNG that suggests there had been a drop and a new rise about gender equality during TOS era. Star Trek has a naive conception of progress. There had a third World War and after that, it's the come-back of a linear progress.
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Old January 7 2014, 02:50 AM   #37
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Re: Should they have had a female Commodore in TOS?

"Should they have had a female Commodore in TOS?"

Maybe. Where would you put her? Which character should have been female instead of male?

It makes me no difference, I'm just asking.
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Old January 7 2014, 03:06 AM   #38
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Re: Should they have had a female Commodore in TOS?

urbandefault wrote: View Post
Maybe. Where would you put her? Which character should have been female instead of male?

It makes me no difference, I'm just asking.
I was thinking in terms of one of the guest Commodores/Admirals. Maybe cast a woman in the role of Admiral Komack in "Amok Time"? It was a small role in just one scene. But it would have been a nice gesture, and would have shown sexual equality within the command structure in the future in much the same way as casting roles like Commodore Stone shown full racial equality within the command structure.

On the other hand, there are other guest Commodores in the series where I suspect casting a female in the role would have created some VERY unfortunate implications in retrospect. For example: the ineffectual Commodore Stocker in "The Deadly Years", who would need Captain Kirk to come and rescue 'her' from the Romulans when 'she' makes the wrong command decision. I can see things like that going very badly indeed...
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Old January 7 2014, 05:02 AM   #39
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Re: Should they have had a female Commodore in TOS?

I do find it odd that TOS seemed okay with women in positions of power OUTSIDE of Starfleet. Romulan Commander, Elaan, etc.
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Old January 7 2014, 06:47 AM   #40
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Re: Should they have had a female Commodore in TOS?

BoredShipCapt'n wrote: View Post
But if Roddenberry couldn't get away with a female First Officer, how would he have expected to get away with a female Commodore, especially early in the series?
Just cast someone who wasn't his girlfriend...

J.T.B. wrote: View Post
And captain, because she does become the captain in Pike's absence. As Kirk pointed out in "The Tholian Web," when Spock succeeds to command, "he is the captain." If Number One's sex disqualified her, Spock or some other male officer would have taken command. It makes no sense that Number One would be put in the position of second in command if she could never succeed to that command.
I'm reminded of a series of novels written by F.M. Busby, in which North America (and much of the rest of the world) is taken over by a multinational corporation, with a bizarre "Tea Party-fundamentalist" twist (although the Tea Party did not exist at the time these books were written). Basically, in the space service in those books, women could rise in rank to anything they aspired to - except the leader's position. They could be First Officer on a ship, but never Captain. If the Captain were to die, either the next-ranking male would be promoted into the captaincy or a male captain would be brought in from another ship.

Warped9 wrote: View Post
...why would any woman choose a command path knowing well in advance that the best she could hope for was First Officer?
If they weren't scientists, had no interest in support services, weren't doctors, and they didn't want to become Expendable Red-Shirts/Skirts, command is what was left. And it's possible some would try to change the "system" from within.

Armored Saint wrote: View Post
Take a look of senior officers introduced in the first three movies:
- TMP, Admiral Nogura (it sounds Japanese, but we don't see him) ...
The novel gave Nogura a thoroughly Japanese first name, so it would be surprising if he were not Japanese.
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Old January 7 2014, 08:00 AM   #41
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Re: Should they have had a female Commodore in TOS?

I'm not saying that TOS was totally sexist. It was done in the 60s for goodness sake. And women actually being on board a naval vessel was a huge step-forward compared to the military at the time and even nowadays.
They had women doctors, lawyers, senior scientists, a woman in charge of the dilithium crystals. OK a lot of these women were just love interests for Kirk or someone else but the realities of a TV series in that time is that you had to double-up some of the roles.

If you look at 'Court Martial' and you see the group of Captains that were snubbing Kirk. None of those were ladies. You never saw a lady captain. The only 'command' female you ever saw was in 'The Cage'. The only time you every saw a woman take the command of any Federation vessel was in 'The Cage'. It never happened again. And sure you could say the Captain of say the Endeavour or the Kongo or the Republic was a woman or a Vulcan or an Andorian but we never saw any evidence of that.
And there's the talk in a couple of episodes that it takes a special 'man' to be a Starship captain, not a special person.

And to the people who point out why would Number One agree to serve on a ship where she could never be Captain. I think its like the current Navy. Eventually you hope things might change. It is only in the last few decades that women could serve at sea on Navy Ships in my country. In the 60s if a woman was in the Navy (or Public Service) they had to resign when they got married.
Perhaps Number One was in the Service killing time until she found a husband.
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Old January 7 2014, 08:06 AM   #42
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Re: Should they have had a female Commodore in TOS?

CommishSleer wrote: View Post
Perhaps Number One was in the Service killing time until she found a husband.
Yeah, that's totally the impression I had of her.

Mind you, that's the impression Kirk had of at least one or two of his female crewmembers.
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Old January 7 2014, 01:00 PM   #43
Warped9
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Re: Should they have had a female Commodore in TOS?

Roddenberry had stupidly painted himself into a corner. When NBC rejected "The Cage" as a pilot they DID NOT say lose Number One as a character. Actually they liked the character and having her as second-in-command, but they did not think Majel Barrett was strong enough for the recurring role and they also resented Roddenberry's obvious nepotism in casting his extramarital girlfriend. Their message was keep the character but ditch the actress.

Roddenberry was in a bind: how could he possibly tell his lover the network didn't want her as an actress? So he cooked up the story of NBC not liking a strong female character, which was totally counter to the policy NBC was pursuing to promote stronger roles for women and minorities. And Roddenberry not only told Majell that story, but repeated it in public, which became yet another thing NBC came to resent GR for.

After repeating that lie how could GR put a female commander on the show? It really shouldn't have mattered because a guest character is not the same as a recurring regular cast character, but GR might have been afraid of such a move affecting his extramarital affair. However, it has to be said that no one has so far offered up any evidence of someone else trying to pitch a female commander in a guest role and having it shot down. It could be that the general mindset of those at the time precluded anyone else from even thinking of it. Maybe if someone had perhaps in second or third season it might have gotten through given enough time had passed.

I agree with something stated upthread (and I've stated it myself before) that some of the Commodores or Captains used wouldn't have worked well if cast as a woman. Because Stocker, Tracy, Merrick and Decker are tragic or failed/weak characters they could have cast a female commander (and women in general) in a bad light, or that's how it might have been perceived. But any of the Admirals or Commodores simply seen on a viewscreen or even Commodore Wesley, Stone or Mendez could have been cast as a woman, seeing as none of those were weak or tragic characters.

But getting back to a core issue at hand. It isn't TOS' fictional universe that precludes women in command in Starfleet, but rather GR's fabricated lie to spare his girlfriend's feelings. The only way to get around it was to simply not talk about it onscreen and cast women as leaders in other non Starfleet roles.
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Old January 7 2014, 05:52 PM   #44
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Re: Should they have had a female Commodore in TOS?

I wonder if Majel Barrett ever actually believed that. She must have realized at some point that it was BS and just went along with it being part of the backstage mythos so as not to rock anybody's boat.
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Old January 7 2014, 06:22 PM   #45
Warped9
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Re: Should they have had a female Commodore in TOS?

Timewalker wrote: View Post
I wonder if Majel Barrett ever actually believed that. She must have realized at some point that it was BS and just went along with it being part of the backstage mythos so as not to rock anybody's boat.
Could well be.

There's a few lines in Marc Cusman's book These Are The Voyages that rings very true regarding business decisions: basically they're not always made disapssionately and objectively. Businesses are comprised of people who have feelings and agendas and all sorts of conflicting issues. Through flaws of judgement and character GR was pissing people off who he should have counted as allies in getting and keeping his show on the air: the NBC network.

The idea that NBC really didn't care for Star Trek and wanted to be rid of it has long been debunked. NBC was generally quite happy with the show and saw it as an ideal vehicle for reaching the audience they wanted. Stan Robertson, the NBC exec serving as liaison between the network and Desilu, also seemed to quite like the show and offered often decent (and sometimes not) suggestions for helping the show. So it seems that Star Trek had ready made allies in NBC and yet GR made a point of bad mouthing them to the public. Definitely not smart.

On the other hand there were quite a few Desilu suits who didn't care for Star Trek and wouldn't have minded seeing it gone primarily because the show was costing them money (in conjunction with producing Mission: Impossible which was also costing them money and even more so than Star Trek). The key difference is CBS was paying more money to produce Mission: Impossible than what was negotiated for NBC to be paying for Star Trek. CBS even occasionally kicked in some extra money to cover shortfalls because they were very happy with the show. In contrast it looks like Star Trek was being held to a different standard and given even less money each successive season.

From what I can see it would have been nice if Star Trek had been getting at least the same budget as Mission: Impossible if not a bit more given Star Trek's production needs were more demanding.

How things played out after NBC rejected "The Cage" but gave GR and Desilu another chance to produce a second pilot raisies interesting questions. What if GR had had the balls to tell Majel Barrett that they were keeping Number One but recasting her with someone else? We might have gotten a very different show even with replacing Jeffery Hunter with William Shatner. We might never have gotten that awesome Kirk/Spock/McCoy dynamic. That said with Number One still in the picture it would have likely opened the door to feature other female commanders in guest roles. Or maybe Star Trek would have gone on to be an interesting one season oddity. We'll never know.
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