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Trek Literature "...Good words. That's where ideas begin."

View Poll Results: Rate One Constant Star.
Outstanding 11 25.00%
Above Average 14 31.82%
Average 14 31.82%
Below Average 1 2.27%
Poor 4 9.09%
Voters: 44. You may not vote on this poll

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Old July 14 2014, 12:03 AM   #151
datalogan
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Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
^ How so? Fraternization is completely legal in Starfleet. As long as everyone involved wants it, there's no problem.
You are correct. It's obviously OK in Starfleet. We've seen it before, even in cannon with Captain Picard and LCDR Nella Daren in "Lessons". [Picard did have a little problem with the relationship, but that said more about him as a person than any Starfleet policy.]
Any minor pause that the story gave me was due to my own real life experiences in the military. I'm not saying it's inconsistent with Trek as we know it.

Though it was curious that, when thinking about it, LCDR Sulu makes it a point to mention the relationship is "OK" because neither of them are "direct" subordinates of hers <basically; I don't remember the exact words>. This may imply some standards or limits in Starfleet for relationships. Or it may just indicate what kind of relationships she in particular would be comfortable in, regardless of the rules.
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Old July 14 2014, 12:25 AM   #152
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Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
Enterprise1701 wrote: View Post
Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post

Some of the books, e.g. Rise of the Federation series, have gone into that in more depth and suggested (logically, I think) that the degree of pheromonal allure differs from Orion to Orion, so that while some females are powerful and seductive enough pheromone-wise that they become de facto rulers of their society, others aren't (and the women who are guard their control jealously, at that).
Just think about it. Do you suppose Gaila from Star Trek 2009 would ever be allowed to set foot on Starfleet grounds if it were known that she can influence any average humanoid male?
I have wondered how the Federation deals with that sort of thing, actually. The complexities must be headache-inducing; the balance between inclusion and protection of individual liberties difficult to determine, the legal protections for both the citizen in question and those around them potentially difficult to mutually respect. Things could get ugly, or at least hurtful.
. . .

I imagine UFP citizens are thick-skinned at least, if not outright embracing of most differences and generally accepting, but we know there are some boundaries. The Deltans have their Oath of Celibacy of course (while serving in Starfleet, at least - has it ever been confirmed if Deltans working in other Federation agencies take it? Or the Deltan-on-the-non-Dhei-street?); Shelby in New Frontier insisted that Gleau the Selelvian agree to something similar (back when she still mostly thought his impositions through The Knack were generally innocent, even if she was beginning to suspect otherwise - and, again, he was a Starfleet officer not an ordinary citizen). Is an Orion with full-on pheromones allowed within the UFP? She can't consciously control it, after all, so even if she considered their use to affect others completely immoral and never wanted to take advantage (not common, I'd imagine, since it's literally completely natural to them and people influence each other through subtle means all the time - where is the line drawn? "You used your charisma at me! Guards, arrest him!") would she be required by law to take drugs to shut the ability off if she wanted to even set foot in the UFP? Must she be less than herself to enter?

(This also makes me think of the sub-plot in Myriad Universes: Places of Exile involving the Casciron species, who are required by Vostigye Union law to surrender their natural poison glands and stingers before being accepted as refugees; the story features some heated disagreements between Casciron religious figures/general protestors and the Vostigye establishment - the law says no weapons, and poison stings are classified as a natural weapon, so off they come)

And that's just when a given female Orion of the ruling lineages is an outsider seeking to enter the UFP. What happens when an Orion girl, a UFP citizen, reaches puberty? Is she tested for how strong her pheromones are, to ensure she doesn't naturally and unknowingly impose on others? Where is the line drawn if so? Is she legally required due to her species to take certain medical treatments? Very thorny, I'm sure many would agree; even if species isn't mentioned anywhere in the legalese, it's obviously still more-or-less central to the issue. Would Orion citizens accept being in turn imposed on, as though (they might argue) they are inherently under suspicion or seen as criminal, immoral or naturally "unsafe" (particularly when being from a species that clearly has a number of unpleasant stereotypes to work against anyway)? "My daughter's done nothing wrong, but she's singled out and treated like a criminal!" VS "I'm not having my son around an Orion who hasn't been tested and made to take the right level of pheromone suppressant; what about his rights and protections?" "We're being singled out as suspicious" VS "we're talking about biology, this isn't your character being disparaged", etc, etc.

How, I wonder, does it work?

Even if it generally works smoothly, sooner or later some individual will raise a stink.
Christopher wrote: View Post
I'm very uneasy with the idea of legally compelling people to suppress or surrender natural physical advantages that could be used as weapons. I mean, lots of people have advantages. In humans, men are usually stronger than women, and sadly, some of them turn that edge into a weapon against women, or against weaker men. Of course we should regulate people's behavior, teach them not to use their physical advantages to harm or impose upon others and penalize them when they do. But drugging or mutilating them to remove those physical advantages would be taking it too far. I certainly wasn't endorsing the Vostigye's rules vis-a-vis the Casciron in PoI.

I think the rule in the Federation would be the same as the rule in our society: People are going to have different advantages that could be used to dominate or harm others, but the law only penalizes them for using those advantages in such ways, rather than pre-emptively punishing or restricting them for having advantages in the first place.

I mean, suppressing or altering people's biology to bring their abilities in line with everyone else sounds like the kind of Procrustean solution the Breen would employ. The Federation is about respecting diversity, trusting and encouraging citizens to use their diverse gifts in a positive way.
Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
I'm very uneasy with the idea of legally compelling people to suppress or surrender natural physical advantages that could be used as weapons.
A position I agree with, I think. I note there's no firm conclusion or easy answer in your post; I respect that.

I just keep thinking of it like this: It might seem like a happy or easy solution to require Orion females to chemically suppress their pheromones, at least if they're of unusual strength, but even if 19 out of 20 Orion girls in the UFP happily did so without a second thought, there's going to be that twentieth girl who's thinking "I'm not a bad person. I know we Orions are often seen as criminals, not to be trusted, that we Orion girls are often seen as obsessed with sex. They don't trust me because of what I am. They're singling me out as inherently unsafe, inherently a problem, inherently against them". Not the sort of thing the UFP would be wanting to do, and it's very hard to be told that your inclusion depends on being less than what you naturally are.

I'm generally a very liberal person (I would stress that that's liberal with a small l, not a political affiliation as an American or Australian, to use two differing examples, might read it), so I too tend to distrust any blanket controls or impositions; being too hands-off is usually the lesser of two evils with me, compared with being too-hands on.

I suppose rather than require an Orion female to suppress pheromones, there could be easily-available pheromone blockers that people could discreetly take if there are Orions around? That would sit more easily with me.

Also...where would the line be drawn, legally? Pheramones of this level are okay, no different from being unusually charismatic, etc., but at this level, slightly above, you're drugging people and it needs to be controlled?
I like this little side conversation spurred on between Nesat and Christopher.
Obviously our politics are going to be a lot more complicated when we have to start dealing with more and more different beings. Ones with abilities very different from our experience. Like the X-Men. Or aliens. There could even be times when just getting two different beings together in the same room can cause harm, like when a Medusan is exposed to a human in TOS "Is There In Truth No Beauty?"

I think the obvious "simple" answer to the problem is that politics will have to solve these issues by making laws and treaties to govern the normal patterns (and to decide where to "draw the line" between OK and not OK [like with levels of Orion pheromones]). But, obviously, politics is already not simple as it is.

The focus should be on defaulting to "liberal" views and only putting in restrictions when there is direct harm. Not implied harm, as might be the case with ideas like removing natural weapons, etc. And, of course, beings will always be able to [at least try to] segregate themselves away from the "others" they don't feel comfortable around.
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Old July 14 2014, 01:17 AM   #153
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Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
I suppose rather than require an Orion female to suppress pheromones, there could be easily-available pheromone blockers that people could discreetly take if there are Orions around? That would sit more easily with me.
I overlooked this part before, and it's just what I was thinking myself. Why should it be the female's responsibility to change her nature? Why shouldn't it be men's responsibility to govern their own reaction to her nature?


Another thing to consider: It's unlikely that Orions secrete the same levels of pheromones constantly. The release of attractant pheromones is probably triggered by arousal or, oh, maybe competition with other females, or possibly by fear or anxiety if it's a defense mechanism. So it's a function of state of mind and circumstances. And that implies that an Orion could learn to restrain the release of her pheromones, to keep her libido under control so that the pheromones aren't released too strongly -- probably very much like a Deltan operating under an oath of celibacy. So again, it's a matter of individual behavior and self-control, and not something that requires the state to impose invasive laws regulating people's bodies.
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Old July 14 2014, 01:33 AM   #154
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Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

Christopher wrote: View Post
Why should it be the female's responsibility to change her nature? Why shouldn't it be men's responsibility to govern their own reaction to her nature?
Perhaps it's not a gender issue, as much as it might be this:

In the general population of Starfleet cadets, they might not know when, if ever, an Orion will be assigned to join them. So expecting the Academy class in general to take an inhibitor just in case an Orion might be assigned there later, might be less realistic than making it the Orion's responsibility.

An Orion cadet, OTOH, will probably be briefed in advance as to where they'll be assigned. If they'll be joining a group of cadets that are susceptible to their pheromones, they can take an inhibitor before they ever get there. They'll know in advance if their classmates will be vulnerable to Orion pheromones - if not, then they don't need to do anything, and if they are, then the cadet can take precautions.

In short, it's not a gender issue so much as a "Let's not make these cadets take drugs unless they absolutely have to" issue.
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Old July 14 2014, 02:45 AM   #155
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Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

Also, there's the additional possible complication of drug interactions. What if the "standard" inhibitors on offer mess up something else the cadet's already taking - legitimately - for another medical issue? I'm guessing that such things would already be watched for as standard procedure at Starfleet Medical Command?
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Old July 14 2014, 03:11 AM   #156
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Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

And let me just say, no one is trying to be sexist here. At least I don't think they are. It's just that, well, which makes more sense? The general mass of cadets ALL taking inhibitors just in case an Orion "happens" to be placed among them, or an Orion cadet knowing in advance where they'll be assigned, and taking an inhibitor IF they need to? Think about it.
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Old July 14 2014, 09:13 PM   #157
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Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

Let us not forget the Deltan situation:
"My oath of celibacy is on record" -- Lt. Ilia, ST:TMP
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Old July 14 2014, 09:34 PM   #158
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Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

Christopher wrote: View Post
Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
I suppose rather than require an Orion female to suppress pheromones, there could be easily-available pheromone blockers that people could discreetly take if there are Orions around? That would sit more easily with me.
I overlooked this part before, and it's just what I was thinking myself. Why should it be the female's responsibility to change her nature? Why shouldn't it be men's responsibility to govern their own reaction to her nature?.
Because she's the one drugging them.

While, like I said, I'm basically in agreement with you, what you say here does makes me uncomfortable. It potentially comes across as a desire to avoid having to assign responsibility to the Orion and instead deflect all responsibility onto the people around her; insisting that she has license, while they have responsibility. They must simply accept the imposition she brings without complaint, and if they do complain it's their own fault, for not being responsible enough.

If there's going to be a social expectation of everyone around her to just suck it up, why not a social expectation that she will take steps to reign it in? Why must everyone be responsible but her? Why must they be responsible even with pheromones clogging up their every pore, but she can't possibly be expected to act to ensure that she isn't having that effect on everyone to begin with? Why is her natural state of pheromone production sacrosanct but everyone else's natural state of clear-headedness not?

Like I say, I'm a very liberal person by nature. I'm not in favour of state controls or strict social enforcements in the majority of situations, I don't like forcing minorities to conform so as not to upset the majority, and I wouldn't be comfortable with placing pressure on Orion females not to exist as they naturally do. Which we seem to be in agreement on. But I also don't like the all-too-common situation wherein supposed liberalism is actually a sneaky conservatism that merely shifts responsibility onto those who are considered automatically "rightfully" burdened by such; which insists that responsibility for some people not only be enforced but doubled-down on, while others are granted license that makes them essentially free from criticism or responsibility to others (a situation which far too many people seem to slip comfortably into as a default worldview, because there are deep instincts being soothingly stroked here). And, indeed, where responsibility in others is hammered home to cover over the cracks that the situation is causing rather than actually acknowledging the imbalance.

Personally, I'd want an Orion female to be treated as any other UFP citizen - so no imposition from the state or maltreatment from others due to natural abilities she can't help, but also socially responsible enough to consider other people around her.
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Old July 14 2014, 09:53 PM   #159
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Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

One's freedom ends where the rights of the another being begin.

Practically, I'd say that a single individual taking medication on occasion (when said person is around vulnerable people) to inhibit its abilities so as not to impair others unduly.

In the case of potent Orions, inhibiting the pheromones wouldn't mean shutting off pheromone production but decreasing it. Less potent Orions are biologically well even with limited pheromones.
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Old July 14 2014, 10:04 PM   #160
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Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

Your right to swing your arms ends just where the other man's nose begins.
-- Zechariah Chafee, in Harvard Law Review, frequently misattributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes
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Old July 14 2014, 10:06 PM   #161
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Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

Markonian wrote: View Post
One's freedom ends where the rights of another being begin.
I'm sure we all agree (as does the Federation ). The problem, I believe, is that while we can all agree on this basic ethical value, and agree to view it as our guide, that doesn't offer an easy answer to any of the questions raised; about where and when one's integrity is being breached, where one is being granted unfair license or being unfairly repressed, where the freedom of the individual stands relative to the freedom of those around him. When we're dealing with dozens of species on top of that, some of whom are going to have biological or other quirks that complicate matters further... it does make me wonder: where does the UFP stand?

As the Vulcans say, wield the sharpest blade with the greatest care. Yet being overly careful is stifling, and the UFP should not be stifling, but free and diverse and challenging.

PS: This is partly why I reject the idea that the UFP should ever be presented as a "utopia".
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Old July 14 2014, 10:10 PM   #162
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Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

hbquikcomjamesl wrote: View Post
Your right to swing your arms ends just where the other man's nose begins.
Ah, but that quote itself points to what is perhaps the central dilemma here - swinging your arm is an active, conscious decision, an action. An Orion's pheromone output and its effect on others is not conscious action, not chosen activity but inherent ability. That does not make it any less dangerous, any less powerful, any less problematic, but it means that an ethical and social code geared toward response to, or control of, overt action and active power is less equipped to handle it, perhaps?

I can choose to swing my fist, so it's not that hard to come up with an idea of where and when it is "acceptable" for me to do so, and where and when it's "unacceptable". But an Orion woman can't choose where and when to release her pheromones, which makes issues of responsibility far harder, perhaps, to get a grip on. It is not her action, it is she herself that is "the problem", whether people want to see it that way or not.

I do sympathise with Christopher apparently considering responsibility in those around her to control their response to be the lesser of two evils and preferable to anything that might attack someone for being what they are, cannot help and shouldn't be ashamed of, but I'm not so sure. I think, though, that your quote, hbquikcomjamesl, has pointed us to the core of the original dilemma.
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Old July 14 2014, 10:14 PM   #163
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Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
An Orion's pheromone output and its effect on others is not conscious action, not chosen activity but inherent ability. That does not make it any less dangerous, any less powerful, any less problematic, but it means that an ethical and social code geared toward response to, or control of, overt action and active power is less equipped to handle it, perhaps?
Of course Orions (and Deltans) can't help but be what they are. That's not being questioned. But they can take steps to remedy the situation. Just like a Medusan accepts that it will have to travel around in a container, but on a smaller scale.

Assuming that any inhibitor they take isn't harmful to their health, I don't see a problem here. Orions will obviously never have any reason to use their 'Orion abilities' while in Starfleet, and Deltan sexuality only applies to other Deltans, so expecting that they will reduce their species' attributes for the sake of the fleet does not seem to be out of line.
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Old July 14 2014, 10:31 PM   #164
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Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
I suppose rather than require an Orion female to suppress pheromones, there could be easily-available pheromone blockers that people could discreetly take if there are Orions around? That would sit more easily with me.
I overlooked this part before, and it's just what I was thinking myself. Why should it be the female's responsibility to change her nature? Why shouldn't it be men's responsibility to govern their own reaction to her nature?.
Because she's the one drugging them.
No, she's not, and that's an ethnocentric way of defining it. She's just emitting a natural attractant chemical of her species, one that other species happen to be susceptible to. Yes, it's possible for her to abuse that advantage, but that's a failing of behavior, not biology. We've seen Orion females who can choose not to exploit their advantages in that way, like Treir or Devna (as of "The Time Trap"). They don't deserve to be penalized for the way other Orions abuse their natural assets. We've seen Vulcans abuse their telepathic abilities to force themselves on other people once or twice; does that mean that all Vulcans should have their telepathic centers lobotomized? Or does it just mean that they should be held to the same laws that apply to everyone else, laws that address what they do to other people rather than what attributes they're allowed to have?


While, like I said, I'm basically in agreement with you, what you say here does makes me uncomfortable. It comes across as a desire to avoid having to assign responsibility to the Orion and instead deflect all responsibility onto the people around her; insisting that she has license, while they have responsibility. They must simply accept the imposition she brings without complaint, and if they do complain it's their own fault, for not being responsible enough.
No, they both have responsibility for their own actions and choices, and they both have liberty simply to be what they naturally are. The problem here is that you're blurring the questions of what someone is and what they do.

More importantly, we have to remember that these are fictions that symbolize real-world concerns. And in the real world, the state does not have the right to try to control women's bodies or their sexual choices. And in the real world, no matter how attractive a woman is, men need to keep in mind their own responsibility to govern their own behavior, rather than claiming, as so many men do, that a woman's attractiveness or attire is a legitimate justification to harass or assault her sexually. Sure, in fiction, you can say that the Orion female is the aggressor or the victimizer, but that comes uncomfortably close to some real-world attitudes and stereotypes that do a great deal of harm to women.



Why must they be responsible even with pheromones clogging up their every pore, but she can't possibly be expected to act to ensure that she isn't having that effect on everyone to begin with? Why is her natural state of pheromone production sacrosanct but everyone else's natural state of clear-headedness not?
You're skewing the issue quite dishonestly here. As I said, they're both responsible for their behavior, their choices. Neither one has the liberty to impose on the other, whether through the Orion female's advantage of pheromones or the male's advantage of greater physical strength. Both have biological advantages, and both are responsible for making sure they don't use those advantages to violate the other's rights. And the state has just as much responsibility to make sure it doesn't violate either of their rights by trying to regulate what biological attributes they're allowed to have.


Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
An Orion's pheromone output and its effect on others is not conscious action, not chosen activity but inherent ability.
Not entirely true. As I said, pheromones aren't secreted constantly at a steady level. Pheromones are hormones transmitted beyond the body, and hormone release is stimulated by a variety of factors, such as sexual arousal and attraction. You give off pheromones when you're interested in attracting someone; it's a function of your mental and emotional state. So as I suggested before, an Orion who learned to manage her emotional and mental state, her reactions to other people, could have some degree of control over how strong her pheromonal secretion was. Conversely, it may be that Orions who choose to use their pheromones to exert control over others learn ways to amplify their arousal and intensify their pheromonal control. One simple way is to actively approach and seduce someone -- getting physically close would give them a stronger whiff of pheromones, and the activity of seduction would increase the woman's arousal and cause her to secrete even more strongly. Conversely, an Orion could reduce her pheromonal influence over someone simply by staying at a polite distance from them. Or she could rein it in simply by dressing more modestly, covering more of her skin in the areas containing the apocrine glands (e.g. the underarms and chest). So yes, it is very much within the woman's control.
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Old July 14 2014, 10:58 PM   #165
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Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

Christopher wrote: View Post
Yes, it's possible for her to abuse that advantage, but that's a failing of behavior, not biology. We've seen Orion females who can choose not to exploit their advantages in that way, like Treir or Devna (as of "The Time Trap"). They don't deserve to be penalized for the way other Orions abuse their natural assets. We've seen Vulcans abuse their telepathic abilities to force themselves on other people once or twice; does that mean that all Vulcans should have their telepathic centers lobotomized? Or does it just mean that they should be held to the same laws that apply to everyone else, laws that address what they do to other people rather than what attributes they're allowed to have?
Like I said, I agree. I have no disagreement with anything you've written there.

Though I will point out that some people would consider being exposed to potent pheromones itself an imposition, no different from some people finding propositions to mate offensive. Getting a free pass on being sexually aggressive because it's biology not a choice is precisely the problem.

While, like I said, I'm basically in agreement with you, what you say here does makes me uncomfortable. It comes across as a desire to avoid having to assign responsibility to the Orion and instead deflect all responsibility onto the people around her; insisting that she has license, while they have responsibility. They must simply accept the imposition she brings without complaint, and if they do complain it's their own fault, for not being responsible enough.
No, they both have responsibility for their own actions and choices, and they both have liberty simply to be what they naturally are. The problem here is that you're blurring the questions of what someone is and what they do.

More importantly, we have to remember that these are fictions that symbolize real-world concerns. And in the real world, the state does not have the right to try to control women's bodies or their sexual choices. And in the real world, no matter how attractive a woman is, men need to keep in mind their own responsibility to govern their own behavior, rather than claiming, as so many men do, that a woman's attractiveness or attire is a legitimate justification to harass or assault her sexually. Sure, in fiction, you can say that the Orion female is the aggressor or the victimizer, but that comes uncomfortably close to some real-world attitudes and stereotypes that do a great deal of harm to women.
With the greatest respect, I believe that some of what you're saying comes uncomfortably close to real-world attitudes, stereotypes and biases that cause great harm to men, women and all manner of people, or at least is suggestive of them. But if I may be excused a personal opinion here, this wouldn't be the first time you've ignored "real world concerns" that fall outside a rather specific ideological view of matters pertaining to certain issues. In fact, that's more or less why, despite being in general agreement with you, I felt like poking around some more. You don't seem to realize that in being oh-so-careful to avoid stepping on the toes of certain people you potentially offend others; others who, somehow, are either not granted the same respect or, quite possibly, are in fact the ones actually being granted respect. (I mean, that you respect me is not in doubt, because you're willing to challenge me and argue with me; others I'm not so sure), and that avoiding certain ideas and tropes because they can suggest potentially harmful stereotypes or attitudes means you've made a stance that potentially reinforces other potentially harmful stereotypes and attitudes.

But then when people suggest that, you're willing to fight and argue in a way that you don't when faced with another set of potential "real world concerns".

Neither one has the liberty to impose on the other, whether through the Orion female's advantage of pheromones or the male's advantage of greater physical strength. Both have biological advantages, and both are responsible for making sure they don't use those advantages to violate the other's rights.
Yes, but the point is that to use greater physical strength requires action; in other words, for someone else to be affected by that strength requires the person act, whereas to be affected by the pheromones is automatic, no action needed, and therefore considered acceptable. Which may be a weakness of an ethical system geared toward evaluation and control of action and active power, or may point to how much more problematic it is to apply ethical standards outside of conscious action. Given your apparent suggestion upthread that a male responding with sexual interest to a female is imposing even if he isn't assaulting her; well, some might think being flooded in pheromones that alter your senses is imposing even if the Orion has no intention of abusing it. Behaviour might be responsible, intent might be harmless, but and yet people can take offense.

Yet applying the same standard there is out of the question, it seems, because that's a matter of passive biology not action (or active response to your own biology). Which is entirely a legitimate argument and one I sympathise with, but it's also very problematic.
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