Do changelings really have gender?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Data's Cat, Jul 26, 2013.

  1. Data's Cat

    Data's Cat Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Or do they just choose the appearance of a male or female when they assume humanoid form?

    I wonder if Odo could have been female if he had preferred.

    And why does that woman changeling make herself look like Odo?
     
  2. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    No

    Yes

    To make him identify with her more
     
  3. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    With Humans, gender identity has to do with how your brain is wired. This usually (but not always) coincides with the person's genitals. While Odo can of course change his form, and could have assumed a female external appearence, his gender identity would remain male.

    If Odo morph'ed into an object without a gender, say a rock, Odo stays male.

    :)
     
  4. Mario de Monti

    Mario de Monti Captain Captain

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    That are my thoughts as well. Being male or female is not a question of the physical form you have but how you feel inside. So changelings could/should have gender as well. But then again there are other species that don´t have gender (like the J´naii in TNG´s "The Outcast"). So just because changelings could have gender, that doesn´t mean they actually do have gender, it could be either way.

    Mario

    PS: Somehow I didn´t really answer the question, did I ;)
     
  5. bbjeg

    bbjeg Admiral Admiral

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    I always thought of Odo (and Changelings in general) as Asexual. They simply choose which sex to be.
     
  6. Data's Cat

    Data's Cat Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    But she looks like that when she's with the Dominion and Odo is nowhere around.
     
  7. Shawnster

    Shawnster Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    You appear to be thinking in human terms (or in terms of a species that has gender). If a species has no gender, then would such a species have such a thing as gender identity?
     
  8. _C_

    _C_ Commander Red Shirt

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    I think they choose which gender they want to be. Changelings did evolve from solids, so it may be they have genetic markers that could make them lean towards one gender or another, but they can still CHOOSE whether to take humanoid form with a male or female body.

    We have to remember they are shape shifters who mimic other forms. Odo tried to come up with his OWN without copying much from others except Doctor Mora's hairstyle. It's extremely possible the Changeling race had no default humanoid appearance until Odo popped up in The Search. (And then the writers ran with it because the look told us that alien was a Changeling :P)

    I think the various genetic markers are the reason Changelings don't all look exactly alike. They all had the "unfinished sculpture" faces, but each individual's appearance varied in terms of body shape and facial structure.

    Odo is an interesting case because he "grew up" around Doctor Mora, who is male. Doctor Mora and Odo share a lot of mannerisms. I'm sure this is all unconsciously done on Odo's part, but it's pretty obvious that Doctor Mora was his template for how humanoids behave.

    [​IMG]
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    They even FROWN alike!
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    [​IMG]


    But we know, with time, a Changeling's default appearance can evolve. Children of Time showed us that.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2013
  9. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Cool examples.

    The jury is still out on whether Changelings even have a concept of individuality. For all we have witnessed, the Link is but one individual: sometimes in internal disagreement (aren't we all?), but when it sends out distinct blobs of itself, those are just one and the same person, with one agenda and one personality.

    The exception is the Hundred, whom stupid Solids sometimes associate with "children". We have no idea whether the Hundred have anything to do with procreation, or whether they really are young Changelings who will mature into old Changelings. They could just as well be special-purpose blobs of separated goo, provided with what we mistake for individuality so as to better serve in their designated role as the Link's sample-gathering system.

    Sure, the Link calls Odo one of their own, and a Changeling, but is that proof of equal (or eventually equal) status, or just another example of making him feel at ease, like those funny faces the Link does for him?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  10. _C_

    _C_ Commander Red Shirt

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    True. Odo grew up without the link, yet he always felt a pull to return to it. I do say grew up because he told Quark the Changeling he came up with in The Begotten was just a baby. Babies are small and they don't know how to do much at first.

    Regarding individuality---it's really hard to say. I do think Odo learned to value his individuality, and the rest of the Changelings saw that as damage because "Oh, he's been away too long!"

    I DO believe the female Changeling mentioned Odo was "newly formed" when he was sent away, so in essence he was a probably their equivalent to a newborn baby. The only difference with their infancy and other species is a Changeling will probably stay an infant until it's triggered by outside stimuli to change shapes and thus grow.


    Looking back at how the Dominion works, I can almost see this act of sending babies out as the Founders' method of "know thy enemy."
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    ...Or it could be akin to getting to know one's surroundings by feeling around with one's hand. The hand isn't as smart as you are as a whole, and it doesn't perform all the functions, and it definitely isn't an example of you reproducing - but if you could detach it finger by finger to do the feeling around, and receive their reports when they reattach, it might be a good analogy to the Hundred.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. _C_

    _C_ Commander Red Shirt

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    ^That's a good point.

    If you've seen the Iron Giant, then you remember how the robot could call his body parts back after he got blown apart.

    I think it was said SOMEWHERE in Trek lore(a novel, I think), that the Hundred were sent out in a specific pattern to attract the attention of the Changelings' common progenitor, which is supposedly a giant Changeling. However that kind of throws off what the female Changeling said about the species evolving from "monoforms."
     
  13. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    Gender is not a purely neurological issue. It also reflects social relations and cultural concepts. Perhaps the changellings have some notions of gender differences in spite of their malleable forms. Odo, OTOH, tends to reflect Bajoran concepts to the best of his ability. I think that it's fair to say he has Bajoran masculinity, even if he could not be called a Bajoran man.
     
  14. Third Nacelle

    Third Nacelle Captain Captain

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    I never got the impression that Odo chose to appear and be referred to as male for his own sake. I always thought he did that to make it easier for humanoids to identify with him, and because Dr. Mora was his "template" for Bajoranness.

    If he chose to be male because he actually identified as being male, then I'd say he has gender. If he chose to be male because he had to pick one or the other, I'd say he does not.

    I'd say the latter is more likely, but I won't rule out Changeling gender. For all we know, they might have 20 distinct sexes.
     
  15. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Odo's choice of social mask would probably be dictated by Cardassian mores rather than Bajoran ones, as the more powerful players would be the ones Odo would have to cope with in his "adult years" (or what he thought represented his adulthood, even though that was jumping the gun).

    Choosing to be female would apparently be the first step in becoming a convincing scientist or judge in the Cardassian society, with other social attributes added to the mix until the right effect was achieved. Choosing to be male would work well with the military, along with certain gruffiness, posturing and distancing/elevating body language. Gender alone would do little, but it would be a start. And becoming Man of Justice aboard Terok Nor worked best when you were, well, a Man.

    The episodes don't offer much support for this concept, but it's a cool one. Perhaps the Link is to the progenitor what the Hundred are to the Link?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2013
  16. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I always got the feeling the Female Founder just took female form simply because Odo was in male form to set his mind at ease and/or to more easily manipulate him be it romantically or maternally.
     
  17. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Personally I don't think somebody's personal identity needs to conform to a gender and people should focus on being the person they are instead of worrying about which set of chemically correlated personality traits that person conforms more closely to.

    Odo is genderless and only chose a male appearance to copy Dr Mora. His attraction to Kira was not sexual.
     
  18. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Quite the opposite, Odo was both sexually and romatically attracted to Kira. She was the feminine to his masculine.

    :)
     
  19. TheSubCommander

    TheSubCommander Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I got that impression too. Also, I had the impression that changelings, when in their natural environment had no gender, which is one of the reasons why they didn't understand solids, more specifically, humanoids.

    I think Odo assumed a gender because that was what he was supposed to do: come in contact with humanoid solids and become them as much as possible, then report back to the great link, and introduce his new experiences, so they can understand solids. Basically as the Female Changeling taught Odo, when a changeling wants to understand something, it becomes that thing. Exactly WHY Odo became male, instead of female, is probably because he came in contact with male scientists. Had the scientists been female, he could have easily been female.
     
  20. _C_

    _C_ Commander Red Shirt

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    ^ I keep thinking of the baby in The Begotten. Its first unprompted shapeshift was a primitive copy of Odo's face, and it copied him when he tilted his head to look at it.

    Doctor Mora said Odo "told" him he was an intelligent lifeform by copying the beaker he was in.