I just don't buy ENT's Orions

Discussion in 'Enterprise' started by Bry_Sinclair, Apr 28, 2012.

  1. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Up until S4 of ENT, the common belief was that the Orions were a very male dominated species, whilst the females were seen as slaves or 'animal women'. In ENT we even got to see an Orion Slave Market, where a female was sold.

    A few episodes later its 'revealed' that actually its the women who are in charge, controlling men with their pheromones. If thats the case, why do they allow themselves to be sold and why are they so prized a century later, if the 'owner' will actually be under their control?

    Add to this the fact that the Orion Syndicate appears to be the name of their government/empire/territory. I always thought the the Syndicate was more like a large criminal organisation, as when it was on DS9, there wasn't an Orion to be seen.
     
  2. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, it's fairly sexist and porn-y. But then that's the Orions for you.

    I justify it by assuming that there are many different Orion factions, and that genetic engineering has resulted in different Orion societies dominated by different groups.

    I'm sure the Syndicate is just a criminal organization, the interstellar Mafia. It just happened to operate starships to control its "turf" in the 22nd Century, that's all.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    First off, I think "buy" is an unfortunate choice of words when talking about a race that enslaves people... ;)


    Protective camouflage. It's safer to be the hidden power behind the throne than to be the one overtly sitting on it. That way nobody shoots at you, they just shoot at your replaceable puppet.

    Besides, there is historical precedent in real life. Our perception of slavery is based largely on how it was practiced in American plantations, which was just about as awful as slavery has ever been; but slavery is an institution that's taken many forms in many different societies. In the Islamic world, slaves were routinely used as administrators and warriors, given considerable power even while technically being owned by someone else. Slave armies would go out and conquer entire nations, becoming their rulers and starting hereditary dynasties while still effectively being the property of the ruler back in the home country. (In the Ottoman Empire, all subjects, even the rulers, were considered slaves to the state itself.)

    There's also precedent for women wielding considerable political power even while seemingly being subordinate. A prime example is Hurrem, initially a harem slave of Suleiman the Magnificent, who used her wiles to influence the sultan and gain status for herself and her sons, as well as becoming his advisor on matters of state and, according to some accounts, effectively running the Ottoman Empire from the harem. There are lots of ways that women and other subaltern groups have managed to wield informal power throughout history. Women in particular have wielded considerable influence through their control of family matters and marital choices, shaping alliances between clans and nations through the marriages they arranged or participated in; or by using seduction to manipulate or compromise male leaders; or through their role as mothers, guiding and influencing their sons' beliefs and decisions.

    So to someone who's studied women's history, ENT's revelation that the role of Orion women is more complex than we thought, that it's not merely a simplistic masculine power fantasy about "animal women," actually makes a lot of sense. If they're really as intensely seductive as they were established to be in TOS, that's a source of power for them, and it makes perfect sense that they'd use that power for more than just being fetish objects for men.


    I don't see why it can't be a criminal organization in ENT too. Mobs have territories, "turf" that they control and defend. If that part of space was otherwise lawless in the 22nd century, the Syndicate might've been the closest thing it had to a government. The rise of the Federation may have diminished the Orions' power and prominence, so the Syndicate would've needed to evolve, becoming more of an underground group, maybe merging with other species' criminal organizations or broadening its recruitment to survive. A lot can change in two centuries.
     
  4. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Wow. Ok, that has to be one of the best answers I've ever read. Sir, you obviously do your homework :)

    Thank you for the insight.

    Having the women as those who are actually the ones in power was an interesting revelation, and that by "selling themselves" they can further that influence. To me it does just seem to be a very odd way to go about it.

    Also another thought has just occured to me. What about homosexuals? Would lesbians feel the same attraction straight men would (rather than headaches heterosexual women experienced) and vice versa for gay men? Its just a shame there didn't seem to be any on the NX-01 to see what might have happened.
     
  5. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    "I just don't buy ENT's Orions."
    That's good for you, I probably couldn't resist buying one. ;)
     
  6. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    That was pretty much my interpretation, too.
     
  7. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I don't know. If one of the big burly males came on the market, I might just have to place a bid or two :lol:
     
  8. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If a young Orion woman has no current position of power, she would have no objection to being sold in the public market, this is how she (naturally) would get into a mans life. She can then begin to work on him and his position. Manipulating and guiding him, increasing her position and status in the process.

    :)
     
  9. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Grey Owl Wizard Premium Member

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    And the action of allowing the sale, helps narrow things down, it's more likely that the buyer is going to be worth something, and worth the time and effort to use/manipulate. If you picked up random men at a bar, odds are you'd end up with a higher percentage of men that aren't worth your effort (No power, riches or influence)
     
  10. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If you dress in a black tee-shirt/blue jeans and walk into a beer bar full of bikers, you get one kind of man.

    If you dress in a cocktail dress/6 inch heels, and walk into a bar that serves 27 year old scotch and is full of stockbrokers and lawyers, you get a different kind of man.

    At least from my personal experience.

    If the women were expensive, then only individuals of wealth would be present at the auction to make bids, separating the wheat from the chaff. And if the women's power of manipulation worked quickly at a moderate distance, she would be able to exercise control over who in the audience made bids, and who dropped out.

    From those present, she would be selecting her own "master."

    :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2012
  11. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    ENT explained that the Orion Women's power was due to pheromones, bio-chemical attractants that are inhaled. In a crowded room full of potential buyers, I can't see any way they could target individuals, encouraging some to bid and others not to.

    The change seen in Orion Women between TOS and ENT does not really make sense. Clearly an attempt was made to do away with a sexist stereotype. Unfortunately, the replacement seems to me to be equally stereotypical. Instead of sexually available slaves, they turn out to be power hungry manipulators who use their feminine whiles to control men, and view other women as rivals. That's not really an improvement.

    It also makes little sense within the internal history of Trek. The only way such a scheme would work is if it remains covert. Would anyone really buy a slave, if they knew that within a few weeks they'd be under the influence, and that their own business empire would be controlled by others? I seriously doubt it. Once news got out of the Orion Women's true abilities, the 'slave' trade would dry up fairly quickly. Yet, a full century after Archer's discovery, Captain Pike is considering becoming a trader of them. And when a ---illusory--- man states that they "...actually like being taken advantage of.", Pike does not correct him. Although, to be fair, he's a little distracted at the time.
     
  12. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    True. In one scenario, you get a group of aggressive, hyper-macho megalomaniacs who think they should be able to harm innocent people and violate the law for personal profit with impunity.

    And in the other, you get bikers.
     
  13. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, "Bound" did at least lead to one of Michelle Erica Green's most memorable rants:

    Thank you so much, Manny Coto, for giving us an episode like this during Enterprise's final weeks. Thank you for giving me something to remember the show by. You see, I had been growing sad. I had been growing nostalgic. Now, however, I can think of Enterprise as the Star Trek that gave us the worst episode out of all five series. And I didn't think anything could top Spock's Brain! Clearly I underestimated you and your knowledge of the original series. Somehow you managed to distill the worst qualities of that episode, "And the Children Shall Lead", "The Man Trap" and "Turnabout Intruder" into a single installment! Bless you, Manny, for setting me free!

    And I don't even have to rant about the misogyny - oh, did you think that declaring that the women weren't slaves would get you off that charge? I don't really have to talk about the heterosexism, either: the assumption that male and female characteristics are absolute and hardwired in the brain, the apparent lack of gay people not only on Archer's ship but anywhere in existence in his century...not to mention the reverse sexism of believing that the scent of a green woman can turn any human male into a violent, lust-crazed imbecile. No...this episode made the crew look so stupid based on plot and continuity issues that those issues fade.
    :rommie:
     
  14. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    Yeah, changing aliens between series is really such a rare incidence in Trek. :rolleyes:
     
  15. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    My thought was that in addition to pheromones, the woman on the slavers box would get play out of body language (stance, tilt and present) to make herself more and less attractive to various men viewing her.

    I've seen the effect scent can have in crowded dance clubs, pheromones have range and striking power. Most girls figure out in their late teens that guys are extra special interested in them during their 48 hours of fertility each month. Pheromones.

    And it would be a useful attribute if the women's pheromones could be "tuned" to have a additional effect upon select individual's biochemistry (or individuals). That way the effect wouldn't be wasted on male who were basically useless to the women. It could also change to produce different results. Desire me -- provide for me -- protect me -- listen to my council. Even if necessary -- get away from me or fear me. The women could exercise direct conscious control, or it could more subconscious.

    The ability might have developed over time as a survival attribute, those women with it lived longer, and reproduced.

    But if the women's manipulation result in social advancement and business success for the males, why would they resist the "scheme?" There would also to the possibility that the women are considered trophies, to be displayed in the background behind leaders, CEOs and politicians. Even today on Earth, "marrying well" is part of the partway to success in upper society and politics.

    Behind every successful man, there is a good woman.

    Green Vina was definitely working on Captain Pike from the center stage, across a small body of water..

    Poor insane Mara seemed to have had any smell powers turned off.

    :)
     
  16. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    We saw two Orions. One was an illusion and one was insane. Not sure if that's a representative sample.
     
  17. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yeah, good point!

    Pheromones spread out on air currents. There is no way they could target a specific individual in a crowd. Maybe if the target can be isolated, much as Archer was on Harrad-Sar's spaceship in 'Bound', then there's a good chance of success. But in a crowded auction room? No chance.


    Except 'Bound' made it clear that the women are effectively slavers themselves. If the head of a big business buys himself an Orion girl, he does not get social advancement and business success. He gets his business taken over by the Orions. If he's lucky he's kept on as a figure head so no one suspects, but he's no longer in charge. He's now a slave himself.

    OK, so Vina was illusory, but drawn from Pike's memories and experiences, so let's assume her portrayal was accurate. She could easily be flooding the room with pheromones, both of Pike's companions seemed interested in her as well. Though I agree here with your suggestion that body language plays a part, she's clearly favouring Pike. (Compare with the slave sold in 'Borderland', who is simply displayed on the stand and held up for the crowd to see. No dancing or body language).

    As for Marta, perhaps her ability to create pheromones might have been suppressed by medication. She was after all an inmate at an asylum.
     
  18. 47

    47 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Fortunately a few weeks later, B&B made her wrong by producing TaTV...
     
  19. TiberiusMaximus

    TiberiusMaximus Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    :guffaw::rommie:

    That's funny.

    What I don't understand is why a telepathic connection to a Vulcan can make you immune to Orion pheromones, which have nothing to do with telepathy. :confused: I can understand Vulcans being unaffected, but a human bonded to a Vulcan? Shouldn't the pheromones still have a chemical effect on his or her brain? Does that mean other mind-altering substances would have a limited effect/no effect?

    Here's another question. Do Orion women have conscious control over the release of their pheromones?
     
  20. Captain Rob

    Captain Rob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It hasn't been indicated otherwise; but maybe in addition to the pheromones. Orion women are also telepathic. But to a lesser extent than Vulcans.