No female starship captains in the 2250s-60s?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Noddy, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. doubleohfive

    doubleohfive Fleet Admiral

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    I think it's really sad, actually, how limited your worldview is on the matter, Warped9.

    Putting aside for the moment that you admit to your own "blindness" on the subject and putting aside for the moment that you hardly know anyone who happens to be gay and putting aside your needlessly escalated assertion that any gay teen hitting on you would constitute "harassment" ...

    Who would it benefit? Plenty of people. The same way Nichelle Nichols' performance benefited LeVar Burton and Whoopi Goldberg and Tim Russ. The same way, I'm sure George Takei has inspired not only Asian-Americans over the years but now other gay a lesbian members of fandom. The same way Kate Mulgrew inspired young girls to go in to the sciences. Hell, the same way Patrick Stewart inspired prematurely balding young men to study Shakespeare!

    For years I said that Enterprise should have included an Arab or Muslim character on the ship's crew as a recurring character. Not because I thought Berman and Braga had any particular ability to write such a character, but because at the time Enterprise premiered (ten days after 9/11) many Americans were itching to find reasons to hate and attack Arabs and Muslims.

    What better tribute, what better legacy to the ideals that Star Trek has come to represent than to take a group of people Western society was currently at odds with and show them as friends and allies in the future?

    A more pertinent example: there are many people who think that Barack Obama's landslide victory against John McCain in 2008 was in small part due to how positively Americans reacted to the character of David Palmer (as portrayed by Dennis Haysbert) on 24 seven years earlier. Popular culture had once again taken and impossible dream - an African-American as President - and had couched that idea as very legitimately possible for its viewing audience.

    Now, obviously, there are many other factors involved with that particular example, but the possibility that Haysbert's performance played a role -however small in helping to shape the popular opinion on the subject is undeniable.

    In summation Warped9, I don't think you're necessarily wrong to look at the situation the way you are - from what you think might be a studio executive's perspective - but I also think it's a perspective marred by blatant homophobia and entirely outmoded, outdated, limited, and small-minded.

    Who would benefit from seeing a gay or lesbian member on a Star Trek crew? Easily answered: Every member of the viewing audience, that's who.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2013
  2. Hazel

    Hazel Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I just want to say thank for articulating all this - I get myself wound up when resistance to representation comes up and find it hard to not get frustrated, but you answered all the arguments beautifully :)
    Regarding slash, it's not necessarily about fulfilling some kind of wish (plus hey, Kirk and Spock have been shown to like women - it doesn't mean they don't also like men!) but about creating a oppositional reading to the text. Perhaps the writers did not mean it that way but it doesn't really matter - the viewers are just as responsible for the meaning of a show and if they see slash, they see slash.
     
  3. Hazel

    Hazel Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    </p>
    I am so thankful for Lost Girl. I can see how sometimes Bo/Lauren could seem less 'passionate' than Bo/Dyson simply because it was more of a mature relationship, but I think/hope it's an organic part of the story because of the character dynamics and not because it involves two women.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, there you go. The fact that Bo & Lauren's relationship is more gentle and sweet and not as fiery and physical as Bo & Dyson would seem to argue against the idea that it's just about "hot lesbian" titillation. To be sure, the whole show is about titillation, in a very sex-positive and unashamed way, but it doesn't treat same-sex pairings as any more unusual or noteworthy than opposite-sex ones.
     
  5. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    You took one thing I said and took it completely out of context. I said if the guy had persisted (after already being rebuffed) that could be seen as harassment in much the same way a woman could feel harassed after rebuffing a man's advancement and the guy persists and doesn't take no for an answer.

    So before you jump all over my world view or opinion read the damned post in entirety rather than just pick and choose what might tick you off. It's not a flaw of my character or my existence if I haven't (knowingly) had much interaction with gay men. It is a testament to my character that I never gave anyone gay a hard time or treated them any differently than anyone else. I might not have sought out anyone gay but I've never avoided them either.

    And if that's not good enough for you then too bad. At least I tried to engage a discussion where I might get a different perspective and understanding and I did it in an open and honest way. I certainly didn't leap down someone's throat because they didn't share my "enlightened" worldview. If that's not good enough for you either then that's too bad.
     
  6. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Hmm, there's nothing in there about women not being allowed to command a starship. And what exactly was Roddenberry's point to this story? He set up a character that no matter how you look at it is committing acts that are flat out insane. Who can blame Shatner for his performance after seeing how it's outlined? The only time "Lester" behaves with any rationality is when Lester's body is inhabited by Kirk. Janice Lester's consciousness or life force or whatever acts in an irrational manner whether she's in Kirk's body or her own.
     
  7. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Roddenberry's outline doesn't indicate anything about women not being able to command a starship. That line was an invention of Arthur Singer.
     
  8. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    And even then it's dodgy and led to decades of debate on what it supposedly means.

    What's significant is Roddenberry, the creator and driving force behind Star Trek, doesn't outline that a woman is barred from command. It's someone else with litle grounding in the series and its ideas that seems trying to suggest it and yet its still done in a dodgy way with no conviction. It's as if Singer felt he wasn't on solid ground so he left it vague.

    Way back in "The Cage" GR set up a scenario with Number One that posits a woman could eventually rise to starship command. Nothing else throughout the series counters that except in the fact they never actually showed a female starship cmmander. But as has already been said often the lack of evidence isn't evidence in itself because there are lots of things we didn't get to see but could reasonably assume they were there.

    And so it comes down to one or two lines of vague meaning in a poor episode at the very end of the series' run and written by someone with little understanding of TOS and its ideas that's supposed to completely rewrite the spirit and meaning of the series overall?

    Doesn't work for me.
     
  9. doubleohfive

    doubleohfive Fleet Admiral

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    You're right. Re-reading what you wrote about the teenage kid, I did misread what you wrote. For this, I apologize.

    That said, you missed the entire point I was trying to make with the rest of my post.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Although there is still clear chauvinism present in Roddenberry's outline, as in the "female-hysterical" description cited above, and in other ways. In the original outline, there was a closing scene in which the restored Kirk was concerned about residual feminine traits and had to reassure himself that he was still capable of lusting after pretty yeomen.
     
  11. Hazel

    Hazel Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Slight tangent, but that irritated me about Profit and Lace in DS9 too, and other shows that portrayed men being turned into women in that way - female hormones do not automatically make one irrational or overly-emotional. Sure, a sudden change in body chemistry would probably mess with you a little, but the way it's so often framed is of 'womanly' qualities tainting a man's logic and reasoning. Yuk.
     
  12. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Chauvanism, yeah, but that has nothing to do with explicitly stating women aren't allowed to command. It's just not in there.
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Yes, I established that a day or two ago. The question of the command ban and the question of the writers' sexism are two distinct issues that I think have been getting improperly conflated into one.
     
  14. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, I know you have. I was just emphasizing the point. And I agree the two issues are being tied together as if one naturally proves the other.

    We have obvious sexism in society today that goes against what is actually set in law. From that standpoint it seems unduly harsh or unfair for charging TOS with something that still exists particularly considering the times in which it was produced.

    No, I did get your point. I just have to say I got a bit sore with the accusation you made. Done and done and forget about it.

    It's hard to lay a charge of rampant homophobia in lieu of lack of solid evidence regarding the individuals involved in the decision making process. Of course homophobia exists, but I hesitate to make a blanket charge without more solid evidence to support it.

    The fact that a producer might hesitate to push a LGBT character might not be homophobia, but rather simple uncertainty. And it isn't a character failing to feel uncomfortable or unsure when faced with something different from oneself. The distinction is how you respond to it.

    If I see a group of whatever persuasion---be they youths or black or gay or Muslim or some other---must I always assume they're up to no good? For whatever reason I might feel a sense of unease or wariness, but the distinction is in how I choose to respond to the situation. If I have no solid evidence the group poses any threat to me then I should be able to just pass them by and be on my way or even ask them for directions or the time of day. The only reason I would cross the street or turn the other way or even call the cops is if I knew for certain who the group was and/or they did indeed make an explicit threat to me. To behave in the latter without solid justification would be to let my unsubstantiated unease get the better of me. And in all honesty there are a lot of people who would do that very thing simply by being faced with the unfamiliar.

    A creator/producer might not push a LGBT character or issue not so much out of homophobia (although it's possible) but possibly out of wariness over a possible backlash, either from his core target audience or perhaps even his or her superiors. This is possibly what happened with TNG. When it came time to really go with the idea they got scared.

    Speaking for myself the fact the LGBT issue isn't prominant in my mind doesn't mean I'm not aware of its existence. But in all fairness since I don't have a personal stake in the issue (unless perhaps I had a close friend who was gay and they expressed distress over it) then it's not surprising I mightn't question it while I'm enjoying a particular program or film.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2013
  15. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    When I read my relatives FB's I know why it hasn't been done yet. Because a huge chunk of america would die of shock.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^But as I've already pointed out repeatedly, it has been done. There have been gay and lesbian characters in lead roles on a number of SFTV shows over the past several years, and a number of non-genre shows as well. So I can't understand why you're talking about it as though it's only hypothetical.
     
  17. borgboy

    borgboy Commodore Commodore

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    Hopefully Star Trek can aspire to do better than appeal to the lowest common denominator. If people can deal with gay characters in comedies, soap operas and reality shows, they ought to be able to deal with gays in sci fi. To say otherwise says that sci fi fans are more small minded and prejudiced than the average Honey Boo Boo fan.
     
  18. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    You're painting a lot of people with a very broad brush and making a gross presumption. The fans aren't responsible if the creator/producers choose not to address something.
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    And they are dealing with it as LGB characters show up in an increasing number of genre shows. True, there's still a way to go -- I can't think of any current network genre show other than Dracula with a regular gay or lesbian character, so it's still mostly on cable and imports at this point (and Dracula is a British co-production) -- but TV is trending in the direction of inclusion. I think that by the time Trek comes back to TV, there would probably be less resistance. Especially if it's true that Rick Berman was the main source of resistance before. Any new Trek series would be in other hands.
     
  20. borgboy

    borgboy Commodore Commodore

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    I think you don't understand quite what I meant. I 'm not saying sci fi fans are more prejudiced - I'm saying that's the message that tptb send when they don't have LGBT diversity while other forms of entertainment do. When Honey Boo Boo is more diverse on LGBT characters than Star Trek, something's wrong, and my best understanding is the problem comes from producers thinking that their audience won't deal with inclusion and diversity well.

    And in all honesty, the segment of fandom that does make homophobic noise anytime there's talk of LGBT inclusion is at least partly responsible for the timid stance ST has had with LGBT characters in the last two or three decades. It's disappointing to see such gutless reactions from the franchise that was so brave and bold in it's racial diversity nearly 50 years ago, making headlines and breaking boundries with the interracial kiss.