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

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

  1. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    "The Entropy Effect" had a female Captain. I'm not certain about the definition of a Starship though.
     
  2. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    This still would not have indicated that there were female starship captains, today you can obtain the rank of admiral in the US Navy without ever having commanded a ship.

    The only way to have clearly shown that females could be starship captains is to have shown exactly that, if you also include not showing them in a negative light in the least, where you would substitute a female for a existing TOS era male (who definitely commanded a starship) is a short list.

    We really didn't see that many male starship captains who weren't in some way "imperfect."


    :)
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It was the intention of that specific script. That does not make it the intention of the entire series. Sometimes an isolated episode will get something wrong, like the way "The Alternative Factor" contradicted what had already been established about how antimatter and dilithium worked. It is okay to ignore one episode's intention if the rest of the series clearly disregards it. Just call it a mistake and move on. You don't have to be a slave to authorial intention. The audience is allowed, indeed expected, to bring their own interpretations to a work of fiction, even when those interpretations conflict with what the author intended.


    Wow, I couldn't disagree more. Shatner was just playing a generic "hysterical female," a characterization just as sexist and ill-considered as the rest of the episode, while Smith was just playing a generic strong authority figure. Usually when shows do body-switch episodes, the actors do impressions of each other's speech rhythms and mannerisms; often they'll do recordings of how they would deliver the lines so that their body-switch counterparts can study and emulate their performances. But Shatner and Smith made zero attempt to mimic each other in any way, which is bizarre given how highly imitable Shatner's performance style is. It's the worst body-switch acting I've ever seen in my life.


    The Vanguard novels have at least two female starship captains, plus a female JAG captain. As stated, The Entropy Effect had Captain Hunter. Vulcan's Forge establishes that a female Starfleet captain sponsored Spock's admission to Starfleet Academy in 2247. My DTI: Forgotten History features a Makusian female captain in 2274. Diane Duane's My Enemy, My Ally had the female Denebian captain Nhauris Rihaul.

    There were a couple of female captains in the TMP-era comic strip from the LA Times Syndicate. IDW's Captain's Log: Pike comic establishes that Yeoman Colt had become a captain by 2266, and their Mission's End has a captain Elizabeth Cassady in 2265.

    And those are just some examples. Female captains are far from uncommon in Trek novels, comics, and games set in any century, because nobody has wanted or bothered to take "Turnabout Intruder"'s bad ideas seriously.
     
  4. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    ^^ Christopher, Lester was a hysterical female. She started losing it right from the get-go particularly whenever she was challenged or something do exactly her way. She had deluded herself into believing no one would notice anything amiss in her impersonation, but she was dead wrong. If she had managed to kill Kirk/Lester before the rest of the landing party had returned she might have continued awhile longer, but eventually her own instability would have come out in some other way.

    It's a matter of context. If TOS had shown a woman of command rank I doubt audiences of the '60s would have seen it in such a technical way. A female Starfleet Admiral? Wow!

    Also imagine Commodore Stone's words (changing one word) as spoken by a woman: "Listen, Jim. Not one in a million can do what you and I have done: command a starship."

    Right there you haven't actually shown her commanding a ship, but you've established that women can command ships and they can rise to flag rank.

    In "Turnabout Intruder" it never specifically and definitively says a woman can't be a starship Captain. It does say Lester couldn't be one because of temperament or training. But that's her flawed temperament and lack of training and not women's in general. And being a resentful and irrational individual she took this failure as blanket sexism mixed in with her bitterness over Kirk choosing his career over her.

    I think it's clear her irrationality isn't new. I could easily see her as a clingy nut job way back when Kirk first met her. After the initial interest on both sides her not-so-nice qualities would have surfaced and Kirk would have bolted. He was a dedicated career man and felt he couldn't allow himself to be tied down into a long term relationship. When you're a couple your career decisions have to consider two people instead of just one. Kirk could well feel that ultimately that necessity for compromise would be hurtful to one or the other. What assignments or opportunities might he have had to let pass by if he had to factor in what his lover/wife/girlfriend might feel about it or if it conflicted with her ambitions? Kirk has long wanted to be a starship commander and he felt he couldn't make long term relationship commitments that could potentially derail his ambitions. It's not a new or unknown thing. It happens all the time.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2013
  5. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    de Forest Research often pointed out when characters knew names before they should, but for this episode they must have assumed Lester had been planning this for some time, since the only thing on this topic they pointed out was the following:

     
  6. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Unless Janice had unusually good sources of information, it occurred to me that Janice could not possible know Kirk's passwords, the combination to the safe in his quarters, his "command codes."

    Computer security might not be a subject that the '60's production team would have thought of, but in the case of the Enterprise's self destruct, they did include a verbal code, not just a voice print.

    Kirk's safe required a physical combination be employed.

    Even if the Enterprise crew didn't figure out what happen, how long could crazy Janice pull off her impersonation?

    :)
     
  7. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    The one thing I never really bought in this episode was McCoy's psychological examination not revealing anything wrong with Kirk/Lester. Given the circumstances I'd tell Starfleet to toss that test in the trash and come up with something else.

    Exactly right. She would have run into serious problems eventually.
     
  8. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Clean Old Mod Moderator

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    Not having read Daredevil in ages, I'd never thought of that....He must be operating under more of a disadvantage these days than when he could rely on being able to read print with his fingertips.

    I always have to trot this out when the subject comes up, but in "The Cage", there's a scene where Pike says he can't get used to a woman being on the bridge...then apologizes to Number One on the basis that she's "different".
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But even so, in the context of the time, what that scene did was underline the fact that there were women on the bridge, and even if the protagonist shared the reaction that a lot of the mid-'60s viewing audience would have, the fact was that they were included as equals. Pike may not have gotten used to it yet, but it was a fact of life, and that was the real point. And let's not forget that Number One was in command of the ship for most of the episode, since Pike was held prisoner for most of the episode.
     
  10. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Commodore Commodore

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    Forgive me, I have to just kind of throw this in, because I always noticed one thing about the Janice Lester episode: When she and Kirk switch bodies, neither really feels themselves up, at all ... or check themselves out more thoroughly than they do. Yes, it's Sixties television, of course ... but I just can't help being distracted that neither of them is particularly phased by the new bodies they have. Shatner even went so far as to hug himself on a metal monolith owned by Native Americans, in one episode. Having a far prettier body would seem to justify at least that ... I mean, one self-hug ... come on!
     
  11. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    (RE: Christopher)

    Well, the dialogue and the direction tell us two different things in that scene. The direction tells us there are a number of women on the bridge, not just Colt and Number One. The dialogue tells us that Pike isn't used to having any women on the bridge -- except for Number One.
     
  12. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Clean Old Mod Moderator

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    Perhaps, but they played it like it was a very recent development. Of course, that puts it in the same company as the "materializer" and breaking the "time barrier", so....

    On the subject of the reversed-role acting...you have to give Shatner something of a break because Lester wasn't an established character on the show, so any subtleties of impersonation would have been lost...and I always thought the Lester actress got across some Kirkian mannerisms.

    The biggest plot hole in the episode is that Kirk in Lester's body should have been able to pull out all kinds of minutiae that Lester couldn't possibly have known by studying public records. He lived and worked with Spock, McCoy, et al. every day.
     
  13. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Quite so. Excellent point.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yes, but it has to be considered in the context of the time. Women on the bridge was something that the 1960s audience would react to as unusual, so it was necessary to have a character acknowledge the novelty of it and then just move on and not mention it again. Consider that Pike did not say he didn't want women on the bridge or that it was against the rules. He only said he was having trouble getting used to it. Which is a way of acknowledging that it's the new status quo.

    So from our perspective it sounds like institutionalized sexism, but from the perspective of the time it was actually progressive. It was saying "Yes, this is a novelty, but it's the way things are going to be." So no, it is not evidence that women were banned from command -- not when Number One spent the majority of the episode in command of the Enterprise while Pike was captive.


    Well, "Encounter at Farpoint" treated holodecks as a very recent development, something Riker was unfamiliar with, but then Voyager established that Janeway -- who was the same age as Riker -- had grown up playing Flotter and Treevis holoprograms. (And then there's the holographic rec room in TAS.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2013
  15. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    Though it might be common today, in the 1960s, women didn't go around squeezing their boobs, nor did men grab their crotch.

    And Kirk in Janice's body does have a reaction-- first noticing his/her hand is different, then looking at him/herself in a mirror registering shock. Though when talking aloud to himself before all that, he doesn't notice his voice has gone up an octave.
     
  16. borgboy

    borgboy Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    As for Janeway and the holodeck, I suggest that she was using a more primitive limited holodeck. An old school Atari vs a playstation 4.
     
  17. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Clean Old Mod Moderator

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    The real reason Riker hated his dad: He never got a holodeck for Christmas.
     
  18. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    I took The Old Mixer's point to be precisely that, like Turnabout Intruder, The Cage isn't exactly the example we'd like to have for what the role of women is in Starfleet in the mid-23rd century either, since it too must suffer at least a little retconning, and for exactly the same reason that Turnabout Intruder must.

    I think it's an excellent point, and one that I'd glossed over before, myself.
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The point is, different episodes' writers have different intentions, and sometimes what's asserted in one episode doesn't turn out to be "true" in the larger scheme of things. That's the nature of any ongoing series that's made up as it goes. So when dealing with authorial intention, the intent of a single episode should be weighed against the overall intent of the series or franchise as a whole. Because sometimes they conflict.
     
  20. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The problem is that nothing in TOS or TAS counteracted Lester's claim.
    There were never any women Captains seen or talked about in over 100 episodes.

    Until ENT came along.