The Women of The Trek

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Meadowmorph, Jan 5, 2019.

  1. Meadowmorph

    Meadowmorph Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Yes, I am newbie. I know I am because it says so. Much to my delight, I found this site when I was trying to find the correct title for the Mozart piece played at the beginning of Ensigns of Command and found a lengthy string. I responded to it and found, to my embarrassment, that it is bad form to respond to a thread which is out-dated, and the moderator is right. He kindly left it, more out of curiosity as there was a response and he wanted to see where it went. He invited me to start a new thread! So here goes:

    I, as many of you have, watched ALL the episodes of each series. Now that I'm retired (and have Net Flix) have watched each numerous times. So many younger people cringe when they see how women on TOS were portrayed. I have to say, it makes me chuckle too, but it makes them rant.

    Having lived through this time, Star Trek was actually ahead of the times. Gene R. actually wanted Bones to be a female doc and the network didn't want that. Let's look at TNG of Star Trek. After watching them through a couple of times, I noticed a few things I would not have if Net Flix has not been born.

    Gene got his Female Doc (YaY), Dr. Beverly Crusher. The character was carted off to Headquarters and Dr. Polaski appeared. Sadly, it was for only one year. I would imagine the fans did not like an uppity (female) Doctor who was prickly and older, who was not intimidated by the Captain and not afraid to forcefully voice her objections. But wait! Truth is, what you have is a female Dr. McCoy. I wonder if that character had been allowed to arch to being (or written in the first place) as a Academy chum of Picard, would it have been more successful or was it just too early in the 1980s to have a powerful female character who was more powerful than the Captain when it came to compelling him to take care of himself despite himself? The show decided to bring back the pretty, bright thing who could do those lovely warmup stretches with Troi in skin-tight spandex. Ahh the 80s.

    Let me bring you to Captain Jayneway, Wagon Train-ing through the Delta Quadrant. Doesn't she remind you a tad bit of Kirk? She tries to stick to the Prime Directive, but time and time again she has to choose between small-to-middlin' transgressions to save others or to save her crew. She did have a bit of a self-destruction complex, though.

    I'm just saying, it is quite a journey through time watching the female characters evolve (but not too quickly, please). The Star Trek universe was always trying to be a step ahead, and frequently was.

    Do any of you see characters in TNG universe connect with characters in TOS?
     
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  2. Nyotarules

    Nyotarules Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Have you watched Star Trek Enterprise and seen the catsuit T'Pol had to wear, plus those decon chamber gel scenes? My guess even the TV producers still believed scifi sex sells in the early start of the 21st century. Thankfully by the time Discovery comes along that nonsense is put to bed
     
  3. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Later in the chronology there's a more efficient radiation filter in the transportor.
     
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  4. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I do agree about the Janeway/Kirk comparisons. I even think there were times when Kate Mulgrew delivered a line or used facial expressions that seemed, deliberately or otherwise, to channel parts of Shatner's performance circa 1960s. I feel like her situation demanded she be more flexible than, say, Picard who had a chain of command. Being locked off from Starfleet meant that she was suddenly the foremost authority about interpreting Federation laws, morales and principles. And in that sense she shared more in common with Kirk, who frequently was out of prime subspace range and so often made seat of his pants choices and worried about justifying them later.
     
  5. Kane_Steel

    Kane_Steel Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    T'pol was ridiculous, agreed. But most female characters of the TNG/DS9/Voy era were much better than the embarrassing female characters on STD. Kira, Guinan, Dax, Torres, Seven and many more... over Michael Boredom, L'Rell, Tilly :/

    And Sci-Fi sex does sell. It just depends how it's handled. Enterprise was lazy and blatant with it.
     
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  6. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Commodore Commodore

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    I agree with much of what you say.

    There are strong comparisons between the women of TNG and TOS.

    On reflection was it the fan's fault that we got passive female leads in TNG because the two female regulars with a bit of assertiveness had to leave (Yar and Polaski). Did we get the sexism er deserved?

    TOS also started off with two strong female characters in its two pilot shows and OK efforts in the first couple of episodes (Number 1 and Dr .Dehner)

    Both TOS and TNG had two female regulars with inappropriate unrequited "crushes" on two male leads (sigh). Rand (Kirk), Chapel (Spock), Crusher(Picard), Troi(Riker).

    Whenever Crusher and Troi left the ship and got into trouble they required their men to "save" them. Uhura on occasion told Kirk she was frightened and Noel, Rand and several other Yeoman clutched onto male characters in TOS to "save" them.
    Of course this didn't happen all the time and in both TOS and TNG there were often women in the crew going about their business in a professional manner not being anybody's love interest.
    In both shows it was often the women aliens, non-crew who were "allowed" to be powerful characters.

    TOS is famous for putting women into skimpy outfits yet I see the same thing in TNG in Seasons 1 and 2 and a lot of closeups of Troi's boobs that were almost as objectionable (to me at least) as the camera slow scans of Noels and Elaan's bodies).

    So the two series who had the women treated as equals in VOY and DS9 had Seven of 9 and Kira dressed in catsuits and high heels. How efficient was that 7 of 9? ENT had T'Pol in catsuits too. I would have regarded T'Pol as a powerful character (despite her skin tight clothes) until her unfortunate love affair and subsequent need to get down to her underwear every so often. At least in ENT the men were made to get naked as well.

    But there's nothing wrong with having good looking people in a television series. However not if the characters are just there to look pretty or get their kit off without any substance.
     
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  7. jaime

    jaime Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It was fairly equal ops though. Archer lost his shirt every five minutes in the few I saw, and trip was as likely to be in the gel.
     
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  8. jaime

    jaime Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Everyone had tight clothes at some point in Trek. Male or female. Kira doesn’t come over as ‘catsuited’ because odo is the same gear...and he’s technically nude every minute he’s on screen. If you go through a purely objective filter, especially allowing for the times (a miniskirt was a symbol of empowerment, not oppression, for much of the sixties and seventies.) its very balanced. Even O’Brien runs through a forest in his starfleet undies, and let’s talk about The various sports outfits....I don’t think the production team we’re thinking about aerodynamics when they stuck Bashir in his tennis gear for example.

    Even the Shat is regularly shirtless. All the Trek characters have received some sort of ‘gaze’ at some point. Except maybe the Ferengi.

    Edit: those crushes...well, the post TOS ones, were also clearly a two way street. Riker and Troi particularly. Taking a broader more objective viewpoint helps, especially isolating it in narrative terms...in the future, we see men wearing a skirt uniform as often as yar for example.
     
  9. Kilana2

    Kilana2 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The made fun with the Ferengi: in their society fully dressed women are abnormal and offensive. I guess Zek would like to see Seven and T'Pol rather naked. And Q Junior indulged in seeing Seven naked.
     
  10. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    You missed the point.

    Fully clothed women are pornographic to Ferengi.

    Porn is something private and controlled.

    Having random porn forced on you, in the case of Quark and Rom, by their mother, is jarring.

    Men don't get together to watch porn, and men don't admit their fetish and proclivities to strangers, because that offends women and shows weakness.

    Brothers don't get together to watch porn of their mother.

    Starship Captains are decent people, usually, and that holds true for the Ferengi who did not want to sexually exploit women by leaving them dressed.
     
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  11. Nyotarules

    Nyotarules Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Unrequited, yes since the TOS men were not interested but the TNG men were, but nothing came of it until years later. However there was nothing inappropriate about it. Considering a lot of people meet their partners at work then meeting your future partner or showing romantic interest on a starship one is living on for 5 years or more makes sense. Captains are not expected to be celibate, human monks or nuns, and running an intergalactic organisation solely on old human rules is not only arrogant but speciest.
    People work, live and socialise on a starship and starbase for decades, where do you expect them to get together?
     
  12. Terok Nor

    Terok Nor Commodore Commodore

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    T'Pol is ridiculed because she wore a catsuit? Who cares what she wore. Perhaps she was proud of her body. If she was overweight and wore a baggy uniform she wouldn't be judged solely on her looks. It's the same thing with Seven Of Nine. Jeri Ryan is an excellent actress and did a superb job with a fantastic character but all of that gets overlooked because people are jealous and/or resentful of her body. Sad.
     
  13. Nyotarules

    Nyotarules Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    There was no production reason why the whole crew could not wear cat suits beyond the producers wanted to take advantage of a beautiful actress with a great body being on the show. At least the rest of the cast got to show their goods in the Mirror universe episodes lol
     
  14. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Commodore Commodore

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    Why did the female regulars have to be romantically interested in anyone?
    Why couldn't they just be there to do their job? Why couldn't Chapel be there just as an excellent nurse or doctor?
    Why did Rand have to keep trying to get Kirk's attention?
    Sure people meet at work but why are the only women we regularly see have to be there to show how attractive the male leads are?

    Yes Riker was sure interested in Troi never looking at another woman until they got married in Nemesis.
    And I know Troi and Beverley dated but all Riker or Picard had to do is to say that they were interested and they would have been married. In "Naked Now" the men said No and still kept the ladies hanging for 7 years.

    I'm not talking about an Odo/Kira relationship built up many years of friendship and of equals.


    You know T'Pol and Seven were all about being logical and efficient. Was a catsuit efficient?
    Maybe it makes them aerodynamic..
    My issue is with the high heels. Surely someone all about efficiency like Seven would be wearing "sensible" shoes. She has to do a lot of running escaping from the Borg etc;)
     
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  15. at Quark's

    at Quark's Commodore Commodore

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    That's not only a problem in Trek.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bechdel_test
     
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  16. jaime

    jaime Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Ironically the Rand story as it was initially playing out was as much about Kirk having to resist what he saw as an inappropriate relationship. Something we arguably see partially played out much later with Picard in Lessons, as to why a starship captain would think that.

    The basic answer is ‘it’s the sixties, and the target audience was different.’.

    Everything about the later relationships requires ignoring things to fit the argument.
     
  17. USS Triumphant

    USS Triumphant Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't think Polaski was removed because she was a strong female character. I think she was removed because she was too much of a clone of McCoy, but then also lacked his lovable-rascal quality that made audiences embrace his curmudgeonism. You'll note that Guinan, whom I haven't seen mentioned here, was brought on shortly after she left: I guess the showrunners figured out that, a lot of the time, when Kirk was leaning on McCoy for friendship and advice, it was in McCoy's capacity as "medicinal" bartender, and, Guinan and Picard were friends from before she was on the ship, too.
     
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  18. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Commodore Commodore

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    Why was Crusher removed in the first place?
    And Yar?

    While Guinan definitely was a strong female character I'd argue she was not one of the crew who all had to be submissive to male characters it seemed. While Guinan gave good advice she was not in a position to give orders like Torres or Janeway or T'Pol or Kira.

    One area where TNG was better than TOS in regards to women was the female captains and admirals they had..
     
  19. jaime

    jaime Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yarleft because Denise asked to. Crusher, because of some behindthe scenes unpleasantness, but she came back. Later, we also get Ro, who everyone tends to forget was to all intents a regular. We also get recurring characters like Keiko.

    It is in no way as clear cut a ‘where’s the women heroes’ argument in Trek. Particularly in Trek. SF in general had strong female characters and female leads long before it went mainstream in other areas. Ellen Ripley predates Erin Brokovich at the movies after all.
     
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  20. c0rnedfr0g

    c0rnedfr0g Commodore Commodore

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    THE WOMEN!!!
     
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