Make It So

I was watching Bill Nye Saves The World this afternoon, the episode about time travel, and the lone female panelist challenged the Star Trek writer, saying “Why is it that in your supposedly ideal future, men are still running everything.” My first thought was “Hey, what about Captain Janeway?” but I realized that argument wouldn’t hold up in an argument with feminists, because for every strong female character, they could point to three males, and despite 7 of 9 being a tough, intelligent, complex character, she was still there as eye candy.
To be fair, though, if you’re looking at the Star Trek universe, you’ve got to give them some credit for improving the ratio series by series. In the original, Uhuru was the highest ranking female, and she wasn’t all that high ranking. Probably behind Sulu and Chekhov, for total screen time. Most other female characters, crew and guests, were just there to fall in love with and be rescued by Captain Kirk. The next generation did a bit better, they had a female doctor, and a female ship’s psychiatrist, and a female chief of security until she got eaten by the slime monster. And Picard was far, far less of a chauvinistic prick than Kirk. Deep Space Nine, which may be my favorite iteration of them all, has Jadzia Dax and Kira Nerys, and an occasional visit from a female admiral who gives orders to Sisko, but I don’t think they really made too much progress in the women’s liberation direction. A bit, with the episodes in the alternate universe, where Kira was the captain and Sisko just her boy toy. Those episodes were kind of fun. Then, of course, Voyager, with a female captain.
The thing is, though, if we’re looking at the future of the human race, women should be 50% of any starship crew, same way that society should operate without money (unless you’re dealing with Ferenghi), and all diseases should be curable with a wave of a tricorder. And, it would be very easy for the writers to, in the immortal words of Jean Luc Picard, make it so. It’s not as if there’s a shortage of qualified actresses in Hollywood.

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