This question Why do the other changelings look like Dr Mora? deals with why the changelings take on the appearance they do. But why is the Female Changeling female?

Is there a biological basis for gender in the Changelings? Shouldn't they be genderless? Is this a choice she made for dealing with Solids?Do Shapeshifters, like Odo, shift just shape, or composition as well? talks about how the changelings don't have parts.

Note: Before anyone says it and implies I'm somehow shortsighted to assume male is the default, I do realize you could ask why the other Changelings are male. You could ask this question about any number of aliens encountered in Star Trek. That's another question. The changelings are unique however, since it's not obvious whether/why they have gender and also because they choose their appearance. Presumably if the Changelings really are genderless, then the answer for Odo is due to Dr. Mora. At any rate, the female changeling is special because she is unique and is actually known as The Female Changeling.

  • 3
    I believe this is only in reference to the appereance she chose for Odo and other solids. Changelings surely are genderless, but solids are not (I don't recall any that don't have different sexes). To deal with solids she chose to look like one (kinda), and being an image of a female was probably just a decision she made for reasons unknown (maybe to make intimacy with Odo easier to achieve?). From production standpoints, it was probably for the sake of diversity.
    – Petersaber
    Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 15:14
  • @Petersaber There are a few androgynous species in Star Trek, but they are uncommon Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 15:22
  • 2
    BTW, Odo's romance with Kira may imply he actually does have some sort of meaningful gender, at least to the extent you assume he's of the predominant connection between gender and orientation. Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 18:23
  • 1
    I don't know of a canon answer, but if changelings have a concept of gender due to having been exposed to it from other species, it's not so far fetched for them to identify more with one gender or another, just as people can identify with one gender or another regardless of what gender they were physically born as.
    – Kai
    Commented Sep 19, 2015 at 0:08

2 Answers 2


When script writers don't assign a name to a character, they often simply use a description: GUARD #1, KLINGON #3, etc. Often, these descriptions make it all the way to the credits, because there's no better way to describe the character.

In this case, I expect it was something similar: having cast Salome Jens to play the spokesperson for the Changelings in "The Search", and having not given her a name, she was described in the script as FEMALE CHANGELING. When Jens became a recurring guest playing, for all intents and purposes, the same character, who eventually said explicitly that Changelings don't have names, the descriptor stuck.

Everything we know about changelings (mostly from the "Female" Changeling's lips) is that they have no actual gender in their natural, liquid form. She is occasionally referred to as "female" (specifically in "Favor the Bold"), and characters do regularly use "she/her" as a pronoun for her. However, that could be seen as solids using their conventions for lack of anything better. Certainly, a Vorta is not about to refer to one of his gods as "it", and use of "they" as a first-person-neutral is grammatically controversial.

From an in-universe perspective, we could say that the character adopted a conventional humanoid-solid appearance for convenience's sake, chose a female one for no better reason than contrast, or perhaps even whim, and then maintained it later because it made her recognizable to the solids she needed to interact with.

But in the end, the main reasons are out-of-universe: Salome Jens was cast once, nailed the part, and thus returned to play it repeatedly thereafter. Jens is female, and they chose not to disguise this fact, and thus: FEMALE CHANGELING.

  • 1
    One of Odo's Bajoran deputies refers to her as "the female changeling" in "Favor the Bold" Commented Sep 24, 2015 at 23:24
  • You're right -- I had forgotten that! I still think it's just a matter of convention, however. That said, I will modify the answer. Commented Sep 25, 2015 at 23:02
  • 1
    Oh don't get me wrong, I think you're right. I just happened to be re-watching the episode and remembered that you "weren't sure" Commented Sep 25, 2015 at 23:03
  • @UncleMikey: Royal we/Majestic Plural may not be such a bad choice... Commented Feb 17, 2016 at 19:36

I suppose that the female changling is called the female changeling in the credits because she was made up to look sort of like what they imagined a female changling, if there was one, would look like.

And the make up and costume people probably made the female changling look sort of female because the character was portrayed by a female actor and they would have felt uncomfortable making her look masculine.

Also once the arc where Odo sort of romanced the female changling would seem a little odd to most viewers if the female changeling was depicted ore like a male changeling.

  • 2
    There was an episode where Odo meets a "male" changeling who demands that they link. He seems decidedly uncomfortable with the intimacy in a public space.
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 19, 2015 at 9:10
  • 2
    “the arc where Odo sort of romanced the female changeling would seem a little odd to most viewers if the female changeling was depicted more like a male changeling” — I’m gonna need to see quite a few surveys before I believe that assertion. Commented Sep 24, 2015 at 22:34

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.