While Star Trek TOS showed a very progressive society for its time, a few major exceptions stand out. Specifically the series finale "Turnabout Intruder", where Star Fleet was shown to be prejudiced against females in command positions. Was this ever retconned or addressed later on in the series? Was it just Star Fleet or the Federation as a whole that had those prejudices?

  • 5
    Ah, that episode is easily considered one of he worst TOS ever. And I think you might be confusing bad writing with sexism. Furthermore, Dr. Lester was clearly mentally unstable which is why she wasn't fit for command. – djm Oct 31 '13 at 19:37
  • 2
    I will also add that the show was extremely progressive for it's time. It featured the first interracial kiss, dealt with racism, a major role for Uhurra... and there are probably more examples... let me think... – djm Oct 31 '13 at 19:53
  • @djm - Oh I am pretty sure the sexism in the episode is a combination of bad writing and the norms of the time. Still, it remains a canon Star Trek episode, so I was wondering what newer writers have tried to do with it. – System Down Oct 31 '13 at 20:01
  • 2
    They tried to do nothing with it. Star Trek has, in theory, been one of the benchmarks for how women were supposed to be treated in an advanced society, as equal to men. However, with the failures in our own society being what they are, these depictions of equality are uneven and unfortunately fraught with "male privilege." – Thaddeus Howze Oct 31 '13 at 20:04
  • @System Down: Offhand, I think most people just try to forget that episode. Later writers/shows have continued with the progressive attitudes started by TOS, but I don't recall anything dealing with that episode specifically. – djm Oct 31 '13 at 20:07

Generally speaking Women in TOS were supposed to be treated the same as men in-universe.

In fact, according to Teh Internets, T'Pau (a female Vulcan) was apparently offered a position on the Federation Council (she turned it down).

The show was written in the 60s, however, and some sexist perceptions of the time very well might have been written into the script.

TOS never really was that big on plot continuity anyways.

  • 3
    T'Pau being offered a federation seat is mentioned in the episode "Amok Time" AKA "Spock gets horny" – System Down Nov 1 '13 at 16:37
  • 2
    One of the reasons the NBC brass rejected the first pilot was that it had a female XO. And yeah, the show was very much a product of its time, which was ... not that enlightened when it came to gender roles. Yes, you had women in senior positions like Uhura (who would actually take command a couple of times in TAS), but then you had Kirk's perpetual horndogginess leading to such gems as "Keep out of this Spock, we're fighting over a woman!" ("Requiem for Methuselah"). – John Bode Nov 27 '13 at 16:42

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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