Tag Archives: sexism

Star Trek S1E06 – Mudd’s Women

Star_Trek_TOS_logo.svgI went into this episode thinking it was a different episode. You see, there are two episodes featuring Harcourt Fenton Mudd, a serious one, and a silly one. Well, what we get here is the serious one. And of course, spoilers!

Season 1, Episode 6: Mudd’s Women

Original Air Date: October 13, 1966

Stardate 1329.8

Planet: Rigel XII

Featured Alien: None

Main Cast: Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scott, Sulu, Uhura

Main Guest Characters: Harcourt Fenton Mudd (Roger C. Carmel), Eve McHuron (Karen Steele), Ruth Bonaventure (Maggie Thrett), Magda Kovacs (Susan Denberg), Ben Childress (Gene Dynarski), Herm Gossett (John Kowal), Benton (Seamon Glass), Farrell (Jim Goodwin)

Things I Noticed

Talk about a lot of guest stars. This is the first time we get to see Harcourt Fenton Mudd, the con man. He went by the name Captain Leo Walsh.

There’s another uniform change. This time, Uhura was wearing yellow. But this was one of the earliest episodes made, and was considered for the second pilot episode.

As we move on, we see an asteroid belt. Now, I blame the digital remake of this scene. There were too many asteroids. Asteroid belts are not that dense. You’re unlikely to ever see an asteroid as you pass through a belt.

This is also the first time we hear about lithium crystals. As we all know, dilithium crystals are used in starships. But since this is an early episode, I don’t think they’d established dilithium crystals as the focal point for matter and antimatter streams. I have the technical manual. I know how it works.

Mudd has a rather hairy neck. It’s a bit odd.

In the transporter room, this is the first time we hear about McCoy’s distrust of transporters.

I’d like to know how Mudd knows Spock is only part Vulcan, or as he says, Vulcanian.

I’d also like to know why there was a sine wave on the monitor during the lie detector test.

The police record on Mudd is somewhat humourous. Of course, no metric. Looks like a typed card with a colour mugshot. I love being able to pause to see things like this.

The women’s lives were basically described as being women who did the cooking and mending clothes on farm worlds, merely doing traditional women’s roles. Very outdated, and I wouldn’t have thought they’d be like this in the 23rd century.

Mudd says the lithium miners are rich. I thought money was not a factor in Star Trek. At least in Starfleet, they don’t need it.

I find it humourous that Mudd thinks he could buy the Enterprise and become Kirk’s commander. You can’t buy a Starfleet ship and command its crew. That’s like some rich con man buying an American aircraft carrier and assuming command of its crew.

Mudd says lithium is worth hundreds of times more than diamonds and thousands more than gold. Didn’t know they were trade commodities in the 23rd century.

The mining camp’s doors look like giant styrofoam blocks, not rock. Incredibly low tech for the 23rd century, including pans and wood furniture. The outside of the quarters are futuristic-looking, but the inside is like a cave. Weird.

I have issues with the mining camp’s attitude and willingness to collude with Mudd, basically holding the Enterprise hostage. Wouldn’t that result in the arrest and charging of the miners? I mean, they’re Federation citizens betraying the Federation’s military.

They have circular playing cards. Maybe they exist today, but I haven’t seen them.

So, a placebo can actually make someone’s appearance and skin condition change within seconds? Wow.

My Impressions

Another classic, especially with Mudd. He’s made the two episodes he’s in fun. I enjoyed this episode, though it wasn’t incredibly strong. There were so many things in this episode that made me question whether it’s supposed to portray the 23rd century. Star Trek was quite progressive for the 1960s, but it’s so incredibly outdated, especially regarding the attitude towards women. It handles race as being something that’s completely accepted. There are no racial issues. However it still treats women as being the “weaker sex” and objects for men’s desire.

Regardless, I still enjoyed the episode. Of the main characters, Kirk was the focus. Spock was a secondary focus, but it was mostly Kirk, Mudd, the women, and the miners. People criticise Shatner’s acting all the time, but I thought he was good in this episode. For one thing, he completely resisted the women! Amazing!

Verdict

★★★★

Your Voice

What did you think about this episode? Do you notice how women are treated in Star Trek? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Star Trek S1E01 – The Man Trap

Star_Trek_TOS_logo.svgWelcome to the Star Trek Project! Getting back into watching Star Trek feels good! It’s been several years since I’ve been able to watch an episode, since it was not at all popular in Japan. So, I am watching every Star Trek episode in order of airing date and talking about my impressions of each episode. So, let’s get started!

Season 1, Episode 1: The Man Trap

Original Air Date: September 8, 1966

Stardate 1513.1

Planet: M-113

Featured Alien: M-113 Creature (Salt Vampire)

Main Cast: Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Sulu, Rand

Main Guest Characters: Professor Robert Crater and Nancy Crater

Things I Noticed

The first thing I noticed when I watched this is that it’s the remastered edition with new CG Enterprise and planet shots. I like it, actually. The old ones were not as visually pleasing, although I still liked them. I mean, they’re the original!

Watching this episode brought back many memories. And made me notice a lot of things. First of all, I noticed that Dr. McCoy is still using tongue depressors. Spock is also using a stylus. The technology seems a bit old.

Another thing I noticed is how the women are portrayed and the men’s reactions to them. With this being the year 2266, you’d expect some progress would’ve been made in gender equality. The men were awful, constantly staring and making comments on the women. There was a lot of sexual tension, and it seemed so unnatural. The show was at the very beginning, so I can understand some issues would happen. I don’t recall the blatant sexism in this episode being as prevalent in later episodes, though.

The interaction between Spock and Uhura was interesting. Uhura seemed to be coming on to Spock! This made me think about the Kelvin timeline movies, where Spock and Uhura are a thing. Did they get this idea from this episode? Did they notice that Uhura actually had an attraction toward Spock and explore that in the alternate timeline?

Another thing with women, and this has always bothered me about Star Trek, is that when there was a close-up shot of a female character, the picture was soft and fuzzy.

Also, there’s a lack of some main cast members, including Scotty. Chekov is introduced much later on, so I don’t expect him for a while. Nurse Chapel was never a main cast member, similar to Yeoman Rand. However, Rand is featured quite a bit in this episode.

My Impressions

For a first official episode of a TV series, it seems like we were just dropped into it without any introduction or anything like that. It doesn’t feel like a first episode at all. Of course, there were two pilot episodes, the first of which is featured in a two-part flashback episode, and the second pilot was actually aired as the third episode of the first season. But basically, we’re introduced to a crew that has been together for quite some time already. This is unique among the Star Trek TV series.

This is an episode that I was never in love with. I enjoyed watching it, as I always do, but it’s not one I got excited about watching after school. The characters behaviours aren’t established enough at this time. Spock is a bit too emotional at the end of the episode. However, we are pretty much shown that Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are the main trio of the show. But the sexism really struck me this time. It was surprisingly jarring.

Star Trek doesn’t start off very well. It was okay, I enjoyed it. But it doesn’t leave the best first impression, if you ask me.

Verdict

★★★

Your Voice

What did you think of this episode? Let me know in the comments below.

Am I Privileged?

Having lived in two countries, I can definitely tell you that my level of “privilege” is different in each country. Here in Canada, I’m part of the majority. I’m white. I’m what people would consider privileged, a white male in a rich country, married, have a kid, and a university degree. I haven’t been discriminated against in Canada.

In Japan, I have been discriminated against. A couple times, actually. I was in the minority there, so I know what it feels like to be treated differently because of my race. I was sometimes a novelty to some people.

What’s interesting is that foreigners aren’t treated differently in Canada, because people are used to them, and there are so many. Canada is an immigrant country. In Japan, there are many people who have seen tourists, but rarely interact with them, especially in the countryside. I’ve been talked about by children who stare and are surprised that there’s a foreigner near them. But of course, I did get an advantage that many Japanese people didn’t. I was treated better in some cases by the companies I worked for, because I was the product.

I took a Buzzfeed test about privilege. I find Buzzfeed mostly stupid, but I took it anyway. My privilege score was 56 out of 100. How about you?

My Daughter Can Do Anything

I have a four-year-old daughter. She likes pink and purple. She loves wearing skirts. She loves dolls, My Little Pony, Frozen, Pretty Cure, and drawing hearts and flowers. She also loves cars, trains, and airplanes. She has shown interest in ballet and singing. She’s also shown interest in soccer and baseball. She is full of energy, strong-willed, stubborn, and takes control over whatever group she’s playing with.

She has shown a very strong ability to problem solve, work with her hands, do puzzles that are meant for older kids, and create things with Lego. She has an incredible imagination, as I would expect kids to have. Within a few months, she should be fully bilingual in Japanese and English. She loves numbers. She loves animals.

She’s told me she wants to be a ballerina, singer, and a doctor.

She can do it. She can be whatever she wants. She can do anything she wants. If she wants to join a baseball team, then I’ll be there cheering for her. If she becomes the top kid in her school in math, I will be very happy for her. If she wants to become a singer and go on a show like Canada’s Got Talent, then I’ll be behind her all the way.

I will not tolerate people who tell her she can’t do something because she’s a girl. If she has a teacher who ignores her ability to do math, tells her that girls can’t do math, I won’t hesitate to tell the teacher that I will be reporting them to the Principal and school board for their sexism. If she’s a great pitcher, and her baseball coach has her sitting on the bench because she’s a girl and girls can’t throw, I will not tolerate that. I want her to be recognised for her ability, not her gender. If she’s bad at something, then she can practice more. She needs to earn her place. But if she’s ever told she can’t do something because she’s a girl, I will not be a pleasant person to deal with.

She will do what she wants to do. I will support her dreams. I won’t let her settle with what society expects of her. She needs to do what she desires. It’s her life to live, not anyone else’s. I’m happy to live in a society that supports this. But there’s still a long way to go.

Gender Imbalance in Literature

I read an interesting article on The Awl about the lack of female authors being represented in reviews in various publications. The author of the article has decided to no longer review books by men, and to focus on only those written by women.  I can understand why she would say that. It’s her choice, and I have no issue with it.

But it makes me look at what I’ve read and reviewed. I have an overwhelmingly male list of books. But why? It wasn’t a conscious decision. It wasn’t even an unconscious decision. When I look at the books I have, I see a lot of fantasy and science fiction, mostly written by men. But my selection process has nothing to do with gender. The very first thing I consider is the blurb on the back cover. Does it interest me? If so, I’ll probably buy it. However, if I see a book by an author I know and like, I will also buy it.

To be fair, if I’d started writing reviews earlier, I’d have far more books reviewed by female authors. I’ve just read them already. In fact, while I was in university, the books I read were mostly by female authors, one in particular. She was probably my first favourite author. Her series stands as one of my favourite all-time series, and she is probably one of my top two favourite authors. Her name is Anne McCaffrey. I fell in love with her Pern series, and although I haven’t read one of her books in quite some time, I will be going back to reread them. Reviews of her books will come. I’ll also mention J. K. Rowling as and Naomi Novik as authors I’ve read several books of. And I’m quite excited to read N. K. Jemisin, Lois McMaster Bujold, Ursula K. Leguin, Octavia Butler, Marion Zimmer Bradley, C. J. Cherryh, Margaret Atwood (Canadian!), Jo Walton (another Canadian), Ann Leckie, Robin Hobb, Elizabeth Moon, Mercedes Lackey, Janny Wurts, and C. S. Friedman. The list goes on. That’s a lot of books to read. You can also tell my tastes in books by this list: fantasy and science fiction.

So, my list of already reviewed books is heavily male just by chance. However, I’m never going to choose books based on the author’s gender. That’s not important to me. I just want to read a good book.

What do you think? Is there an unfair imbalance? Do you choose books based on the author’s gender? And which female authors of fantasy and science fiction would you recommend? Let me know in the comments below.

Where Are All the Female Epic Fantasy Authors?

When you think of epic fantasy, what authors come to mind? Robert Jordan? George R. R. Martin? J. R. R. Tolkien? Men. It always seems to be male authors. So, where are the female epic fantasy authors?

Here’s a list of them on Reddit. Oh, C. J. Cherryh. C. S. Friedman’s a woman? I didn’t know that. I know Jacqueline Carey and Janny Wurts. There’s Lois McMaster Bujold. N. K. Jemisin is a newer one, and she’s African American, too! And there’s Robin Hobb. Did you know she’s a woman? There are some big names there, but the list is incredibly short.

On Leona Henry’s blog, I found that list, and her post inspired me to write this. It’s unfortunate that female fantasy authors seem to be stereotyped as YA authors or romance authors. It’s a shame that epic fantasy novels written by female authors have romance style covers when there is no romance in the novel.  Sounds like publishers are to blame with that.

I want to see more epic fantasy novels written by female authors. Although not really fantasy, one of my favourite authors is Anne McCaffrey, and she had some wonderful books based on the world of Pern. They are dragon-themed, but it is science fiction. I want more variety in the books I’ve been reading. It just seems I pick up books that look good based on the description and cover, and pass over the ones that look like they’re more romantic. I see the error in that now.

There’s another thing that I’ve been inspired to do. You see at the top of the page, a menu option called Reviews? I’m going to add another page that lists books by the author’s gender. As I tend to read mainly science fiction and fantasy, you’ll get to have a good list of female authors as I read their books. So, if that page isn’t there now, it will be shortly. I’ll get that done within the next hour, I think.

And I think I’m going to try get into using Reddit, especially the fantasy and science fiction sections.

So, I would like to ask you a question. Which female epic fantasy authors would you recommend? Let me know in the comments.

Parenting While Male? You’re Incapable

Imagine you’re walking through a park with a playground and you see many children, many mothers, and one man sitting on a bench.  He’s watching the children. What’s your first thought about him?

Now, imagine some of the mothers go over to him and confront him, saying that he’s making them uncomfortable watching the children. Of course, he sighs and says as cheerfully as possible that he’s watching his children. He’s a stay at home dad or he works from home and is taking a break with his children at the playground.  And then this happens:

Do you think he’s been unfairly treated? Or do you think the woman is right?

I’m definitely on the dad’s side. The woman is one of those people who thinks dads can’t take care of their own children and must have advice all the time or be told what he’s doing wrong. I’ve heard the stories, and it seems that dads who take care of their kids may be discriminated against.  Sometimes, moms think they’re kidnappers or pedophiles.

Here in Japan, I am happy to see that there are many younger fathers who take care of their kids along with their wives. However, many men are absent because they work long hours of overtime or go out with their boss after work (they often have no choice). But when I go out with my daughter to the playground, I’ve found that I’ve been approached by mothers who ask me how old my daughter is. As for the occasional father I see with their kids, they seem to be glad to see another father.

What I wonder is what it’ll be like in Canada if I take my daughter to the playground and watch her along with a few mothers. Will I get some of the same attitude as in the video? If they think I must have a difficult time and I’m incapable of taking care of my daughter, I’m of a mind to say that it must be sad for them to have a husband who doesn’t know how to be a parent.

Society needs to accept that fathers can be just as good a parent as mothers.

If you’re a parent, have you seen or experienced this kind of situation?