Star Trek: The Next Generation

"Angel One"

1 star

Air date: 1/25/1988
Written by Patrick Barry
Directed by Michael Rhodes

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Angel One" is tripe, with endless season one clichés, whose plot lines are assembled into a massive incoherent mess where you end up caring about none of it. Strange society that looks completely human but is completely backward? Check. "Weighty" Prime Directive issues? Check. Highly contagious virus that virtually shuts down the ship and threatens to kill everyone? Check. Race to solve a problem while we have a ticking clock (in this case, scheduled executions)? Check. Second ticking clock involving the Enterprise in orbit (in this case, the need to deploy to the Neutral Zone ASAP)? Check.

Not one damn bit of sense or compelling drama regarding it all? Check.

Much like "Justice," the episode begins with a ludicrous premise that's impossible to take seriously (as presented) before then trying to get all serious on us with a Trekkian message about growth and tolerance. Angel One is run solely by women. The men are oppressed and essentially told to keep their place. This is shown in the silliest of ways, and we snicker when one of these annoying men interrupts Riker and government head Beata (Karen Montgomery) while they're about to seal the deal. (Should Riker be sleeping with the heads of states on such missions? Might not violate the PD, but it seems awfully inappropriate.)

The plot ostensibly is about the status of some Federation survivors who crashed on Angel One and brought with them the idea of men as equals (gasp!), thereby poisoning this society's status quo. Riker can't interfere in their forthcoming executions because of the Prime Directive, which leads to some of the most interminable, ponderous "substantive" dialog in TNG's run. The lesson here is as muddled as the plot ... and it's sanctimonious in TNG's worst way, until we're waiting for the soapbox to collapse, or, better yet, explode.

Previous episode: Datalore
Next episode: 11001001

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148 comments on this review

Corey
Mon, Apr 23, 2012, 12:42pm (UTC -5)
I agree Riker's liason with the head of state was dubious to say the least -- what if it resulted in WORSE relations with the Federation and Angel One? Riker should have been demoted!

At the very least, though, Riker is very in character do so, however. He always obliges females of any race, as long as they aren't ugly.

He even took two kisses in "Perfect Mate" from someone (the empathic metamorph) who is going to be a wife in a few days -- his reasoning? Just because he's curious. Is he going to take liberties with my wife, "just because he's curious"? I would have demoted him if I were captain. A command officer especially should have more self-control than that.

As for the episode itself, it was just middle of the road for me, two stars on Jammer's scale.
Rikko
Sun, Jul 29, 2012, 2:51pm (UTC -5)
Lol, excellent review Jammer. It's actually a pretty fun read.

Unlike this episode.

It's not the worst S1 episode (that dubious honor goes to "A Matter of Honor") but it's, certainly, one of the most boring. By the time they started talking about the prime directive I wanted to shoot myself.

I found myself watching the clock every 5 minutes. There's just not drama, not tension and not a single line of good dialogue.

The show is kinda sexist too. Wait for two guys to take over a world full of women. Yeah, right.
xaaos
Tue, Oct 30, 2012, 3:59pm (UTC -5)
Some cliche things I never liked about Star Trek in this episode:

a) The holodeck has a lot of activities, even mountain climbing and Wes acts like geek, the very second he gets in, he is throwing a snowball to his friend.

b) Enterprise gets near a new planet and Picard tries to make contact. It's like they are calling to a telephone number. And all the times, the person who responds is the "president" of the planet (aren't there any secretaries?). He is never busy of "afk", he stands always by the "phone"...Of course he speaks English fluently! And most of the times, this "president" is the leader of the whole planet, like there aren't any countries on it. And this "president" has the roles of lawmaker, minister of defence and police, ambassador, judge, executioner aswell.

One last thing: did Riker get Picard's licence in order to sleep with an alien? (I recall what happened with poor Ensign Kim in VOY when he slept with a sexy alien and that caused a major diplomatic issue :P)
Van_Patten
Thu, Nov 1, 2012, 1:58pm (UTC -5)
The season's halfway point (if you count Encounter as two episodes) and worth reflecting on how the season shapes up.

Of course, I doubt were the series shown now that it would have been picked up for another 13 episodes, let alone another 6 seasons, even with the benefit of the StarcTrek moniker. Looking at my ratings vis a vis Jammers, he seems a touch more generous, with only two utter clunkers in the season's first half, and two episodes above the 2.5 star middling/ mediocre bar. I was surprised given the opprobrium levelled at some episodes, how few poor episodes there were. Only three ('Code of Honour' , 'Lonely among us' and 'Justice' ) are below 2 stars, with the last five instalments all hitting 2.5 stars. Nevertheless, recurring middling fare probably wouldn't have saved the show now, but there's some promising signs.

Enter thus, the first ep of the season's second half, the notorious 'Angel One' which crashes the series back down to the depths. It is for the most part, fully deserving of the calumnies it receives. Jammer has listed the clichés and hallmarks of lazy writing that characterise the episode. Rewatching it did nothing for it. The sets look hokey, the acting is at best passable in the case of Karen Montgomery (Beata) and to be frank, poor in the case of Sam Hennings (Ramsey) and Patricia McPherson (Ariel) - the script s a real turgid mess - the story doesn't hold up to scrutiny fr any real time, and despite attempts to set up multiple jeopardy premises, the story fails to create enough tension. The egregious use of the Romulans as a plot device (flatly overwritten in the series's finale) also annoyed me.

The weakest episode since 'Code of Honour' and fully agree with Jammer on the 1 star rating. That only because of two even weaker entries subsequent to this which merit even lower ratings in comparison. A month after Christmas, this Turkey was still very much on the table.
DPC
Tue, Nov 13, 2012, 8:29pm (UTC -5)
If mullets and big female hair are turn-ons, forget the "special interest" cable subscription... just rewatch this turkey over and over again.

It's eye-candy trying to make up for a plot so cheese-driven that "Justice" is a masterpiece by comparison.

And just how many STDs does Riker have by this point in the show's, anyhow? Never mind when we get to "The Game" when he must have contracted another 50 more by then... and somebody PLEASE think of the children! Riker outproduced Kirk, that's a given...
PD
Thu, Nov 15, 2012, 4:59pm (UTC -5)
An very mediocre episode, the story is completely predictable and boring and the only bits enjoyable are the little jokes like Worf's extreme sneezes, Rikers ridicilous native clothes and Picard losing his voice.

shame those jokes didn't have a better story around them.
DG
Thu, Dec 20, 2012, 6:07am (UTC -5)
The really irritating thing is how implausible this all is.

Angel One's sexism seems on par with Victorian England. (As opposed to say, Islam or the Ferengi)

Imagine American time travelers go back in time to the 1800s to retrieve a modern all-female Book Club and having it go like this... Say What?

Riker's speech at the end, when inverted like that, sounds even more sexist than Angel One...'evolvement'. Geez...
William B
Sat, Mar 23, 2013, 10:23pm (UTC -5)
In 1988, Star Trek: The Next Generation bravely comes out and says that executing people for opposing sexism is wrong. Thanks, TNG!

This episode is so muddled that we go through a whole episode wherein the central conflict is whether or not Beata will end up executing Ramsey for his anarchist subversive ways, and not once getting any indication:

1) what it is that Ramsey hopes to accomplish,

2) what exactly it is that Ramsey et al. are *doing* which is so dangerous to the fabric of society,

3) whether there are any men on Angel One who follow Ramsey's whatever-it-is.

Ramsey vaguely says that men on Angel One aren't allowed to vote or "have opinions." I mean, I guess Ramsey "has opinions," but it'd be ridiculous for Ramsey and the other people from the Odin to ask for the vote themselves since they are not from Angel One. They married Angel One women, one of whom has to keep her marriage a secret, and I guess those women, Angel One natives, are ready to accept that men can be partners in a relationship -- if they're space aliens. The only male character native to Angel One we see at any length of time is Beata's servant, who doesn't exactly read to me like he's about to start blowing up buildings as part of a men's suffrage movement. Riker helpfully says at the episode's end that social attitudes were already evolving on Angel One to gender equality before Ramsey got there and Ramsey and his people became a symbol. Uh, if you say so, Commander. The thing is, while we see Ariel a tiny bit, the only Angel One character who actually talks and has a point of view that is articulated is Beata.

The irony then is that it's actually possible that Beata is totally right. Maybe unbeknownst to us, a) all the men native to Angel One really are genuinely, physically/mentally incapable of handling complex tasks, b) Ramsey and his crew basically go around blowing up buildings and machine gunning women down as part of their revolutionary campaign. I mean, that is unlikely, but the episode gives us no idea what exactly it is that is going on.

The other funny thing about this episode is that the gender inversion ends up working against the "sexism is bad" message in ironic ways. The episode is generally arguing against patriarchal sexism and implicitly arguing for the right of women to vote and 'have opinions,' but it's Riker who gives the big big speech preaching tolerance, while Troi and Yar don't particularly do or say anything later in the episode. Ramsey talks for his people; Ariel never once (to my memory) speaks up in favour of her own experiences. Not only does this have the effect of having men do all the preaching about gender equality, it also (once again) means that no one from Angel One is the voice of tolerance. At least Crusher cures the disease, meaning that one female crew member is shown accomplishing something.

Riker sleeping with Beatta is dumb, dumb, obviously. But there is something interesting about the way Riker wears that objectifying outfit. Because, look -- it is a fashion disaster and ridiculous-looking, but it's actually not THAT much of an exaggeration from the outfit that Troi wears every week so that the audience can gawk every week at Marina Sirtis' boobs. At least, I hope that was intentional.
William B
Wed, Apr 24, 2013, 7:05pm (UTC -5)
Incidentally, there's an episode of MAD MEN in which a supporting character reveals that he has written a Star Trek spec script "The Negron Complex," a tale which a race of aliens are oppressing another group. This script is roundly mocked, and one of the other characters mentions, groaning, that the "twist" in the script is that the oppressed Negrons are white. "Angel One" is pretty much on this level.
Eduardo
Sat, May 11, 2013, 6:10pm (UTC -5)
Angel One's definitely not one of season 1's better hours, but it does have a couple of scenes that I've always admired.

One is the scene where Geordi finally sits on the Captain's Chair for the first time. There's this little private moment, beautifully brought to life by LeVar and his genuine reverence for the chair.

The other is the scene in which Riker decides he can't live with the guilt of leaving Ramsey's men to die, and promptly decides to beam them against their will, violating every Starfleet reg there is. Jonathan had quite a few memorable moments in that first season. To me, this was one of them, in terms of conveying Riker's guilt.

If TNG had a more gutsy attitude in its storytelling, it could have had Riker actually do it, and then face the consequences of his actions. It would have really added to the show's weight, especially considering Remmick's grilling of the crew, four episodes later.
SkepticalMI
Mon, Aug 26, 2013, 7:59pm (UTC -5)
Boring, silly episode all around. Besides the points other people brought up, I'd like to point out that Riker's "dilemma" is also ridiculous on its face. A society has the right to decide its borders and who deserves to live there. Ramsey and his crew did not have a visa to visit Angel One, and did not have a Green Card to stay there. Thus, the Angelone-ians had every right to demand they leave. If I get shipwrecked in, I don't know, Tanzania or somewhere, and decide I like it, I can't just stay. The Tanzanians can kick me out if they like. And if they didn't have a single boat (presumably Angel One is not a spacefaring planet, so this is the closest analogy), then Tanzania would have every right to dump me off at an American embassy and tell them to get rid of me.

But Riker and Data seemed to say they had no right to force someone to leave if he didn't want to, regardless of the laws of the society. If Ramsey decided to stay on the Enterprise and refuse to leave, would Picard have been ok with it? I think not.

And the Prime Directive only applies to Starfleet and not Federation citizens? So I can muck around on a pre-warp culture and pretend I'm a god or something and no one would complain? Sounds to me like that makes the Prime Directive useless.

Meanwhile, the plague on board the ship served only to fill up time and is a transparent attempt at a "B" plot. It served little purpose (other than conveniently preventing Riker's abduction of the prisoners), and had little tension. Did anyone really care? A ship like that is that susceptible to a random virus; shouldn't that have been a key takeaway? It could have been an interesting story. Instead, it was "a bunch of people got sick at a bad time, but then got better." And other than Geordi's first command (which, btw, Picard was an idiot for not ordering Data to beam up and assume command the moment he knew he was that sick), it was not particularly interesting watching any of these people.

And while this isn't the episode's fault, I also blame it for being in the wrong place in the season. In Datalore, Picard mentioned off-hand that they were late getting to their appointment in upgrading their computer. Sure enough, in 11001001, that's what they do. It should have been a nice bit of continuity, but instead Angel One was sandwiched in between them. I suppose they could have been diverted from their rendezvous with the Bynars by discovering the wrecked ship, but they should have mentioned it to complete the continuity. Instead, I get the feeling the order of episodes was changed post-production. Too bad.
Gabriel
Thu, Dec 12, 2013, 1:06am (UTC -5)
I totally disagree with all the comments above and with your review and most of the other reviews. Maybe I'm too new in the Star Trek universe, but I thought this episode was amazing. It shows another culture with strong sexism, in a fun and intelligent way, using this opportunity to criticize our own society. It gives room to some important character development, like Data being the robot with huge precision in following orders, as any other human couldn't do (and for doing so, saving the day), it shows La Forge as the captain and his fears in the duty (Worf gives him good advice on that), and so on. It has some cool moments with Riker being as diplomatic as smart (as a man) getting laid with Beata. If he didn't like this, maybe Beata wouldn't spare the revolutionaries lives.

I also liked how all those troubles (disease, romulans, execution, etc) comes all together, giving the right ammount of tension without getting out the focus on the plot. Yes, maybe it has some flaws, like when they get a oold even if in the last episode they said cold wasn't more a disease in the future. But I think those flaws aren't enough to make this episode bad.

And yes, Beata is gorgeous.
NCC-1701-Z
Thu, Jun 12, 2014, 1:18pm (UTC -5)
The only way this could have been worse was if Beata had started asking "Brain and brain, what is brain?"
DLPB
Tue, Aug 5, 2014, 12:11pm (UTC -5)
This is as close as liberals will ever get to having their crazy wet dreams made a reality. Back in the real world, women are outnumbered at MENSA, and in lists of geniuses, and chess champions, and at virtually all sports and human endeavours. Not sexism, not "glass ceiling", just stark reality that men and women are different. No amount of socialist propaganda can change it.
Paul M.
Tue, Aug 5, 2014, 12:25pm (UTC -5)
I heard that women in Saudi Arabia are especially useless. Must be their genetics are even worse than usual among womenfolk.

On the other hand, maybe opportunity has something to do with it? Crazy suggestion, I know.
Elliott
Tue, Aug 5, 2014, 1:10pm (UTC -5)
Oh, DLPB, you make it rather easy to assume that backwards political thinking begets backwards social thinking, or is that reversed? I suppose we'd find your name on those MENSA lists and chess tourneys, would we?
DLPB
Tue, Sep 2, 2014, 1:14pm (UTC -5)
Women have equal opportunity at tennis, running, darts, pool/snooker, and chess. And many other endeavours. They do not come close to the men. I am not making an argument that men are "better" than women, since men are generally the ones creating the most crime and dysfunction. But men are also overwhelmingly the driving force in science, now and in the past, as well as in the massive majority of fields.

The fact men have many more neurons in their neocortex than females (among other significant differences), may have a lot to do with it. Certainly it is a proven fact that men are generally stronger, faster, taller, and have better hand-eye coordination and spacial awareness.

All you need to do is look for the female equivalent of Feynman, Federer, Kasparov, Einstein, Picasso, Dickens, Bolt, and so on and so on and so on.

There isn't one.
Robert
Tue, Sep 2, 2014, 1:42pm (UTC -5)
I'm not going to argue you on some of the more physical things. Women athletes typically do not hold a candle to the male ones. It's very edge-case though... so it's an odd argument. For instance, the best female basketball player ever to live might be able to hack it in the NBA, but she'd only be famous for being a woman. She'd not be a Jordan, Shaq or Magic level player. But the males in the NBA are the edge of case of male anyway. She'd still be physically superior to 99.9999% of men.

Similarly, I don't know if saying there is no female Einstein is a really good way to present your case. There's no living male Einstein either (except perhaps Hawking). But those are still 2 in a hundred years kind of minds. There are brilliant females in science and engineering as well. And perhaps there WAS a female Einstein, but she was making babies and cooking for her husband, because she was supposed to.

But seriously.... there is no female Dickens and Picasso? How about Bronte and Kahlo. Just to name two (or three... both Brontes... off the top of my head).
DLPB
Tue, Sep 2, 2014, 2:05pm (UTC -5)
You tell me where Kasparov, Einstein, Federer, Feynman, Mozart equivalents are. They don't exist, and you can moan until the cows come home, but the facts are that males dominate a huge number of achievements now and in the past. And that's the end of your argument.
Robert
Tue, Sep 2, 2014, 2:22pm (UTC -5)
Well I answered the Federer question.

To quote me "I'm not going to argue you on some of the more physical things. Women athletes typically do not hold a candle to the male ones."

A male in the top .0001% of physical power is clearly going to be a superior athlete to anyone else in any field of athletics that does not largely rely on being incredibly tiny, aerodynamic and graceful. It just is. The Williams sisters could still destroy 99.9999% of male tennis players of course, but the top man vs the top woman? Nah, it's always going to be the male. At the physical edge case, male genetic potential wins out in most arenas.

Art/literature, at least you seem to have backed off a bit. As to Einstein, I think I mostly answered that too. Women just didn't have the opportunity to go into those fields that they do now. Perhaps we WILL have a female Einstein in the next 100 years. Since these people are once in a lifetime (or rarer.... where was the next male DaVinci!) it's not as those they just pop up all the time. Marie Curie made greater contributions to science than 99% of male scientists, though I'd not really put her up with Einstein.

I will grant there is no household composer I can be sure everyone would know in the vein of throwing out Curie, Kahlo and Bronte. Kasparov is neat, but if you can teach a modern computer to play chess like a genius I don't know that he belongs on this list.

I guess my point is just that such a woman would have to be born and placed in a situation where she could hone these skills. If nobody sought fit to educate Einstein I doubt we'd know his name....
Elliott
Tue, Sep 2, 2014, 3:40pm (UTC -5)
You'd also be hard-pressed to find the female Pol Pot, McCarthy, Hitler or Stalin, wouldn't you?

The reason males dominate the upper echelons of our society is that our society's parameters for greatness (be it benevolent or otherwise) has been defined by men. The deck is stacked because the historically dominant sex has conditioned our society to view its own gender's superior attributes as universally superior.
Robert
Tue, Sep 2, 2014, 3:56pm (UTC -5)
Elliott makes a good point. Male activists point to the fact that edge case women cannot achieve physically what edge case men can in sports and since this is true you'd be foolish to assume there aren't other differences and those differences must be the reason men make contributions to most fields at an incredible rate.

Except correlation != causation and just because you can prove a physical disparity between the sexes and achievement in sports does not mean that there is a mental disparity that causes the achievement gap in other things. Quite literally the deck has been stacked against women.

And as for the physical side... well it's amazing what testosterone will do for most athletes....
DLPB
Sat, Sep 6, 2014, 6:22pm (UTC -5)
Nice excuse haha
Robert
Mon, Sep 8, 2014, 9:09am (UTC -5)
@DLPB - Who's making an excuse? Men are typically larger and testosterone filled which improves athletic abilities. That's pretty basic science. The point is that there is no pretty basic science to prove that men also have high intellectual ability.

And for the intellectual side of things there is just no way to prove that the female Einstein wasn't pumping out babies for her husband at 17 while her stupid brother was going to college because girls didn't need to go to college.
Dave in NC
Mon, Sep 8, 2014, 2:40pm (UTC -5)
@ Robert

This is mostly me playing devil's advocate, but it is a bit of a logical fallacy to say that the (basically universal) second-class treatment of women in history could ONLY be because of the physical dominance of men.

To suggest that there is literally no possibility of intelligence being some kind of contributing factor (even in our deep evolutionary past) seems to be an absolute statement about something unprovable.
Elliott
Mon, Sep 8, 2014, 3:03pm (UTC -5)
@Dave in NC

The fallacy is in assuming that intelligence (especially in a whole gender or species) is quantifiable the way physical strength is. No doubt, if males had lacked the intelligence necessary to co-evolve the species forward, they would not have been dominant in most cultures, but in other species, where the female is larger and stronger, we don't assume that her intelligence is also greater than her male counterparts, just that her physical strength supplied her dominance.

In any event, as I said before, the edge which males' ability to physically dominate women has given them ("us," I should say) no doubt made typically male *forms* of intelligence more highly valued. Thus prototypically male intelligence is viewed as universally "more" than female intelligence. It gets a little chicken-or-the-eggy, but fossil evidence shows absolutely no signs that male homo sapiens developed higher intelligence at a greater pace or...erm...volume? than females. And the disparity between our physical natures is a hold-over from ancestors which predate society and culture at all.
Robert
Mon, Sep 8, 2014, 3:04pm (UTC -5)
Actually Dave you'll find we're arguing the same thing. My point wasn't that the second class treatment was because of physical dominance. My point was that it is provable that men are physically superior to women in some ways (and in particular, we value a lot of these ways in modern sports). It is not really provable in any direction why there has been no female Einstein.

Statistics teaches us that if Einstein was really a one in a million kind of scientist (or higher) and men outnumber women in the sciences 10 to 1 (or more throughout history), then we'd have to wait 10x longer for a female Einstein (if we assume that is the reason we have not had one).

I'm not necessarily saying that numbers are the reason we have not had one (in a factual way), only that it is my belief that the number of women who have had the opportunity to excel at science means that we will have to wait a lot longer for a female Einstein. Even now she could be born in the middle east in a place where girls don't even go to school. And then we've missed her.

My point (to quote myself) was just that "there is no pretty basic science to prove that men also have high(er) intellectual ability". I'm not saying for sure that it's not true, but DLPB seems to be trying to link the (rather obvious) fact that men are stronger to the (what he would consider a rather obvious fact) that men are smarter. From his argument.

"But men are also overwhelmingly the driving force in science, now and in the past, as well as in the massive majority of fields.

The fact men have many more neurons in their neocortex than females (among other significant differences), may have a lot to do with it. Certainly it is a proven fact that men are generally stronger, faster, taller, and have better hand-eye coordination and spacial awareness.

All you need to do is look for the female equivalent of Feynman, Federer, Kasparov, Einstein, Picasso, Dickens, Bolt, and so on and so on and so on.

There isn't one."

I'm merely offering an alternate theory as to the lack of a female Einstein. I don't claim to be able to prove my theory (although I think it's logically sound). The overall point I was trying to make is that there are alternate possibilities and there is no proof for his theory.
Dave in NC
Mon, Sep 8, 2014, 8:16pm (UTC -5)
First off, it's really nice to converse with intelligent people, so yeah, just wanted to throw that out there.

To the point, I'm not a huge believer in gender superiority/inferiority (hence my admission that I was playing devil's advocate). However . . .

@ Robert

About the only point that I've seen someone make that I thought perhaps had some merit was the disparity between the numbers of male and female AUTODIDACTS, but again that was more circumstantial than anything.

@ Elliot

I agree with the chicken/egg analogy. There's really no way forensically to assign a cause one way or the other.
Trident
Fri, Oct 3, 2014, 9:16am (UTC -5)
DLPB is so wrong, stupid and ignorant that it hurts me to read his rants.
dlpb
Mon, Nov 24, 2014, 7:20pm (UTC -5)
Trident - Fri, Oct 3, 2014 - 9:16am (USA Central)
DLPB is so wrong, stupid and ignorant that it hurts me to read his rants.

=========

Well, firstly, it wasn't a rant. Secondly, the fact you can only insult, as a substitute for reason, shows who the ignorant one is here ;0

I'm sorry that the truth hits a nerve, but my original point stands. We don't mix female and male players at most sports and games, and when we do, they almost never win a match, let alone a championship. Sorry.
Shannon
Wed, Jul 22, 2015, 4:50pm (UTC -5)
How the show didn't get immediately cancelled after this calamity, which ranks right up there with Code of Honor, is anyone's guess. Who the hell was writing these episodes? And more importantly, why did the powers that be think these were quality episodes to produce, even in 1988? Oh well, at least we have the hindsight of knowing that TNG got much better.
Diamond Dave
Mon, Aug 17, 2015, 2:07pm (UTC -5)
A shocker in every way, consisted of a stilted, clunking take on gender equality in which Riker gets to teach the leader of a matriarchal society the meaning of the Earth word "love" and then undermines its entire social order in two poorly written sentences. In the meantime an artificial countdown fails to generate any sense of peril and of course both A and B story resolve themselves in seconds at the end of the episode. Even the somewhat amusing comedy moments seem tacked on as an after thought.

And if the virus was so virulent - how did Crusher not get it? 1 star.
kiamau
Sat, Sep 12, 2015, 10:59am (UTC -5)
(KLINGON SNEEZE)
Jack
Tue, Sep 22, 2015, 8:11pm (UTC -5)
SkepticalMI said:


"And the Prime Directive only applies to Starfleet and not Federation citizens? So I can muck around on a pre-warp culture and pretend I'm a god or something and no one would complain? Sounds to me like that makes the Prime Directive useless."

True enough...and by Season 7 Picard was berating Worf's civilian brother Nikolai for precisely that.
John
Fri, Oct 16, 2015, 4:13pm (UTC -5)
how does worf and the captain get hit with snow thrown by Wesley when standing outside the holodeck? shouldnt the snow not exist?
Ambrose
Tue, Jan 12, 2016, 12:45pm (UTC -5)
John, according to the old TNG technical manual the holodeck works using two different tools to create touchable objects. One is just a hologram backed up by complicated force fields. The other is replicators. So when someone on the holodeck picks up a drink and drinks it, the holodeck has actually replicated the drink so it tastes like something and doesn't just disappear at the person's mouth. Its hard to say exactly what the holodeck decides will be replicated and what won't, but I'm guessing a replicated snowball would feel a lot more real then a snowball made of forcefields which wouldn't be cold or wet.

It's also speculated this is why the safeties can be turned off. While Picard said "even a holographic bullet can kill," it's more likely that in that instance the holodeck replicated a real gun with bullets, since it isn't really clear that force fields could be used to kill (this is a bit of speculation though).

The problem with all this comes later in Voyager, when the ship doesn't have enough energy to use the replicators but has plenty of energy to use the holodecks. The excuse always was that the holodeck system had a separate incompatible energy source that the rest of the ship couldn't use. Which doesn't make much sense to begin with, but then when you consider that holodecks are also huge replicators it completely falls apart.
petulant
Mon, Jan 25, 2016, 12:28pm (UTC -5)
@Ambrose

Thanks i also wondered about that, in 'The Big Goodbye' 2 holographic characters stepped out of the holodeck before disappearing and i just thought it was bad writing but then in 'Angel One' Wesley throws a snowball out of the holodeck and i just remembered Voyagers Doctor not being able to step out of the Holodeck at all!
James
Mon, Apr 25, 2016, 7:09am (UTC -5)
Ugh. These comments.

But before I get into that, let me explain why the social commentary in Angel One is incredibly cringe-worthy.

1) You have a system run, exclusively - by rule of law - by women.

The law of western society does not preclude women from taking positions of leadership. They have, in many cases. As with #4, this is a quality only observed in extreme outliers of human history. And as I explain in #3, the reason men more often have taken on positions of leadership, is because they're evolutionarily predisposed towards doing so. Towards having more interest in doing so, and towards having the qualities required to do so.

2) In which the men cannot vote, are not respected, and are subservient in virtually every way.

Men, as a general group, have not always been able to vote either. It used to be that only white, wealthy, landowning men could vote (and if they died, their widows were allowed to represent their household as well). There was very little time between when men in general were allowed to vote, and women gained the universal right to vote. Which men still to this day do not have, as they are obligated to first sign up for the Selective Service system before they're afforded various rights and services, including the right to vote. In this way, women have had a superior voting right to men for nearly a full century now.
As for the disrespect given to and subservience expected of the males of Angel One, this is not analogous to human society. For one thing, everyone gets disrespected. Absolutely everyone. You can't quantify, or draw general rules in which you can claim one is disrespected more, unless their a group genuinely treated as inferior - like the Africans, Irish, and Italians of half of American history. I put it to you that the disrespect women - both as individuals and as a group - face is greatly more visible, but not greater than, that which is and has been faced by men.

3) As Beata explained, men have the simple life of pleasure and being provided for, while the women have the responsibility of making society work.

This part I actually appreciate. Because it holds true to the historical reality of what the episode's premise is supposed to mirror. Men, throughout human history, have been expected to be providers and protectors. And just as how the men of Angel One find this to be the natural way of things, it is the natural way of things in human society for men to more often develop strong leadership skills, to aspire for those positions of high-status, and to take on the challenges of providing for and protecting women. It's hardwired into our evolutionary psychology and into our very genetics for men to more often aim for these roles. They have evolved for the purpose of fulfilling them. And both men and women have evolved to value women and their well-being greatly, to take great offense toward their mistreatment, and to not extend this empathy to men, and instead treat them as disposable. And that's just another aspect of how men have evolved to fall into the roles they have. The same is true on Angel One, and while that doesn't excuse their actual sexism and draconian treatment of nonconformity, I can respect it. Both the men and the women have evolved to fall into the roles they did on Angel One, and if you take away the actual sexism, it's fair to say that they fall into those roles because their most comfortable there, because they evolved to be so. Just as it happened on Earth with the sexes reversed.

"4) Deviating from this accepted matriarchal model warrants the death penalty."

This is something completely non-analogous to the vast majority of human society, over the vast majority of history. The thing which comes closest are Islamic fundamentalist nations, which are anthropological outliers by a wide margin.


The social commentary of this episode is confused to the point where it doesn't even know what it's trying to mirror, and how representative what it's trying to mirror is of human society in general.

That being said, let's look at some of these comments that inspired the "ugh" from the beginning of this one.

"You'd also be hard-pressed to find the female Pol Pot, McCarthy, Hitler or Stalin, wouldn't you?"

Yes, because men have more often taken on positions of leadership due to being more biologically predisposed towards doing so. Just as how if you have vastly more male scientists you're more likely to find the odd male Einstein, if you have vastly more male leaders you're more likely to find the odd male Hitler. The statistical fact that with a larger sample you'll have more outliers, is a double edged sword that doesn't discriminate based on what qualities we find morally good.
But I won't cringe at this quote because I'm fairly sure you're making the same point.

"The reason males dominate the upper echelons of our society is that our society's parameters for greatness (be it benevolent or otherwise) has been defined by men. The deck is stacked because the historically dominant sex has conditioned our society to view its own gender's superior attributes as universally superior. "

No. Society, first of all, doesn't have parameters for greatness. It has qualities which are more practical, or less, for the aim of achieving greatness. And it's those practicality which define what qualities are valuable. Not men. Saying that the results we see mean that men must have stacked the deck, is directly analogous to saying that the fact that women, being more flexible, dominate gymnastics must mean that women have stacked the deck against men. No, their inherently greater flexibility is a practically valuable quality for achieving their goal of being great gymnasts. The same is true of men and what roles they've dominated.

"Elliott makes a good point."

No he doesn't.

"Male activists point to the fact that edge case women cannot achieve physically what edge case men can in sports and since this is true you'd be foolish to assume there aren't other differences and those differences must be the reason men make contributions to most fields at an incredible rate."

1) There are other differences.
2) This has nothing to do with "male activism", and neither does anything DLPB said.

"Except correlation != causation"

Amazing truism. It doesn't negate the fact that there are differences beyond physical strength.

"and just because you can prove a physical disparity between the sexes and achievement in sports does not mean that there is a mental disparity that causes the achievement gap in other things."

There is a difference between men and women when it comes to mental ability. And the difference is that on a scale of intelligence, women trend toward the middle, while men have a wider trend. Meaning that both the dumbest and the smartest tend to be men, while women trend toward the intellectual middle-ground. And this does cause an achievement gap. Among other things. It gives men a leg up in intellectually strenuous fields like those in STEM, and they're also more inclined towards taking an interest in those fields.

"Quite literally the deck has been stacked against women."

No it hasn't. They are the ones who have the most government assistance, are politically represented without having to consent to being forced into war, and are the ones that actually have greater legal rights. Not just in regards to voting, but in regards to reproductive rights, and the right to not have one's genitals mutilated at birth. And there are many more disparities, like the fact that the education system actually is stacked against boys (both by human bias and by the institutional framework). Which is reflected in the fact that men are the minority of college graduates. Yet, despite the fact that you deny any inherent differences beyond physical ability, they still massively dominate STEM fields, the ones they more often take interest in and the ones that are arguably the most intellectually challenging. Funny, that.

Tell me more about how the deck is stacked against women, because I haven't even gotten started yet.

"The fallacy is in assuming that intelligence (especially in a whole gender or species) is quantifiable the way physical strength is. No doubt, if males had lacked the intelligence necessary to co-evolve the species forward, they would not have been dominant in most cultures, but in other species, where the female is larger and stronger, we don't assume that her intelligence is also greater than her male counterparts, just that her physical strength supplied her dominance."

We also don't assume the same for men, it just happens to be that men both have greater physical capabilities and a wider trend of intellectual capacity. Those qualities most likely evolved that way because they were beneficial towards the practical tasks that men were responsible for throughout history, and because the qualities complement each other in allowing one to fulfill those roles.

"In any event, as I said before, the edge which males' ability to physically dominate women has given them ("us," I should say) no doubt made typically male *forms* of intelligence more highly valued."

First of all, there's no causation between these two things. Secondly, males do not use their physical abilities to dominate their female counterparts, they've used their abilities to dominate nature and other males - very often in protection of their female counterparts. Thirdly, "typically male" forms of intelligence are valuable not because men have been dominant and have stacked the deck in their favor, but because they are valuable for practical purposes. We're contrasting the form of intelligence which has allowed us to land a spacecraft on a comet, to the form of intelligence which allows us to emotionally empathize better. One is objectively greater in practical value than the other, and that's why even in a female-oriented education system it's the form of intelligence we focus on instilling in our youth. It has nothing to do with stacking decks and everything to do with practical value.
Robert
Mon, Apr 25, 2016, 8:37am (UTC -5)
"No. Society, first of all, doesn't have parameters for greatness. It has qualities which are more practical, or less, for the aim of achieving greatness. And it's those practicality which define what qualities are valuable. "

Actually it does in a lot of ways. Considering we were talking about sports and chess and I can't think of one that was invented by a woman. So in some spheres it clearly matters. Obviously Einstein is going to be awesome by any standards.

"No he doesn't."
"1) There are other differences."

Deep thoughtful rebuttals here.

"2) This has nothing to do with "male activism", and neither does anything DLPB said."

There's overlap. Male activists are often proponents of male exceptionalism in the workforce (ie the concept that because males are so awesome at the things that society needs for the most part and women are so awesome at babies that men should go out and make the money while women stay home barefoot and pregnant). I'm not trying to paint you as one of those people, but there is overlap in MRA arguments and what's being said here. If you disagree go Google "Mens Rights Activism".

"Amazing truism. It doesn't negate the fact that there are differences beyond physical strength."

You're going to see in a minute why this truism is so important....

"There is a difference between men and women when it comes to mental ability. And the difference is that on a scale of intelligence, women trend toward the middle, while men have a wider trend. Meaning that both the dumbest and the smartest tend to be men, while women trend toward the intellectual middle-ground. And this does cause an achievement gap. Among other things. It gives men a leg up in intellectually strenuous fields like those in STEM, and they're also more inclined towards taking an interest in those fields."

Any proof on that besides correlation? The fact that there are few women in STEM does not mean men are better at STEM unless you remove all other variables from the equation. The reason I constantly cite correlation!=causation is because it's a really simple concept that few people actually are capable of processing because they think they understand data. But if you have proof beyond correlation I'd love to see it.

"No it hasn't. They are the ones who have the most government assistance, are politically represented without having to consent to being forced into war, and are the ones that actually have greater legal rights. Not just in regards to voting, but in regards to reproductive rights, and the right to not have one's genitals mutilated at birth. And there are many more disparities, like the fact that the education system actually is stacked against boys (both by human bias and by the institutional framework). Which is reflected in the fact that men are the minority of college graduates. Yet, despite the fact that you deny any inherent differences beyond physical ability, they still massively dominate STEM fields, the ones they more often take interest in and the ones that are arguably the most intellectually challenging. Funny, that."

Some of these arguments are preposterous, others slightly more interesting (though I won't say better). First of all, sodomy is still against the law in some places technically but we have universal gay marriage. I think there may even still be anti-interracial marriage laws still on the books, though a few places dealt with that a few years ago so maybe they are all gone now. The draft laws haven't been updated because we've had an all volunteer army for 50+ years. Old outdated laws tend to sit around gathering dust. If someone tried to arrest someone for having a blow job in their own house I promise that law would be addressed. And if the draft were ever to be reinstated it would be reexamined. For all intents and purposes unless you're retired, you've never seriously worried about being drafted.

I think circumcision is stupid, but I'm not sure it has a bearing here. People are allowed to all number of stupider things to their kids (especially in the name of religion... which is the origin of circumcision). That's more an issue of children not having any rights to protect them against stupidity than it has to do with gender differences. For God's sake kids have died because their parents don't believe in blood transfusions or vaccinations! I'd be all for taking away parent's ability to be stupid.

Now that I've wasted breath on some of the more ridiculous nonsense I'll get to the actual meat of that which is that the deck is stacked against boys but they are so awesome at STEM that they rise above that. To support you cite that the majority of college graduates are girls but the majority of STEM graduates are boys. This is still, largely, a substance less argument based on correlation. It's actually an interesting thought that academia in general is leaving more boys behind and it's entirely possible that it's true. That doesn't necessarily prove that "the education system actually is stacked against boys (both by human bias and by the institutional framework)" but it probably is a problem that needs addressing. That said... how does women graduating at a higher rate then men prove that STEM fields are not stacked against women? These data points are not even related. I could use it to "prove" the opposite! STEM is SOOOO stacked against women that even though there are more women in college and more women graduating college there are so little women in STEM fields. That's how stacked it is!

This is why taking 2 different sets of data points and correlating them together to make an argument is pointless. You need to have something else backing up your assertion!

"Tell me more about how the deck is stacked against women, because I haven't even gotten started yet. "

Your right, you have not! I do not yet see the beginning of an argument. I see a lot of random thoughts, opinions and unrelated data points though.

"Thirdly, "typically male" forms of intelligence are valuable not because men have been dominant and have stacked the deck in their favor, but because they are valuable for practical purposes. "

I can give you a real world example and a possibly hypothesis for how this is not necessarily true. In my field, a STEM field, most of the professors/text book authors are male. Perhaps, as you say, most of academia is stacked against boys. This might make sense if girls and boys brains worked differently. After all women are the primary educators in the lower grades (until I hit high school I was probably running 90% women... and until I hit 7th grade I was at 100% women teachers). So if women and men's brains work differently (which I actually think they might) all of the teaching and testing might be in a way that's easier for girls, since girls are the ones making the lessons/tests. So back to my field. Is it not possible that it's harder for women in these classes the same way it is for men in other classes? And when you add in the cultural biases that make STEM intimidating for women couldn't you see that playing a part? In the Seven Sisters colleges they fill their STEM classes. Often taught be women as well. But I will say that as a manager in a STEM field I find mixed groups tend to come up with more creative solutions to problems. It can be a lot of things but in my feeling male "forms" of intelligence in my field are not better but just different. Having different views on a problem is a good thing. I wish I could hire more women at my company because I value their contributions to their teams.

In conclusion your argument thinks very highly of evolution and the natural order but concludes that we reached these societal divisions in gender because they are for the best. With all due respect... I think that's a lot of crap. Evolution does not take place over such a short period of time and the truth is that my brain would have been useless a century ago. Nobody would have wanted me to go to school for engineering. As a man I'd have been responsible for working on the farm or some other manually labor most likely. Sure there were always scientists but in reality men worked and women did babies because people had broods and the work was very physical. When we switched to more people doing office jobs women kept doing babies because that's what they had been doing.... but they had been doing that because they were more suited to babies than they were to physical labor! That was your evolution! It has nothing to do with STEM. There weren't tens of thousands of yearly STEM graduates 100 years ago!

You want it to be true that because men were better at the most valuable non-baby job 100 years ago that they are still better at the most valuable non-baby job today. Because that suits your world view. Not because you have any facts to back it up.
William B
Mon, Apr 25, 2016, 10:16am (UTC -5)
@Robert, hear hear.

Also, one presumes that the deck cannot be stacked against boys, because we have evolved this system and therefore it is the best. Just as this episode is the product of the whole of human evolution, and is therefore the best.

To be fair, though, I actually agree that there are specific areas, some of them very important, in which men are (if I could use that term) discriminated against. That men are drafted to fight in wars (frequently against their own interests) is tragic, though not specifically because women are not. However, I think that men are drafted or circumcised or whatever has little bearing on the question of why there are a greater number of male leaders than female.

As for women in STEM fields, look: If we are looking at anything but the very recent past, women did not have the opportunities that men had. Emmy Noether, maybe the most brilliant mathematician of the 20th century, had to work without pay for years and years and even after gaining approval from the most renowed mathematicians of the age had to lecture under Hilbert's name until 1919 because the philosophy department refused entry to a woman. University math and science departments are still frequently hostile to women -- fellow grad students who were female have indicated which male professors they simply have to avoid for fear of sexual harrassment, which limits career options. The point is not that the male dominance of STEM fields is necessarily 100% the result of discrimination, but I strongly disagree with the notion that relative historical and even recent absence of notable female figures in STEM proves that women lack potential in those fields and thus that we know that girls suck at math generally.
William B
Mon, Apr 25, 2016, 10:19am (UTC -5)
Though of course Robert is right about the draft in the US in particular -- since the draft has not been invoked and is not likely to be invoked (or at least, that is how it seems to me), it has no current bearing. Insofar as it has historical bearing, so does the fact that women had no right to vote until the early 20th century, and any number of other limitations on women's rights which have since been amended.
James
Fri, Apr 29, 2016, 9:12am (UTC -5)
""No. Society, first of all, doesn't have parameters for greatness. It has qualities which are more practical, or less, for the aim of achieving greatness. And it's those practicality which define what qualities are valuable. "
Actually it does in a lot of ways. Considering we were talking about sports and chess and I can't think of one that was invented by a woman. So in some spheres it clearly matters. Obviously Einstein is going to be awesome by any standards."

And in all of those spheres, it's directly tied into practical skills for achieving the intended goal.


"No he doesn't."
"1) There are other differences."
"Deep thoughtful rebuttals here."

I had already explained why he doesn't.


""2) This has nothing to do with "male activism", and neither does anything DLPB said."
There's overlap. Male activists are often proponents of male exceptionalism in the workforce (ie the concept that because males are so awesome at the things that society needs for the most part and women are so awesome at babies that men should go out and make the money while women stay home barefoot and pregnant)."

Try not to poison the well some more with this nonsense. There's a distinction between the act of advocating or engaging in activism for men's rights, and a person being a traditionalist. They can do both at once, but that doesn't make the two concepts inherently related.


"I'm not trying to paint you as one of those people, but there is overlap in MRA arguments and what's being said here. If you disagree go Google "Mens Rights Activism".

"Those people... who advocate for the advancement of the rights of men."

I am a men's rights advocate. I'm also a women's rights advocate. Those are pretty much two essential ingredients to being a human rights advocate. Which is itself a pretty essential ingredient to being a humanist.


""Amazing truism. It doesn't negate the fact that there are differences beyond physical strength."
You're going to see in a minute why this truism is so important...."
"There is a difference between men and women when it comes to mental ability. And the difference is that on a scale of intelligence, women trend toward the middle, while men have a wider trend. Meaning that both the dumbest and the smartest tend to be men, while women trend toward the intellectual middle-ground. And this does cause an achievement gap. Among other things. It gives men a leg up in intellectually strenuous fields like those in STEM, and they're also more inclined towards taking an interest in those fields."
Any proof on that besides correlation? The fact that there are few women in STEM does not mean men are better at STEM unless you remove all other variables from the equation."

I didn't say men were "better at STEM". I said they're more often interested in STEM. And the fact that men dominate the populations of the highest and lowest intelligence, is itself causation for men more often getting the top positions in intellectually strenuous fields of work.


""No it hasn't. They are the ones who have the most government assistance, are politically represented without having to consent to being forced into war, and are the ones that actually have greater legal rights. Not just in regards to voting, but in regards to reproductive rights, and the right to not have one's genitals mutilated at birth. And there are many more disparities, like the fact that the education system actually is stacked against boys (both by human bias and by the institutional framework). Which is reflected in the fact that men are the minority of college graduates. Yet, despite the fact that you deny any inherent differences beyond physical ability, they still massively dominate STEM fields, the ones they more often take interest in and the ones that are arguably the most intellectually challenging. Funny, that."
"Some of these arguments are preposterous, others slightly more interesting (though I won't say better). First of all, sodomy is still against the law in some places technically but we have universal gay marriage. I think there may even still be anti-interracial marriage laws still on the books, though a few places dealt with that a few years ago so maybe they are all gone now. The draft laws haven't been updated because we've had an all volunteer army for 50+ years. Old outdated laws tend to sit around gathering dust. If someone tried to arrest someone for having a blow job in their own house I promise that law would be addressed. And if the draft were ever to be reinstated it would be reexamined. For all intents and purposes unless you're retired, you've never seriously worried about being drafted."

That's entirely besides the point. For one thing, that may be the circumstances now, but that's not what they were not that long ago. No matter which way you look at it, women do have a superior right to vote. They're not obligated into that system on the basis of their gender. They don't get refused basic rights and services for choosing not to participate in it.


"Now that I've wasted breath on some of the more ridiculous nonsense I'll get to the actual meat of that which is that the deck is stacked against boys but they are so awesome at STEM that they rise above that."

That's not even what I said.


"To support you cite that the majority of college graduates are girls but the majority of STEM graduates are boys. This is still, largely, a substance less argument based on correlation."

I said that "the education system actually is stacked against boys" and that this "is reflected in the fact that men are the minority of college graduates". I then said, "Yet, despite the fact that you deny any inherent differences beyond physical ability, they still massively dominate STEM fields".
Meaning the fact that there's less men than women, and still more men and STEM than women in STEM, is evidence of a difference between the sexes beyond physical ability. It's literally all right there, in plain text.


"It's actually an interesting thought that academia in general is leaving more boys behind and it's entirely possible that it's true. That doesn't necessarily prove that "the education system actually is stacked against boys (both by human bias and by the institutional framework)" but it probably is a problem that needs addressing."

I didn't say that was proof of it, I said that that was a reflection of it. I didn't explain how the education system is stacked against boys, I was listing things out.
This quote, "And there are many more disparities, like the fact that the education system actually is stacked against boys (both by human bias and by the institutional framework)", references the two ways in which the education system favors girls.


"That said... how does women graduating at a higher rate then men prove that STEM fields are not stacked against women?"

Again, you're connecting dots spatially nearby but numerically distant. That or you favor the tactic of overwhelming your adversary with endless misrepresentation and fallacy. I didn't make that argument.

If I intended to show how STEM fields aren't stacked against women, I'd have linked you to the study showing that women received a 2-1 hiring preference in STEM fields, with the exception of economists, who showed no preference.
(https://www.nsf.gov/attachments/134059/public/PNAS-2015-Williams-1418878112.pdf)


"These data points are not even related."

You're right, they're not.


"I could use it to "prove" the opposite! STEM is SOOOO stacked against women that even though there are more women in college and more women graduating college there are so little women in STEM fields. That's how stacked it is!"

i suppose that's why it's a pretty ramshackle straw-argument, innit?


""Tell me more about how the deck is stacked against women, because I haven't even gotten started yet. "
Your right, you have not! I do not yet see the beginning of an argument. I see a lot of random thoughts, opinions and unrelated data points though."

In response to my series of points regarding how the deck is not stacked against women in western society, you called them preposterous, and then tried to argue that I shouldn't care about gender-discriminating voting laws, and that circumcision is "stupid" and you essentially agree with me, but it has no bearing on the subject.

Then you say I have not presented an argument. Fascinating.


""Thirdly, "typically male" forms of intelligence are valuable not because men have been dominant and have stacked the deck in their favor, but because they are valuable for practical purposes. "
I can give you a real world example and a possibly hypothesis for how this is not necessarily true. In my field, a STEM field, most of the professors/text book authors are male. Perhaps, as you say, most of academia is stacked against boys. This might make sense if girls and boys brains worked differently. After all women are the primary educators in the lower grades (until I hit high school I was probably running 90% women... and until I hit 7th grade I was at 100% women teachers). So if women and men's brains work differently (which I actually think they might)"

Right there. "So if women and men's brains work differently (which I actually think they might)". Way back when you were drawing a jagged smiley face on your connect-the-dots puzzle, I was arguing that there is a difference between the sexes beyond physical attributes like strength and flexibility. Here you even agree with me.


"all of the teaching and testing might be in a way that's easier for girls, since girls are the ones making the lessons/tests. So back to my field. Is it not possible that it's harder for women in these classes the same way it is for men in other classes?"

Questions like these have actually been studied pretty thoroughly. Sure, there are classes the genders naturally gravitate toward. That, if you recall, was a point of mine regarding the fact that there's differences in the mind between the sexes. As I corrected you on earlier, I never tried arguing against the specific claim that STEM was stacked against women (until earlier in this comment at least). I was arguing that society wasn't stacked against women, and for men.

If two groups have opposite trends in preference between two different choices, this doesn't mean either choice is "stacked against" either group.


"And when you add in the cultural biases that make STEM intimidating for women couldn't you see that playing a part?"

No. People with a passion for something don't get held back from that thing due to nebulous "cultural biases" discouraging them from pursuing it.


"In the Seven Sisters colleges they fill their STEM classes. Often taught be women as well. But I will say that as a manager in a STEM field I find mixed groups tend to come up with more creative solutions to problems. It can be a lot of things but in my feeling male "forms" of intelligence in my field are not better but just different."

I don't see "forms" of intelligence as gendered, and I didn't argue that they were.


"Having different views on a problem is a good thing. I wish I could hire more women at my company because I value their contributions to their teams.
In conclusion your argument thinks very highly of evolution and the natural order but concludes that we reached these societal divisions in gender because they are for the best."

No, that's actually not what I think. We reached these societal divisions in gender because they've been the most working models for a long time. My advocacy actually expresses opinions and feelings very much against tradition and the biases ingrained into our evolutionary psychology. (Pause to self-reflect there.)


"With all due respect... I think that's a lot of crap. Evolution does not take place over such a short period of time and the truth is that my brain would have been useless a century ago. Nobody would have wanted me to go to school for engineering. As a man I'd have been responsible for working on the farm or some other manually labor most likely. Sure there were always scientists but in reality men worked and women did babies because people had broods and the work was very physical."

Yes, exactly what I said. We went through physical and mental dimorphism because it worked for us, because of the various pressures we had to survive. And all of this is in regards to my simple point that women and men - are different. In ways beyond just physical dimorphism, which you already agreed with. Now you're once again doodling all over the page, and mashing everything that's been spoken about into this straw-blob of conflated amalgam.


"When we switched to more people doing office jobs women kept doing babies because that's what they had been doing.... but they had been doing that because they were more suited to babies than they were to physical labor! That was your evolution! It has nothing to do with STEM. There weren't tens of thousands of yearly STEM graduates 100 years ago!"

You're the one who combined those things into this absolute mess of a strawman.


"You want it to be true that because men were better at the most valuable non-baby job 100 years ago that they are still better at the most valuable non-baby job today."

I have not said a single thing even suggesting this. You're all over the place, dude.


"Because that suits your world view. Not because you have any facts to back it up."

You don't know anything about my worldview. You responded as if the concept of making more than one point and talking about more than one thing in a single post is completely foreign to you. And now we're here, and you got this sophistic protoplasm all over my new shoes.

Thx.
James
Fri, Apr 29, 2016, 9:29am (UTC -5)
"Also, one presumes that the deck cannot be stacked against boys,"

I didn't presume it, I gave reasons for thinking so.


"because we have evolved this system and therefore it is the best. Just as this episode is the product of the whole of human evolution, and is therefore the best."

Not analogous to any of the arguments I made, or any of the positions I expressed.


"To be fair, though, I actually agree that there are specific areas, some of them very important, in which men are (if I could use that term) discriminated against."

I know, it's such a taboo. I mean, you might be called a piece of filth men's rights advocate!


"That men are drafted to fight in wars (frequently against their own interests) is tragic, though not specifically because women are not."

I didn't say they should be, I said they had a superior right to vote, which they objectively do. Meaning men should not have to either.


"However, I think that men are drafted or circumcised or whatever has little bearing on the question of why there are a greater number of male leaders than female."

Yeah, you're right, it does have little bearing on that. Nobody said it had any. What I said that has bearing on that topic, is that it's a part of our dimorphism that males more often have qualities we would describe now as beneficial for leadership, and that men more often have interest in assuming a leadership or other high-status role.


"As for women in STEM fields, look: If we are looking at anything but the very recent past, women did not have the opportunities that men had. Emmy Noether, maybe the most brilliant mathematician of the 20th century, had to work without pay for years and years and even after gaining approval from the most renowed mathematicians of the age had to lecture under Hilbert's name until 1919 because the philosophy department refused entry to a woman. University math and science departments are still frequently hostile to women -- fellow grad students who were female have indicated which male professors they simply have to avoid for fear of sexual harrassment, which limits career options. The point is not that the male dominance of STEM fields is necessarily 100% the result of discrimination, but I strongly disagree with the notion that relative historical and even recent absence of notable female figures in STEM proves that women lack potential in those fields and thus that we know that girls suck at math generally."

I never said either of those two things, or even implied them.

I said - and I repeat for the nth time now - men have a wider range of intellect than women (so if you choose one of the dumbest or the smartest people at random, you're more likely to get a man; men occupy the lowest and highest tiers), and men display interest in STEM fields more often than women. I then said that this is why there are more men in STEM fields and more male professors in STEM fields.

Sure, in the past STEM fields were arguably stacked against women. But now women receive a 2:1 hiring preference over men in STEM fields, no doubt because people want to get more women into STEM. That's not what a field stacked against a certain group of people looks like.


"Though of course Robert is right about the draft in the US in particular -- since the draft has not been invoked and is not likely to be invoked (or at least, that is how it seems to me), it has no current bearing."

Whether or not it will likely be invoked again, has no bearing on whether or not it is a system which discriminates against men and gives women a superior voting right.


"Insofar as it has historical bearing, so does the fact that women had no right to vote until the early 20th century, and any number of other limitations on women's rights which have since been amended."

Then so does the fact that most men didn't have the right to vote either, and any number of limitations on men's rights which have yet to be amended.

I'm perfectly fine with that.
Robert
Fri, Apr 29, 2016, 10:34am (UTC -5)
"Again, you're connecting dots spatially nearby but numerically distant."

It's funny... that's my opinion of much of your argument. What frustrates me is that

1) You present unproven opinions as facts : Example - "the FACT that men dominate the populations of the highest and lowest intelligence". Or at the very least if you have magical proof of this you failed to note where I asked you for some and then did not provide it.

2) And you bring together data points that are not proven to be related and tie them together : Example - "If I intended to show how STEM fields aren't stacked against women, I'd have linked you to the study showing that women received a 2-1 hiring preference in STEM fields, with the exception of economists, who showed no preference." Pro-tip, the fact that the few women that manage to graduate from a field that is stacked against them are damned good at what they do should not be shocking and is NOT evidence for the field not being stacked against them.

"In response to my series of points regarding how the deck is not stacked against women in western society, you called them preposterous, and then tried to argue that I shouldn't care about gender-discriminating voting laws, and that circumcision is "stupid" and you essentially agree with me, but it has no bearing on the subject.

Then you say I have not presented an argument. Fascinating."

I actually don't know what to say to this. It is not possible to argue that the deck is not stacked against women because boys are circumcised or because nobody has challenged an old draft law (because of it's extreme unlikeliness to ever be activated) over it's offending of modern gender sensibilities. It just doesn't have a bearing on the subject. Even if you could prove that these things indicated male discrimination (which I could possible even get behind) that doesn't say anything about female discrimination. Which is the subject. This isn't some bizarre calculus. You can't use random points of discrimination on both sides of the equation and say they cancel each other out!!! Especially when I explained why circumcision really doesn't count (parents abuse little boys and girls fairly equally under the guise of religious tolerance... this is a minor's rights issue, not a male rights issue) and I assure you that in the unlikely event we moved away from robots and back to people serving in war and we needed a draft that the gender discrimination inherent in there would be easily challenged. It's hardly "superior voting rights". That's a specious argument. This is still analogous to the ridiculous anti-sodomy laws that nobody takes off the books because nobody has challenged them. You could probably argue gender-discrimination of the draft before the Supreme Court and win....

"Right there. "So if women and men's brains work differently (which I actually think they might)". Way back when you were drawing a jagged smiley face on your connect-the-dots puzzle, I was arguing that there is a difference between the sexes beyond physical attributes like strength and flexibility. Here you even agree with me."

I do agree to an extent. I think it's much like the way a program can be ported to run on my Android and your iPhone though (apologies if you don't have an iPhone, it's just an example). I don't think it's better, just different.

"I never tried arguing against the specific claim that STEM was stacked against women (until earlier in this comment at least). I was arguing that society wasn't stacked against women, and for men."

I'm a little confused in a way that may require re-reading the entire thread, although that'd be mighty painful at this point. I'm fairly certain when you said "Meaning that both the dumbest and the smartest tend to be men, while women trend toward the intellectual middle-ground. And this does cause an achievement gap. Among other things. It gives men a leg up in intellectually strenuous fields like those in STEM, and they're also more inclined towards taking an interest in those fields. " that you were trying to say that men's tendency to have more men be on the high end of intelligent biologically is responsible for their high achievement in STEM, not any deck stacking against women. Is that not what you were trying to say?

But more to the point, STEM is the entire point of the conversation you have chosen to chime in on. At least it is to me. There are really 2 things that have gone on in this thread as far as my understanding of it, so feel free to chime in if you feel differently.

1) There has been a lot of discussion about if gender differences in the achievement gap for the average case is based on society stacking the deck against women or not.

2) There has been a lot of discussion as to why the edge cases don't exist for females (and if they do... in some cases I argued that they did).

3) And possibly as a third thing if 1) has any bearing on 2).

I'd personally like to remove physical differences from MY part of the conversation. You and I are both perfectly capable of agreeing (I think) that men are typically larger and testosterone filled which improves athletic abilities in anything where being small and flexible isn't a benefit. So discussing physical edge cases or average cases seems rather pointless. Britney Grimer could probably kick our combined ass at basketball and LeBron could beat her with ease. That's not to take away anything from female edge cases in physicality, they are quite impressive, but these are sports in which male characteristics are desirable.

So then we have the achievement gap. Well when we're talking edge cases DLPB is talking Einstein, Feynman and Kasparov. Science, science and math. STEM. Art is easier. I can find you really well known female artists and authors. Maybe not AS MANY as men, but again... women were home raising the kids, we might have missed out on some brilliant female artists and authors, right?

So then you have the basic case achievement gap. Of which you've probably got 3 possibilities. Power positions (politics and high management), earnings and (again) STEM. I actually think the earnings argument has too many factors in it to actually be good, so I'd like to scratch that one. Statistics with too many variables is painful and I feel some of the tossed around quotes on this subject are subject to bad statistics as well. I'm not saying there isn't an "earnings gap", I just don't want to get into it.

So you have that on the base and edge case women are under-represented in STEM, politics and management. I say that it's because "when you add in the cultural biases that make STEM intimidating for women couldn't you see that playing a part?" (feel free to substitute in politics or management for STEM in that sentence). You say "No. People with a passion for something don't get held back from that thing due to nebulous "cultural biases" discouraging them from pursuing it."

So you dismiss my argument outright with no facts. Just "No." If there was a female Einstein we'd have met her because she'd have found a way. Even if her Middle Eastern father refused to send her to college. Or she wasn't raised in a family where college for girls was an expectation. Or she was afraid to raise her hand in math class "www.nytimes.com/1993/11/24/technology/to-help-girls-keep-up-math-class-without-boys.html?pagewanted=all"

"My advocacy actually expresses opinions and feelings very much against tradition and the biases ingrained into our evolutionary psychology."

I'd be interested to hear any of that.

"You don't know anything about my worldview. You responded as if the concept of making more than one point and talking about more than one thing in a single post is completely foreign to you. "

You do realize you've criticized me more for making multiple points than you have defended your own... But beyond all that you seem to think that ""typically male" forms of intelligence are valuable not because men have been dominant and have stacked the deck in their favor, but because they are valuable for practical purposes. We're contrasting the form of intelligence which has allowed us to land a spacecraft on a comet, to the form of intelligence which allows us to emotionally empathize better. "

So men can land spacecraft on a comet and women are better nurturers. But my assertion that you "want it to be true that because men were better at the most valuable non-baby job 100 years ago that they are still better at the most valuable non-baby job today." is bonkers?

You spend your entire post heavily implying things and then tell me I'm bonkers for reading those things into what you say. Which is bonkers. Sure perhaps you don't specifically mean "babies" when you say "the form of intelligence which allows us to emotionally empathize better". Maybe you think that they'd make good social workers and teachers too. But you sure don't mean that women are better at landing spacecrafts on comets. But then I'm crazy for talking about STEM. Because that's clearly not implied in your post. And the fact that you can't prove that women's "form of intelligence" is less good at landing spacecrafts on comets is irrelevant. You just know there can't be any societal factors in there?

Or am I misreading things again?
James
Fri, Apr 29, 2016, 6:35pm (UTC -5)
""Again, you're connecting dots spatially nearby but numerically distant."
It's funny... that's my opinion of much of your argument. What frustrates me is that
1) You present unproven opinions as facts : Example - "the FACT that men dominate the populations of the highest and lowest intelligence". Or at the very least if you have magical proof of this you failed to note where I asked you for some and then did not provide it."

There's a lot of information available online in regards to the observation of higher degrees of variability in males. The intelligence bell-curve I've been referencing is just one aspect of that.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-how-and-why-sex-differences/201101/how-can-there-still-be-sex-difference-even-when-there-is


"2) And you bring together data points that are not proven to be related and tie them together : Example - "If I intended to show how STEM fields aren't stacked against women, I'd have linked you to the study showing that women received a 2-1 hiring preference in STEM fields, with the exception of economists, who showed no preference." Pro-tip, the fact that the few women that manage to graduate from a field that is stacked against them are damned good at what they do should not be shocking and is NOT evidence for the field not being stacked against them."

They receive a 2-1 hiring preference for having the same qualifications and experience. Which DOES indicate that the field is not being stacked against them, and that there are active efforts to bring more women into positions within the field.
https://www.nsf.gov/attachments/134059/public/PNAS-2015-Williams-1418878112.pdf (same link as before)
"The main experiment (n = 363: 182 women, 181 men) consisted of a between-subjects contest between identically qualified female and male applicants for an assistant professor-ship who shared academic credentials and lifestyles (plus the Y foil candidate). The six lifestyles studied were single without children, married without children, married with children and stay-at-home spouse, married with children and spouse working outside home, married with children and spouse working inside home, and divorced with children. Candidates’ children were always described as two preschoolers. A random stratified sampling procedure was used (SI Appendix). Our data revealed an overall strong preference for female applicants over identically qualified males who shared the same lifestyle (Fig. 1). This preference for women was observed across all three Carnegie classifications of institutions, all four fields, and both genders of faculty, with the exception of male economists (see following)."

And I agree with the authors of the paper here, that the myth of sexism being pervasive in STEM (or, more specifically to this discussion, that STEM is stacked against women) is itself one of the factors in the perpetuation of this drought of women in STEM. In fact, around the 70s-80s was the peak of women in STEM, and not long after the claims of pervasive sexism in STEM began, began the downward descent toward the current trough of women in STEM:

"Once hired, women prosper in the STEM professoriate (14, 16–18): They are remunerated, persist, and are promoted at rates roughly comparable to men’s (14) after controlling for observable characteristics, including academic productivity. However, to be hired and eventually tenured, women must first apply. Unfortunately, despite their success once hired, women apply for tenure-track positions in far smaller percentages than their male graduate student counterparts (14, 16, 18). Why might this be? One reason may be omnipresent discouraging messages about sexism in hiring, but does current evidence support such messages? Despite this question’s centrality to any informed discussion about women’s underrepresentation in academic science, only one experimental study (7) contrasted faculty ratings of the relative “hirability” of hypothetical identically qualified women and men. Results showed that both female and male psychology faculty members downgraded a hypothetical woman’s academic record compared with an identical man’s. However, this study was published 16 years ago and involved only one field, psychology, a discipline that is more than 50% female (14)."


""In response to my series of points regarding how the deck is not stacked against women in western society, you called them preposterous, and then tried to argue that I shouldn't care about gender-discriminating voting laws, and that circumcision is "stupid" and you essentially agree with me, but it has no bearing on the subject.
Then you say I have not presented an argument. Fascinating."
I actually don't know what to say to this. It is not possible to argue that the deck is not stacked against women because boys are circumcised or because nobody has challenged an old draft law (because of it's extreme unlikeliness to ever be activated) over it's offending of modern gender sensibilities. It just doesn't have a bearing on the subject. Even if you could prove that these things indicated male discrimination (which I could possible even get behind) that doesn't say anything about female discrimination. Which is the subject. This isn't some bizarre calculus. You can't use random points of discrimination on both sides of the equation and say they cancel each other out!!! Especially when I explained why circumcision really doesn't count (parents abuse little boys and girls fairly equally under the guise of religious tolerance... this is a minor's rights issue, not a male rights issue)"

It's both a minor's rights issue, and a men's rights issue. For one thing, circumcision is arguably completely absent any religious aspect except for Jewish people, and even more and more Jewish people are substituting the circumcision ritual with one that doesn't involve genital cutting. It didn't get its inception in the US because Christians still believed themselves to have an obligation to engage in the Jewish tradition, it got its inception from Puritanical values leading people to mutilate their boys to discourage masturbation. One of the people leading the push for this practice was John Harvey Kellogg, the corn flakes guy. He advocated for it to be performed without pain-reducing treatment so that contact with the penis would be psychologically associated with intense pain. He also advocated for girls to have their clitorises treated with acid to discourage sexual activity from them as well. It's a men's rights issue because, despite there being the same "justification" for treating their clitorises with acid, infant girls are protected from genital mutilation. Infant boys routinely undergo it, and have their foreskins sold to cosmetic manufacturers to be used to make various creams and lotions. All justified on baseless religious grounds, by medical bunk, and by aesthetic preference. I agree that parents should have their "right to be stupid", as you put it, cut down to size, but to say that this isn't a rights disparity faced by men on the basis of their sex is simply false. The obligation to the covenant of circumcision, for Christians, is tossed out with the rest of the Old Testament laws. Such as "don't eat shrimp" and "don't wear mixed fabrics". It doesn't have ground to stand on as far as religious background goes.

That being said, it's pretty simple why I made these points. The claim was that society's deck is stacked against women, by men, for men. I listed out facts which are evidence that the deck is not stacked for men, and if anything it's stacked against them. Which would indicate that if the deck is not working in women's favor, it's not because it's been stacked against them. It's because the deck is garbage - for everybody. Certainly not especially so for women.


"and I assure you that in the unlikely event we moved away from robots and back to people serving in war and we needed a draft that the gender discrimination inherent in there would be easily challenged. It's hardly "superior voting rights"."

Hardly? It's an objectively superior voting right.


"That's a specious argument. This is still analogous to the ridiculous anti-sodomy laws that nobody takes off the books because nobody has challenged them. You could probably argue gender-discrimination of the draft before the Supreme Court and win...."

I already pointed out that this is a rights disparity which results in men who do not participate in the offending system, being refused basic rights and public services. There are still consequences to not signing up for Selective Service, even though they stopped prosecuting for it about three decades ago. So no, it's really not analogous to an obsolete law against sodomy, because people who engage in sodomy anyways are not systemically denied the right to vote, the right to drive, and are not rendered ineligible for various public services.


""Right there. "So if women and men's brains work differently (which I actually think they might)". Way back when you were drawing a jagged smiley face on your connect-the-dots puzzle, I was arguing that there is a difference between the sexes beyond physical attributes like strength and flexibility. Here you even agree with me."
I do agree to an extent. I think it's much like the way a program can be ported to run on my Android and your iPhone though (apologies if you don't have an iPhone, it's just an example). I don't think it's better, just different."

I agree that it's not better, just different. In fact I would say that the difference itself makes the human species as a whole better. And that our differences should be cherished as the complementary parts of humanity's whole that they are, rather than denied.


""I never tried arguing against the specific claim that STEM was stacked against women (until earlier in this comment at least). I was arguing that society wasn't stacked against women, and for men."
I'm a little confused in a way that may require re-reading the entire thread, although that'd be mighty painful at this point. I'm fairly certain when you said "Meaning that both the dumbest and the smartest tend to be men, while women trend toward the intellectual middle-ground. And this does cause an achievement gap. Among other things. It gives men a leg up in intellectually strenuous fields like those in STEM, and they're also more inclined towards taking an interest in those fields. " that you were trying to say that men's tendency to have more men be on the high end of intelligent biologically is responsible for their high achievement in STEM, not any deck stacking against women. Is that not what you were trying to say?"

No, I made that point after you assumed that's what I was talking about (and responded to me as such). Before you replied to me I was making the point that there are mental differences between men and women, because I was arguing against something someone else had said earlier in the thread.


"But more to the point, STEM is the entire point of the conversation you have chosen to chime in on."

I've chimed in on a variety of points made in this thread, but before you and I started our exchange I don't believe anything I was arguing against had to do with STEM. I spoke about society as a whole (men in particular) not actually stacking the deck against women, and I spoke about men and women having mental differences as well as physical differences, rather than just physical differences as someone claimed.


"At least it is to me. There are really 2 things that have gone on in this thread as far as my understanding of it, so feel free to chime in if you feel differently.
1) There has been a lot of discussion about if gender differences in the achievement gap for the average case is based on society stacking the deck against women or not.
2) There has been a lot of discussion as to why the edge cases don't exist for females (and if they do... in some cases I argued that they did).
3) And possibly as a third thing if 1) has any bearing on 2)."

I would say this is probably a pretty accurate representation of the main points being discussed in the thread. Some of the things I chimed in on were in regards to more tangential things mentioned by people in the thread, besides those main points of discussion. In my initial post, I used quotes so it would be more apparent that I was speaking about specific things people have said.


"I'd personally like to remove physical differences from MY part of the conversation. You and I are both perfectly capable of agreeing (I think) that men are typically larger and testosterone filled which improves athletic abilities in anything where being small and flexible isn't a benefit."

Sure.


"So discussing physical edge cases or average cases seems rather pointless. Britney Grimer could probably kick our combined ass at basketball and LeBron could beat her with ease. That's not to take away anything from female edge cases in physicality, they are quite impressive, but these are sports in which male characteristics are desirable.
So then we have the achievement gap. Well when we're talking edge cases DLPB is talking Einstein, Feynman and Kasparov. Science, science and math. STEM. Art is easier. I can find you really well known female artists and authors. Maybe not AS MANY as men, but again... women were home raising the kids, we might have missed out on some brilliant female artists and authors, right?"

I can agree with that.


"So then you have the basic case achievement gap. Of which you've probably got 3 possibilities. Power positions (politics and high management), earnings and (again) STEM. I actually think the earnings argument has too many factors in it to actually be good, so I'd like to scratch that one. Statistics with too many variables is painful and I feel some of the tossed around quotes on this subject are subject to bad statistics as well. I'm not saying there isn't an "earnings gap", I just don't want to get into it."

I don't see there as being a wage-gap based on discrimination, I see there as being an earnings gap based on heavily influential factors mainly in the realm of personal choice. But we don't have to get into that.


"So you have that on the base and edge case women are under-represented in STEM, politics and management. I say that it's because "when you add in the cultural biases that make STEM intimidating for women couldn't you see that playing a part?" (feel free to substitute in politics or management for STEM in that sentence). You say "No. People with a passion for something don't get held back from that thing due to nebulous "cultural biases" discouraging them from pursuing it."
So you dismiss my argument outright with no facts. Just "No." If there was a female Einstein we'd have met her because she'd have found a way. Even if her Middle Eastern father refused to send her to college. Or she wasn't raised in a family where college for girls was an expectation. Or she was afraid to raise her hand in math class "www.nytimes.com/1993/11/24/technology/to-help-girls-keep-up-math-class-wit hout-boys.html?pagewanted=all""

I completely concede that in the past, not even a distant past, women had less freedom to pursue their interests. But nowadays that's not so much the case, and in the context of the present, I would say that yes, we have come to the degree of personal freedom that an individual's intense passion would overcome what little cultural pressures remain to inhibit them from pursuing those passions. Maybe that's naive of me to think, but I don't think so. You're right that someone raised in an intensely traditional environment has more cultural pressure to contend with than someone who wasn't. But that is increasingly becoming a rarity, and the institutions themselves have already evolved past the infinitesimal knuckle-dragging minority of people who genuinely seek to typecast the youth into traditional gender roles. You're right though, I shouldn't have dismissed your question so offhandedly like that. I apologize.


""My advocacy actually expresses opinions and feelings very much against tradition and the biases ingrained into our evolutionary psychology."
I'd be interested to hear any of that."

I would say that simply advocating for men's rights and expressing the observation that the world is not stacked against women are themselves very divergent concepts from that which our evolutionary psychology has developed a bias for. Simply recognizing men's vulnerabilities and the ways in which they as a group get the short stick, is very much against our natural intuitive biases of women being a class in need of protection and deserving of pedestalization, and men being a class of disposable, independent people who do the protecting (and harming). Just look at how the very concept of men's rights advocacy is demonized, trivialized, and ridiculed online. It's an open display of cognitive dissonance.


""You don't know anything about my worldview. You responded as if the concept of making more than one point and talking about more than one thing in a single post is completely foreign to you. "
You do realize you've criticized me more for making multiple points than you have defended your own..."

Actually, I was being critical of how you conflated and mixed points that I made and topics I was speaking on, and responded accordingly. It results in miscommunication and my words being misrepresented. I take responsibility for that, though. I could have been clearer in my initial comment as to what I was talking about, and when what I was talking about shifted to something else. So, I'll own that and apologize.


"But beyond all that you seem to think that ""typically male" forms of intelligence are valuable not because men have been dominant and have stacked the deck in their favor, but because they are valuable for practical purposes. "We're contrasting the form of intelligence which has allowed us to land a spacecraft on a comet, to the form of intelligence which allows us to emotionally empathize better."
So men can land spacecraft on a comet and women are better nurturers. But my assertion that you "want it to be true that because men were better at the most valuable non-baby job 100 years ago that they are still better at the most valuable non-baby job today." is bonkers?"

Actually, when I said "we're contrasting the form of intelligence...", I was addressing them without the gender attribution, essentially saying "we're not contrasting male and female forms of intelligence, we're contrasting this kind of intelligence and this other kind of intelligence". I made the point that men, who do typically trend towards one form of intelligence, did not come to their place of historical power through physical domination. I said they came to that place of power not by physically dominating women, but because they are more inclined towards striving for positions of leadership and high-status (this is actually a directly causal effect of having more testosterone), and because they trended towards a form of intelligence that was of great practical use for facilitating a position of leadership.
And yes, these divides still exist today, when people have more individual freedom to take what path in life they choose. Men are still more often engineers, scientists, large-scale leaders (women actually have an advantage - again, evolutionarily based - in community leadership, and this is reflected in the forms of leadership they trend towards pursuing), and hard laborers. Women still predominate schooling, community organization, professional childcare, psychology, pediatrics, etc. I wouldn't put it as "men are better at non-baby jobs", because that would be an oversimplification of what I'm pointing to: a evolutionarily rooted divergence between the genders in trends of interests, natural skills, passions, and pursuits. The interests, natural skills, passions, and pursuits men display trends in, are what led to men taking on those positions of power. Not physical dominance, which is what I was arguing against.


"You spend your entire post heavily implying things and then tell me I'm bonkers for reading those things into what you say. Which is bonkers. Sure perhaps you don't specifically mean "babies" when you say "the form of intelligence which allows us to emotionally empathize better". Maybe you think that they'd make good social workers and teachers too. But you sure don't mean that women are better at landing spacecrafts on comets."

Should I? I don't think they're worse at it either, I just see them as less often doing so because of biologically-ingrained difference trends between the sexes.


"But then I'm crazy for talking about STEM. Because that's clearly not implied in your post. And the fact that you can't prove that women's "form of intelligence" is less good at landing spacecrafts on comets is irrelevant."

I'm the one in this thread who addressed the different forms of intelligence without the attribution to gender, first of all. And yes, the form of intelligence women trend more often than men towards is, in fact, worse at landing spacecrafts on comets than the technical, mathematical forms of intelligence men more often trend towards.

In other words, the kind of intelligence that makes one an effective teacher, social worker, community organizer, or psychologist, is obviously less practical for landing spacecrafts on comets than the kind of intelligence that makes one an effective mathematician or engineer. I don't need to prove that, it's pretty self-evident.

But yeah, all of that really is irrelevant to what I actually said because I was making an argument against the claim that men maintained their historical position of social power through physical dominance.

Also, in early humanity's hunter-gathering societies, there was more often a matriarchal social structure (male-led societies took off around the agricultural revolution). Because women evolved to trend towards the form of intelligence which makes them good community leaders, and because of evolutionarily rooted biases towards the pedestalization (and often deification) of women. This is literally the same argument I made for how men didn't come to their positions of power through physical dominance, but just on the flipped side of the coin, explaining how women came to their positions of power without physical dominance.

I think I have explained everything I was saying with the utmost clarity at this point. Again, I apologize if it was the way I wrote that caused the conflation and confusion here. Hopefully now everything's clearer and I won't feel compelled to respond again.
Chrome
Sat, Apr 30, 2016, 12:04am (UTC -5)
I don't think this episode was ever trying to give any searing commentary on Earth's society's current treatment of gender. If anything, it's sort of like looking into a mirror of human societies of the early 20th century (in terms of discrimination) but gender-flipped. Overall the message is thoroughly hammy, but if you view the show as a comedy, it works on some levels (Gosh, *poor* Riker).

As for this James-Robert discussion, the crux of the argument seems to be "Things aren't really that bad for women in our society and men suffer from Affirmative Action" with Robert flatly denying this pointing out how hard women have it.

I will say this: history has taught us that the shackles of discrimination can and will be abused by those in power. Whenever it's possible, a gender neutral law is best, and when that's not possible, laws that discriminate based only on tried, tested, and verifiable reasons can work but under scrutiny.

Yes, at one point men weren't allowed to attend schools to be nurses, but women unquestionably have had it much worse and it's only now that things are getting *almost* equal.
Ivanov
Fri, May 6, 2016, 12:34pm (UTC -5)
Mixed opinion on this episode. The whole time I was thinking just LEAVE with your wives and children and settle on one of the thousands of colonies the federation owns! Why did they insist on staying on a world that's beliefs obviously conflict with their own? thats like if a federation ship crashed on a Ferengi colony and the women decided to settle down and fight for women's rights!
mik73
Mon, Sep 26, 2016, 9:24pm (UTC -5)
Re-watching Season 1 and was somewhat dreading the appearance of this episode. I remembered the main premise and plot points (specifically the 'surprise twist' relationship between Ariel and the leader of the survivors). I remembered in my youth being somewhat aghast and offended at the 'tables being turned' nature of the Matriarchal society. In 'prepping' for the show by reading Jammer's review and subsequent comments my dread was only amplified. I came close to just hitting 'delete' on the PVR and giving it a pass. But felt I owed it to nostalgia and mild case of OCD to 'complete' my S1 trip down memory lane.

So I just finished watching it, and I'm somewhat shocked to find that I wasn't as offended by the viewing as I expected. Yes, overall the quality of the script, plot contrivances and premise are largely absurd. But I find myself looking at the episode in a kinder light (or at least with more forgiveness) for technical and performance reasons.

I see some real progression in the acting choices made by the TNG crew. Riker/Frakes fares very well I thought (I'll expand on his role shortly). I also appreciated Brent Spiner's continued refinement of the 'Data' persona we will all learn to love in seasons to come (still in a groove after Datalore I suppose). Troi, Geordie and Worf also seem to be a bit more comfortable in their skins (albeit Worf has a minimal role, as usual, but his command advice to Geordie was a nice touch). Stewart doesn't have much to do other then act sick and indulge in his 'get off my lawn' persona to Wesley.

McFadden still seems to me a bit awkward, like she doesn't yet know how her character is supposed to relate to the rest of the crew. Or she to her fellow actors; particularly Picard/Stewart. I like the character, and I like McFadden as that character...but there's something holding her back from 'fitting in' quite yet.

Yar / Crosby also remains awkward, but not in a way that indicates much room for growth or improvement to be brutally honest. I don't know all the gory details of how she was feeling about her position on the show at this point, her (or the producer's) estimation of her acting abilities, or the quality of the scripts she was given. But this episode is, unfortunately, a marker to me that things just aren't working out.

To the plot itself - Surprisingly I wasn't nearly as offended or off-put by the whole gender-bender Matriarchal thing as I remembered from my viewings years ago. I think it was handled somewhat 'gingerly' by all concerned. We're still in the 80's here, so I guess there's only so far they would go to try and throw their male viewership for a loop.

Certainly it had it's share of 'men are brainless' lines and condescension sprinkled here and there to remind us of how 'backward' their society was. All in silly good humour for the most part. But overall they didn't hammer the gender vs gender thing as much as I thought they would (definitely not as ham-fisted and unbearably self-righteous as it would be if written by modern hacks).

This can be largely attributed to how Riker handles things (and is handled *cough* by the planet's leader). I was impressed that he really tried not to rock the boat with regards to their customs. It would be easy to come in guns blazing and spend the episode preaching to all in earshot how misguided they all are. All of the Away team seem to be in sync with Riker and Data's Prime Directive conclusions (even if they don't make much sense from a real world law point of view). At least we are spared the usual 'school lesson' a senior officer has to give a junior, who should know better.

Now add in the fact that both the main female leaders from this planet fall hard for the first 'strong alpha male' type that happens along, and much of the gender politics behind the plot gives way to Season 1's infamous 'sexcapades in space' routine.

Anyway, I won't defend the plot, the stricken-crew cliche, multiple countdowns, one-note planetary political system, another band of survivors refusing to leave, etc. This is definitely a Season 1 episode and lacks much of the refinement in script and plot we would see later on.

But I'll give this 2/5 stars for not beating me over the head with the women vs men thing. For growing comfort, if not growth, by the actors in their roles (Crosby excluded, alas). A fine outing for Riker in most respects. And a marked improvement in some technical aspects of lighting and camera angles (no annoying fish-eye shots of Stewart's nose for example...ugh).

Definitely better times ahead, but there was enough here to keep it off the bottom rung of Season 1's worst offenders for me.
mik73
Mon, Sep 26, 2016, 9:33pm (UTC -5)
Of course silly me I forgot Jammer uses the 4-star rating standard. So make it 1.5 / 4 stars on that scale. Not quite scraping the bottom of the barrel for the various and sundry merits I managed to dig up. :)
borusa
Wed, Oct 26, 2016, 3:34pm (UTC -5)
All the above respectfully agreed.
For me though I remember when I first saw this my jaw hit the deck at the blatant rip-off of / startling coincidence with / unconscious influence from the Anglo-German series from the 1970s: Star Maidens where a female dominated society spins into the solar system on the wayward planet Medusa.In that show two downtrodden but 'revolutionary 'men escape to Earth but are pursued by the beautiful but deadly Medusan girl troopers obeying the commands of the planet's female cougar-like leader.
Sheesh: next I'll be suggesting that the Borg are a blatant rip-off of the Cybermen from Doctor Who!
But back to Angel One-did Riker infer that the matriarchal society was evolving just from Mistress ( hehe) Ariel's relationship with Ramsey?

Also Federation Law is weird isn't it?
Granted Ramsey's lot are not bound by Starfleet's codes but surely they remain Federation Citizens.
Riker seems to acknowledge this by accepting that Beata is within her rights to murder her citizens which, in this case, means only Ariel unless Ramsey and co were granted citizenship of Angel One .
In that case though surely Riker would have to leave them to it.
Well I dunno but for sf or any genre story to succeed these internal consistencies should not be left in the plot.
Tara
Thu, Jan 19, 2017, 7:16pm (UTC -5)
The "Star Trek" shows - and sci-if shows in general, and TV in general, and nearly all world cultures in general - have had no problem with societies/depictions of societies in which makes make decisions and females simper obediently in the background (and are punished if they do otherwise).

Given the supposed "Star Trek" aim of depicting a just and peaceful future, negated by the pathetic"Star Trek TOS" reality of depicting obedient yeomen in miniskirts and an all-make command staff led by a Kirk who bangs scantily clad aliens, TNG certainly owed its audience a wake-up call about its own gross history of sexism.

This wake-up call was a bit laughable, however, given that TNG itself featured Troi in a miniskirt early on and had plenty of other sexist crap .

However, the utter hatred that this episode gets is funny. Almost no reviewer ever mentions that the men on Angel One live lives just like the TOS yeomen and the females on most sci-di worlds.

If you never had a problem watching Kirk Spock and McCoy lead the Enterprise, why have a problem with Beata and company lead Angel One in exactly the same sex-segregated manner?

That's the crux of my objection. I suppose: the episode would have been much smarter if it had mirrored a typical TOS show , just with the genders reversed. IOW: give us an all-female away mission to a woman-led planet, where males simper and please their wives and wear booty shorts, and Crusher and Yar joke about the local male beauties, and Troi seduces a male alien hottie. No need to show the males rebelling - after all, simpering miniskirted females never rebel.

It is worth mentioning that in the follow up to "Angel One" we are treated to Riker in the Holodeck getting it on with a Holobabe who does nothing but flatter him and listen to his prattle and serve his needs, then flatters the captain as well when he pops in.

Yes, Roddenberry's vision sure is..... Beautiful! Futuristic! Egalitarian!
Tara
Thu, Jan 19, 2017, 9:52pm (UTC -5)
Addendum:

In my preferred version (a standard ST outing that just happens to involve a gender-flipped sexist planet as background) I'd love to see a meta conversation between Yar and Crusher as they enjoy the scantily clad male scenery.

Yar: "Isn't it fascinating that even in an advanced society that has done away with money and conflict and which claims to a beautiful vision of the future, , one sex still rules while the other sex is still merely decorative and obedient?"

Crusher (choosing a boytoy from the luscious crowd, taking him by the hand and heading toward the nearest bedroom): "Actually it's always been surprisingly common. So much so that some people don't even question it."
Jason R.
Fri, Jan 20, 2017, 6:59am (UTC -5)
Tara, I always found it ironic that in early episodes like The Cage and The Final Frontier in TOS, women are portrayed in positions of higher authority, whereas in the later episodes they revert back to more "traditional" roles as you describe.

I don't know what went on behind the scenes, but my guess is there was tension between Rodenberry's vision and what was commercially (and culturally) feasible at the time.
Robert
Fri, Jan 20, 2017, 1:34pm (UTC -5)
Excerpt From "The Influence of Star Trek on Television, Film and Culture" :

"Although NBC executives liked the basic premise of the show, they hated all of the details, particularly the "demonic" Mr. Spock and the too strong, too intellectual female Number One. the network demanded that the cast be changed and the pilot be redone. Rodenberry, in order to keep the show alive, agreed to the network's demands, but, forced to choose between promoting something akin to a feminist agenda and promoting racial tolerance, insisted on keeping the character of Mr. Spock, whom he felt was integral to the meaning of the show."

So yes, behind the scenes stuff went on. He decided to fight one battle because he felt he'd lose both.
Tara
Fri, Jan 20, 2017, 2:52pm (UTC -5)
Thanks for the history insight.

However: I must point out that TNG started in the mid to late eighties. And it is widely reported that the early episodes (miniskirts, crying Yar, pleasing Minuet, silly "code of honor" and "Angel one", leering sex-loving Riker contrasted with nun-like uber-feminine female regulars), showed the heavy hand of a certain Roddenberry.

So... You'll have a hard time convincing me he saw women and men as equals/complements.

Fortunately., along came Ro Laren, DS9, Xena, Buffy, and Firefly to ease the pain of growing up a female wannabe-hero. :)
Robert
Fri, Jan 20, 2017, 3:27pm (UTC -5)
"So... You'll have a hard time convincing me he saw women and men as equals/complements. "

He was a progressive, feminist leaning man in the 60s. But he was still a product of the 60s!
Tara
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 2:14am (UTC -5)
It's actually not hard to identify that woman and men are equal. It wasn't hard in the 1960's (women's lib was already a thing) and it really really wasn't hard in the late 80s. I think girl power tv shows ( Murphy Brown, Cagney and Lacey,?) were already on the air. So a feminist tv guy with vast power could surely make a feminist tv show. Roddenberry make a sexist one - twice.

TNG was problematic enough to seem annoyingly anachronistic to me in 1987 - by which I mean it seemed a throwback to an older more gender-stupid era, rather than a throw-forward to 24th century enlightenment. OTOH the Roddenberry-free Treks - Ds9 and voy - were pretty egalitarian. (Yet they were presumably also created and directed by men of a certain age. )

You seem to be setting the bar for feminism about one inch below the ground to make sure ole Rod can be said to have hobbled over it.
Robert
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 11:40am (UTC -5)
Eh, we're coming at how full the glass is from different directions. I'm setting the bar really, really, really low for the average 1960 Hollywood male and then saying Gene was decently above that!

Murphy and C&L were created by WOMEN. And Rick Berman was born 25 years after Gene. Gene Roddenberry was born in the 20s.

I'm not excusing the sexism in Star Trek. I find certain episodes (like Turnabout Intruder) to be unwatchable because of it. But saying that Gene wasn't didn't lean feminist for a man of the 1920s (he was born around the time women were first allowed to vote) is revisionist history under a modern lens.

Uhura was a career military woman. His pilot had a female first officer. TNG had a female security chief and CMO. Yes, there was a lot of sexist crap in there... but stuff like Star Trek helped convince people that women should be equal.

My point is that history (and heroes) is often more complicated than people give it credit for. It's like people today vilifying politicians that, in the 90s, were for civil unions as barbarians. If Americans didn't become comfortable with civil unions they'd never have become comfortable with marriage. It was a process. And Gene was part of the process for sexism as well, on the side of good, not evil.
Robert
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 11:47am (UTC -5)
"TNG was problematic enough to seem annoyingly anachronistic to me in 1987 - by which I mean it seemed a throwback to an older more gender-stupid era, rather than a throw-forward to 24th century enlightenment."

Just wanted one more comment, on this in particular. TNG was an odd mix of both forward thinking and backwards thinking. It's interesting to think, but a lot of TNG ideas came from the failed ST Phase 2 and Maurice Hurley (who had a lot of power in early TNG) was a sexist bastard if there ever was one.

So I think TNG was a bit funny because having a woman CMO/Security Chief was really progressive but having that Security Chief cry in the penalty box was really regressive. To think that TNG was less than 10 years out from fare like X-Files and Xena though is a little mind blowing.
Jason R.
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 1:14pm (UTC -5)
Robert, you make alot of good points. I do recall reading about an interview with Whoopie Goldberg where she made this comment to the effect of (paraphrasing) "Look Ma, there's a coloured woman on TV and she aib't no maid!"

One should not lose sight of how progressive Star Trek could be for its time. For a man born in the 1920's, Gene deserved much credit, even if he fell short sometimes.

As for STNG, I have to say that I didn't (and still don't) find much that is overtly sexist about it. Troi's inclusion (and her clothing) was no doubt partly to cater to prurient sentiments, but given that she sat to the Captain's left on the bridge (and given the apparent reverence shown to her role as counsellor and the time devoted to her character in season 1) I'd say that's a mixed bag at worst. Women were shown to have high ranks in the command staff (Chief medical officer, head of security, counsellor) and were not relegated to lowly roles. Tasha never wore a miniskirt, nor did Dr. Crusher.

Regarding Tasha crying - I hate to break it to you, but women do seem to cry more readily than men. That's been my experience anyway. In a 21st Century context, you may not like it or you may wish it weren't so, but it is. Now maybe that's a cultural thing that should resolve in a truly equal society - but maybe not. Believing the sexes to be equal is not the same as believing them to be *the same*, not in the 21st century or the 24th. Unlike in TOS the Next Gen era shows always espoused equality of the sexes period full stop even if some of the aesthetic choices could be taken as sexist from a certain point of view.

Actually one of the few things I enjoyed about this episode was Riker's scenes concerning the matriarchy. He isn't threatened by powerful women at all. I thought this was intriguing and speaks to how different Riker is than the typical alpha male womanizer. As I interpret it, Riker's attitude reflects a post feminist outlook. He doesn't feel threatened because the battle of the sexes was never a factor in his universe. His response is much like Uhura's to Lincoln's comment in the Savage Curtain. It's as if to say: "why would I be offended?" It is one of bemusement and curiosity. This is not personal to him.

Incidentally, I also find it amusing how many people take Riker to task for daring to have sex with a head of state. But maybe sex isn't such a big deal for 24th century humans? Maybe for Riker sex is no more a big deal than breaking bread? The idea that not just technology, but *people* could be differebt in the 24th century is one of those things STNG struggled with, isn't it?
Robert
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 2:38pm (UTC -5)
I don't actually have a problem with women crying. I don't personally even take crying as a sign of weakness. As a 30 something year old man if my kids ask me (and they have) or anyone else ask me for that matter, when the last time I cried I have no problem telling them (and it was recently).

I personally think being concerned with projecting a macho image is far weaker than crying. That said... my issue isn't that Tasha cried, it's just that she's the security chief. Crying to her captain because she might die on a mission just seemed really off to me. I just felt that a tough military officer wouldn't be crying about THAT. If it had been Crusher or Troi, fine. Or if she was crying about losing someone she loved... but you have this supposedly tough as nails Chief of Security and one of the first things you want to show us about her on a new show is her crying because she's scared of dying on an away mission? Meh... I just didn't care for it.

As for the Riker thing... according to Janeway Riker needs Picard's and Crusher's permission to have sex with aliens :P
Outsider65
Sat, Mar 4, 2017, 2:51am (UTC -5)
"according to Janeway Riker needs Picard's and Crusher's permission to have sex with aliens"

That's hilarious. I can't imagine our stuffy captain feeling too comfortable having that conversation with his first officer, especially considering he probably has to have it very frequently, as well. Maybe there's a form to fill out beforehand, or afterward. Imagine the amount paperwork he needs to do on Riker. Some poor secretary back at Starfleet probably has a lot of questions about what the Enterprise is up to out there.
Linda
Wed, Mar 8, 2017, 1:07pm (UTC -5)
DLPB: "Back in the real world, women are outnumbered at MENSA, and in lists of geniuses, and chess champions, and at virtually all sports and human endeavours. Not sexism, not "glass ceiling", just stark reality that men and women are different."

Up until now, I never considered: maybe the superior intellect is developing cloning so that they can reproduce without those pesky, inferior females. Then again, the superior intellect is also developing Artificial Intelligence, which is growing so fast that AI might one day decide that the entire human species is unnecessary. Not to worry though, the superior intellect at Cern might succeed in recreating the original big bang, and everyone and everything will get the ultimate reboot.

Got to admit, sometimes I wish that those with superior intellect weren’t so, umm, gosh, what’s the word that I’m looking for . . .

As for this episode, it was hardly the worst of season one’s offerings. And if it gets people thinking and discussing our current society, it’s a better episode than I originally thought.
tara
Wed, Mar 8, 2017, 7:31pm (UTC -5)
DLPB: " Back in the real world, women are outnumbered at MENSA, and in lists of geniuses, and chess champions, and at virtually all sports and human endeavours. Not sexism, not "glass ceiling", just stark reality that men and women are different. No amount of socialist propaganda can change it."

While I;ve agree with some of DLPB's opinions on other subjects, on this one he (I assume it's a he, though I could be wrong) makes me laugh. It is funny to see someone making sweeping pronouncements about intelligence, while revealing his own deficits in that sphere. He overlooks the confounding variables that screw up any attempt to judge male vs female intelligence by such means as "MENSA demographics" and "who's got the most Nobel prizes" and "which sex is most likely to produce a chess grand master." And if he can't figger it out, I won't bother to clue him in.

As far as athletic achievement, I concur. Human males are on average taller and stronger and faster than human females.
Chrome
Wed, Mar 8, 2017, 9:34pm (UTC -5)
Meanwhile, if you look at percentage of college graduates in the U.S., you'll see the gender numbers in dead heat. Indeed, female graduates numerically lead over male graduates in some of the younger age brackets. (see U.S. Census Beareau)

So, just throwing out the names of a few elite organizations is really not an accurate measure of intelligence in the general population.

Also, I laughed out loud at some of the recent comments here. I'd love to see more contributions like Linda and Tara's on this board.
DLPB
Mon, Mar 13, 2017, 7:28pm (UTC -5)
Except "college graduates" is a flimsy and loaded statistics. It doesn't tell you anything about what those people graduated in. You let me know when women are competing equally with men in chess, darts, snooker, and tennis, yeah? And when inventors and scientists are generally women, as opposed to overwhelmingly male. Good luck!

@linda

You are correct. It could well be that our days as a species are numbered in favour of something more intelligent - but I get the feeling it will be via the tampering with genetics.
Victor
Mon, Mar 13, 2017, 7:44pm (UTC -5)
*Calls college graduate statistics into question for measure of intelligence then asks for tennis performance instead."

Hi-larious!
Linda
Tue, Mar 14, 2017, 8:14am (UTC -5)
Victor, obviously, one day a (male) tennis player/scientist will alter human genetics, dooming mankind forever. Sad.
DLPB
Wed, Mar 15, 2017, 3:57am (UTC -5)
Clearly my comment went over your head, Linda. I am talking about genetic engineering - Designer babies. We're well on our way to that kind of future. That's if we don't kill ourselves beforehand. The signs don't bode too well for us, to be honest.

@Victor

I was merely bringing up a sport. I could have brought up virtually all of them, since men at dominating - and will continue to dominate - at all of them. I didn't bring up tennis or any physical sport to show male superiority in intelligence. HIL-AR-IOUS :P For that, you should look to MENSA, chess, inventors, scientists, and even influential writers. You don't have a leg to stand on. Facts don't care about your feelings. Nor do I.
Tara
Wed, Mar 15, 2017, 9:41am (UTC -5)
DLPB is clearly unaware of the vicious trickery Western women have been employing for the past half-century, to overturn the natural order of things - our genetic inferiority - through unfair means.

For thousands of years, it was a Known Fact that women are too stupid to attend university. Medicine was especially closed to them: it drew on a long tradition of strenuous study and noble sacrifice and long hours. Women were not only to stupid to understand the application of leeches and the compounding of lead pills,, they lacked the mental toughness and physical stamina for training. The poor deara were also too fragile to vote, too concerned with doilies and dollies to be educable, and incapable of firing a gun or flying a plane for the military. Marathon running was a danger to their fertility. And so on. The most brilliant minds - male, and trustworthy! - said so.

In just a hundred years, my sex has overcome all these fearsome genetic handicaps. We went from "too stupid for Harvard" to summa cum laude; from "too fragile for anything but nursing" to being at least half the graduating class of every medical school. We have figured out how to quit fainting all the time. Clearly - if the trend keeps up! - we are on a path to dominating the west.

The explanation for our miraculous mental and physical upgrade is obvious. Just ask Julian Bashir how he did it...

For proof: look at the women of lands not favored with rich western techniques of genetic upgrades! In the middle east (except westernized Israel), across Africa, in most of rural Asia and South America, females remain just as stupid and sheeplike as ever. They obey their husbands and fathers, spend their days slaving over stoves and children, put up with being treated like dogs or worse... Clearly that is all they're capable of! Statistics proves that the literacy rate for females is always less than that of males in undeveloped countries, and a woman always is paid a lower salary than a man who does the same job. What more evidence do we need of their natural inferiority?

Case closed!
Linda
Wed, Mar 15, 2017, 6:38pm (UTC -5)
Clearly my comment went over your head, DLPB. I am also talking about genetic engineering.
DLPB
Wed, Apr 12, 2017, 8:45pm (UTC -5)
I don't buy those excuses, Tara. As I said before, facts don't care about your feelings. And facts are plain to see. Not excuses.
Del_Duio
Thu, Apr 13, 2017, 10:22am (UTC -5)
CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?
MMM
Sat, Jul 8, 2017, 2:40pm (UTC -5)
The sad thing is this premise could have been really good.

Star Trek always went about issues by switching things around from "alien" perspective that were very transparent.

In the original series, in Let That Be Your Last Battlefield, everybody knew what the whiteontheleftblackontheright and the whiteontherightblackontheleft guys represented. Cheesy and heavy-handed, yes, but not a bad episode, a good message at least and something that needed to be done.

And in Angel One we know that the women stand for human men and the men stand for human women. But this didn't come across half so well as LTBYLB. Not sure why. But Trek has ALWAYS been better with race issues than sex issue. Sisko was never The Black Guy Captain. But Janeway was often The Chick Girl Captain. Let That Be Your Last Battlefield was worthy, Turnabout Intruder was horrendous.

Lots of earth species have females who are on average bigger and stronger. Why not aliens too? This could have been as rich to explode as any episode. If only, if only.
MadBaggins
Wed, Jul 12, 2017, 1:19pm (UTC -5)
You've got to wonder why backwards morons like DLPB even watch Star Trek. What could they possibly get out of it?
Daniel B
Mon, Jul 17, 2017, 1:07am (UTC -5)
{ You let me know when women are competing equally with men in chess }

As someone who plays a large number of board games competitively, I can say with a large amount of certain that that doesn't have a damn thing to do with intelligence. It has to do with a particular type of thinking, but it has more than anything to do with attitudes towards competition.
Derek
Thu, Oct 26, 2017, 5:07pm (UTC -5)
I can be very critical of a lot of episodes too, but for me I don't understand why this one has such a bad reputation. Yes, lots of holes in the story. Many holes. But I still enjoyed it and would give it 3 stars.
Sarjenka's Little Brother
Thu, Dec 14, 2017, 7:06pm (UTC -5)
Clearly, not a good "Trek" outing. I don't dislike it as much as many fans do, but it's a bottom 25% episode. I'm actually not against the idea of episode in general. But the execution was Season 1 bad. Still, I was sufficiently entertained despite the many flaws discussed above.

I'll talk about Troi in this episode:

I think she stepped up her game a bit at the beginning. But toward the end, they wrote two really dumb things for her:

One: On the planet, she was practically dismissive about the Romulan situation. The very second the word "Romulan" comes into play, the drama on Angel One takes a back seat. PRIORITIES!

Two: At the very end, after they've cleared up the Angel One situation but still recovering from the virus, they warp off to confront the Romulans. And she's smiling and goofin'. Please. They are about to warp off to a much higher-stakes situation. It's not the moment for mirthy shared smiles.

Oh well, Troi will learn in about five more seasons to take these Romulans seriously.

P.S. -- I did LOL when Data was playing with the perfume bottle and then after the crew leaves the room, "Trent" comes in and gives himself a couple of squirts. Just a weird little moment that was cheesy but funny.

P.S. Two -- This show would have been dramatically more interesting if "Trent" was part of the package for a roll in the hay with Beata. I can legitimately see her insisting that Riker include her little man in the sexcapade. Alas, it was still the '80s.
Sarjenka's Little Brother
Thu, Dec 21, 2017, 12:24am (UTC -5)
Ugh. I left out an important word:

One: On the planet, she was practically dismissive about the Romulan situation. The very second the word "Romulan" comes into play, the drama on Angel One SHOULD take a back seat. PRIORITIES!

(In other words, it was unprofessional of her to get so wrapped up in the away mission that she missed the bigger picture).
Norvo
Sun, Dec 31, 2017, 1:51pm (UTC -5)
Absolutely, unforgivably terrible. One does wonder if "Beata the Elected One" was named after Bea Arthur, by then known for playing strong feminist types like Maude and Dorothy on Golden Girls.
Prince of Space
Sat, Mar 17, 2018, 4:27am (UTC -5)
A lot of grandiose blathering and holier-than-thou diatribes by a motley cast of self-appointed critical thinkers.

The episode wasn’t that great, either.
JerJer
Wed, May 9, 2018, 12:18am (UTC -5)
The more times I see the holodeck in episodes, the stupider it seems.

It's a small room. How can you ski down a mountain in it?
mephyve
Sat, May 19, 2018, 5:25pm (UTC -5)
If the guy had pushed the button and disentegrated the rebels this would have been the best episode of season 1. Instead we got meh.
Rahul
Fri, May 25, 2018, 11:27pm (UTC -5)
Almost as bad as "Code of Honor", this episode is full of stupid cliches, anachronistic thinking, a mess of plots -- not sure how something like this gets written and produced but it seemed to happen from time to time in Trek (the pressure to crank out episodes perhaps?) Have to be disappointed at Riker's unprofessionalism as he gets it on with the Elected One -- this is the point at which the episode *really* started to head south.

"Angel One" doesn't make any valid comment on having a female-dominated society and doesn't do a proper PD examination any justice. So much time is wasted with the virus on the ship and as far as I can tell the only need for this subplot is to delay the forced beam-up of Ramsey & co. Some cheap humor comes out of Worf's sneezes and Picard's suffering (can barely say "Engage" etc.)

So how is Ramsey some kind of heretic? He hardly acted like the type -- no bold speeches of equality etc. Seems Riker jumps to conclusions when all Ramsey has is a small band of followers (Riker says something like waves of dissent rippling through the planet). And so Ramsey doesn't want to leave, Riker gives a speech which does ring somewhat true (martyrs etc.) and voila! the execution is halted and Crusher finds a cure and the ship can get to the neutral zone! This is just too simplistic and hardly believable.

One tidbit I liked is Geordi getting to sit in Picard's chair -- Burton displays well the awe he has for the position and needs help on delegating from Worf!

1 star for "Angel One" -- too much goofiness, idiocy here. No point trying to pick it all apart -- just a very poorly thought out and structured episode. Trying to throw in all kinds of "timers" like the need to get to the neutral zone, the virus, the countdown to execution...just got silly. The episode never adequately dealt with any of the premises it presented be they the virus, the female-dominated society, or Ramsey's people.
Penn Gwyn
Sat, Nov 17, 2018, 12:08am (UTC -5)
I don't recall seeing this episode when the series was originally broadcast...

A lot of the comments are thoroughly refuted in Virginia Woolf's essay "A Room of One's Own". A few comments are not; I have seen material elsewhere that claims female maximums in physical performance have been catching up to male records in recent years, since feminine fashions have stopped restricting things like breathing...

My wife dubbed 'Justice' as 'Plane of the Wanton Joggers' :)
Lara Spenzak
Fri, Dec 14, 2018, 11:05am (UTC -5)
"Angel One" has a bold, interesting premise and a great deal of potential. But its undermined by the sexual relation between Riker and the Beata, the leader of Angel One, a world ruled by women and where men are acknowledged not to be as smart or capable. Since IT IS Troi who is addressing Beata and speaking on behalf of the Enterprise, it would have made more sense for Beata and Troi to have seduced each other. Or perhaps Tasha who Beata would have recognized as a strong, female authority. But no, we get the same old, "boy meets girl" routine.
Peter G.
Fri, Dec 14, 2018, 11:45am (UTC -5)
@ Lara,

Although when seen as a "boy meets girl" episode it could seem routine and tired, I think the way they get there is meant to be very progressive and novel. In a society where men are regarded as inferior, Beata's interest in Riker comes from her surprise and admiration that a man can actually be competent. As far as taking old tropes to new places, I'd say that ranks high in terms of completely reversing the well-worn scenario of a woman surprising everyone by actually being smart and capable. From that standpoint I'd give the plot a pass, even though it doesn't date very well. That being said it's just not an interesting episode...
Lara Spenzak
Fri, Dec 14, 2018, 2:06pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G.

I think it would have been progressive and novel if Beata had the fling with Troi or Tasha instead of Riker. That would have been more natural to me. The society of Angel One established that women can be in power. We don't need men running everything for us. The sexual encounter with Riker makes Beata take a submissive position and veers away from what her society has achieved. The episode ends with the notion that women "need" men and that was disappointing.
Polly
Fri, Jan 25, 2019, 12:29am (UTC -5)
Gotta love watching Riker mansplaining evolution and revolution to the head of state of a functional society. One of TNG's funnier episodes.
Trent
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 7:23pm (UTC -5)
An underrated episode, the way "Angel One's" A and B plots mesh is often overlooked.

In the A plot, a sexist, matriarchal society oppresses men, some of whom they wish to execute. An inversion of contemporary patriarchy, the episode sees the Federation teaching this alien society a very specific lesson: social conservatives historically tend to lash out more when they've already lost, and when society has already started to move beyond their outmoded traditions. Suppressing these changes with violence is a losing battle, the episode says, and fuels only hate and violence. It's essentially Spock's message in TOS' "Mirror Mirror ".

Riker lays this all out in his last act monologue: "Death has been known to stop revolutions. But I suspect it's not a revolution that Angel One is hoping to stop. It's evolution. Mister Ramsey and the Odin survivors did not initiate the waves of dissent that are rippling through your planet. Their presence here merely reinforced the change in attitudes between men and women that was already well under way. They became symbols around whom others who shared their views could gather. You may eliminate the symbols, but that does not mean death to the issues which those symbols represent. No power in the universe can hope to stop the force of evolution. Be warned. Martyrs cannot be silenced."

It's the kind of simultaneously smug, self-righteous, but TOTALLY AWESOME TREK MONOLOGUE Picard and Kirk usually get.

As this is all unfolding, the episode's B plot presents the inverse. A lowly virus, scented like pleasant perfumes (and so symbolically linked to what traditionalists deem effeminate, the weak or the Feminine), perfumes the alien planet's men are expected to wear for their women, is knocking Enterprise's crew members out. Significantly, the episode focuses on the debilitated male crew members, and their masculinity (Worf's hyper-masculinity, Picard and Geordi's statuses as alpha males in charge of the entire ship etc). As these manly men are being neutered and taken down a peg - Picard symbolically loses his voice and is unable to issue commands - Crusher meanwhile cures everyone and saves the ship. Her YOU GO GIRL! subplot echoes the A plot's conclusion: sexist men are ultimately going to have face up to the powers of women.

You may find this a trite message, but as you can see from many comments above, here in the 21st century we still have people essentializing women and using various "appeal to nature" fallacies to belittle and/or consign women to various strictures. Such people typically appeal to insignificantly small time frames to make their points ("There are less female scientists!" they say, whilst ignoring that women were barred from primary, secondary and higher education for much of history, and worse), and neglect the countless willfully made laws and choices which historically oppressed, often violently, women, particularly after the agricultural revolution (when control of a woman's offspring became interlinked with a control of landed property). Social conservatives typically defend all this by rewriting such things as "beneficial to women" or "men making sacrifices on their behalf" (yes, you silly women, not being able to vote, own land, enter politics, and to be legally raped, stoned etc, was all in your best interest!). The "women are weaker" argument is typically rolled out to bolster this (despite women having stronger immune systems, longevity and better at surviving illnesses etc), whilst simultaneously ignoring that ancient mate selection oft violently selected for docility and smaller, manageable sizes (to make rape easier; the penis itself is shaped to remove the semen of male competitors).

Regardless, more women than men are now graduating from universities, and in many countries, women in what is oft deemed "top tier" and/or "traditionally masculine" fields (engineering, medicine etc) are scheduled to soon outnumber men (or already do). And of course more and more men are entering traditionally female roles (nursing, stay at home dads etc). This annoys a certain subset of people, but such blurring will continue.

Anyway, "Angel One" has a terrible reputation amongst Trek fans, but it's always been one of my favorites. I like it because it feels like a TOS episode - very bold, very stylized, very larger-than-life and Riker becomes Kirk at one point, when he seduces a local alien - and because it does something which TNG only consistently did in season 1: it took us to an alien monoculture defined by an absurd twist on our contemporary world. This is TOS-styled world-building of a variety TNG, sadly, quickly believed itself too "sophisticated" to do. But there are unique pleasures to be had in "Angel One's" PLANET OF THE WEEK style, and for fans starved of it, TNG season 1 is a goofy treasure trove.

Other good things about this episode: Troi gets some decent scenes, Riker in his "effeminate" "man-slave" "nipple revealing" clothes is all kinds of genius, and the episode features some great interior set dressing and lighting.

Incidentally, some of the criticisms above accuse the "revolutionaries" in the episode of "never stating their case" or "explaining what they're revolting against", but the episode makes it clear that they're not revolutionaries. They're normal people who simply want to quietly live their lives as they wish. They're categorized as "revolutionaries" and "dissident" by the state in order to rubber stamp suppression.
William B
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 10:07pm (UTC -5)
@Trent, I'm really enjoying your takes on these early episodes. I like the connection you draw with the disease subplot, which always seemed pointless to me.

One thing about this episode is that one of the arguable problems with it is that the gender inversion on the planet leads to Riker giving the smug speech in which the man gets to prove his superior, far-sighted intellect over the emotional woman, but this is mostly only a problem if we are unable to buy into the post-sexism conception of the TNG crew. I criticized the episode on those grounds, but really I think I didn't emotionally personally have problem believing that the crew was enough beyond significant gender discrimination that Riker's smugness was from a perspective that equality of sexes is superior to one aggressive (and insecure) gender dominating, rather than say a man telling off a woman why women being in charge is doomed, which the ep is criticized for. The funny thing is that giving Riker the speech is appropriate in one frame of the story - - he represents their terror, an enlightened male - - but inappropriate in another, because for the audience I think giving the evolution speech to Yar or Troi would have been better, to emphasize that the gender equality in Starfleet was the real deal and that they knew it.

There's something interesting about Riker as both sex object and sexual conquerer which is awkward but maybe valuable. It feels accurate to me that Beatta would find Riker's sexual aggressiveness exotic and charming, as long as she believes that he never will represent a threat to her. Riker's secure masculinity is revealed by his willingness to be objectified and exposed when it does not genuinely offend his moral codes, which allows Beata to feel in control, but which doesn't prevent him from stepping up when lives are on the line. In that respect he is paralleled with Data, who is the ep's unsung hero, strong and steady and with no ego, while Yar and Troi step into leadership roles. I think what we are seeing about true strength in the episode is a willingness to appear strong or weak, to command or to follow, as the situation calls for it, without needing to obsess over managing all possible threats via harsh tactics. Probably the Enterprise's mission to show the flag at the Neutral Zone to remind the Romulans that the Federation will defend while planning to avoid any conflict (and, with Data in command, additionally waiting as long as possible to even deal with the potential problem rather than reacting with panic). Again we have to accept as premise that the Federation *is* the enlightened organization so that the statement that the Federation will fight is a gentle reminder to the aggressive Romulans rather than a macho power play from an insecure Federation unsure of its continued dominance.

I guess I still don't think the episode "works" or that the gender inversion on Angel One tells us much in practice. I get that the inversion is supposed to show how ridiculous sex discrimination is by showing how bad it is if the shoe is on the other foot, but it still feels to me like preaching to the choir about whether sexism is bad, and I don't know if it gains much more insight by reversing who the bigger/stronger ones are. But your points in the episode's favour intrigue me.
Etou
Tue, Mar 26, 2019, 3:59pm (UTC -5)
Dr. Crusher being seemingly immune to the virus doesn't really make sense. After all, she is the person having direct skin contact with infected all the time and it spreads pretty aggressively.
Springy
Wed, Jul 24, 2019, 5:37pm (UTC -5)
Not good. Lots of silly, though I enjoyed Yar and Troi laughing at Riker.

Lots of stuff about smells, and what you "take in." And stopping things. Stop the virus (for now) with isolation till you figure out how to kill it; stop the spread of uppity males by killing them until you figure out maybe isolation will work; go stop the Romulans with your big powerful ship.

Big people, threatened by a tiny virus. Big women, threatened by tiny men. But small outpost threatened by big bad Romulans. Small Angel One planet feeling threatened by big bad powerful Enterprise. Little Trent feeling threatened by Big Riker.

Moral of the ep: Size doesn't matter.

Just glad to put this one in the rearview mirror.
Carmen
Wed, Nov 27, 2019, 8:11am (UTC -5)
I find a tragic species of fun in noting all the ways that Angel One’s sexism is mirrored in both the Trek world and the meta world and the real world.

First: the male citizens on Angel zone serve the same purpose as the Yeoman Bettys did on Kirk’s Enterprise: they wore provocative clothing and existed to please the Beatas and Kirks. Like thebmen of Angel One, the Bettys of the Enterprise seemed pleased with their short skirts and flirtatious superiors and poor representation in Starfleet’s power structure.

Second: the Yeoman Betty characters of TOS existed to titillate amen please the important audience (male) on their couches at home. The female audience on their couches at home accepted seeing other women portrayed in this way. It was (and to some degree still is) the norm in media entertainment.

Third: the actresses who were trying to make a living in Hollywood suffered the treatment that Angel One men probably got. Want the job? The men who hold power will tell you how you must look, dress, titillate, and who you must blow to get it - and they’ll pat your ass as you leave. Not much you can do about it.

Outside of TV-world, the same sexual discrimination exists in many companies - and for those who think its anthing of the past in America, I’m sad to report that it isn’t. I learned that as a medical resident in the late 1990’s. It only takes a few men in power, and a silent apathetic majority, to ensure that harassment remains endemic. The power structure in many professions ensures that those at the top can and do blacklist any “troublemakers” who bring charges or buck the system. (Try getting a second medical residency after being kicked out of the first one for “insubordination” and whatever false charges the boss wants to put in your file. One bad word from your former residency chair and you find yourself permanently unemployable and still 200K in debt from med school. Same is true at the other end of the educational spectrum: if you’re a factory worker in a one-factory town, or a hotel maid living paycheck to paycheck.)

Furthermore, the Angel One situation is mirrored in politics, legislating and body of law, policing, etc. it is the norm rather than the exception.

And finally we see the same attitudes displayed in microcosm in some of the comments above.

I haven’t seen “Angel One” since it’s first airing, when I was a young woman. I found it brave - though I noticed the irony and hypocrisy of ST: TNG making an anti-misogyny episode when Season One gave us an Enterprise that was rife with Yeoman Bettys, a crying Yar, the care-taking female officers outside the command structure, ‘adoring wife of great scientist’ characters, Crusher/Troi and Crusher/Ogawa conversing solely about romance, and so on. ST:TNG (especially in season one, but throughout its run) preached a 24th century philosophy of gender equality, while displaying a twentieth-century philosophy, and twentieth-century pandering to male viewers.

In spite of that - and largely because a starving woman is grateful for crumbs - I appreciated the episode’s effort.

I cannot think of any other mainstream TV episode or book or movie - in or out of the Star Trek universe - that calls on the male audience to imagine themselves in the subservient position that they have enjoyed seeing women (TV characters and not) prance about in.

It was a disappointment that neither the review nor the first batch of comments (yeah, I quit at DLPB’s opus) gave the episode any plaudits for this. In fact, the violent distaste and refusal to credit an episode that tried to say something important has been.... interesting to read.

I wonder: how many commenters here have had no discomfort watching the decorative prancing of the TOS Yeoman Bettys and their universal sisters in entertainment and gaming - but found themselves all annoyed and upset by the “trite and awful stupidity” of the society shown in “Angel One”?

And now, gentlemen: back to your usually scheduled entertainment.
Booming
Wed, Nov 27, 2019, 8:27am (UTC -5)
@ Carmen
Don't worry, we all stop reading at DLPB's... opuses. :D
I must admit, though that I laughed quite a bit rereading Jammer's review.
explodes... *chuckles*
Chrome
Wed, Nov 27, 2019, 8:59am (UTC -5)
I’m confused, who was a “Yeoman Betty” in season one of TNG? Carmen, I agree that this episode was a pretty refreshing gender reversal for its time and I enjoy some aspects of it for that reason. I’d like to think things have changed in gender politics in the modern workplace — but maybe not so much?
Carmen
Wed, Nov 27, 2019, 11:19am (UTC -5)
Chrome:
As I remember, in Season One the male Starfleet uniform required long pants, while the female Starfleet uniform required short skirts. Every Starfleet woman, presumably from Admiral on down, was required by Starfleet’s ruling elite to dress for sex appeal. Must have been embarrassing while crawling through Jeffries tubes, fighting aliens, or going on away missions in windy climates.
Chrome
Wed, Nov 27, 2019, 11:44am (UTC -5)
@Carmen

I’ll give you Troi, as she was obviously used as eye candy. But even then, I don’t know, Troi’s supposed to be dressing as an alien - as in this is NOT the way humans behave in TNG. So Troi is hardly an exemplar for standard females. But Tasha, Crusher and all the others named characters wore pants IIRC.
Peter G.
Wed, Nov 27, 2019, 1:58pm (UTC -5)
I'm always torn about the optics of how women (or men, I guess) are dressed in media. There is no doubt that the visual aspect of portraying people in TV and film can be for eye-candy purposes. However in the current liberal society there is also a very strong movement whose thesis is "don't comment on how women dress, the problem is the men's eyes." And I personally know quite a few ultra-liberal people who would vehemently defend dressing scantily with the proviso that if men find this distracting it's their problem, since if women find this comfortable or whatver else they should dress how they like. On the other hand we can consider the more classical version of the feminist argument, which is that women being portrayed in showy clothes is exploitative.

I therefore find it very difficult to parse the context of a 1987 TV show where Troi is wearing a dress rather than a military outfit. Is this exploitative eye-candy? Is it a progressive showing of women's liberation in dressing however they want? Is having military women right alongside one woman in a dress saying that they can fill both 'masculine' and 'feminine' roles (a progressive argument)? Or is it wrong of us to comment on anything short of a castsuit like Seven's?

I know that if you looked at photos of females in the fashion industry, TV, theatre, or even just arts culture and started to suggest that showy clothes is patriarchy exploitation those people would be all over you like a ton of bricks. In conclusion, I am very wary of accepting any one framing of this issue as being authoritative because TBH I think liberal society is *very* divided on this issue right now.
Carmen
Wed, Nov 27, 2019, 2:23pm (UTC -5)
You asked who the Yeoman Bettys were. I answered. You agreed that “you’ll give me Troi”.

Is there need for more debate over this sub-sub-subpoint to my original post? I would rather you focus on the substance of my post, rather than questioning two words I wrote... which you’ve half-conceded are right. It’s annoying to be bogged down in debating minutiae - a debate that serves (perhaps intentionally) to deflect from thoughtful discussion.

However: as you wish. My recollection is that during the show’s early episodes, every random female who walked down a corridor or handed Picard an iPad was young, comely, and wearing a Starfleet-issue miniskirt. I also don’t remember any hint that Starfleet made Troi wear a miniskirt because she was “an alien”. That would be quite bizarrely against the ideals of the Federation!

I hope we’re done; I’m not planning to continue this nit-picky line of discussion. I had hoped readers would get something more from my post.
Peter G.
Wed, Nov 27, 2019, 2:47pm (UTC -5)
Regarding the broader point of Angel One's position in the cultural discussion, I'm pretty sure it was decidedly taking a progressive position and showing us something novel and unusual to our sensibility. From that standpoint alone I think it was successful, since as far as I remember from when it first aired that point was not lost. It is worth mentioning that a reversal of the sexist trope may do something for the exposure of that issue, while contributing to it in a back-handed way. For instance while reminding men of how women may feel, the episode may be inadvertantly be suggesting that *someone* is going to be exploited and this is just a way of showing how it feels when it's reversed. The intention seems to be to bring up the gener roles issue, but not to definitively argue that anyone being used as eye-candy is damaging to the culture. Like, I don't know that this culture here is really portrayed as bad or anything.

I don't like the episode much at all, but I don't think it has to do with the episode's message, which probably does get through loud and clear. I just think it's a boring story.
Chrome
Wed, Nov 27, 2019, 2:54pm (UTC -5)
Sorry Carmen, again I agreed with the substance of your original comment and I think it’s very good. It’s the hyperbolic things like “admirals wearing mini-skirts and climbing through Jeffrey’s tubes” which I take issue with.

Like Peter G. has mentioned, there’s a larger discussion out there about whether such outfits are really harmful or not. It’s an interesting topic, and I don’t claim to have all the answers, so I ask.
Booming
Wed, Nov 27, 2019, 4:43pm (UTC -5)
Troy wearing a skirt or some form of outfit that is pleasing for some people has really nothing to do with a woman choosing to wear something because Marina Sirtis didn't chose to wear this. The makers of the show did. Why did they do it?
As a reminder to TOS? As eye candy? Both?

If you look at the very first shot of Troy sitting on the bridge in the very first episode of TNG it certainly seems that it is eye candy. She is sitting almost in the center of the frame which is slightly to the right and if she would move her legs just a little we could see her underwear.

And in this episode many shots with her are framed in a way that her v cut never leaves the shot. Clicking through the episode I found only one very short scene were we see Troy's face but not her cleavage. If we assume that these high paid professionals know what they are doing then that is probably not a coincidence.
Jason R.
Wed, Nov 27, 2019, 5:41pm (UTC -5)
"It’s annoying to be bogged down in debating minutiae -"

Whoooo boy did you pick the wrong forum and the wrong fandom haha.

I think it's true that oppressors always fear the tables being turned and becoming the oppressed - which is probably the intended response in the audience when watching an episode like Angel One. It's like a double whammy to see oppression and a kind of perversion of the natural order (and you see it) rolled into one.

But if I can say something nice about this otherwise dull, tedious episode, it's the portrayal of Riker. He's not threatened by matriarchy in the slightest. And why would he be? He was born in a society where he's not oppressing anyone - so the society he visits is little more than an intriguing curiosity, a nice change of pace. Having Riker and the others react with hostility or fear in the face of this society would be an anachronism - like Sisko getting upset about the Vic Fontaine simulation.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Nov 27, 2019, 8:20pm (UTC -5)
@Carmen

You are obviously 100% correct in your criticism of gender inequality in the real world (doubly so when we're talking about the world of the 1980's/1990's).

But does the same apply to the world of TNG? I don't think so.

You wrote:
"I noticed the irony and hypocrisy of ST: TNG making an anti-misogyny episode when Season One gave us an Enterprise that was rife with Yeoman Bettys, a crying Yar, the care-taking female officers outside the command structure, ‘adoring wife of great scientist’ characters, Crusher/Troi and Crusher/Ogawa conversing solely about romance, and so on."

And quite frankly, it looks like we've been watching two completely different shows.

Picard's Enterprise most certainly wasn't "rife" with titillating female crewembers - yeomen or otherwise. The uniforms in TNG were identical for men and for women right from the beginning (perhaps you're confusing early TNG with TOS?).

Yar was generally written as a strong tough woman, and that single terrible scene you've mentioned (which is - indeed - terrible) does not change that.

TNG gave us dozens, if not hundreds, of strong-willed female guest characters that stood on their own from Enterprise crewmembers to captains and admirals to alien scientists and engineers and planetary leaders. And yes, we've also gotten female characters who are nothing more than wives and/or mothers. What of it? Surely even in an enlightened future utopia, there'll be women who *choose* to center their lives on caring for someone else?

As for romance-related discussions: Crusher and Ogawa discussed many other subjects. Seriously, between Dr. Crusher saving lives on a daily basis and Ogawa performing autopsies to uncover conspiracies and save her friend's career, I don't think these two women are in any danger of being mistaken for a pair of babbling gossips. And if they want - on occasion - to discuss Alyssa's love life, then why not? She is young and actively dating, while Beverly was her best friend and a kind-of mother figure to her. Why *wouldn't* they talk about romance? It's a perfectly normal part of the human experience, regardless of your gender.

In short, I don't really understand what's the fuss your making here is all about. At least not as long as we're talking about TNG.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Nov 27, 2019, 8:39pm (UTC -5)
@Booming
"If we assume that these high paid professionals know what they are doing then that is probably not a coincidence. "

Of-course it isn't a coincidence.

For some reason having one female crew member dressed like that has become a Trek "tradition": Troi in TNG, 7-of-9 in Voyager and T'Pol in Enterprise.

And that's bad. I agree completely with that.

But it still doesn't negate the fact that Star Trek (with the possible exception of TOS due to it's age) generally treats its female characters with the respect they deserve.
Peter G.
Wed, Nov 27, 2019, 11:37pm (UTC -5)
@ Omicron,

Actually I completely agree with Carmen that Troi/Crush and Crusher/Ogawa talk about little else other than boys, and it sucks. I've complained about that before and IMO it's totally legit.

As for the dress style on S1 TNG, I think we could have a separate conversation about *just* Encounter at Farpoint, where their costumer went to town showing the civilians on board wearing all sorts of wacky stuff. But after that, probably due to a combination of budget constraints and necessity of the scripts, we mostly get fully-clad jumpsuits on extras wandering the ship. The only person showing any skin that I can remember is Troi, and I can't disagree that this was 'on purpose.' My question is whether portraying a woman a sexy when in fact in real life women dress sexy is a problem. It's one thing to show an unrealistic model-type actress looking like a pin-up model, but Troi doesn't dress in any way beyond what normal women dress like. I know plenty of girls who take selfies and/or model shots who show way more provocative stuff than Troi does, and they're not being told to do that. I get that it's different when a male producer tells Sirtis to wear it, but if it's representative of actual dress norms then I don't think it should be put in the same category as those impossible-to-match pictures of women you see in every magazine. Now *those* burn me up. I can't even look in a magazine without gagging. Troi is comparatively modest within that context, and actually her attitude is too, which I think should be included in the conversation. If she was portrayed generally as Barclay's Goddess of Empathy then I'd be saying something entirely different about this.

But yeah, I'm on board with the complaint about the 'girl talk' scenes. And also about how the women on the show seem to mostly be caregivers, that's lame. The one tough lady they had they messed up and she quit, which kind of says something.
Booming
Thu, Nov 28, 2019, 3:01am (UTC -5)
@ Omicron
Sure, sometimes I don't bother writing "but it was fairly progressive for it's time". It is one of the reasons I prefer DS9. There women weren't in the classical care work roles. Kira terrorist/freedom fighter/first officer, Dax (the somewhat eye candy) science officer/wise/perv, I even liked Keiko a little while apparently anybody else hates her. Sure she was the nagging wife trope but her way back into the workforce and Miles dealing with that. I thought that was good stuff. There was Leeta... I always try to forget her. She was pretty terrible. At least she was mostly in the Ferengi episodes and who remembers those?!
Chrome
Thu, Nov 28, 2019, 6:39am (UTC -5)
Beverly Crusher is not just a “caregiver”. She’s a science officer and solves many of the show’s problems-of-the-week. Severely underrated character, in my opinion.
Top Hat
Thu, Nov 28, 2019, 8:03am (UTC -5)
The most interesting thing I find in this episode concerns Riker's decision to don "indigenous apparel." For starters, it's clearly his decision -- not Starfleet policy, not something imposed by their hosts, but his call. It's a bit of a "power move," showing that he can discard his uniform and still retain all of his authority, that it doesn't just reside in the trappings of office. And he thinks he can leverage his sex appeal to help resolve the situation, which is very Kirkian. And yet I have a hard time imagining Kirk donning such an outfit.
Booming
Thu, Nov 28, 2019, 9:50am (UTC -5)
@ Chrome
I meant care work. These are jobs like nurses, therapists and so on. Crusher is in care work (women are often portrayed in these roles) but she is also chief medical officer so in a position of power. That is why I call TNG "fairly progressive" and not just "progressive".

@Top Hat
Well, Frakes is tall and was back then in pretty good shapes. Shatner wasn't and isn't and never will be either. The message of the episode is pretty bonkers. It kind of implies that if men would have ever encountered strong women then the patriarchy would have been over? Riker is literally boning for equality. You know people did a lot of coke back then.

The idea aka the switcheroo is ok the rest not so much.
Peter G.
Thu, Nov 28, 2019, 10:20am (UTC -5)
@ Booming,

Chrome may have been quoting me with referring to "caregivers". But yeah, I meant mostly what you do with this one. Crusher was a doctor, which went on to define her whole character, other than also being a dancer, which was no doubt a meta nod to the actress' actual skills. Troi should have been a tactical empath but instead was someone who only talked about people's feelings - and was later soft retconned into being purely a social worker. Yar should have been something else but never had the chance. That's not much of a chance for women's empowerment, cast-wise. To be fair I think this was a result of the original casting choices, moreso than any lack of caring on the part of the writers.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, Nov 28, 2019, 1:25pm (UTC -5)
@Peter
"Actually I completely agree with Carmen that Troi/Crush and Crusher/Ogawa talk about little else other than boys, and it sucks. I've complained about that before and IMO it's totally legit."

Opinion is opinion. The question is: What are the facts?

I've taken the liberty of scanning through the transcripts of every single TNG episode for such conversations, and you know what I've found? That Crusher and Ogawa had exactly two conversations on boys (in "Imaginary Friends" and "Lower Decks"). Troi and Crusher had six, which is precisely once every season (not counting season 2 where Crusher was absent).

And along the way of searching for these matches, I've found many chats on other topics. Getting an exact count of these would depend on what, precisely, we count as a "conversation between X and Y". But even under the most conservative estimate, they are a big majority in both cases.

So I'm sorry, but your statement that "Troi/Crush and Crusher/Ogawa talk about little else other than boys" is factually false.

@Booming
"There [in DS9] women weren't in the classical care work roles."

You mean unlike TNG, which had plenty of women engineers and scientists and admirals and captains?

Also, since when is being the ship's doctor "a classical care-work role"? Leonard McCoy would like to have a word with you on this one...
William B
Thu, Nov 28, 2019, 2:17pm (UTC -5)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi (do you mind OTDP?),

Out of curiosity, what chat subjects did you uncover for Crusher/Ogawa and Crusher/Troi besides the romantic conversations? It's not that I'm doubting you, I just can't recall that many such conversations. The only thing that comes to mind is the brief discussion about Ogawa's promotion in Lower Decks, and even there in an episode mostly about career discussions, most of the Crusher/Ogawa conversations were about Crusher's concern about whether Ogawa and her boyfriend were going to make it work. (Credit where credit is due, though, that episode has the excellent Sito material which is completely unrelated to any romantic elements.)

I think that people are underrating the breadth of the material for Crusher a little. Emphasis on "a little," because I do think there are definitely limitations. The "care work" is partly because of the way in which Crusher's medical work sometimes plays out, though off the top of my head it's mainly Transfigurations which has her medical/caretaking/romantic selves all uncomfortably smooshed together, and that's just one episode. But she's a doctor and single mother who is also interested in dance (as Peter mentioned), cybernetics, community theatre, non-medical sciences (metaphasic shielding), command, organizing conferences, and debating philosophy and ethics with Jean-Luc. I do think that McFadden has a smaller range compared to, well, Muldaur comes to mind (though I think McFadden has a likable presence and good chemistry with Stewart) and Crusher doesn't have much of an arc, but there was some effort made to make her a well-rounded person.
Booming
Thu, Nov 28, 2019, 3:37pm (UTC -5)
@Omicron
"You mean unlike TNG, which had plenty of women engineers and scientists and admirals and captains? "
That is obviously true. In general TNG and even TOS were better in the background than in the foreground. I never said classical care work, though. (care work is a category of work in sociology) and you are again right Bones in a way was the most progressive type on TOS. He was deeply empathetic, emotional, divorced, a humanist but also strong willed, cool under pressure, principled. He was almost a template for a positive form of modern masculinity and far from the typical men portrayed in the 60s. Men at that era were normally just strong willed, cool under pressure and principled.

"I've taken the liberty of scanning through the transcripts of every single TNG episode for such conversations, and you know what I've found? That Crusher and Ogawa had exactly two conversations on boys (in "Imaginary Friends" and "Lower Decks"). Troi and Crusher had six, which is precisely once every season (not counting season 2 where Crusher was absent)."

I would like to have a look at your method. ;) First what search terms were used or did you go through all the conversations and the really interesting comparison would be between a female and a male pair. If the percentage of romantic conversations between for example La Forge and Riker is as high as between Troy and Crusher then we really have something. If not then we would need to compare other male conversations. After that one would have to look into the topics discussed. A conversation about men could be different in content and length then a conversation about women.

Separately one could look at mixed conversations who is bringing up which topics.

I wouldn't be surprised if you find a few studies about that.
Chrome
Fri, Nov 29, 2019, 10:02am (UTC -5)
Thing is, like OTDP alluded, the CMO is part of the big 3 of The Original Series. In Star Trek, especially the ship shows, the doctor does just about everything. So it’s notable that they’d put in a woman in that position. Maybe they could’ve done more with Troi and replaced Tasha, but characters like Guinan and Ro Laren make the show feel pretty well-rounded.
Peter G.
Fri, Nov 29, 2019, 10:17am (UTC -5)
One of the things I liked best about TOS was that the doctor, even as early as The Cage, wasn't just a medical professional, but was especially supposed to keep the Captain in good shape physically and mentally. That didn't really continue on from TNG onwards, which is too bad. In TNG we got the occasional rare interlude between Jean-Luc and Troi but it was rarely seen and certainly not a primary function in her job as we saw it, which is too bad. Bones as the moral/human backbone of the series translated into some great material in the films, whereas Troi...got married. I guess this isn't a male/female issue so much as TNG wasn't focused as much on the 'spiritual' well-being of the crew so much as their technological stability. Maybe that is a male/female thing after all?
Jason R.
Fri, Nov 29, 2019, 11:23am (UTC -5)
"Maybe they could’ve done more with Troi and replaced Tasha, but characters like Guinan and Ro Laren make the show feel pretty well-rounded."

Guinan was a guest character that popped up probably in fewer than 10% of episodes. Ro Laron didn't appear until what 5th season? And she was at best a secondary character on par with Laforge maybe.

While it may have felt balanced to a viewer in the 80s and 90s this cannot have been correct.

Let's look at the main cast (excluding one-season characters like Tasha or Pulaski)

Picard
Data
Riker
Worf
Geordi
Wesley

Troi
Crusher

Let's be honest, between just Picard and Data you are probably already sucking up 50% of the narrative oxygen on the show over 7 seasons. I would be surprised if the female leads even got the 25% share suggested by their 2/8 proportion in the main cast.

In no conceivable way can this be called "balanced".

That said funny enough I don't think the whole talking about romance thing is valid. I am certain that Crusher and Troi almost never talked about romance during the run of the show.

What did they talk about then? I could scarcely tell you because their storylines were so uniformly weak and forgettable, their performances so unmemorable that you could barely say - even though since they were certainly lead characters and certainly on screen regularly, they had to be talking about *something*.

Here is a neat experiment to do in your head. Ask yourself how many conversations stand out in your mind involving Pulaski and how many stand out re: Troi or Crusher. I am amazed to discover that despite Pulaski being on the show just 1/6 as long as Crusher and 1/7 Troi I can easily list as many or more Pulaski memorable moments (none involving romance) as either of the other two.
Peter G.
Fri, Nov 29, 2019, 11:33am (UTC -5)
@ Jason R.

I actually sort of agree with Booming on this one, in that we would really need an actual metric of how many Troi/Crusher scenes are private conversations, and what they discuss during them. I'll agree with you that there aren't many anyhow, and none are memorable like Pulaski's scenes are. Pulaski's scene with Moriarty alone is more memorable than any Troi scene, I think, at least to me.

Just from my anecdotal and maybe skewed memory, I seem to definitely recall a couple of 'girl talk' scenes between Troi and Crusher about romance, and I just don't remember any about anything else. If there were some then they were forgettable in the sense that I literally forgot about them. Ogawa is barely a character on the show, and if not for Lower Decks she'd probably be even lower on the radar than Dr. Selar.
Chrome
Fri, Nov 29, 2019, 11:59am (UTC -5)
Jason, I was writing in the context of initial casting which, considering TOS, was fairly progressive. There’s a huge shift from women’s roles in Trek from TOS to TNG. Of course, now that we have Voyager and Discovery it’s easy to take that for granted.

Yet I agree that there was a lack of follow through with the main female characters and even Gene’s original TOS/TNG casting choices weren’t preserved which is a darn shame. Nevertheless, there’s enough good strong guest star women characters and the writing is considerate enough that I think it works.

As for Pulaski, she’s memorable because she’s annoying. I’ll counter your thought experiment with another: how many season 2 comments on this site are complaints about Pulaski? Heck, not too long ago a woman here made an alt to specifically complain about her episodes and especially her treatment of Data. To be blunt, the actress wasn’t very good in TOS and didn’t get along with the TNG cast. I do think she got better and had a good arc - often I even defend her against complaints. But in the end, Crusher had good chemistry with the show and was a team player.
Jason R.
Fri, Nov 29, 2019, 12:59pm (UTC -5)
"As for Pulaski, she’s memorable because she’s annoying. I’ll counter your thought experiment with another: how many season 2 comments on this site are complaints about Pulaski? Heck, not too long ago a woman here made an alt to specifically complain about her episodes and especially her treatment of Data. To be blunt, the actress wasn’t very good in TOS and didn’t get along with the TNG cast. I do think she got better and had a good arc - often I even defend her against complaints. But in the end, Crusher had good chemistry with the show and was a team player."

There are probably one or two scenes involving Pulaski where she behaved in a bigoted fashion to Data, pretty much at the beginning of the season after just meeting him.

But by Peak Performance it's apparent that she is very much on his side and has changed her views and I actually think she had good chemistry with Data.

Funny about our discussion on character development - Pulaski's attitude with Data, even over the single season she was on the show, was one of the best most well developed character arcs on the show.

There is just nothing to the complaints against Pulaski.

Speaking as someone who, as a kid, saw Dr. Crusher as the 'real' doctor and Pulaski as an unwanted interloper (mostly restrospectively) I think I can explain this attitude pretty well.

Crusher's shining virtue in the eyes of fans seems to be the fact that she lasted (almost) seven seasons, so she was the regular cast, and she didn't do anything offensive (and I guess being pretty didn't hurt her).

So it basically goes like this - we loved TNG, Crusher was the regular doctor on TNG, so we loved Crusher.

BLEH. I am sure the cast got along swimmingly with McFadden but I stand by my point that the show would have been massively better with a strong dynamic female character than with the mushed pablum that was Crusher.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Dec 1, 2019, 5:38am (UTC -5)
@Jason R.

"In no conceivable way can this be called 'balanced'."

True, but is this due to TNG's attitude toward women? Or simply due to the nature of a show as a (mostly) non-ensemble show?

Picard, Data and Worf get most of the attention because they are the most interesting characters. And I certainly don't agree with your claim that Geordi or Wesley are more important characters than Crusher or Troi. They are all secondary characters. Heck, I'll argue that Guinan - even if she gets less screen time - is a more important character than Geordi.

(I also disagree with the notion that Riker is more a important character than Crusher or Geordi. Sure, he is the ship's first officer, but as a TV CHARACTER he is no more important)

Now, let us be perfectly clear: I'm not pretending that the "big three" being all males is just a coincidence. I'm perfectly aware that the general view of female TV roles in the 1980's played a part in this decision.

But my point is, that you could never deduce that just from what we see on screen. Crusher may be a less important character, but the material she gets is mostly well-rounded. She participates in away missions, solves science problems, and does all kinds of other things that lay rest to the claim that she is anything but an equally capable member of the Enterprise's crew.

And again, TNG gives us plenty of female guest characters who also serve to strengthen the idea that the inequality in numbers in the main cast is just a statistical fluke in-universe. We've seen plenty of female captains and admirals. We've also seen women participating in pretty much every cultural role under the sun, both in the Federation and on alien planets.

So when you take all this into account, I think TNG aged quite well in this respect. At least for the most part. I won't go as far as claiming that TNG's attitude toward women is 100% perfect, but it certainly isn't as bad as some people here claim.

@Peter
"Just from my anecdotal and maybe skewed memory, I seem to definitely recall a couple of 'girl talk' scenes between Troi and Crusher about romance, and I just don't remember any about anything else. If there were some then they were forgettable in the sense that I literally forgot about them"

Of-course they were forgettable. What would you expect?

They were discussions about the situation on the ship, or medical problems, or other things like that. IOW they were conversations of the most routine and ordinary kind imaginable.

Isn't that what people are usually after, when they complain that women characters are only given "girly" stuff to discuss?

I suspect the Troi/Crusher girly talks would have also been forgettable to you, had you not immediately flagged them as a problem. I confess that I couldn't remember a single one of those scenes before I did my search. I was actually surprised to see that there were as many as six of them over the show's run.

(I did remember the Ogawa/Crusher ones, and I have absolutely no problem with them)

@Booming
"I would like to have a look at your method. ;) First what search terms were used or did you go through all the conversations and the really interesting comparison would be between a female and a male pair."

I looked through them all (searching for "TROI:" and "CRUSHER:" and "OGAWA:") and counted the "talks about boys" manually.

"If the percentage of romantic conversations between for example La Forge and Riker is as high as between Troy and Crusher then we really have something."

This is a pretty silly comparison.

First of all, you're going to be hard-pressed to find ANY kind of intimate conversation between La Forge and Riker. They just aren't that close as friends.

Secondly, let's say we did such a comparison between all male/male conversations and all female/female conversations that ever occured in TNG. What would it prove?

Suppose we've found that the women talk about boys 22% of the time, and the men talk about girls only 7% of the time.

What conclusion would you reach from that? Perhaps we need more macho talk about women to balance the numbers out? ;-)

Now think of the reverse:

Say we found that men talk about girls 22% of the time, but the women talk about boys only 7% of the time.

What would your conclusion be this time? There's still a big difference between the numbers, but now it's in the other direction. So is that good or bad?

There's little point in doing a statistical test which isn't going to teach us anything meaningful either way.
Booming
Sun, Dec 1, 2019, 7:55am (UTC -5)
@ Omicron
Sorry this is all far too long.

I actually have a hard time remembering when men talked about matters of the heart on star trek so I just picked them but I distinctly remember an aerobics scene with Troi and Crusher which was probably named "Hey girl!" in the script.
So back to my point I meant a comparable pair of men not Riker and La Forge specifically.

"Secondly, let's say we did such a comparison between all male/male conversations and all female/female conversations that ever occured in TNG. What would it prove?"

Debatable if it "proves" anything. For once, we will not find good pairings. What male relationship is comparable to Troi's and Crusher's. How do we quantify that? Minutes Talking? Intensity of the conversation (what does intensity mean)? topics (how do we typify that?) discussed? And so and so on.
Let's say we find acceptable answers to all those questions and we actually find that women "talk romance" far more significantly often than men. Then we have to ask ourselves why do they talk more? At this point we have two diverging roads one goes down the the Film studies road and the other sociology path.

--- At this point I realize that I write all this just to not do any actual work---

So Film studies would probably go in the auteur theory or feminist theory direction. No idea.
In sociology I would maybe go with socialization and social constructivism which means that the writers grew up in a society where it is perceived as more normal for women to talk about their emotions than it is for men which in turn encouraged them to write stories that perpetuated these perceived behaviors which then creates a reality in which the viewer thinks it is normal for women to talk about their feelings while it is not normal for men to talk about them. This would then have to be contextualized like how were shows in general during that time in their portrayal of female and male conversations. (Actually the empirical part comes after theory, contextualization/problem and hypothesis )

--- The texts I have to read are actually fairly interesting for example "Voter databases, micro-targeting, and data protection law: can political parties campaign in Europe as they do in North America?". If that doesn't water your mouth then you must be crazy! Still I'm procrastinating :( ---

Well back to it, then. The last part would then be about what this could mean for society and where future research could focus on like men will be less likely to talk about their feelings with friends which lets them ignore mental instability and then not go to a psychologist leading to higher suicide rates. You know mental health is girly stuff. Or you know... whatever. :D

"What would your conclusion be this time? There's still a big difference between the numbers, but now it's in the other direction. So is that good or bad?"

The empirists have basically won the battle for the soul of the social sciences which means that sociologists and political scientists avoid making value judgements. So no good or bad. What leads from A to B. Period. Deciding what is good or bad is what philosophers and politicians are for... or this enlightened group of star trek enthusiasts. ;)

By the way, why do Americans say boys or girls when they talk about sexual relationships between adults? Creepy guys... very creepy. :)
Jason R.
Sun, Dec 1, 2019, 12:12pm (UTC -5)
"Picard, Data and Worf get most of the attention because they are the most interesting characters. And I certainly don't agree with your claim that Geordi or Wesley are more important characters than Crusher or Troi. They are all secondary characters. Heck, I'll argue that Guinan - even if she gets less screen time - is a more important character than Geordi."

I never claimed that Geordi and Wesley were more important than Crusher and Troi. I was simply listing the Male lead characters on one side and the female leads on the other side to show that it was skewed 6:2.

And Guinan is not "more important" than Geordi. Maybe in universe she is - but we are talking about the show and its character makeup. Geordi is a lead character. Guinan is an occasional guest character. No comparison.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Dec 1, 2019, 1:49pm (UTC -5)
@Booming

"At this point I realize that I write all this just to not do any actual work"

Ah. A noble cause, I see. ;-)

"The empirists have basically won the battle for the soul of the social sciences which means that sociologists and political scientists avoid making value judgements. So no good or bad."

Fair enough.

But my question was less about a making a moral judgement, and more about reaching ANY kind of meaningful conclusion.

I mean, what could an empiricist say here, besides "the analysis proves [with a confidence level of - say - 99%] that the men in the show talk more/less about romance than the women in the show"?

In other words: What would be the actual *point* of such an exercise? If we already know in advance that the numbers won't really tell us anything meaningful, why even bother?

@Jason

Sorry, I thought you were ranking the characters in order of importance and put the two women at the bottom.
Booming
Sun, Dec 1, 2019, 3:00pm (UTC -5)
@ Jason
And Whoopie Goldberg was only on the show because she really wanted to. They didn't plan that.

@Omicron
"In other words: What would be the actual *point* of such an exercise?"
More debate, silly! :D
One could argue that on one hand there are far less female leads on the show, both of them work in care work, traditionally a field dominated by women and that the writer found no other way to distinguish women as individuals then by letting them mostly (?) talk about romance. That means that TNG was not that ahead of it's time or they maybe thought that they couldn't challenge the audience much more.
I think the cast of DS9 (first officer and science officer female) and maybe even more Voyager (Captain and chief engineer female even though they kind of forked that up somewhat with Jery Ryan) are a reaction to that. In DS9 we had a black captain, a female first officer and a sudanese (Alexander Siddig's actual name is: Ṣiddīq aṭ-Ṭāhir al-Fāḍil aṣ-Ṣiddīq ʿAbd ar-Raḥman Muḥammad ʾAḥmad ʿAbd al-Karīm al-Mahdī) as chief medical officer and where did we have the first heterosexual white man. the Chief who wasn't even an officer. DS9... more like SJW99. D K was right all along! ... ... There was Admiral Ross though but have we ever seen him with a women or as Americans would say a girl?!
Case closed.

Where was I... yes...as rightfully divided as people are about Discovery a similar pattern applies. the fact that TNG, DS9 and Voyager did not feature any kind of regular lgbt character lead to the gay couple in Discovery. They of course then fell in the "kill the gays" trap then tried to rewrite that.
Barely coming back to your actual question.... phew... we would have even more evidence that the late 80s and early 90s still struggled with portraying women and so did TNG.
Chrome
Mon, Dec 2, 2019, 1:04pm (UTC -5)
"Whoopie Goldberg was only on the show because she really wanted to. They didn't plan that."

I don't think that point matters in terms of gender being given a fair shot on the show. We already know there were good female roles like Tasha amd Pulaskia that the showrunners DID plan for that didn't work out, so obviously they were receptive to strong female roles.

Whatever percentage of episodes Guinan is in, she's still given really good material and treated as an important character who *everyone* listens to. And the reverence women's wisdom doesn't stop with Guinan. Even though the execution of Troi is sometimes very bad, it's still notable that Picard listens to her and treats her advice seriously in almost every situation.

And I'm with Omni on the Crusher girl talk being given too much attention over important contributions. Has anyone watched TNG recently and honestly looked at how many times Crusher has saved the ship? I think it's more subtle than say Data, but there's quite a few mystery episodes like "Clues", "The Most Toys" and "Suspicions" where Crusher is the first or only one to assess the problem correctly.
Booming
Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 2:06am (UTC -5)
@Chrome
That is kind of my point. They weren't against stronger female roles but still a little timid which then lead to DS9 and Voyager. They could have replaced Tasha with another woman and even though according to Berman: Pulaski "never quite worked" whatever that means they could have gotten another actor with a little more spunk than mother goose Beverly. I have a hard time remembering anything about her. I would even say that she was the least memorable doctor of all star trek show including *gasp* Discovery. Your point about her saving the ship a few times. Come on... she is the chief medical officer and the show had 178 episodes. Do we have to make an analysis about how many times women saved the ship and how many times men did? And then correlate that with how many times women almost destroyed the ship?? Will this madness never end?! :D

I'll give you Guinan, though. ;)
Chrome
Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 4:07am (UTC -5)
“They could have replaced Tasha with another woman”

Yeah, I agree this could have been interesting. But I think it was more a matter of Dorn being exceptionally talented in the security role than anything nefarious.

“Pulaski ‘never quite worked’ whatever that means”

Diana Muldaur didn’t want to sign for a third season and the showrunners/fans liked McFadden better. According to Muldaur, putting an anti-tech character on a show that was considerably pro-technology made her character unlikable. There’s a Memory Alpha on the subject, but whether it was the writing or the acting the character wasn’t a good fit for the show.

“I have a hard time remembering anything about Beverly.”

That’s really a shame. I’ve been reading the reviews on treknobabble as of late and both of the reviewers really like the character. They highlight many of Crusher’s best moments and I think that’s made me realize how important she is to the show and to the fans.
Booming
Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 5:17am (UTC -5)
@Chrome
"than anything nefarious."
As mentioned I think it was more timidity than anything else. As you said the viewers liked a motherly character like Crusher. It is probably no coincidence that Crusher is the only active parent on the show, while the only father on the show (Worf) immediately sent his son away which is never really portrayed as wrong. I guess that is another reason that we not only got more stronger female leads in DS9 but also a positive portrayal of an active male parent. Let's be honest Worf kind of forked that up.

If Wes was to be the character with which the average viewer was supposed to identify (didn't work but I believe that was his original intent) then Crusher (caring, conflict free) is the mother figure and Picard is the father figure (rational, emotionally closed off) and I guess Riker is the cool uncle. So Pulaski certainly was no motherly type. Saying that the writers and the viewers didn't like her (I read the memory alpha article, too) makes sense if you see how the role of female doctor was intended (caring and motherly). I ,as others, liked Pulaski more than the rather bland Crusher character. We also should take the statements of writers and actors with a grain of salt when it comes to employment. Two grains.
We had two female characters who were classical female archetypes (caring, harmonious, warm, understanding) and two female characters who weren't and both characters who weren't following classically feminine roles only lasted one season. Coincidence? :)

" They highlight many of Crusher’s best moments and I think that’s made me realize how important she is to the show and to the fans."
But if you have to be reminded how good a character was then that character maybe wasn't really that memorable.
Chrome
Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 6:44am (UTC -5)
I never said Crusher was motherly but okay, she literally is a mother. I think separating “strong” characters from “mothers” is a bad distinction to make in the first place.
Jason R.
Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 8:15am (UTC -5)
"It is probably no coincidence that Crusher is the only active parent on the show, while the only father on the show (Worf) immediately sent his son away which is never really portrayed as wrong. "

Wesley is almost an adult when TNG starts while Alexander is a young child. Apples and oranges.

And Worf sending Alexander away was one of the biggest controversies in the show - hardly something that was just fluffed off as being okay or expected.

But yes, Beverly was bland as heck.
Peter G.
Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 11:26am (UTC -5)
@ Chrome,

"According to Muldaur, putting an anti-tech character on a show that was considerably pro-technology made her character unlikable. There’s a Memory Alpha on the subject, but whether it was the writing or the acting the character wasn’t a good fit for the show."

I guess this makes sense on the surface, except for one thing: Pulaski was a shameless copy of McCoy right from the start. They brought her in guns blazing, ripping into the Vulcan - sorry, the android - and groaning about technology. This is McCoy's character bible in a nutshell, other than that she doesn't represent humanity's empathy. I found it irritating right from the get-go that they would have such an obvious lift from TOS rather than come up with a new character. That said, McCoy is such a better character than people like Crusher or Geordi that, yeah, it's going to come on strong and leave an impression.

But one thing I don't buy is Pulaski's interpretation of why it didn't work. Although it's a reasonable hypothesis, contemporary with TNG S2 was ST 5: The Final Frontier, featuring the very anti-technology character they were lifting, even down to the luddite campfire scene (self-mocked by the rocket boots). But McCoy was a fan favorite and certainly never stood against the grain of Trek even though he always complained about having his molecules scattered across the galaxy and called himself a good old fashioned country doctor. I think one big difference between them is McCoy's concern about technology always seemed to reflect concerns about culture, the human condition, and what would become of us if replaced by tech (see: The Ultimate Computer). Pulaski, on the other hand, came off as disliking things that others liked not out of concern for humanity's heart, but out of personal arrogance and disdain, like her values were better than theirs. *This* is, I think, what stood to make her unlikable, and that's a writing issue rather than an acting one. I do agree with Jason R that her acting seems more interesting than Crusher's.
Booming
Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 11:58am (UTC -5)
@ Chrome
It wasn't my intention to imply that mothers are either always weak or strong. I meant it more in a way that the motherly role was a pretty standardl role for women on TV back then so TNG wasn't really pushing boundaries but stayed somewhat within them.
On DS9 the fatherly role was the more prominent one. Sisko, Siskos father,O'Brien even Worf tried to undo a little of the damage he had already done. What I mean is that we didn't need a positive depiction of a motherly role. There were plenty, positive father figures on the other hand were still fairly rare.
I personally liked it a lot that DS9 was bold enough to show the captain in the parental role who was caring, warm and understanding. It provides men with more modern role model.
I hope that makes it a little clearer what I mean. Sorry English being my second language and all :(

@Jason R.
"Wesley is almost an adult when TNG starts while Alexander is a young child. Apples and oranges."
Ok, but there were quite a few younger children on the Enterprise.

"And Worf sending Alexander away was one of the biggest controversies in the show - hardly something that was just fluffed off as being okay or expected."
I did not know that but I find it also quite telling that Wesley stayed with his mother, not his father. Another absent father (before he died).
Chrome
Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 1:20pm (UTC -5)
I get it, though I don’t agree that depicting a working single doctor/scientist mom was typical before the late 80s when this show debuted. It’s fine that you think Crusher’s bland, but *the show* does presents her as intelligent and capable in more ways than just motherhood.
Top Hat
Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 1:42pm (UTC -5)
Marina Sirtis said in an interview that Diana Muldaur told her the first day they worked together that she'd only be on the series for one year. Assuming that she's remembering correctly, I don't know what to make of that; the simplest explanation is probably that she didn't want to stay longer than that and the circumstances that allowed McFadden's return (rather than introducing a third character, or phasing out the CMO as a regular altogether) were separate.

In any event, I hear both sides of the case of Pulaski and generally agree with both. On one hand, she is misdone off the bat (sabotaged?) by the writing. McCoy ripoff, picks fights with Data, disrespectful to Picard, etc. Not the best look. On the other hand, she does shake up the dynamic and it's nice to have a middle aged woman who is not defined by her relationships to men at all.
Peter G.
Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 2:11pm (UTC -5)
"it's nice to have a middle aged woman who is not defined by her relationships to men at all."

Other than Riker's dad :(
Top Hat
Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 2:19pm (UTC -5)
And I don't have any problem with her having had a past relationship with Riker's dad, except the "hurt/comfort" aspect to it (her having nursed him back to health after him being wounded). That's an icky cliche.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 3:53pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome

Where did you get "Omni" from? It's OMIcron Theta after the greek letters (and Data's home planet). There's no N in there.


@Booming
"I meant it more in a way that the motherly role was a pretty standard role for women on TV back then so TNG wasn't really pushing boundaries but stayed somewhat within them."

Only after reading your last comments, did I realize that TNG deserves high praise for giving us a woman character who (a) happens to be a mother and (b) isn't defined by that trait.

It's certainly more impressive (and more natural) then giving us some kind of "strong woman archetype" character.

"Come on... she is the chief medical officer and the show had 178 episodes."

Exactly. Not only Crusher had - indeed - saved the ship and/or solved the episode's mystery in multiple occasions, but she also holds such an important role that you actually *expect* her to do these things.

Not exactly a point in your argument's favor, is it?

Though I'm beginning wonder if you even *have* a serious argument at all, or whether you're just arguing for the sake of arguing to elevate your boredom.

When you write something like this:

"More debate, silly! :D"

or

"Do we have to make an analysis about how many times women saved the ship and how many times men did? And then correlate that with how many times women almost destroyed the ship?? Will this madness never end?! :D"

It becomes increasingly difficult to believe that you're discussing the issues in good faith.
William B
Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 4:32pm (UTC -5)
I hope I'm not being a busybody, but I think Booming meant those "more debate, silly!" "will this madness never end" with emoticons comments in a tongue in cheek, "It's fun to talk about this" kind of way, OTDP, which is to say I think it's not meant to be aggressive or insulting. Not that you have to agree with Booming's arguments or conclusions, of course.
Booming
Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 5:00pm (UTC -5)
@ William B.
That one gets it. :)

@ Omicron
Sorry, too tired to react in the way your comment deserves.

"whether you're just arguing for the sake of arguing to elevate your boredom."
It's not boredom. It is worry.
This is a nice diversion and I appreciate the input of most people here. I really do and I hope none of this comes off as condescending.

"It’s fine that you think Crusher’s bland, but *the show* does presents her as intelligent and capable in more ways than just motherhood. "
That is why I at this point am able to say that I always say that TNG was fairly ahead of it's time but not much more. ;)
Chrome
Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 5:23pm (UTC -5)
Booming, that's fine. Incidentally, I don't think the women's role comparisons to DS9 and VOY are really that insightful because it's kind of like saying "The Cosby Show was no where near as progressive as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air which showed black people in even more successful and respectable jobs." First maybe we should ask if DS9 could've even gotten on the air if TNG wasn't as successful with its progressive views.

@OMICRON

Auto-correct. I post on mobile sometimes and it makes my already clumsy spelling worse. :*(
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Dec 10, 2019, 10:11pm (UTC -5)
@William B
"hope I'm not being a busybody, but I think Booming meant those 'more debate, silly!' 'will this madness never end' with emoticons comments in a tongue in cheek, 'Its fun to talk about this' kind of way, OTDP, which is to say I think it's not meant to be aggressive or insulting."

I never thought otherwise.

I'm just getting the distinct impression that - at this point - he is debating just for the sole sake of killing time, rather than for the sake of making an actual point and/or getting a clearer understanding of the issues at hand.
Focksbot
Fri, Apr 24, 2020, 6:15pm (UTC -5)
Impressively terrible episode, but strangely fascinating for just how jumbled its message is. The whole effort puts me in the mind of someone who has vaguely heard of feminism getting on their soapbox to make a speech about it, and kind of cobbling their points together as they go.

Often when Star Trek tackles controversial or topical issues, it at least does so in a way that prompts interesting discussion, but having read through a good chunk of the debate on this page, the episode has plainly failed to give much of a steer to the usual back-and-forth. (Then again, I'm not sure any work of fiction could successfully dent DLPB's misplaced faith in his grasp of facts and logic.)

One detail that could have been interesting, had more been made of it - Picard says that the women on Angel One are larger and stronger than men. This is a useful starting point for a thought experiment around how such physical strength plays into the power relations between the sexes. What if men had still evolved to be the risk-taking, aggressive, highly competitive part of the equation, but were less suited to physical tasks? They would probably all be regarded the way skinny teenage boys are, and a matriarchal society might have a good argument for keeping them as second class citizens.

It would have to be a very extreme and notable trend though. Ultimately, the reason why race and sex discrimination amonst humans is so pathetic is because human physiology is extremely varied - even before you get to talking about nurture, the way minds and bodies are trained to different specialisms. Slight trends in the average across populations of millions tells you absolutely nothing about the next person you're going to meet.

It's beyond question that societal restrictions, bad luck and hardship prevent the vast majority of people from reaching their full potential, and that the best hand you can be dealt at birth - in terms of fewer negative assumptions weighing against you - is being wealthy, male, white, straight etc. That's why the case for feminism and similar civil rights movements is so strong.

But it would be genuinely interesting, I think, to have an episode of Star Trek that asked the question: what if the imbalance of abilities between the sexes were such a constant, and so extreme, that prejudice was rational? What if the average woman living on Angel One had a 9 out of 10 chance of being more intelligent and better at almost any task than the next man she runs into?

Ramsey's arrival on the planet would then throw a spanner in the works, since an average human male they would be a genetic outlier by their standards. You could even have Ramsey and his posse be incredibly smart and tough by the standards of Angel One women, to the point where he knowingly manipulates the dim-witted male population into an uprising.

It's hard not to come away from an episode like this with a whole load of ideas for how it could have been done better.
Gerontius
Sat, May 23, 2020, 7:09pm (UTC -5)
My wife thought that Riker's dress really suited him. She was a bit disappointed he didn't wear it from time to time in later episodes.
The_Man
Sun, Jun 21, 2020, 6:23pm (UTC -5)
This makes zero sense. Why would they agree to be exiled to a harsh land when they can just leave with the Enterprise and allow themselves to be stopped off at a much more hospitable and comfortable land?
Rahul
Tue, Jul 14, 2020, 3:29pm (UTC -5)
This episode just reeks of the some 80s pop culture stereotype -- just goofy, shallow. It does seem to capture what I think of that decade -- and in that sense a lot of very early TNG does.

Any reasonable arguments or stances to be made, just get overwhelmed by how tongue-in-cheek the various characters seem in different scenes and how arbitrarily things come about. It's just very hard to take any of this seriously.

Yes, this is another example of TNG trying to be TOS as in many Season 1 episodes. Guess it really rings true that it's best to be yourself (what TNG would really become in Season 3) instead of trying to imitate something else and winding up looking like a fool.

Riker gives a speech that Kirk would typically give -- and "Angel One" is a Riker-focused episode. While all the other males are affected by the virus, he has his chance to shine. He ultimately scores a point for the men when it's all about the women being in charge (both on the planet and on the Enterprise with the virus).

In going thru Season 1 again, I just don't get any sort of positive or revisionist sentiments for these primordial TNG episodes and still firmly believe it is the worst season of the entire Trek franchise (writing, acting, execution etc.). But it is interesting to see the TOS influences (premises for episodes) and I appreciate the more bold musical scores -- shame Ron Jones didn't last the entire run of TNG.
Gozar
Thu, Sep 3, 2020, 2:52pm (UTC -5)
I had forgotten how in in these early TNGs how Picard was kind of a jerk. I think I like him better this way.

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