Care to Debate That? Lack of Female Characters in Trek Fan Fiction

From Fanlore
Jump to: navigation, search
Title: Care to Debate That? Lack of Female Characters in Trek Fan Fiction
Creator: Mindy Glazer
Date(s): 1979
Medium: print
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
External Links:
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.


Care to Debate That? Lack of Female Characters in Trek Fan Fiction is an essay intended to generate discussion. It is in R & R #10.

It is by Mindy Glazer.

The essay is an installment in a series of essays and their following discussions called Care to Debate That?.

The topic is the lack of female characters in Trek fan fiction.

The Essay

Conimg in on this debate in the middle, I'n not sure whether the subject is K/S or anti feminism in trek lit, but I don't think it matters. The first is a symptom of the second.

Writers write from their own viewpoints. While they may write about things they haven't experienced,, they write them through the eyes of people they can relate to, by creating characters from their own experiences. If I write an admiral woman, I give her qualities that inspire admiration in me; if I write a despicable woman, I give her qualities that inspire distaste, etc. Yet if I write an inconsequential woman I do very little: give her a name, a few words, some meaningless action. She is finished before she began, because I know her limits. All she is to me is limits.

There are a handful of writers who write women regularly and write then well. They don't have tn be wonderful woman, but they are real women. Now, with K/S, there appear to be more and more writers who are not writing women at all. Between these two groups there is a never-never-land of women in fan fiction, where Mary Sue rests in peace. Uhura and Christine Chapel are often found in this place, though not exclusively, as well as various and sundry female flunkies floating around to add a little color and change of pronoun to the scene.

This 'women present but not important/believable' segment of fan fiction may be where some writers begin when they begin to write. Yet as any continual process should be a growth process, and as fan fiction seems somewhat split over 'to K/S or not to K/S', it would seem that, as one learns to make characters believable, one may be faced with a choice; are women beings of any consequence, or are they inherently unimportant? I believe that the outcome of this choice is the basis of antifeminism in trek lit.

Aired trek did not present us with complete women, for the simple reason that none of the Big Three were women. In individual episodes we have seen caricatures of greatness and bitchery, love objects and sex objects, but it would be almost impossible, in such a short time, to present us with real women. Over three years we were given layer upon layer of male brilliance, heroism, and the ever-present camaraderie, and nothing even remotely close on the female side.

In 1966 some of us were prepared to accept that. Sad to say, many of us still are.

In order to make a character believable a writer must first believe in the character. To write someone who is strong, or determined, or effectual, or foolish, or bumbling, or maniacal, you must first believe these things about that person. And to write someone who is inconsequential you must believe completely in the gross limitations of that person. Exempt from the following statement are the above writers who can write women, and new writers, whose characters are uniformly not believable. What I have found, in rending too many women of no consequence in fanzines, is too many writers who don't believe in women. Because people who believe in women write women; and they write them well.