Editorial for The Women's List

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Title: Editorial for The Women's List
Creator: Tess Kolney
Date(s): 1986
Medium: print
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
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Editorial for The Women's List is by Tess Kolney and was printed in The Women's List #1.

The topic is Star Trek: TOS, female characters, and how more attention should be paid to them.


When you say you are going to start a journal devoted to the women of the Star Trek, universe, you get some funny reactions. One of my least favorite was a puzzled, "But there are only two." Or an artist who responded to my requests for art with, "I only do Kirk and Spock." One of my favorites came from an actress that appeared on the show who at first, in total disbelief, said, "You're kidding." Then, with growing delight in her voice, added, "You're not kidding!"

If you'll permit the editor the long road to Rigel, let me tell you a story about why I started this journal. It's also a story about my Czechoslovakian grandmother and how she became a Star Trek fan. You see, she was born in the Old Country, immigrated to Yugoslavia to live with her husband's family, then to Cleveland, and finally to Appalachia. Nowhere in her universe is there a place for the concept of an alien being. Thus, when she came to visit once and some friends and I decided to get a VCR and introduce her to Star Trek, it was as much fun for us as for her. There was just no place in her world view for Spock. He might as well have been a vaudevilian comedian with a big red nose. She thought he was the comic relief; she laughed everytime he walked on screen.

Until we showed her "Amok Time." She got the idea long before Spock's colleagues did, and she laughed at this, too. Then came the scene where Chapel goes to tell Spock they are on course to Vulcan. My grandmother got very quiet. And then Spock says something like "It is illogical for us to protest against our natures." My grandmother gasped. She exclaimed, "Why, that pointy-eared bastard! She ought to slap his face!"

I thought I would die laughing. To this day, I cannot watch that scene with a straight face. And, aside from being a funny story, it says something interesting about my grandmother and the women of ST; she saw them as individuals from the start. Not T&A in a brief uniform to boost the ratings, but human beings.

In a similar way, I realized, I have always been attuned to the women in Trek, aware of them and curious about their doings. For me, the show has never just been Kirk and Spock and maybe McCoy. Or even Kirk and his Merrymen. It has been, or has suggested the possibilty for, a complete world with a diverse group of people, both male and female. Of course I am curious about the women in that world. I am a woman. I naturally identify with other women.

And that is where Star Trek could stand a little improvement. Roddenberry was right when he said 30% of the crew were women. I've counted during an occassional episode—and there they are. They may be doing nothing more exciting than carrying a clipboard or sitting at the engineering station or passing the thermocombobulators or even opening the hailing frequencies. But there they are. More of a concession than we expect from most SF shows/films—and far less than we might have hoped for from Star Trek.

When I was trying to explain to Majel Barrett (a very patient lady) why I had selected the characters she created for ST as the subject for the first issue (aside from the fact that I like them, of course) , I told her that part of the appeal to me as a fan writer was that many of her characters were definitive but not completely flashed-out. We, as fan writers and as women, could take these characters and write ourselves into the Star Trek universe and into the action.

Judging by the stories, letters and phone calls I have received since announcing this idea in mid-April, I would say that a lot of other women share my interest. What I had initially planned to do as a nice little 25-30 page newsletter grew into this issue virtually overnight. The material I've held over to issue two equals this in size—and something tells me issue two is gonna be a big mother. It will include material on the Women of Vulcan, more on the Barrett characters, and even a Janice Rand story. (The theme is a suggestion, not a mandate.)

As I said, when you tell people you're going to do a journal devoted to the women of Star Trek, you get some funny reactions. But by far the most common reaction is "It's about time I" They are right, of course. It is.