Of Men and Matriarchs (S01:E13)

I’m examining the impact Star Trek: The Next Generation had on my formation. The introduction to this series can be seen here.

Angel One

The Enterprise must work with a rigidly matriarchal society to rescue stranded survivors of a shipwreck.

The writers put some real effort into commenting on gender on a broad scale, having the Enterprise interact with a culture where women are considered more intelligent and capable, and men are relegated to second-class status. There is a real feeling amongst the women leading the planet that men just shouldn’t worry their pretty little heads, and they use the phrase “against the natural order” to describe a more egalitarian concept of gender. When silencing some men who are demanding more equal rights, the leader uses language around “keeping the peace” and “dealing with revolutionaries.” When Riker dons native garb to hang out with Mistress Beata, Troi and Yar both comment on how demeaning the dress for men is. I was very intrigued at the time, and I’m grateful now. It was another encouragement to look around, to question and to think critically. It got me thinking about not only what I was told about gender, but also how the language used by authorities is shaped by their agendas.

Nowadays, I’m a little annoyed that none of the “stronger” race of women are cast any larger in build than, say, Cameron Diaz. The narrowness of body type shown in the series amazes me more and more, the longer I watch. We have another backwards world of aliens, and it’s a little trying that there have been so few races that the Federation considers to be equals so far. I also really can’t figure out how the Prime Directive has absolutely nothing to say about Riker sexing up foreign dignitaries.

1. From http://de.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Planet_Angel_One

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