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About Gaila (and Orion Girls) Space Jezebels? [Jan. 10th, 2010|10:02 pm]
Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations
starbase_idic
[cleojones]
They're like animals-- vicious, seductive.
They say no human male can resist them.


That's a line from The Menegarie Part II. Given Gaila's popularity, it occurred to me that the role she played, well the size of it at least, is what I expected from Uhura.

I also think that were that the case, Uhura would not have had as much fandom attention as Gaila has had in the same situation. Which is interesting given that Orions, are pretty much Space Jezebels, in my eyes.

It's another case of the created other garnering more sympathy/attention than the real ones.

Discussion was had last week in teamgaila  but I wanted to get other opinions on this.

What do you think?
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: mojitochica
2010-01-11 03:49 am (UTC)
Bb, your code is wonky! I will comment later.
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[User Picture]From: sunhawk
2010-01-11 04:41 am (UTC)
I think it would be really interesting to see if Orions in STXI verse play up to that TOS stereotype or not. In the novelization of STXI, they made more mention of Gaila's hormones and how they affected the males around her but in the movie itself, most of that was skipped. If you didn't watch TOS or read the novel (or google anything about Star Trek,etc), would you get any of that Space Jezebel vibe or do people just think it's Gaila's personality rather than reflection of her species?

Not that those choices are great, because then it's like a standoff between sexism and racism, woo hoo *finger twirl*

It does make me wonder whether Orions will feature in future films in a more meaningful way or were they just meant to be one of the many nods to TOS canon.
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From: cleojones
2010-01-11 05:09 am (UTC)
Actually, I did the first post before I re-watched The Menegarie. So, I already had in mind that I was squicked and identified with her because of her being treated like an object, as available only because of her race.

And oh boy, that deleted scene with "Not Gaila", the Orion who didn't look at all like Gaila, been there done that.

Just hearing that line from TOS solidified my issues with Orions more concretely.

As much time as there has been to develop Orions, they still seem to me, at least firmly in -type land.

I don't see that changing any time soon, but it would be nice!
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[User Picture]From: sunhawk
2010-01-11 07:39 pm (UTC)
And oh boy, that deleted scene with "Not Gaila", the Orion who didn't look at all like Gaila, been there done that.

Ohhh yes, I remember when I saw that on the special features, here's to hoping they cut it for the right reasons, though it's disturbing they actually got far enough to film it. I seem to recall someone (male someone of course) from the commentaries asking "why did we cut this?" *sigh*

Would it be better if the Orion women still had the genetics for the hormone production but were more ambivalent about using it? Like some of them actually found the constant male interest annoying or negative in another way? Or would it be better to cut that aspect of their species right now? I do admit I like the idea of exploring how humanoids can differ and interact with each other, but of course without hurting each other with stereotypes and the like.
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[User Picture]From: taraljc
2010-01-11 09:41 pm (UTC)
Plus the only Orions we've ever actually seen onscreen were Marta (who was insane), and the rest are part of the Orion Syndicate on ENT. So the entire race might function VERY differently than the mafia that are used as baddies...

I know a lot of folks hated ENT, but I much prefer the idea that it's the Orion women who run the syndicate and choose to use their pheremones to put themselves in positions of power over both Orion men and other humanoid races to the idea that the women "enjoy being taken advantage of".

ETA: Of course, just because the Syndicate is run by women doesn't mean it still wouldn't be a life Gaila would flee from, had she been born into it.

Edited at 2010-01-11 09:48 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: witchsistah
2010-01-11 10:15 pm (UTC)
I think that was ENT trying to retcon what they saw was the pitiable sexism of the 60s' TOS. "They're not actually throw-away hoes. They actually RUN the joint but make it look like they don't, so they're EXTRA!"

The best part about that ep was Arik Soong implying that he'd had partaken of Orion poon. I knew Soong men were some hoes. I think it's because they're descended from Dr. Nigel Fenway.
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[User Picture]From: lady_ganesh
2010-01-12 12:01 am (UTC)
I have a lot of problems with the ENT retcon, actually. This got debated to death at fanficrants, and alara_r summed things up better than I could-- I can't figure out how to link directly to her comment, but here's her words:

It's two old tropes, which I hate. First, the trope of "the pets are actually the masters", which you see in a lot of stories about cats or dogs are really running things, which contradicts the shit out of the fact that we kill cats and dogs for being inconvenient all the damn time. And secondly, the trope of "women rule men with their vaginas", which is unbelievably sexist and also overlooks the long history of men murdering women.
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[User Picture]From: ever_obsessed
2010-01-12 03:52 am (UTC)
THIS, :|

I think this is pretty much the retcon of the ST universe I cannot deal with.

I just can't, for both 'this is dumb' reasons and for personal, TMI reasons.
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[User Picture]From: lady_ganesh
2010-01-13 03:09 am (UTC)
I tend to just pretend Enterprise never happened. I'm happier that way.
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[User Picture]From: witchsistah
2010-01-11 04:48 am (UTC)
Gaila gets fandom love because she's played by a White actress. As much as Trekkies claim to be able to submerse themselves in the Trekiverse they are really bound by TODAY's conventions, societal rules and stereotypes.

As of how Orions are portrayed, we hear and definitely SEE more of the women than we do of the men. The idea of the Space Jezebel in full effect, an ever-available sex object whose only desires are the bidding of her male partner so you don't have to worry about trying to please her. The ultimate fantasy of the woman who doesn't mind men using her for casual, no-strings-attached sex. She craves male attention so much she'll literally do anything to get it and keep it, a huge ego boost to the men she "hunts."

It's the ultimate fulfillment of patrichal, male, sexual selfishness, which is why she must be made as sub-human, like an animal and probably why "no human male can resist them." If she were human or had a status equal to personhood, then the man may feel badly about treating her that way.

And it's sort of a warning to the rest of Federation womanhood in a way (not that they seem to be taking the hint). There are these women that'll literally do ANYTHING for a man and not ask for SHIT in return. And they would be real competition if Orion were a Federation planet and therefore Fed men had easy access to Orion women.

ETA--We do have to understand that when the Orions were invented, it was during an era when the women's movement had not yet come to fruition or come into the obvious public sphere. I doubt that a military outfit would have its women wearing cage dancer outfits. But that was the 1960s and the rather imperfect, incomplete vision of a White man of that time.


Edited at 2010-01-11 05:17 am (UTC)
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From: cleojones
2010-01-11 05:25 am (UTC)
I agree about Nichols' whiteness making her accessible, which makes the juxtaposition with fandom treatment of Uhura all the more maddening.

Because, that's where I fully expected Uhura to be and also subsequently ignored by new fandom. The only reason she's gotten any attention (and so much of it polarizing) is because she's it.

I honestly believe Uhura being black and the *only* woman in a lead role in that film contributed to Gaila's popularity.

But then you consider the popularity of Neytiri's character from Avatar, who *is* played by a black woman but for which the fanboy adoration rubs me wrong in a way I haven't *quite* been able to fully articulate yet.

Maybe fanboys can detach themselves enough from Zoe's blackness because Neytiri is CG and therefore *not real*.

Idk. It just squicks me.
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[User Picture]From: sunhawk
2010-01-11 07:42 pm (UTC)
Gaila gets fandom love because she's played by a White actress.

I think it's frustrating that Gaila gets a pass for having sexual-type interactions with Kirk but the minute Uhura touches Spock, the gloves are off and the claws come out.
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From: cleojones
2010-01-11 09:42 pm (UTC)
You know.

Someone a while back said that most of Spock's appeal is his untouchableness. Like he's the male version of the pure virgin ideal men have for women.

So, that makes me wonder if Spock has become the pedastaled "pure white woman" in this fandom and Uhura is now the ravaging mandingo who raped him. :/
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[User Picture]From: sunhawk
2010-01-11 10:20 pm (UTC)
Yikes. I want to say you're wrong but I'm not sure I can :/ I want it to BE wrong but you are probably spot on there.

Especially in the K/S circles I mostly lurk in, with their whole "The only one good enough for Spock is Kirk!!" which is charming in isolation but quickly becomes nasty when talking of other pairings and Spock and Kirk. While Spock/Uhura is reviled for being fake and awful, Kirk/McCoy is virtually invisible and never acknowledged, which is a tad ridiculous in the STXI fandom. But don't let me derail this discussion with the problems of two white men, just sharing my annoyance with my own "ship" fandom, so to speak. I flat out refuse to participate in which ship is "better" type competitions.
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[User Picture]From: lady_ganesh
2010-01-12 12:02 am (UTC)
That's a reeeeally interesting idea. I think you're on to something.
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[User Picture]From: witchsistah
2010-01-11 05:20 am (UTC)

Decided just to write another comment

TNG was no better. There was basically a planet of Space Jezebels except catering to BOTH sexes. There still was no examination on the ethics of using another being for sexual gratification even if the other being seems okay with it. The population of the planet (the name of it eludes me, but it was the ep where we were almost rid of Wesley Crusher--dammit!) seemed perpetually youthful, beautiful (and of course their beauty was Aryan-blond hair and blue eyes) and childlike. They played hopscotched and sucked a mean dick with the same innocence. I don't know. That was always kind of icky to me, like child molestation except everyone is "legally" an adult in body but a kid in mind and spirit. It seemed like they didn't differentiate between kissing and sexual intercourse. That would be problematic for me. I'd wonder if the person REALLY knew what was REALLY going on and the implications of it all.

At least the Orion women KNEW what the deal was even used their sexuality to their own advantage. Even if they were Space Jezzies, they were GROWN-ASS Space Jezzies.
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[User Picture]From: taraljc
2010-01-11 09:49 pm (UTC)

Re: Decided just to write another comment

It was the Edo. First season was kinda SUCKTASTIC that way.
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[User Picture]From: witchsistah
2010-01-11 10:07 pm (UTC)

Re: Decided just to write another comment

Shall we mention the abomination that was "Code of Honor?"

And thanks for the name of the people of that planet. I kept thinking Eloi from H.G. Wells "Time Machine" because they looked like that's who they were based on (even more problematic because the Eloi were kept childlike and there were no old ones because they were basically food for the "humans" living underground-futuristic livestock). I could imagine a conversation where one proposed a rousing game of tag played with childlike naivete glee an and afterwords you could fuck them up the ass with the same naivete and glee. I don't know. I think I'd feel like I should be wearing a dirty raincoat and driving a beat up van.

Edited at 2010-01-11 10:12 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: lady_ganesh
2010-01-12 12:03 am (UTC)

Re: Decided just to write another comment

Don't forget the candy.

I think I missed that episode. I'm incredibly glad that I either didn't see it or have forgotten it!
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