Women in early Star Trek
So, in the original pilot for Start Trek, “The Cage”, the female crew members of the Enterprise wear pants, basically in the same uniforms as the men, and Capt. Pike’s second-in-command (“Number One”) is a woman (Majel Barrett, who would go on to play Nurse Chapel in TOS).
Apparently, NBC called B.S. on this and in the second pilot, “Where No Man Has Gone Before”, while women do continue to wear pants, they are not command officers. Still, we have Dr. Elizabeth Dehner (Sally Kellerman), who is an officer and holds an important position (ship’s psychiatrist).
Once we get into production, this is apparently still too much. and by “The Man Trap” and “Charlie X”, we have the now-iconic TOS mini-skirts, and — with Uhura the sole exception — the women we see are Yeoman who mostly serve men food. (Seriously, the first time we meet Yeoman Rand, she is delivering a plate of food to Lt. Sulu in the botany lab. Later we see another female Yeoman bring Kirk a snack on the bridge.)
I think it will take us until 1979 (The Motion Picture) to see Starfleet women wear pants again.
Anyway, I’ve just begun to re-watch TOS, and it’s still amazing for its time (so many brown people on the crew!), but this observation jumped out at me. Props to Roddenberry for trying, I suppose. Having Barrett as “Number One” in 1966 would have been awesome, though.
Fun fact: It’ll take us until 1986 to see a woman captain a federation starship (Capt. Madge Sinclair of the USS Saratoga in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home).