From the ET Interview: “The Women of Star Trek” with Majel Barrett (Jan. 04, 1993) Click Here For Video
Majel Berrett:Even though it’s set in the 24th Century, Star Trek has long been considered an accurate mirror reflecting society in this century and in that mirror the changing role of women in the real world has been a significant of the Star Trek legacy.
My own flamboyant costumes for a recurring role on Star Trek The Next Generation symbolised just how much had changed for women since the original Star Trek was broadcast in 1966.
Back then it was short skirts, tight tunics, beehive hairdos, go go boots and bare midriffs which imitated the style of the time - and just like real life in the first episode, officers like myself didn’t get enough respect.
Because the network objected to a woman Second in command, I was recast as Nurse Chapel, leaving Nichelle Nichols on the bridge. Nichelle played the Communications Officer, Lieutenant Uhura, but in keeping with the times she was not to be trusted with command or at all.
Nichelle Nichols: As a matter of fact when 1, 2 and 3 in command went off the ship, they would have a male ensign take over the shift before they had Uhura -who was a Lieutenant at the time!
Majel:Six years ago, Star Trek The Next Generation, clearly demonstrated that attitudes had changed regarding women. The new program began to take a more modern view of women in society and women’s roles got better and stronger. The ship’s security officer was a woman, as was the ships doctor. Marina Sirtis played the ships counselor.
Marina Sirtis:She is the only person who ever really tells the Captain off, who has the freedom to walk into his ready room and say ‘Hey, sit down and listen to what the deal is right now’
Majel:Now, Star Trek takes another step forward for women as the new adventure series Deep Space Nine debuts across the country - and this time the women aren’t only beautiful and intelligent; they have power. Nana Visitor plays the humanoid First Officer on a remote space station - she is often placed in command.
Nana Visitor: To be playing a humanoid, an aggressive female, who has power and who takes power even when maybe it’s not hers to have - and who can be wrong in that sense, who isn’t this perfect person; that’s incredibly exciting.
Majel:Star Trek has come a long way from the days of go-go boots, and short skirts and hot pink lipstick - and as it continues to reflect the changes for women in the 20th Century, it makes perfect sense that one day a woman will sit here, where she belongs, in the Captain’s chair.