The Series That Started It All

voyager

I’ve been a lover of sci-fi for as long as I can remember. The first television show I remember actively watching (that wasn’t targeted to audiences under 12) is Star Trek: Voyager. Now, I know Voyager gets a pretty bad rap among the Trek fans, but it will always be my favorite simply for the fact that the female characters in the series were my very first role models that didn’t wear tiaras. And nostalgia. And the fact that my dad and I really bonded over sci-fi during my adolescent years. Basically, it’s the start of everything for me.

Picture 7-year-old little me sitting in front of that TV in 1995, watching this woman captain a Federation ship through the far reaches of the galaxy & you’ll get it. That’s an insanely magical thing for a kid who, up until this point, had spent too much time watching Rugrats and Looney Tunes and The Little Mermaid.  I’m not sure I had even actively watched a movie or TV show that was not animated at this point in my life – at least, I don’t remember doing so – but I distinctly remember the first time I watched Star Trek and I was instantly obsessed. My dad and I would sit down every week & watch it together while my mom did who-knows-what, because she was never into the Sci-Fi/ Fantasy stuff.

That face, tho. Perfect Janeway expression

That face, tho. Perfect Janeway expression

There’s a lot of talk in the media today about the shortage of strong, female role-models for young girls. It seems that many people just kind of brush off the subject, but I can attest that for a young girl to see a woman in a kick-ass position makes a huge difference in her opinion of herself and the world around her.  Watching Kathryn Janeway kick ass and take names on a weekly basis made me realize that I could do big things. Even though my parents always told me I could do anything, I didn’t believe it until I saw it in action. Janeway cared for her crew the way a mother cares for her children. She respected them, guided them, protected them. She would (and did) do anything for them. In return, they respected her and followed her into uncharted territory on their journey back to Earth. It’s a pretty standard strong female character, but a good one, nonetheless.  Then you’ve got B’Elanna Torres.

belanna

For anyone who is not familiar with the series, B’Elanna is a human-Klingon hybrid and Starfleet Academy drop-out who joins Voyager’s crew out of necessity after her Maquis (rebel group) crew got stranded in the Detla Quadrant with Voyager. B’Elanna had a rough childhood, and was teased by other kids due to her Klingon heritage and the appearance that comes with it. Unfortunately for her, part of being a Klingon also means an uncontrollable temper and difficulty respecting authority. She’s stubborn and brilliant and you can always see the rage bubbling beneath the surface.  All of this contributed to her exit from the Starfleet Academy due to frequent disciplinary incidents. She is a surprisingly complex character, and by far my favorite female of the series. I could identify with her when they showed flashbacks to her childhood and the bullying she endured (I’m hoping that by the 24th century we’ve completely abolished bullying) and the isolation she felt growing up on a planet where she and her mother were the only Klingons. Isolation is something that every girl – or person, for that matter – experiences in their life, but when you’re 9 years old it’s hard to believe that anyone knows what you’re going through. Watching B’Elanna’s transformation from an insubordinate Maquis crewman to a full-fledged, respected, and loved member of a Federation crew was really therapeutic for a girl who just didn’t know how to connect to her peers.

Oh, and let's not forget that body. No sir.

Oh, and let’s not forget that body. No sir.

This post would not be complete without mention of one of the other primary female characters in the series: Seven of Nine. Seven is a human who was assimilated by the Borg when she was 6 years old. She spent her whole life with them until her link to the collective was severed by Janeway when she was 24. She had to learn how to be human all over again & how to assimilate (see what I did there?) into a completely different culture than she was used to. She remained analytical and direct while trying to regain her humanity, with the help of fellow crew-members. She had many struggles and setbacks, but ultimately became a valued member of Voyager’s crew – one who saved all of their lives on more than one occasion. She is yet another great example of someone who is a complete outsider, but by opening up to the people around her, became part of a family.

There are lots of other things I learned from watching Voyager, but it was a really loud wake-up call on the girl-power front. This series sparked a love of sci-fi, which led me to watch other series of Star Trek (obviously), Star Wars, Stargate, and Firefly, as well as venturing into other realms of fantasy, like vampires…

buffy

 

Until next time ❤

[#ogf]

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2 thoughts on “The Series That Started It All

  1. Nushka Awesomeness says:

    I would like to say how true your bit about Voyager is, especially B’Elanna. I watched TNG first, then DS9. I watched DS9 quite quickly since I got really obsessed and I would watch a episode every day (I watched them on Netflix) until, one day it ended. Since I had watched the series so quickly, I’d got to know the characters really well and I’d watch their lives unfold in such a short amount of time that they were almost like close friends. After DS9 I was really upset, and the pilot of Voyager discouraged me from watching it, still sad about DS9 (and at first glance the Voyager pilot isn’t the best). Anyway, by the time I got around to watching Voyager, I wasn’t ready to like it, I didn’t want to like it, I wanted more DS9! But around the second season, without knowing it I was obsessed with it. Ever since the very start, B’Elanna has been my absolute favourite character ever in anything anywhere in any context. I can relate to her (no I’m not a depressed, unstable and dramatic) because of her anger (no I’ve not got medical issues, just a difficult to control temper) and I think the character was just amazing. As a computery person, I’ve always loved the idea of being a chief engineer, and B’Elanna was just amazing at it. Her character was strong and cocky, but had a lovely and tragic back story and a soft side, that I just loved. I think her journey from the feared, rebellious youth to the valued and trusted crewman (wife and mother) was one of the most inspirational things I have ever seen. Her relationship with Tom Paris is my favourite thing in the world. I was about 10-11 when I watched Voyager, and before that I had always dissed and laughed at romance. At this stage I was beginning to appreciate it more, but Tom and B’Elanna were revolutionary to my veiws on romance. I don’t know if you remember your first OTP. They were my first ever ship, and (still) my ultimate OTP. I first discovered shipping with these two, and it gave me this warm tingly feeling whenever I thought about them (still does actually). I ship a lot of things from a wide variety of media, but somehow they can never quite match the joy I get from B’Elanna and Tom. In my mind, they are a realistic couple (though I have never actually been in a romantic relationship) that is perfect in practically every way. I love how they can relate to each other, especially with how they are both on bad terms with their fathers, and how the playboy and the rebel, who start of hating each other, come to have a beautiful and true love. Throughout the series, there has been a lot of hide-your-face-with-a-pillow-due-to-embarresment-for-your-characters moments for them, but that’s part of the reason why I love it.
    Alot of people in the Star Trek fandom seem to hate B’Elanna, but although she can be difficult there are good reasons. For starters, (I don’t know if you had this happen to you at school but) when a teacher tells you that sometimes a bully becomes a bully because their life is so hard but you’ve gotta be understanding for them to become nicer people, you acknowledge that they have been though a lot, but in Star Trek all people ever say is that she has to get over it and to stop being so dramatic. To me, this is so unfair. If no one gives her a shred of sympathy then how is she supposed to gain better control? Klingons are naturally bad tempered, so she starts off at a disadvantage anyway, and she tries her very best to control herself, but no one seems to understand properly! I think she goes through a lot of bad situations during Voyager, without being properly acknowledged. Every time she is injured, people seem to brush it off because she is tough, and that is entirely unfair. I don’t know, maybe I’m just saying this because as the oldest of two girls I can relate, but I do think she is under appreciated.
    Sorry for writing so much, I just have alot of love and rant stored up and I kinda needed to get rid of it. I am 12 right now (as you can probably tell by my atrocious spelling) so sorry if this makes no sense, but thank-you for reading anyway 🙂
    -Nushka

    Liked by 1 person

    • #obsessivegirlfan says:

      Wow, thank you so much for sharing all of this! I watched the series when it originally aired, and yes. I shipped Tom & B’Elanna before shipping was even a thing. I don’t remember if they were my first (I also ship Buffy + Spike pretty darn hard), but they will always be in my top 5.
      Most of my friends who watch Star Trek are hardcore TNG or Original Series fans, so I get balked at a lot for feeling so strongly about Voyager. But I’ll never apologize for it and neither should you. I completely agree with everything you’ve said and I am very impressed at your analysis of her character at your age!

      Thanks again, and stop by any time! ❤

      Like

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