Growing up, I always loved Captain Janeway. It was one of those naive baby-feminist things – finally, there is a female captain! I felt like she was the epitome of sassy and strong, just what a starship captain with a vagina should be naturally.
Earlier this year, I wrote a post entitled The Raven about the Star Trek: Voyager episode of the same name. We were in season four of the seven season series and Seven of Nine was just going through her initial Post-Traumatic Stress fun. This was especially important as I had finally been diagnosed with PTSD in 2015.
I started to identify with Seven, the hot chick, for the first time in my life.
I never identified with Seven before. She was the unattainable hot girl with more logic than a Vulcan. She had these amazing outfits and cool face makeup. She was out of reach. Because of our shared diagnosis, though, she became incredibly relatable.
The small child in me – the one who was going through all of these PTSD episodes while Voyager was on – cringes so much at all of this. As soon as The Raven hit our television screen earlier this year, I knew she had PTSD. I said it before the Doctor even did once given both her reactions and the findings of his scans.
Poor T, watching all of these with me. I like to think these episodes helped me explain some PTSD things. I’m sure it really wasn’t fun to watch with me, though.
In the following episodes, most people on the ship are helpful with Seven. They understand that some of her reactions aren’t things she can control and go out of their way to help when they can. It takes a while for most, sure, but the adventures Voyager faces seem to speed up this acceptance. The Doctor, a holograph, becomes both her biggest fanboy and advocate.
Captain Janeway does not advocate for Seven, quite arguably the most vulnerable person on the crew. Instead, Seven finds herself used and abused not unlike she did with the Borg. One could argue that, on Voyager, using Seven in these ways makes their actions even more reprehensible than the Borg – at least with them, Seven wasn’t really conscious of what was going on. She didn’t have rights to be taken away.
In Retrospect, Seven’s PTSD is even further defined by a violation from a trader. Instead of really championing for helping Seven, Janeway takes the offender’s side of things pretty quickly. In addition to this, Janeway removes Seven’s free will in several episodes, using Seven to accomplish whatever means she wishes.
I’m not sure why this is. Is there a female jealousy component here, that Seven is logical, intelligent, and beautiful? Does Janeway feel threatened? Or, like some parents, does she feel as though Seven’s entire life and being should somehow be hers?
I don’t know.
I do know this is all in stark contrast to Captain Picard who works tirelessly to help the members of his crew understand life. I can’t help but wonder how Data would have done on Voyager instead of the Enterprise. I’m sure Janeway would have been proud of him, but it seems as though she would have also manipulated him where possible, too.
Picard isn’t without his faults, but it certainly seems Seven would have done better had he discovered her during his time as Locutus of Borg.
As a child, I so loved Voyager. I didn’t really pay attention to the plot, but it was Star Trek – my favorite. I paid much more attention to The Next Generation episodes we sometimes watched as a family.
It’s hard for me to admit how much I dislike Janeway now. It’s interesting the number of things that I had to endure to get me to the point of stating how awful she is – religious/philosophy studies, ethical ideals, finally putting a name to my PTSD and getting away from abuse, etc. It’s really hard to stomach from an intersectional feminist point of view, too, that Janeway would be so dismissive of a fellow female.
It’s not unlike our current political fun. Slightly off-topic, but this week alone several of the anti-Trump groups have perpetuated stigmas against us disabled and chronically ill people. Because they have degrees, they assume they’re knowledgeable in marginalization and don’t think they’re doing anything wrong (or, on the flipside, some don’t care).
What we really need – us anti-Trump cripples – is for people to listen. Hear us when we talk about what we are dealing with. Support us and give us a platform to talk about what’s happening, what may happen, and what we can do to avoid the worst of the worst.
That’s really not different than what Seven needed – or what I need during PTSD time. It doesn’t seem as though that is something Janeway is capable of providing, at least to Seven.
Have you ever encountered a television show that depicted one of your diagnoses? How did they do? How did this make you feel?