Captain James T. Kirk: The Anti-Womanizer, Season 1 (Part 1)
So, I'll admit it--before I started watching TOS
, I thought the same things about Kirk that so many other people do. I believed him to be a testosterone-driven skirt chaser who couldn't keep it in his pants and thought women were only good for sex and eye candy. I believed it...because I had no reason not to--I was a teenager, had never seen a full episode of the original series, and had heard it from all corners of pop culture that this was indeed James "T for Tomcat" Kirk.
The major turning point? Slash. I got into slash completely by accident. I can't remember my first slash story or even fandom, though I suspect it was through Smallville
, looking for C/L, which turned out not to be Clark and Lana (oh, gag, the horror in retrospect) but Clark and Lex. Whatever the beginning, because slash lives in the subtext, between the lines, I began to pay more attention to my shows, looking for slash, and as an end result, I also started paying more attention to characterization in general.
Then came K/S, which I only got into in the first place because I wanted to write a masters thesis on slash--and how could you do that without being familiar with the granddaddy of them all? I watched what episodes I could online (at the time, I think I found "Miri," "The Cage," "The Man Trap," and part of "Mirror, Mirror"), but quickly decided that I needed to own the DVDs--I was hooked that quickly.
The more I watched these episodes, the more convinced I became that every preconceived notion I'd had about Kirk was wrong. Far from being the testosterone-driven skirt chaser, James Kirk is extremely respectful of women, more so than pretty much any other man on the ship, does not fall in love at the drop of a hat (excepting of course instances of poor third season writing), does not indulge in one-night stands of his own volition (not onscreen at least), is quite the gentleman who enjoys the courting process, and only really outright seduces women when his or his crew's lives are at stake.
But you shouldn't just take my word for it, and I won't ask you to. In honor of the inestimable Bill Shatner on his birthday, I've gone through every episode of the original series, taken enough notes to make my fingers cramp, and recorded pretty much every significant interaction Kirk has with a woman during the course of the show.
Now, at this point, I'm just trying for an accurate read on Kirk's interaction with women, so I've been trying not to let my slash goggles get in the way, but there are times when I use Kirk's relationship with Spock--and with McCoy and others--as a measuring stick by which to analyze how Kirk interacts with women. Fair warning, though, there are going to be times ahead where I honestly cannot make sense of Kirk's reactions without taking into account at least a degree of K/S, but I'll send up a flare when I get to those points.
I want to make clear that I'm not trying to deny that Kirk is interested in women. On the contrary, I believe very much that he finds women attractive, that he has been in love with women in his life. I'm just trying to correct the widespread misinterpretation that Kirk is some kind of callous horndog who treats women as his natural inferiors.
Also, I don't want anyone to think that I'm trying to talk down to or be patronizing of anyone, because I'm going to go through this as step by step as I can, and I'll probably be repeating myself, simply because similar circumstances recur within the show itself. I just want to be as detailed as possible and leave as little out as I can.
I'll be going through the episodes in the order that they came up on my DVDs, so first out of the gate...( The Man TrapCollapse )( Charlie XCollapse )( Where No Man Has Gone BeforeCollapse )( The Naked TimeCollapse )( The Enemy WithinCollapse )( Mudd's WomenCollapse )( What Are Little Girls Made Of?Collapse )( MiriCollapse )( Dagger of the MindCollapse )( The Corbomite ManeuverCollapse )( The Menagerie (Parts I and II)Collapse )Season 1, Part 2