We [Fraction and his wife, Kelly Sue DeConnick] were pregnant at the time, and while I was out there I started to realize that if I had a daughter, there would come a day when I would have to apologize to her for my profession. I would have to apologize for the way it treats and speaks to women readers, and the way it treats its female characters.
I knew that if we had a daughter, because I know my wife and I know the kind of girl she wants to raise and I know the kind of girl I want to raise, she was going to look at what I did for a living and want to know how the fuck I could stomach it. How could I sell her out like that?” Fraction continued. “That conversation is still coming, and I’m bracing for it in the way that some dads brace for their daughter’s first date or boyfriend. I became acutely aware that I had sort of done that thing that lots of privileged hetero cisgendered white dudes do. ‘I’m cool with women, and that’s enough.’ It’s not enough. It’s embarrassing to say, because we somehow have attached shame to learning and evolving our opinions, culturally, but I became aware that there was a deficiency of and to women in my work, and all I could do at that moment was take care of my side of the street.
Of all the characters, Mary is the one who undergoes the greatest metamorphosis over the course of the three series. When we first met her she appeared to be a hard-hearted, rather cold and ambitious elder daughter of an earl. Blighted by having been born a girl rather than a boy, she needed to prove that she could make a success of herself just as much as any male heir would have. Mary’s closest relationships are with men: her father, Matthew and Carson. This stems, perhaps, from her feeling that she should have been born a boy. If she wasn’t one, then she was going to be as near as dammit. Her admirable qualities are ones that would have been considered masculine in 1920: she’s an adventurer, brave, an excellent horsewoman and a natural leader. In many ways, a woman of her disposition at that time would have been frustrated by the stemming of her potential. — Jessica Fellowes, The Chronicles of Downton Abbey
MARINA SIRTIS: Well, you have to remember that we were shooting a show about the 24th century in the 20th century, so you have to bear that in mind. My thing was because to be honest, I don’t know about Gates’ experience with the producers, but I never got an acting note—ever. I would get a call from the producer, “Did you change your lipstick? Did you do something different with your hair?” For “The Boys” in the office it was all about how I look, I knew that from the get-go. So being that as I am very “woman’s libby” as we used to call it in my day, I wanted to portray that you could be an attractive woman and still be a strong person. So for me it was really important that there was someone in the position of power and authority and obviously respect who also cared about her appearance. Because that is me—that’s me, I care about my appearance, but I also care more about society, politics and the world, so I don’t think the two are exclusive, and that’s what I wanted to show.
GATES McFADDEN: Um, I just basically wanted to look good… Actually, as most of you probably know I got let go because I was a feminist. So, second season I wasn’t there because I disagreed with the writer, I felt he was writing the character of Crusher—I had said to him, “I raised this kid on my own; he might be obnoxious about it, but he has saved the ship about 6 times. And there has to be some of those genes that are Beverly Crushers, so why is it every time anything with any wisdom is said it’s a male character who talks to him.” And it’s only me that is only about the mother, which believe me mothering is like that’s number one, just love him—no problem with that. Because I thought that had not been really portrayed on a TV show. I have a son and we have whole other disconnect sometimes where it’s just talking about things, and it’s not to do with, “oh you’re a mom, and you’re my son.” Basically we disagreed, I was asked to you know, go, I certainly did it, and I wasn’t trying to be strident. I was used to working in theatre departments where everybody respected everybody and you basically did talk about things. You can talk about script things that didn’t mean you were going to get your way. It’s like what happens right now in rehearsals, I could be directing something and I can have four actors saying completely different things, and really arguing about it. I don’t take it personally, it’s like they’re arguing for their character—that makes sense to me. Anyway, I did just really want to look good but it didn’t work out.Marina Sirtis & Gates McFadden, on doing a 24th Century show in the 20th Century, and the reason Gates was fired in the second season. (Spoiler Alert: the producer was then fired and Gates was asked to come back (fan letters et al.) [watch here]
I never knew exactly why Gates was fired. I just knew that the writer who fired her was a hack and a dick and he chased away at least one very good writer from the show.
Now that I know why she was fired, I want to get in the time machine and punch that guy in the back of the head.
Would spaceflight affect her reproductive organs? Would she wear a bra or makeup in space? Did she cry on the job? How would she deal with menstruation?
—Reporters to astronaut Sally Ride, in 1983, before her first shuttle flight.