bless Jeri Ryan for making Seven’s voice so strident and abrasive and downright gravelly at times
for the amount that producers prettyfied her she did the opposite with Seven’s voice, making it scolding and acrid and nothing like the supple sexy submissive softness others were often literally forced into doing
the only exceptions to that i can think of are when she’s evidently not herself, and also when she’s thinking on her human past (and also when she’s being a lil softer when Janeway introduces her to new ways of thinking tbh)
Seven’s voice is literally one of the greatest aspects of her character, and it’s incredible that Jeri could put so much force behind it while wearing a corset and shrinkwrapped hotdog casings as a costume
Since I always keep going back to it, I guess one of the things that upsets me the most in Voyager is Seven’s “Learning to be human” storyline. So I’m gonna rant about this, again. I’m sure I’ve said most of it before, but here we go again.
I’m angry not at the act of trying to be human itself, but at the definition of “human” that is associated with those episodes.
I think this arc of Seven is ableistic. I’ll make my case for this (but you can always disagree. I’m abled myself and can be wrong).
1. Seven is a survivor of prolonged abuse and trauma.
2. That has left her with physical and mental scars that will never go away.
She will never be the same as she would have been, had she stayed with her parents. If we compare her with the idea of “normality”, with a dream Seven that was never abused – she’ll never be that person. This is how she is, this is her actual person and being. That should be enough.
But the person that she is, isn’t presented as human. Her actions aren’t coded as human (like when she’s dominant or blunt, that’s because she’s borg). Her body isn’t coded as human. She is constantly compared to a standard that she can never meet. Because she can’t just stop being borg. She can’t remove the implants. And even if she fight to be all that, even if she could remove the implants and be a sociable and submissive woman that dates men, it still would be unfair to require that she be all that.
As I have written in an earlier post tonight – her body, her experiences and her personality should instead be accepted as a part of the many ways one can be human.
So, I mentioned ableism. Specifically I think it this arc at least mirrors ableistic thinking, in how it presents a norm (”Humanity”) and Seven is seen as less, not even human, if she doesn’t fulfill the requirement for that norm.
as someone who has been emotionally abused, and who isnt neurotypical, you’re absolutely right. this is how survivors of abuse are treated, and this is how neurodivergent people are treated. we are told that there’s this “norm” we need to reach, that there’s a certain way to be acceptable to society, when there’s no way to reach that. this is exactly what they did with Seven. the crew told her that there was one way to be human, and one way to be “acceptable” when she could never reach that “goal” (standard is probably a better word, but they treat it as a goal).
your analysis of Seven’s story arc is really accurate in my experience. neurodivergent people and survivors of abuse are both (again, this is all based on my experience) encouraged to get to what we would be as neurotypical people (ignoring something that makes us who we are, and that we cant change) or to get to what we would be without abuse (ignoring a key part of our experiences, something that cannot be undone, and definitely shouldnt be ignored). this is exactly what Seven is told. that she needs to get to that place, the one where she wasn’t ever taken by the Borg, and is told to almost ignore those experiences in favor of becoming the crew’s image of a perfect person
Thank you for sharing your experiences.
In this case it’s like ableism going from subtext to text, because Seven isn’t even aiming to become “perfect”. She is literally told that she isn’t human if she doesn’t conform.
Jeri Ryan has said that those years she spent playing Seven of Nine were not pleasant. Kate Mulgrew treated her badly and the suit was horrible and uncomfortable and it took so long to come off that she didn’t eat or drink on set so she wouldn’t have to go to the bathroom.
The borg suit, as we know, cut off the blood flow to her brain so she fainted several times.
So I’m thinking that it must have taken something really good, a really good story and opportunity, for Jeri to even consider coming back and playing Seven again. It makes me hopeful.