Welcome to this week’s installment of Geek Girl Authority Crush of the Week, wherein we shine a spotlight on strong women who inspire us. These ladies are a prime example of female empowerment and how crucial it is for youth to have said example to follow.
DISCLAIMER: The following article contains spoilers for Star Trek: The Next Generation and the associated movies. She also appears in Star Trek: Picard season 3, the first episode of which arrives on Paramount Plus on Thursday, February 16, 2023. However this article does not discuss that series.
Doctor Beverly Crusher
Doctor Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) was introduced as the Chief Medical Officer aboard the USS Enterprise-D in the first episode of TNG, “Encounter at Farpoint.” During the second season of TNG, Dr. Crusher was absent. This is because she had accepted a position as the head of Starfleet Medical. This meant that Doctor Katherine Pulaski (Diana Muldaur) served as the Enterprise-D’s CMO during this interval. However, Dr. Crusher resumed her position aboard the Enterprise-D in TNG season 3, retaining it for the duration of the series and the sequel movies.
As the CMO aboard the Enterprise-D and Enterprise-E, Dr. Crusher was faced with no shortage of fantastical medical issues. Many of these issues had never before been encountered or even considered by humanity beforehand. This means she had to rely on her own competence in order to provide treatment.
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Even when there is precedent for the situation, innovation was often necessary. One such example took place in “The Naked Now.” The crew of the Enterprise-D was subjected to polywater intoxication, just as the crew of Kirk’s Enterprise experienced in “The Naked Time.” However, the antigen developed by Doctor Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley) proved ineffectual in treating the crew of the Enterprise-D. As a result, Dr. Crusher had to develop a new version of the antigen used to treat the affliction.
More than a Doc:
In addition to being the CMO aboard the Enterprise-D and Enterprise-E, Dr. Crusher is also a mother. Her son, Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton), appears in many episodes of TNG. This relationship proves inspiring to future generations. In one example from Star Trek: Lower Decks, Ensign Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome) is motivated to continue to work alongside her mother thanks to positive working relationship between Wesley and his mother.
Dr. Crusher also sometimes commanded the Enterprise-D (and, by extension, presumably the Enterprise-E). As a fully certified bridge officer, Dr. Crusher can take the conn and has done so on some seriously high-stress occasions, including an attack by the Borg in “Descent: Parts I and II”.
The Real Deal:
Dr. Crusher is the real deal. She’s deeply intelligent and possesses an impressive foundation of medical knowledge (even by the standards of the 2370s). While her primary responsibility is as a medical healer and caretaker, she never hesitates to demonstrate that she a full-fledged member of the crew.
This includes voicing her opinion on complicated moral subjects. One instance of this took place in the TNG episode “Symbiosis.” In this episode, the Enterprise-D encountered a pair of sister planets, one of which is supplying the other with an addictive drug. Faced with this situation, Dr. Crusher advocated for the violation of the Prime Directive, a contradictory opinion to the one held by Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart).
Why She Matters:
Why does Dr. Crusher matter? She shows us that, even when we are cast in a certain role, we don’t need to be delimited by the boundaries others perceive such a role to have. She also shows us how one’s expertise in certain areas can prove invaluable to experts in other fields, as when she posits the solution that puts the Borg to sleep in “The Best of Both Worlds, Part II.”
Dr. Crusher also shows us how important living to our full potential can be, not just for ourselves but for those around us. This is evident in the episode “Thine Own Self.” During one of Dr. Crusher’s overnight duty shifts in command of the Enterprise-D, she has a conversation with Counselor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis). This conversation inspires Troi to apply for the rank of Commander herself so that she can sometimes take command of the Enterprise-D, as well.
So, be like Dr. Crusher. Don’t hesitate to follow your instincts, even if that means leaving the flagship or pioneering new techniques. Never let people make you feel like your opinion on a subject doesn’t matter because, as Dr. Crusher shows us, alternate perspectives are essential for human prosperity. And when administering medical treatment to Klingons, always remember: if at first you don’t succeed, try, try their backup organs!
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