Whitney remembered Roddenberry’s description of Janice Rand. She would be as Gunsmoke’s Miss Kitty was to Matt Dillon. The Marshal could always talk his problems over with his favorite saloon girl, she knew him better than anyone else. That was the relationship Roddenberry wanted Rand and Kirk to have. The Captain could confide in her, be warmed by her and secretly love her. But he would never openly admit his deeper feelings, not even to himself.from These are the Voyages: TOS: Season 1, by Marc Cushman with Susan Osborn, 2013.
Roddenberry told her, “Because of your duty, you can never openly express your attraction toward him. There will always be an undercurrent of suppressed sexuality between you that will come out in very subtle ways. You’re to be as beautiful as you can be and as efficient as you can be, and you are to love the captain.”
So basically the idea is that she would be there to serve the captain practically, in that that’s her job, but also emotionally. Her needs? Not super important.
There was at least one person who raised that it was problematic for Kirk to flirt with his subordinate:
[John] Kubichan, one of the network’s watchdogs for programming and censorship issues, knowing that Roddenberry was pushing for sexual tension between [Kirk and Rand], felt it inappropriate for a ship’s captain to flirt with a subordinate. Roddenberry and Sargent went for the sexual tension anyway. With Rand’s miniskirt – the shortest to be seen on TV – it was hard to take it any other way.
Great, but the way we knew the relationship was flirtatious was way more than Rand’s miniskirt – it was put in the dialogue, the music and the lighting. If it had been just the miniskirt it shouldn’t have been so hard to “take it any other way” unless you’re assuming men have trouble thinking of women in miniskirts any way other than as sex objects.