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Light Years Backward: Women in Star Trek

uhura1headlineimagehead I am a Trekkie and a woman and I am profoundly angry with Star Trek (2009).  I admit, that I did not go into this movie with high expectations. From the beginning of the hype, when this Star Trek prequel was announced as being in pre-production, there were foreboding pangs of dread.  Star Trek has always been about moving forward, that the future of humanity can and will be a more positive and beautiful reality than we know today. This promised future will not come from magic or from some fortuitous circumstance but rather the hard work and ingenuity of millions of people over time all working for a positive tomorrow; it wouldn’t be easy but it would be good. A prequel does not tell the rest of this story, but rather the beginning to which you already know the end. In the Star Trek ethos, a prequel seems inherently like a step backward.

Yet with carte-blanche to reboot the Star Trek universe, a prequel gives its creative team the golden opportunity to tell the greatest story of humanity’s future the right way.  To do all of the things that Gene Roddenberry and his team couldn’t due to the limits of the culture of the 1960′s.  Roddenberry struggled to get women on the bridge wearing sensible jumpsuits and functioning in positions of authority.  The unholy compromise that the network forced on the show: women wear mini-skirts or they don’t get on the bridge.  Unfair though this undoubtedly was, women were on the bridge and in the halls.  Women were introduced as anthropologists, historians, lawyers, and archaeologists when they sauntered on in their mini-skirted uniforms.  Alien species had female officers, leaders, and warriors as necessary. 1 Uhura and Nurse Chapel did not get nearly enough to do, but what they had was made great with their dignity, personality, and yes, their sexuality – always treated in a feminine yet personally controlled way. Kirk, for all of his womanizing ways, never treated them, or any woman, as less than a human being.  Even with the limitations of the period Roddenberry still managed to work women in his original concept onto the screen during the two-part  episode, “The Menagerie.” Number One, Majel Barrett’s (later Majel Barrett Roddenberry) no-nonsense professional on the bridge in a position of undisputed authority, made it to the screen despite the network.

Even the final episode of the original series speaks to the frustration of women when limited by culture.  Although the teleplay was done by Arthur H. Singer, Gene Roddenberry is credited for the story.  In “Turnabout Intruder,” Kirk’s former lover, Dr. Janice Lester, driven mad with the frustration and injustice of being denied a Captain’s seat in Starfleet because she is female, steals his body using ancient technology.  Kirk himself admits in the first five minutes that the system is not fair.  Although Lester makes a terrible captain, in the end we know it is not because of her sex; it is because society drove her to such lengths by their discrimination.  Folklore around the world abounds with heroines who must masquerade as men to save the day, why should the future be different? That is the tragedy that “Turnabout Intruder,” attempts to portray; the future should be different because it is the future, because we should have learned by the 22nd century that women are reasoning human beings and ought to be treated as such. Perhaps the seeming message of “Equal Pay for Equal Work or we go nuts” comes across rather oddly today, but the situation of unequal pay in the work force is dire and it is just as real 40-some years later. Even though the final line Kirk delivers 2 could imply in context that he doesn’t mind the glass ceiling of their Starfleet enough to combat it, the episode as a whole is a striking example of the problem of sexual discrimination and the mental strain it puts on women. Women should be allowed their power not because of the largesse of men, but because we are equal members of society who work just as hard if not harder than any man and deserve to be treated with the respect due any sentient beings in control of their own destinies.

Since the original series debuted each subsequent series has gotten better at portraying women. In The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager, women are no longer just the disembodied voice of a computer or a mini-skirt clad yeomen. Women are doctors, security officers, captains, admirals, judges, and helmsman. Even more telling, the engineer responsible for the principal design of the NCC-1701-D warp drive is Dr. Leah Brahms, who kicks Geordi’s ass when he tries to make her into his own private holographic plaything. 3 Even Counselor Deanna Troi, often the butt of many a joke, is not to be trifled with; she is the embodiment of the female power of empathy and communication but never gives up challenging herself to grow, becoming a bridge commander.  [4 This is a pursuit encouraged by another woman, Dr. Crusher, who did so first.] When we last see Troi, yes she is getting married to Riker– but he is taking her name, and the long-established respectful relationship between them makes it feel like a natural character development rather than some sort of trophy-finish. Captain Janeway, the ultimate victory for women in Star Trek, was an excellent commander of a starship who led with authority without compromising her feminity or ever seeming “bitchy.”  4

Through the years of Star Trek, watching these beloved characters in their roles progressing as the show progressed it was good to feel hope. As a little girl, it was nice to be given the message that, “yes, young woman, you can be whomever you want to be and you don’t have to be a boy or a slut to do it.” 5 When I saw Star Trek (2009) the theater was packed with parents and children of all ages, from gray-haired people with grown children to parents taking their little school-age kids; in some rows there were three generations at least. In the whole theater there were only two seats left together and they were in the very front most right-hand row. As the movie began I heard a little boy a couple rows back, maybe ten years old at most, yell out in excitement, “We’re going to see Star Trek! We’re going to see Kirk!” When I heard that I smiled; how well I remembered being a little girl not much older going to see First Contact with my big brother and going to conventions with him when I was even smaller. I grew up on Star Trek and PBS the way other kids grew up on Nickelodeon, Smurfs, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so it made me happy to think that new generations were getting a Trek diet too. However, my smile turned upside down by the time the credits rolled and the more I have reflected upon the subject the more irate I have become.

Why does Uhura have to bully Spock into giving her a position she is qualified to get? In an enlightened future society a woman with unparalleled abilities in her field should just get the job that she is best suited to perform regardless of who she has a private relationship with. If a woman is the best communications officer in the senior class of Starfleet Academy then she should be on the flagship. Period. How dare Spock be more concerned with how things appear to be than the fact that an officer is qualified for the job. What made me mad wasn’t that Uhura rebuked him but the fact that a rebuke was necessary, my respect for Spock in the new timeline fell about ten decks for that. Apparently, nothing has changed in the 23rd century. An intelligent well-educated woman of the future still has to fight against the image of her sexuality to get a job she is qualified to perform and if she doesn’t have the eggs to fight for herself nothing will change. Maybe there would have been two minutes less of dialogue from the movie if Uhura had just gotten the post but I think it would have been far more powerful for everyone watching to see a woman getting appropriately rewarded as a professional in a business-as-usual manner.

This encounter between the two colored every subsequent interaction between Spock and Uhura for me. Between the scene composition, the dialogue, and that foundational scene that foreshadowed a relationship between Spock and Uhura the rest of their scenes always struck me as being very unbalanced. Uhura comes across in a suppliant way spending all her screen time as a member of the bridge crew attempting to nurture Spock. Yes, a communications officer rarely goes on away missions unless one is needed for some sticky piece of communications and the ability to coordinate messages both onboard ship and between ships is very important, especially in a combat situation. Yet, in this film I feel like we were just told by the expository powers that be: “Uhura is really freaky smart” without anything to back that up in action; the only job we got to see her do was nurse Spock who seems to have a rather striking number of mommy issues.  Being a wife and a mother is indeed a difficult and rewarding full-time job which women have been performing heroically for millennia. Indeed, my relationship with my fiancée is a sublime joy of my life; I look forward to starting a family with him. Yet, women are the personification of multi-tasking. As hunter gatherers women were primarily responsible for both childcare and gathering the bulk of the daily sustenance for the household, the original working moms. Nothing has changed in that sense, instead of digging for tubers women in western culture work full or part-time jobs, sometimes multiple jobs, in addition to being the primary child care provider. 6 In Voyager Ensign Samantha Wildman is a xenobiologist who gives birth to her first child, Naomi, while Voyager is stranded in the Delta Quadrant and her husband was still stationed on Deep Space Nine. With a lot of help from her Voyager family Ensign Wildman continues to do her job and raise her daughter. 7 Keiko Ishikawa, a Starfleet botanist, met and married Miles O’Brien while serving together aboard the NCC-1701-D where they also had their first child, Molly. The O’Briens have many ups and downs as a married couple over the course of The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, going through both the strange problems of science fiction as well as the more understandable problems of balancing who works, who takes care of the kids, and where they ought to live. Keiko and Miles make it through together however and through all the compromises they make Keiko gets to be a wife, a mother, a teacher, and a botanist on the terms that are best for her and her family. In Star Trek as well as in life women should enjoy the freedom to choose the life they want to lead. A woman should be able to be captain of a starship or a counselor or an ambassador or a professional mom as they see fit.

Uhura being Spock’s lover is not inherently bad, not at all–what is disturbing is the fact that Spock doesn’t respect her and as an audience member you don’t get to see her do anything else. You know what would have made me happy? Instead of Kirk being an incredibly creepy voyeuristic- pervert and us hearing Uhuru talk about how she did this really difficult piece of communications work, why not just have a scene showing us Uhura in action translating different strains of Klingon and Romulan communications? Isn’t that the old adage of story-telling, more show less tell? That scene would have been so cool. If I had seen that scene and then seen Spock assign her to the Enterprise without a blink and then watched her be all nurturer extraordinaire I would have loved this movie so much more, I would actually be excited and filled with hope at the prospect of a sequel. But no. J.J. Abrams decided it would be better if Kirk got it on with an Orion woman 8 and then peeped in on Uhura innocently changing clothes. What a creep.

Somehow, I don’t think the original Kirk portrayed by William Shatner would have objectified Uhura or any woman enough to be a voyeur. I think he would have trained his eyes on the mattress springs and maybe jumped his eyes a bit when a garment hit the floor without actually crossing that line of behavior. I think that would have been more funny, as well as a softening moment for Pine’s character. But no.  Roddenberry struggled against a discriminatory system to use the guise of sci-fi to promote real societal issues. J.J. Abrams did not even try; he whole-heartedly endorses  the system and crosses a line that should not be crossed, telling all the boys in the audience by so doing, “It’s okay to objectify women, Kirk does and he’s cool!” I don’t think that this vision of the future looks all that rosy; it looks more bleak than today, not just for all the girls, but for all the people who think that this is okay. And for that I am angry.

Edited by Tracy McCusker.

  1. Why is it easier to accept the authority of a feminine woman in command when she is a Romulan Commander? I do not understand why women-in-power must be such an “other” scenario to people in our culture.
  2. “I didn’t want to destroy her. Her life could have been as rich as any woman’s if only…” Kirk never finishes the sentence. He trails off and then Kirk, Scotty, and Spock all turn around and walk into the turbolift. Was he going to comment on Starfleet’s system being wrong? Or suggest Janice should have been content to go as far as she could on her tether? We never know.
  3. Yes they become friends, but only when he treats her like a respected colleague and ditches the idea that she’s a toy.
  4. Though the writing of Voyager had its faults I could not fault her character or Kate Mulgrew’s portrayal.
  5. Parents, if you think your little girl isn’t getting that message then I have a starship I can sell you. Children are sponges, they absorb everything in their environment even if it might be years before they can put a name to everything they soak up. People are the same way as adults, sensitive to every message that gets reinforced in their consciousness; something advertisers certainly exploit.
  6. If anything this ancient balancing act has gotten harder to pull off with the loss of community support from female relatives and friends in a society that has become increasingly mobile and isolated. Even if a woman gets to be a full-time mother she is still taking care of the home in addition to keeping the kids which if you don’t believe that is a real job you have obviously never met a maid or entered a daycare. It is a job.
  7. It’s worth noting that Naomi’s oft stated dream is to one-day be captain of the Voyager.
  8. Another funny something for the fans, Orion women were introduced in the original series in “The Menagerie” as slave women who are actively trafficked as sex slaves because of the heightened sexuality of their species. The people of Talos actually tempt Captain Pike with the prospect of having one for his very own. Though fascinated by their beauty Pike is so disgusted with the very idea that he stalks off in a rage; I wish that such character was the standard and not the exception.

Latest posts by Ellen Lawrence (see all)

116 Comments

  1. my god lady, its a movie! talk about a nazi feminist or what.

  2. great article here buddy, especially as the tagline of the entire series is “to bodly go where no-one has gone before”. You’ve proven that in Trek09 we not only go where everyone has gone before in terms of story, but also in values.

  3. I believe that Uhura had to bully Spock into allowing her to be on the Enterprise because they are in a relationship and he did not want everyone to think she was allowed to choose her station because he liked her.

    I don’t think it had anything to do with sexism.

  4. Randy, you’ve proven yourself, with your comment above, that you are an unthinking, knee-jerk reactionist twit. Take the candy bar out of your mouth for a second and THINK. It’s called intellect, try using it once in awhile.

  5. Your article is insightful and well-researched, though I personally don’t have such a harsh opinion of the new movie.

    In my personal interpretation, that first Uhura/Spock interaction is interesting because it’s a play on a very human situation: he’s emotionally repressed and because he’s afraid of his feelings he makes a bad decision (not assigning her to the Enterprise). But she’s confident enough to confront him because she has full confidence in her abilities.

    Yet another funny something about Orions: at least in the series ST: Enterprise, the whole slave girls things was “revealed” (retconned I say)as a ploy to deceive other species, as it turns out the women were the dominant gender and the men were the slaves. The men pretended to sell the women as slaves and in that position they were able to spy and manipulate other species. I don’t really like that concept either, because in the end, they were basically seducing and deceiving with sex… but at least they weren’t helpless slave girls anymore.

  6. I will agree Captain Janeway led with authority without compromising her feminity or ever seeming “bitchy.” But she was far from an excellent commander of a starship. She constantly prevented her people from returning home as early as they could have. For all our chest-thumping that she follwed the prime directive, she didn’t. but to be fair neither did Kirk or Picard.

  7. Note on Kirk’s character with regards to this article. if in fact JJ Abrahms was going for a reinforcement of the masculine archetypes that blunder and charm their way through everything, insult everyone possible and yet somehow through sheer luck saves the day and gets the gal, i feel he hit a tad wide of the mark.
    instead he subverts the characters attractiveness in the audiences eyes by making him this egotistical blundering ladies’ slut and clever mouth who ultimately saves the day because other people have told him how to, and the girl in fact doesnt fall for his somewhat hidden charms.

    As I watched jj abrahms set up the meet-cute and then the luurv triangle I sighed with ill concealed frustration that yet again we would have another gal finds herself falling for the “better” man – see here hotter and more jock like – almost against her will.
    Instead however at no point does Uhura seem to find him in any way a more attractive ‘alpha male’. Her first priority is the man she is in a relationship with, i find this refreshing – that she continues to care for and defend Spock even when he seemingly rejects her, not because she’s a gal and thats what we do but because she really cares and empathises. (Spock may be acting like a bit of a dick but to be honest wouldnt you behave like that if you had been suppressing all emotion since you were a tot and then were faced with the death of yer mum)
    for far too long hollywood has made their male and especially female characters commit acts so completely contrary to their natures and the situation purely to underline the belief that alpha males get the gal and gal’s gravitate to cavemen.

    in this i found JJ Abrahms did not undermine women or overestimate the power of a manly man’s allure.

    tho I agree that seeing Uhura actually being a brilliant communications officer woulda been better.

  8. I have been a fan for over 30 years and I too was looking forward to Voyager having a female captain, but Berman and company ruined it by trying to over compensate for past wrongs. I stopped watching voyager after the second season due to B’Elanna Torres and Janeway being made to look like super brains and all the men like bumbling idiots. Chakotay could have been a great character but never really could due to being dumbed down. Had they just approached it with Janeway using experience and captains intuition and everyone else playing as intelligent characters then I believe more people would have watched. Once day hollywood will realize that you don’t have to overcompensate to make individuals equal, you just have to MAKE them equal.

  9. I certainly appreciate a fresh take on the movie, but as a Trekker, and more importantly in this instance, as a woman, I just wanted to say that I think there are a few things you might have made into more of an issue than they actually were.

    For example, the skirts. After seeing the movie several times, I can confirm that there are women in some scenes wearing uniform pants. Blink and you’ll miss them, but they’re there. So the women do have a choice in this new movie universe.

    The Star Trek skirt might have been sexist in the 60′s, when women’s rights were just getting off the ground and it was almost necessary to be seen as sexless in order to be taken seriously, but these days, we’ve retired our shoulder pads and dug our skirts out of our closets. Maybe it’s not a perfectly equal world yet, but we’re getting there, due in no small part to seeing Uhura and her female crewmates “boldly go” right alongside Kirk and Spock.

    Speaking of Spock, I also think that, completely contrary to your take on their first scene together, Spock was actually trying to protect Uhura from being a victim of sexism. By initially putting her on a ship that he was not commanding, he was trying (perhaps misguidedly) to ensure that no one could say she got on the Enterprise because she was romantically involved with the first officer. Later, he stands up for her intelligence, but it’s through her own merit (knowing three Romulan dialects), that she advances from the lower decks all the way to the bridge.

    As for having her do more, would I have liked that? Of course. But I also know how limited movie scripts can be, and in the end, this movie was more about the beginnings of the lifelong friendship of Kirk and Spock than it was about showing how far we’ve come from the sexism of the 60′s.

    There’s always the sequel for that.

    And personally, I would so rather wear one of those skirts than those form fitting one piece uniforms the women of TNG, DS9 and Voyager had to squeeze into. The camel toe is not a good look for anyone, and you’ll never see Uhura sporting one.

  10. Overreact much?

  11. I agree with Randy, Nazi Feminist ftw!!!

  12. can I ask what a nazi and a feminist has in common that that insult can possibly make any sense to anyone possessed of more brain cells than the two found jointly in Omle and Randy’s penis’s.
    wake up chaps join the 21st century if you disagree with her try useing your logic to argue why you think she’s wrong. making insulting – or trying to make an insulting remark is plain lazy, and does nothing but make you sound like a red neck who’s gut reaction to the film, was why weren’t there more naked ladies?

  13. Lady, you need to relax. I’m a feminist, but this is ridiculous. By the way, YOU’RE one of the reasons women have to keep fighting battles in the workplace and elsewhere. You’re astonishingly hypersensitive, and you make women look like a rabid band of furious harpies, ready to tear into anyone who doesn’t show them what they perceive as the proper respect at all times. Get a life.

  14. Excellent article! On the subject of ‘skirts,’ though– actually, these were ‘skorts,’ a combination of skirt and shorts, which Nichelle Nichols claims the women actually enjoyed wearing, precisely because they gave the appearance of a miniskirt (which was all the rage then) without the dangers of exposure.

    Interestingly enough, in the episode “Who Mourns For Adonais?” Uhura has to do some tricky rewiring of the communications system; Spock explicitly comments that he can think of no one more qualified to do the work than Uhura. There is no hint of condescension or sarcasm; he is simply praising a topflight member of the bridge crew, and the fact that she is a woman doesn’t even enter into it. “Star Trek” was certainly not perfect, but no other science fiction series has ever made as much of an effort to be ahead of the curve socially. The new movie, on the other hand, is just another testosterone-drenched action film which happens to share the name with the series.

    I enjoyed your piece; keep up the good work!

  15. No, Jennifer, YOU’RE one of the reasons women have to keep fighting, because you’re perfectly willing to let obvious cases of sexism slide for the sake of not seeming too much like a “furious harpy.” Way to internalise the patriarchy and try to shame other women into silence. Crap like that– as well as the inane “nazi” namecalling– is why feminism is still seen as some kind of scarlet letter. Heaven forbid women talk about sexism instead of being good little girls and doing what they’re told.

  16. This is a thorough, well-crafted examination of the issue of women in the new Star Trek movie. There may be a few tiny assertions I disagree with, but overall, I cannot fault the author for any of her main points, even about the “skorts” in TOS. As comfortable as they may have been, they were still a sexist part of the 60s and should have an embarassment in the context of a depiction of 23rd Century human society, where we’d supposedly moved beyond such attitudes.

    Speaking of attitudes, are the males who call the author a “feminazi” not showing their insecurity in dealing with women and gender issues when they resort to such puerile attacks? That should be unworthy of Trekfans, but apparently, there are still a good percentage of immature fanboys among us.
    Oh, and before you start sharpening your daggers in retort, I am male, and I was a fan of the series when it was first on TV at the age of 12.

    I have resisted going to see this rebooting of the series by people with no real feeling for the original themes established in the original. It seems J.J. Abrams, et al. did it this way simply because they could, and worse, chose to pander to less intellectual fans (or potential fans) to make back their money. I have many reasons (the prurient dorm room scene being only one) for not seeing it, and thankfully, Ms. Lawrence has provide me with many others deserving serious consideration when discussing the movie with friends who LOVE it so, but turned off their minds when they went into the theater.

  17. I sort of agree with the first commentor because it was funny, and Jennifer’s.

    I completely disagree with the assessment of Uhara bullying Spock into being on the Enterprise. In my opinion, I do not see it as sexism of any sort. Nor do I see why the Enterprise has to be the only ship with the best of the best on board.

    Who says the Enterprise is the flagship? I heard/saw absolutely no mention of that at any point in the movie. I saw no justification for Uhara to be so evil to Spock about it; what difference does the Enterprise give compared to the ship she was assigned to? Other than the complete and utter luck of Sulu’s inexperience causing them to be delayed, as every other ship was subsequently destroyed. But she would be incapable of realizing that at the time.

    I think in my opinion it was just her favoring the Enterprise for some personal reason and exploiting her expertise as reasoning to be on “TEH BIG SHIP” or otherwise just wanting to be on the same ship as Spock.

    And the prime difference between Shatkirk and Chriskirk is the father figure—Chriskirk had none. He grew up screwing farm animals and girls with no fatherly direction save for a seemingly not-very-good stepfather. They are very different people, but it seems to me like he’s not exactly an irrevocable misogynist, and all it will take is time and respect, same as any other crew member.

    I also think the choosing for the women to keep the skirt/short attire is just to keep with the style used in the original series. Blame the original series for it, not JJ Abrams.

    In totality, I think this is a case of “actively seeking discrimination” in order to raise a ruckus for the sake of it. Seeing sexism where it does not exist, and interpreting the slightest of differences as inequality at best, outright prejudice at worst.

    The fact is, in my view, Uhura is not representing an entire group of people (women) in this film; she is representing Uhura.

    I don’t see any need for a constant “total war” between male and female over anything remotely resembling inequality or differences between the sexes—they’re just being themselves, and if it happens to venture into the playboy-esque for Kirk or the dominatrix-y-slash-motherly-comforting for Uhura, then it’s not necessarily a reflection of the entire human species’ gender relations. It’s just how those two characters (in this new film) are, and nothing more.

    To think like a Vulcan (which I find myself doing a lot) I see Spock’s decision to place Uhura elsewhere as logical; because since Spock and Uhura are in a relationship, it is logical that they keep distant from one another so that 1) their relationship is not exposed and 2) Spock is not emotionally compromised by her.

    It is also logical from a broader sense in which the best of the best of the academy should not be concentrated all into one ship, but spread out amongst the fleet so as not to cripple the fleet by having the elite all aboard one ship, and making that ship the largest target for the enemy.

    I see it as Spock giving in due to 1) Not wanting to emotionally compromise Uhura, and 2) Not wanting to waste time trying to argue against her, due to the pressing issue of Vulcan’s distress signal.

  18. I think you might be trying to read more into a situation that probably isn’t there.

    Firs off, lets discuss the “bullying that had to be done to get Spock to place Uhura onto the Enterprise. I actually thought that it celebrated feminism because it showed a woman standing up and fighting for what she knew was rightfully hers. And in a perfect world, everyone would get the job that is best suited for them. Here on planet Earth, though, the best people do get passed over for the job and the only way to succeed is to go and and fight to get it. No one is just going to hand you the job.

    Also, don’t forget that this is a movie, and every movie is a fantasy to an extent. People are able to say and do thing that they normally aren’t able to do. For instance, in real life Spock could have not only assigned her to another ship, but then reprimanded her for questioning orders, because they basically are the military of the future. But this is a movie, so there has to be a little wiggle room so that you can realize when what would happen in “real life” is stretched and exaggerated to tell the story better.

    Plus, in service to the story, I think this “two minute of dialogue” actually revealed and said a lot about who these characters were rather than some lengthy exposition scene.

    Lastly, “Kirk peeping in?” Really? He didn’t sneak in there just to get a peek at Uhura. That probably wouldn’t have been cool. He was in there with another girl. A girl who, pretty much was a self admitted slut, which you conveniently forget to get all up in arms about. Uhura was rude for not giving her roomate some privacy.

    And honestly, how exciting or even interesting would it have really been to see Uhura decode a language? It’s not necessary, and the line of dialogue worked just fine to convince me that she was that intelligent.

    And it is women who get up in arms over every little thing that is hurting feminism. Not Uhura in a miniskirt.

  19. I completely agree with your viewpoint. I also think there wasn’t enough skateboarding in the film. This is clearly a major oversight. I’ve had it with you, J.J! You can’t ignore your audience like this!!

  20. An interesting point that I didn’t see anyone respond to was the author’s assertion that Riker took Troi’s name after they got married in “Star Trek: Nemesis.”

    Is that really so? I remember Picard or someone else calling him “Mr. Troi,” but I took it as a joke rather than him actually taking her name. It seems like on the contrary he was called Riker after the wedding.

    Great, now I’m going to have to sit through that travesty again just to see if he’s called Riker at any point after the wedding. Thanks a lot.

    BTW, I do disagree with the central premise that Star Trek 2009 was overtly sexist. I found Uhura to be a strong, likable character with more personality than I ever remember given her in the past. I will agree that it was more about male members wagging about being manly and everything, but Uhura was a strong character, and I’d argue we weren’t meant to see Uhura as pushy and using her relationship with Spock to get what she wanted. She used a reasoned argument, and actually Spock was being overly cautious anyway, and can be seen more as discriminatory than anything.

  21. I consider myself a feminist, but with due respect, I think you’re widely off the mark here in a few respects.

    For starters, as others have mentioned, if you hate miniskirts as a part of women’s uniform in Starfleet, blame the original series, not the movie. Furthermore, I would argue that Uhura’s miniskirt is an integral part of her look, and as iconic as Spock’s bowl haircut, upswept eyebrows and pointy ears. Nichelle Nichols’ miniskirt was even shorter, in fact it was the most ridiculously short skirt I’ve ever seen, but she always managed to have a commanding presense and look strong and no-nonsense, despite the hyperfeminine, sexualized appearance. But why am I even using the word “despite”? Why would “sexy” equal “weak” when it comes to women? Do we even think that men are less strong or respected if they are considered sexy? This is IMO really another sexist stereotype that has been strongly ingrained in our consciousness, and that we should really do away with. As others have pointed out, there are women wearing pants in this film – which means that the skirt is not something requested by Starfleet out of a wish to please the men or make women into sex objects. It is, apparently, a choice, and Uhura likes to wear a mini skirt, just like she likes to wear makeup and earrings. And why shouldn’t she? Should we condemn a woman for wearing what she likes to wear? To me, the attitude that woman in sexy clothes equals a weak or humiliated woman, seems more Puritanical than feminist.

    I find it odd that you name “Turnabout Intruder” as a positive example of TOS’ portrayal of women. If such a story had been set in the present time (the 1960s, in this case), I would have applauded it. But Star Trek did its best to portray a future in which people of Earth had disposed of many of their old prejudices: therefore we see black and Asian people in command positions, without it raising a single eyebrow, we see a lack of any racism between humans (the only racism in Trek is between species, e.g. Vulcans and Humans), and when a man from the 20th century is surprised to see a woman serving on Enterprise (in “Tomorrow is Yesterday”) and exclaims: “A woman?”, Kirk simply answers: “Crewmember”. Therefore, the very idea that women are forbidden to become Captains in the 23rd century was very problematic even in the 1960s, and IMO introducing such a plot point was one of the blunders committed in TOS (and one of those moments when you really have to struggle with the “canon”).

    As for Uhura in this film, for starters, I don’t see what your problem with the presentation of women is, since all your complaints are really not against her behaviour, but the behaviour of male characters (Kirk and Spock). I completely disagree with your view that Spock does not respect Uhura, and I agree with Patricia, Kristen and Andariel that his act of assigning her to Faragat was a result of his emotionally repressed nature and fear of ‘emotionally compromising’ himself, combined with his unease with the possibility that people might incorrectly accuse her of using her relationship with him, instead of recognizing her achievements as a result of her own merits. But when confronted with it, he quickly recognized that he was wrong and that she did not deserve to be punished for their relatiosnhip, and that is why he changed the assignment.

    As for Kirk – you are right, he is not the Kirk from TOS, particularly not in the first part of the film. But this is the point, which was emphasized throughout the film: this is “another life”, and this Kirk is not just younger, he is the Kirk who grew up without a father and role model. He is not yet the great captain and leader who inspires his crew – he only makes steps towards it near the end of the film, with the help of other people, after being repeatedly humbled, from the bar scene, to the transponder scene in which he learns that Uhura is not just rejecting him but prefers the other guy, the logical, introverted half-alien. He has his ego bruised, but quickly learns to get over it. I agree with Toni’s assessment that this plot is a nice subversion of the Hollywood stereotype. (The only thing I do not agree is that Kirk is hotter – IMHO, Spock is way hotter than Kirk, whichever version we are talking about – Nimoy/Shatner or Quinto/Pine. ;) )

    I will also disagree with the assessment that Voyager with Captain Janeway was the pinnacle of the potrayal of women in Star Trek, and point out to Deep Space Nine with Major/Colonel Kira Nerys and Lt. Comm. Jadzia Dax, instead. Kira and Dax were strong and capable officers, they were interesting and complex characters, and they also happened to be women – but the fact that they were women was never made a big deal of; they were attractive and sexy, but their sexappeal was not emphasized in every possible in-your-face way, the way it was with 7 of 9 in Voyager or with T’Pol in Enterprise. Kira, in particular, never had to prove her strength or badassery to anyone, she was not trying to be a strong woman in order to fight in a man’s world or anything like that. The world of DS9 was never presented as a man’s world, and she just was the way she was. Everyone was aware of it and many were intimidated by her, but she wasn’t presented as either asexual or mannish, and and there were no “oh look, she is a strong woman” comments or attitudes. Unlike Janeway, who was the only Trek captain not allowed by the writers to have a love life (while, on the other hand, male captains could always have flings or long-term relationships or a family, without fear that this would reduce their authoritativeness or make the audience see them less seriously?), Kira and Dax had flings and long-term romantic relationships, even with other main characters, and it never diminished their characters nor clashed with their professional roles (and why would it?).

  22. I have to politely disagree with most of what Ellen Lawrence said, but I think calling her a “femNazi” goes way far the other way. She’s entitled to her interpretation of the most recent movie without devolving into silly name-calling.

    It was funny to hear the slogan “This isn’t your father’s Star Trek” attached to the reboot because, in many ways, it WAS the original Star Trek, particularly with regards to the treatment of women.

    I agree with the points many commenters made about Uhura in the most recent movie. The Spock-Uhura problems were more cultural than sexual in nature. The fact that Spock didn’t really fight Uhura when she raised issues with him meant he knew she was right.

    If Abrams REALLY wanted to “reboot” the original Star Trek, he could have put more women on the bridge. Maybe make Sulu or Checkov a woman. It was great that Uhura was made to be a very sharp person, but she was sharp on many of the shows. Abrams could have made some of the villains women, something that was a rarity on any of the Star Trek shows or movies.

  23. As a feminist, I just like to see such intelligent discussion on the matter! Obviously, apart from the idiotic “feminist nazi” comments. I agree with some points made in the article, and disagree with others. I also appreciate the comments being made on both sides, as they are clearly well thought out and argued with respect. If the article gets us thinking this much about gender roles in film and society, hooray for that!

    Also I don’t think Chris did much to convince many people. You’re argument seems to be “it was Uhura’s fault for getting spied on, cause she got undressed in the proximity of Kirk and should have known he would peep in!” Not quite buying what you’re selling there.

  24. Wow. What monstrous article on classic projection bias. I want a shot at this!

    Chekov – An unassuming, generous, intelligent and incredibly talented MMA fighter named Fedor has dominated the world for the last decade as a shining Russian role-model. And what do we get on Star Trek? Some blow-too-hard-and-he’ll-fall-over, pimple-faced Russian nerd who can’t even talk properly.

    Sulu – A big-screen Asian stereotype, complete with a sword. Some 40 years after Bruce Lee made it possible for Chinese people to star in internationally successful films, here comes Sulu to beating up the bad guys with his Kung Fu window dressed as fencing.

    Kirk – Talk about failing upwards. This Kirk gets by on his good looks and everyone goes along with it, complicit in our fashion-and-GQ-obsessed society. Would you follow this guy into battle? Neither would Chris Pine. But what the hell, JJ Abrahms needed someone to personify on film his own failing upwards career.

    Spock – Is it too easy a dig to label this guy Emo-Vulcan? Yeah, probably.

    Scotty – [edited by NerdWatch. Do not mock Simon Pegg. Simon Pegg is Gawd!]

    Uhura – Oh look, a hot minority. But hot black minorities are so 1990s. If they wanted her to be the Facebook wet dream for the ADHD generation, they should have casted Korean.

    There, I feel better now.

  25. Just a commentary on those who spoke to the Trek of the ’60′s or “TOS”. Roddenberry and all the other writers were totally hamstrung by NBC as to what they could and could not do. In the original pilot “The Cage” Majel Barrett was Pike’s “Number One.” After NBC saw the pilot one of the things they told Gene was to lose the “second in command woman.” That no one would believe it.

    NBC also insisted on the mini skirts, if you look at The Cage you do not see any mini skirts while women are on duty.

    So Gene did the next best thing, he had women in command and positions of authority outside of Starfleet.

    By TNG you had a female head of security, (Tasha Yar) & medical (Beverly Crusher & Kate Pulaski) Troi was the ships counsellor and Guinan was a trusted person who Picard could turn to for advice.

    Yes Trek was and is not perfect when it comes to its treatment of Women, no TV show is, but you have to admit that they have been better than most.

  26. This entire article sounds like someone who picks a movie and completely over-analyzes and skews everything about it in order to reach the 5 page minimum for their latest women’s studies assignment. If Uhura were the commander and it was up to her whether to assign Spock to the enterprise or not, would she not struggle with the same doubts and concerns as to how their relationship would impact her decision and how her decision would impact Spock? Would you then fault Uhura for not wanting to show favoritism? It’s human nature, not sexism. I doubt you’re a nazi feminist, and you’re probably not part of a rabid band of furious harpies, but your misconceptions about the intent behind this scene, the movie, and the trek world in general are alarming. Considering you were only 10 when Nemesis came out I have faith that as you mature and gain more life experience you will be able to better understand these things.

  27. I don’t understand the argument that women must wear skirts in the new Trek because they did in the original. Isn’t that just shorthand for, old Trek was sexist so new Trek must be sexist?

  28. whoops, I spoke too soon. Thanks March for nullifying my whole “respectful” argument.

  29. Don’t be so down on the portrayal of women in the new Star Trek movie. There will be two more coming up and maybe JJ will stick in a female captain. There was Captain Hernandez of the Columbia on ‘Enterprise’ and that is ‘pre-TOS’. And besides, the new movie was made to get new fans up to speed on some stuff that old fans knew since the beginning. I’m sure it not only makes sense in the Star Trek universe for a woman to be on the same ground as men, but it also makes sense from a movie making stand point to reach out to female movie goers by having a woman in a position of authority. More ticket sales is what it’s all about! I would have to think that JJ would do some research on the Star Trek universe and come to this conclusion. It’s not all about warp nacelles and photon torpedoes.

  30. Hey, thought I’d chime in for a second. I thought that the rather gratuitous bra shot of Uhura was pretty much a throwaway moment to pander to teenage boys. Secondly, Uhura in this film seems pretty much confined to the role of love interest. It’s not so much that I think that I think that Uhura had that much to do in the first place, but rather that I think it makes the character fairly generic Hollywood.

    I’d like to reply to a few of Andariel’s points. The first is about the mini-skirts. Just because they were there in the 60s doesn’t mean we must have them today: Abrams has shown a willingness to discard, add, and re-arrange elements of Star Trek as he saw fit, why not change the mini-skirts? In fact, this type of thing is fairly common in adapting older material (for instance, Jane Austen novels), because some ideas and stereotypes that might have flown back then no longer do. In light of the fact that TNG had already moved beyond the mini-skirt fashion, JJ Abram’s Star Trek has to be seen as a step back in this regard.

    The second point regards Uhura’s assignment to the Entreprise. Uhura had clearly stated her preference. We have no reason to speculate that she did so to be with Spock. That you would evoke it as a possibility suggests that you think that she accepts, nay wants to be an appendage to Spock (you may not be that far off in the context of the film ;) ). Spock never stated anything about not wanting to emotionally compromise Uhura or any of the alternative explanations you proposed in either his decision to assign Uhura to another ship nor his subsequent reversal. Rather, he stated that it was concern over appearances that motivated his initial decision and said nothing in his reversal. In effect, you are substituting what was there with something more to your liking for which you provide no evidence.

    Your defence that Uhura does not represent other women, but only herself, is problematic. Using such an argument, we could argue that films with notoriously racist or sexist portrayals are not really racist or sexist, because it’s just one character. Fact of the matter is that we view Uhura through Kirk and Spock. Can you even give me a single reason why she even likes Spock? And by reason, I mean not one you made up, but one which is there, plain as day in the film?

    As for the comment of “actively seeking discrimination in order to raise a ruckus”, I think it’s rather the other way around: our own prejudices are all too often invisible to us because we actively seek alternative explanations and we think “it’s just the way things are”. I am no more free of sexism than anyone, but the thing is to be aware of it so that it doesn’t control one’s actions, and if we’re lucky, one’s thought processes as well.

  31. Thank you K for completely miss my point. It’s always wonderful when someone does that.

    The original argument made by the writer of the article painted Kirk as some creepy perv who got his kicks off of peeping on Uhura. My argument was that he wasn’t some creepy perv just because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and it’s unfair to portray him that way. It wasn’t even his fault he was in the position to be able to “spy” because he had no trouble with being caught in the room with the girl, and if he had the whole stripping nonsense wouldn’t have even happened. It was because the roommate was afraid of being seen as a slut, despite admitting to it in no uncertain terms, and it was her fault Kirk was put in a place where he would be seen as a bad guy. Highly unfair, and actually that was the true step backwards in the fight for equality among the genders. Maybe the girl Kirk was with would do a better job if she spent more time in the classroom like Uhura, and less time on her back.

  32. Wowza Chris, I was at least willing to give you the benefit of the doubt until that last sentence. Firstly, just because Kirk was in the position to spy does not mean he has to. Respectful men will not ogle an unknowing woman just because they are in the position to. I’m not arguing about how he got into that position – I’m saying that how he behaved in that position was not exactly empowering to his colleague. Secondly, you seem awfully quick to condemn this “slut” for sleeping around but have no problems with Kirk doing the exact same thing. Thank you for setting this conversation back a few decades to the “women who sleep around are sluts, men who sleep around are AWESOME!” mentality.

  33. Neither my wife nor I saw Spock’s reluctance to assign Uhura to the Enterprise as remotely sexist. People oversensitive to being perceived as playing favourites can overcompensate. That’s all it was. (As to why she was a favourite, it was made clear he appreciated her skill and professionalism, whereas people like Kirk bugged him.) It might be wrong, but there’s no sexist undertone to it. We’ve seen it in real life, and it didn’t have to involve a man and a woman. It just happened to be a man and woman in this case. What bugs me is when someone automatically assumes there’s a sexist motivation just because the issue happens to involve a man and a woman. I think it says more about the observer than the situation.

    It’d be an interesting psychological experiment to have that scene played out word-for-word by two men, again by two women, and again by a man and woman, and interview volunteers on whether they thought there was an issue of sexism involved.

    In any event, that scene and other scenes definitely diminished my respect for the character of Spock, but for his pettiness and lack of mature and considerate objectivity that I had associated with the character. The only way I can come to terms with it in Star Trek continuity is to assume that Spock fully grew out of this immaturity between this era and the beginning of the original series.

  34. I think the part where Nero used Red Matter to blow up Vulcan that it was symbolic of period blood destroying earth.

    c’mon, it was a movie. Have a drink and go outside

  35. Now I could have gotten behind your argument if you said the “slut” should not be so concerned with being viewed as a slut and instead embraced herself as a sexually empowered woman. But she should have spend more time in the classroom and less time on her back? Cause you sure can’t have sex and go to school. At least, not if you’re a woman. Pick and choose, ladies!

  36. It’s ok K. I stopped giving you the benefit of the doubt during your first post when I realized you were here more to criticize other peoples comments as opposed to adding anything intellectually stimulating to the conversation.

    And despite your last sentence, I actually once again was NOT making that argument. Thanks again for missing my point. I know Kirk was a notorious player, both William Shatner and Kirk were notorious for it. So I’m not excusing Kirk being a player, but it is still unfair that the article failed to pick up on the green chicks blatant attack on feminism. Besides are you saying that if there were a hot guy/girl in the room, and you had the chance to look, you wouldn’t sneak a peak?

    Besides, wouldn’t Kirk’s “peeking” also reflect well on his character as a soon to be captain. There was a hostile in the room that could potentially hurt his ally, and Kirk simply did some recon work to asses the enemy threat and then take the proper course of action to neutralize said threat. He would do the same work as a captain, but because it was a girl undressing suddenly he is the bad guy for it. Actually I commend him because before the green chick shoved him under the bed he was ready to take on the threat directly as opposed to taking cover, which he does time and again in the film.

    Plus, couldn’t the argument for the green chicks attack on feminism be her demise in the film. She is shown being assigned to a ship that was destroyed, while Uhura with all ability and willingness to fight for what she knew was hers, got herself onto a ship that survived. Could the argument be made that if the green chick had spent more time in the classroom, that she might have survived as she could have been in the top of her class and assigned to the Enterprise? It’s a surprising moral lesson that also exhorts the virtues or hard work and discipline as opposed to procrastination and laziness.

    Besides, despite all of the arguing over feminism, don’t forget that the character of Uhura and Kirk were the ones that participated in the first interracial kiss on broadcast television, which made huge advances for the civil rights movements.

    Besides K, what are you actually adding to the conversation beyond, “I didn’t like their post. Grumble, grumble, grumble.”

  37. I would like to start by saying that I am (mostly) VERY impressed by the caliber of people responding here. I would like to suggest that everyone gather at the “C’est What” pub in Toronto on Thursday evening…

    Beyond that, I’d like to say that Ellen has given me plenty to think about in her excellent analysis. My personal perspective is great satisfaction that Uhura is now one of the triumvirate, which is surely a greater role than she had in TOS. I acknowledge the imperfections of the sexist portrayal, but also, perhaps in contradiction, applaud the appearance of an attractive black woman in a leading role in such an iconic part.

    I have seen mention above of sexism and racism being equated, but no mention of the importance of a non-white object of sexual attraction in a big-budget hollywood blockbuster. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that most of Hollywood either ignores black women, or sees them in the light of “the friend”, and frequently less attractive than the leading lady at that.

    Perhaps you see the feminist battle against objectification as more significant than that against racist stereotypes. But when you watch your daughters of mixed heritage feel inferior to the blond-locked babes of Babylon – I assure you – this is a step forward. Uhura had a significant hand in saving the world this time – and one can only look forward to her going boldly where no woman (of colour) has gone before.

    Good job Zoe.

  38. I, too, was raised on Star Trek ever since I was a hairless tribble. I have watched or seen every second of screen time in the Trek canon, and I consider myself somewhat an expert on the topic, to the point that it drives my mother up the wall! With that in mind, I would like to make a couple of observations.

    Though there may be an element of truth to the claim that NBC told Gene Roddenberry that the women had to wear miniskirts, I just don’t see it as an ironclad condition. Here’s why:

    1. Many female guest stars, in fact, did NOT wear miniskirts. Some even wore pantsuits.
    2. In the mid-to-late 1960s, miniskirts and go-go boots were among the fashion crazes of the day.
    3. Nichelle Nichols (the original Uhura) has gone on record by saying she was proud to have worn the miniskirt uniform. In fact, she said the only thing she didn’t like about her original costume (which she describes as “pea green”) was the color, hence the reason for her costume change to red in later episodes.

    By the way, in “The Menagerie”, Gene Roddenberry didn’t thumb his nose at NBC by showing Number One (Majel Barrett) in a pantsuit; he needed a way to fulfill an episode count on a shoestring budget, so he incorporated the original pilot (“The Cage”) into a two-parter about Spock’s loyalties.

    Speaking of Spock, I was also a little off-put by his relationship with Uhura in this movie, but for different reasons. I was raised with the knowledge that Nurse Chapel had an unrequited love for Spock, so I needed to make an adjustment here.

    Also, J.J. Abrahms said that the focus of this movie is the formation of the Kirk/Spock friendship. Even Dr. McCoy kind of fell by the wayside in this movie, so just relax and let the later installments beef up the ancillary characters.

    One note about Kirk’s alleged voyeurism in this movie: It is a fact of human nature that when we are young, we tend to act more on impulse than anything else (I am in my 40s, and I can assure you I was a much different man when I was 22). We also tend to act more brash and selfish than we would when Age rears its ugly head at us. You need to bear in mind that the Kirk we all grew up with was an older, wiser, more mature person than he was in his Academy days. As supporting evidence to this claim, see “Tapestry” (TNG), when we revisit Picard’s days in Starfleet Academy; he was a completely different man then, wasn’t he? Besides, you make it sound like Kirk deliberately sneaked into the room (he didn’t); and it was the Orion roommate who was more worried about getting into trouble, because apparently this wasn’t the first time she brought a man to her bed…

    Now for your core argument that Uhura had to fight her way onto the Enterprise. Spock was already assigned there, and he was in charge of crew assignments. It is my opinion that he made a logical assumption that Starfleet would’ve disapproved of his decision to have her on board, because they were in an intimate relationship. And he would have been correct. Why? For your answer, you need not look any further than a corporate handbook, which would say something along the lines of “Inter-office relationships are prohibited if one party is in a supervisory role over another”. Obviously, Spock would be in a supervicory role over Uhura, so he was just covering his Vulcan fourth point of contact. So she was eminently qualified, true, but in the real world, her relationship with Spock would bar her from assignment.

  39. What does Uhura do besides nurture Spock?

    Uhm…I don’t know.

    Locate and translate a message that drives *the entire plot* of the movie?

  40. Sean, that happens offscreen.

  41. Chris, did you read my first post? I said I was very happy with the caliber of discussion on this talkback, actually complimenting people (even those I disagree with) and celebrating how civil such discussions can be (and the fact that we’re having them in the first place). I then noted a point that I found disturbing in your post. I still disagree with you. That’s OK, isn’t it? I think the author overreacted in a lot of ways, but find your defense of Kirk to be offensive in that it appears (and I may have misinterpreted) to excuse his behaviour entirely and condemn the women in the scene. You’ve since elaborated, and while I still disagree with a lot of what you say (the idea that being successful in school and sexually liberated are mutually exclusive concepts), I’m OK with you having your opinion.

    I guess if I have a problem with what YOU say, I’m criticizing everyone’s post and adding nothing to the discussion. People can have different points of view, you know.

  42. I recognize I may have come across as very defensive in my second post (although I would argue you did as well), but I am extremely sensitive to notions of equality and especially detest the idea that women and men should be held to different sexual standards. I think that is behind a lot of the oppression women have suffered through the years. If I overreacted, I apologize. I just understand the authors frustration, as genre (especially sci fi) is traditionally very female friendly. You can generally expect to see strong, intelligent female characters who are not defined by their relationship to men. So I can see how it would be discouraging to see that such a high-profile flick would buck that trend, when it had such an opportunity to go beyond what typical Hollywood does.

  43. When I saw the movie, it didn’t even occur to me that Uhura had to fight for the position because she was a woman. It was because she was still a cadet and inexperienced at manning a bridge station in a crisis situation. And don’t forget that the bridge position that Uhura ultimately took over was already held by a woman. (Hannity, played by Amanda Foreman.)

    Don’t forget that in the SAME SCENE, Spock ALSO initially dismissed what Kirk was saying. And for much the same reason: He looked upon Kirk as an inexperienced (and unruly) cadet who didn’t belong on the bridge.

  44. K, you still don’t get what I am saying. Let me make it clear.

    I never had, “the idea that being successful in school and sexually liberated are mutually exclusive concepts.” I have known people that were “sexually liberated” who were successful, as well as people who were more chaste with their sexuality who were equally successful. What I don’t approve of is how the “feminist” who wrote this article was so quick to disparage Kirk, and yet said nothing of the fact that in the same seen where he was “peeping on Uhura and turning women into sexual objects” he was also trying to have sex with the green chick who was open about her sexuality to the point where she admitted she was a slut.

    Do I condone Kirk’s behavior? No. Do I think that men should be viewed as AWESOME while women viewed as sluts for having the same amount of sex? Of course not! But within that scene it was made very clear that the green chick was more than just “sexually liberated.” You see how the consequences of her lack of study led her to being assigned a ship of lesser quality than the Enterprise, and she very clearly admits to wanting sex is extraordinary amounts, to the point where we see that she neglects her studies.

    Within this article, Uhura is condemned for being strong and independent, and that is considered a bad thing. But what the writer of the article does not understand is that “conflict” is what drives a story, and which is more powerful, seeing a character just given something or having to see that character fight for what he/she wants?

    And as for what you add to the discussion. I don’t care if you have a different opinion than me. I think it is a good thing. Challenge me. But think for yourself. What you have mostly done is refute me without adding anything new to the argument and without using supporting evidence in your arguments from the article, the movie, or secondary resources. Your initial comment was for the most part fairly neutral that really didn’t express an opinion one way or the other regarding the article. As such it was flat, uninteresting, and boring, and the only reason I even noticed it was because you mentioned me.

  45. Hey, Meg (Meg, I think), first off, I never said the word ‘nazi.’ THAT I agree is absurd. Second of all, people can tell anyone they want to shut up. They can’t MAKE anyone, but they can SAY it. The glories of free speech. I see the main gist of this idea, but I still maintain that it’s just…too…damn…sensitive. Is she wrong to feel any way she wishes? Hell no. Do I think she’s acting like a moron? Sure. Should that in any way affect her life? Hell no. And by the way, absorbing the patriarchy is not the way I’d put it. Thinking someone is throwing a shit fit over something silly is the way I’d put it.

    Wanna talk about feminism? Let’s get women equal pay for all equal work. I’ll fight to the death for that. Let’s make sure women are safe and respected in the workplace, and don’t have to fight double standards. Let’s try to help liberate women in countries where they are still forced to be second class citizens. Let’s help people realize that women and men should share equal responsibilities in the home, and rear children together rather than have women as primary caregivers. I will fight for the rest of my life for these things. But do me a favor and don’t call my annoyance here as embracing the patriarchy, because that’s absurd. Real feminists, like myself and pretty much all my friends, male or female, want equal treatment, respect and happiness for everyone. Petty feminists, those who use terms like ‘embracing the patriarchy’, use feminism as a shield to protect everything they think as sacrosanct, find conspiracies and complaints in everything, and attack anyone they don’t like under the banner of righteousness.

    I reflected on my comment of telling her off about feminism, and I actually apologize. That was a knee jerk reaction that I shouldn’t have had. Same can be said for you. Let’s all stop with these petty reactions. It’s absurd. I was absurd. You were absurd. Let’s deal and move on.

  46. Chris, how stupid of me to write a comment my own way and not the way you think it should be done. I wasn’t commenting on the movie in my initial post but the discussion, which did not require any secondary material. Think for myself? In what way have I not been thinking for myself? I tried to extend an olive branch in my last post, and you remain condescending and antagonistic. So I guess what I initially wrote wasn’t so true after all. I’m out. It’s pointless to argue with people like you.

  47. With regards to Rob’s comment on my comment………..

    There is a lot more than “an element of truth” to the mini skirt story. Read “The Making of Star Trek” by Stephen E. Whitfield, published way back in 1968 and you’ll see the copies of the memos that Gene got to that effect. And guest stars were always treated differently than actual regulars, as the script required. Could you see Amanda Grayson, “Journey to Babel”, in a mini skirt??? I don’t think so. But all of Angelique Pettyjohn’s female attributes in “The Gamesters of Triskellion” were shown for full male hormonal value. This is just 1 of the extreme examples of how female guest stars were presented on TOS. There are many others.

  48. “The fact is, in my view, Uhura is not representing an entire group of people (women) in this film; she is representing Uhura.

    “I don’t see any need for a constant “total war” between male and female over anything remotely resembling inequality or differences between the sexes—they’re just being themselves, and if it happens to venture into the playboy-esque for Kirk or the dominatrix-y-slash-motherly-comforting for Uhura, then it’s not necessarily a reflection of the entire human species’ gender relations. It’s just how those two characters (in this new film) are, and nothing more.”

    There are a lot of comments here, but I think this best represents my rebuttal to the author’s claims. Thanks to Andariel Halo for surmising my own thoughts so clearly ;)

    No doubt you’ve put a great deal of thought into this article, but it is my opinion that you have overreacted in this case. From my own impressions, I perceived Uhura to be an intelligent, strong-willed and capable officer. But what I liked most about her was the way she was not afraid to show her emotions and help Spock when he most needed. She helped him in the way only a woman could; instead of hiding her sexuality, she accepted it unreseverdly and without being self-conscious about it. In my eyes she showed great emotional depth, and I never felt this went against her capability to man occupy her position. In fact, I had great admiration for the character.

  49. I am amazed that nobody has thought to consider that perhaps the military of the future might have rules about officers of differing ranks “fraternizing” under the same command? When two people, be it in the military or in any other line of work are romantically involved and have a potential power inequality, this creates a situation where harassment can be perceived. When Spock assigned his girlfriend to a different ship he was just doing what any duty-bound Vulcan would do.

    What is much more offensive is the fact that they called the Enterprise the flagship of Star Fleet. Flag ships need flag officers – which means above Captain. I am outraged that they could make such a mockery of naval tradition.

    How about we all agree to do our level best to brush the chips off our shoulders and go to the movies for fun?

  50. Joel, some people think analyzing (perhaps even overanalyzing) genre movies IS fun. Maybe not your idea of fun, but there’s room enough for multiple kinds, isn’t there?

  51. Ellen, I think that you came into that scene with Uhuru and Spock wrong-headed, and it messed up the point of that scene. Why WOULD a capable communications officer have to buck and bitch to get the job she wants?

    She’s a determined woman and highly good at her job. Win. And, she knows her own value. Win again. The real reason she had to fight for what she wanted was because her boyfriend is detached enough to put her on the Farragut to prevent himself from having any conflict of interest in the matter of her career. That scene wasn’t just about Uhuru’s backbone, it was about Spock trying to logic his way out of conflict and Uhuru refusing to let him. That was all subtext to let us know there’s more at work here, which we don’t get until Uhuru meets him in that turbolift…

    And this is where we differ, Ellen– I loved every bit of the Spock/Uhuru pairing. I thought it was brilliant that she loved Spock, not as a half-human, but with unconditional grace and a willingness to let him handle things as he needed to. She loves him for exactly who he is, not just because his human and Vulcan natures make him hot and cold (which I think was a large component of Chapel’s love or attraction), but for exactly who he is: the finest Starfleet has produced.

    Now, I love Kirk… and I think Pine was brilliant as him… but Kirk tends to swagger and luck his way into things. But Spock is, in every sense, the better of the two men, because he stands back and lets Kirk swagger and luck his way through things, and supports him, having no ego to bruise.

    When I think of what it means that the Ponn Farr will involve Kirk’s unrequited attraction to Uhuru, I giggle like Lo Pan at the brilliance of it.

  52. I just had to comment on this. Kudos to you for this eloquent, well-researched and passionate article. Whether I agree with all you said or not (and for the most part I agree), it is important for feminism to have a strong presence in the male dominated world of the internet blog. I too was disappointed with the portrayal of women in this movie as well as with the overuse of the mini-skirts. Keep up with the great work!

  53. Gene Roddenberry is credited for the story. In “Turnabout Intruder,” Kirk’s former lover, Dr. Janice Lester, driven mad with the frustration and injustice of being denied a Captain’s seat in Starfleet because she is female, steals his body using ancient technology. Kirk himself admits in the first five minutes that the system is not fair.

    Next time I watch the episode I’ll look but as I recall it was because she failed the psychological tests. Considering she turned out to be a psycho bitch from hell I can’t argue with them on this one.

    In the mid-60s most women were wearing mini-skirts. It could have been worse – remember the purpie wigs of doom from Project UFO? Not to mention the fishnet uniforms the underwater teams had to wear.

  54. A really interesting blog. Lot of great, valid points I hadn’t thought of. Well done.

    (I particularly like your take on TOS’s “Turnabout Intruder,” an episode which I always felt deeply embarrassed about and, to be honest, considered ANTI-feminist until I read your blog. Nice to reevaluate it in a completely different light.)

    And a lot of thoughful feedback comments. (Not counting the few nasty ones.)

    As far as I can tell, the one thing no one has spoken about yet is the elephant in the room: Movies vs TV.

    In my opinion, films, especially big budget “blockbusters,” consistently remain about 30 or 40 years behind the times politically and socially. That’s just the biz. While you can turn on the TV now and see powerful, interesting, complicated women of all different ages (Weeds, Damages, 30 Rock, Veronica Mars, etc.) feature films continue to mostly include women only as “arm candy.” The sexy girlfriend, the 20-something object of desire, the smokin’ hot bee-otch, or maybe, if we’re really lucky, as the long-suffering-yet-impossibly-young-and-pretty wife who dies off in the first reel.

    Unless you’re talking about scrappy indy films, little-seen foreign films, or hip “experimental” art-house flicks, movies are still notorious for being sexist, racist, and homophobic compared to television.

    Sad but true. And with very few exceptions (Linda Hamilton in Terminator, Sigourney Weaver in the Aliens films) women in science fiction films generally fare even worse. The Powers-that-Be in Hollywood are apparently still convinced that the target audience for major summer “tentpoles” is: scared, 13-year-old, sexually-insecure little boys.

    Hey, we all know that the truth is if this Star Trek really WAS an attempt to represent the future as a realistic, forward-looking “meritocracy,” then over 50 percent of the people on the bridge would be female. Duh. Kinda like our Senate and House are now. Um….

    But you get my point. Even though the TV series it sprang from was groundbreaking, maybe it’s asking a lot for this flick to be any more feminist than the latest Transformers film, you know?

    That said, I’ll end on an up note:

    I understand your issues with Uhura in this film, but I had a different reaction. As “Just” noted, in the original series, the show was basically about the holy trinity of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. In my opinion they formed the Id, Ego, and Superego of a single split-apart character (quite a nifty idea, actually). Truth is that, if you watch those old shows again, Sulu, Chekov, Scotty, and, yes, Uhura were ALL supporting characters — not even close to being leads alongside the big three.

    So the thing that gave me a spark of hope about this NEW film (in spite of all the annoying typical summer blockbuster sexism) was that Abrams seems to be lowering McCoy down a rung and raising Uhura up as part of a NEW trinity. That alone seems a hopeful sign.

    Just sayin’.

    http://drunkentrekkies.wordpress.com/2009/05/09/i-have-been-and-always-shall-be-your-trek-kinda/

  55. Someone told me Star Trek passed the Bechdel test on the basis of the scene where Uhura and her roommate talked about intercepting a message (while stripping as Kirk watched). I said that by those standards, Debbie Does Dallas is a feminist movie…during the gratuitous lesbian shower scene, the women are talking about football.

  56. I disagree with most of your interpretations. We apparently saw different movies. I saw the character of Uhura as strong, intelligent, and compassionate. You feel that Uhura comes across as suppliant for “attempting to nurture Spock” – What would it have said about her character if she did not exhibit concern or compassion for the person she is in a relationship with, when their planet is destroyed and their mother killed?

    Uhura, like Sulu, Chekov, and Scotty, is never going to have a huge amount to do – Star Trek is about the trinity of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. It isn’t sexism that she got less screen time.

    Spock didn’t assign her to the Faragut because she was a woman. He did it to avoid the perception of favoritism. That and in most organizations it is prohibited for a person (of either gender) to be in a relationship with someone under their command. And the point of the scene was quite clear – to show the audience what a strong persona Uhura is – that she isn’t someone to be trifled with.

    You say that “Spock doesn’t respect her”. Where in the movie does Spock not respect Uhura? To the contrary, he praises her technical skills to Captain Pike. He confides in her when he is troubled. We didn’t get to see her do anything else? Wasn’t it her that decoded the transmission that turned out to be essential to their survival? Didn’t Captain Pike send the male communications officer away from his station and have her replace him because she evidenced capabilities he didn’t have?
    You say that “J.J. Abrams did not even try; he whole-heartedly endorses the system and crosses a line that should not be crossed, telling all the boys in the audience by so doing, “It’s okay to objectify women, Kirk does and he’s cool!”” Objectification of women involves disregarding their personal and intellectual abilities and capabilities, and reducing them to instruments of sexual pleasure for men. Kirk most certainly did not do that to Uhura. He respected her abilities and she was the first person he went to when he formulated his theory about Romulans. It is not objectification to admire or feel pleasure at the sight of a woman’s physique. That is a response of evolution. We wouldn’t be here today if our ancestors did not exhibit this behavior.

    You know what would have made me happy? Instead of Kirk being an incredibly creepy voyeuristic- pervert and us hearing Uhuru talk about how she did this really difficult piece of communications work, why not just have a scene showing us Uhura in action translating different strains of Klingon and Romulan communications?

    If they had, instead of the dorm room scene, shown Uhura decoding the message they would have needed additional scenes to explain how Kirk knew of the message. We also would have lost the connection between Kirk and the Orion woman – she gave him the codes to beat the Kobayashi Maru. It also would have slowed the pacing of the story. There is nothing wrong with using exposition instead of showing an act. In fact, to make sure we all understood what Uhura did, we were told about it three times.

    I think you missed the point behind young Kirk’s eyeing of women. This Kirk is 10 years younger, immature and inexperienced. A strong attraction to women has always been part of Kirk’s character, but to show him younger he needs to be shown as more clumsy and unpracticed. Less able to control his reflexes – in fact, less aware that he should control them. This Kirk has a distrust of authority and structure. He hasn’t had any positive male role modes and he hasn’t yet learned the burden of command. It is part of James T. Kirk’s character that he is very attracted to women and easily falls in love. They couldn’t ignore that aspect – but they needed to show it as less matured.

    And then, beyond the disagreement, I found two of YOUR statements to be rather shockingly sexist:

    “…the only job we got to see her do was nurse Spock who seems to have a rather striking number of mommy issues….” – Isn’t labeling a male as having “mommy issues” a popular tool of demasculation?

    and

    “Yet, women are the personification of multi-tasking.”

    Umm, that sounds like a pretty sexist statement, to me. It’s really no different than saying something absurd like “yet, men are the personification of understanding mathematics.”

  57. If the roles had been reversed, Uhura would probably had some hesitation in showing preference to Spock. It’s a natural, and important, consideration to anybody who is trying to maintain a position of leadership, not a sexist act.

    You’re also equating the act of sex with one of disrespect. A character like Kirk likes to get his kicks, and it seems that he would be more drawn to an intelligent and competent woman. After serving with her on the Enterprise for a while, the thrill of the chase would probably die, and what’s left of his feelings would remain, leaving respect and friendship.

    It seems to me that basic feminism appropriates an attitude that sex is bad, dirty, and if you have it you should be ashamed. I mean no disrespect to women who have chosen to wait, or do not feel comfortable having sex with a man that they are not in a serious and sustaining relationship with. But that’s just it, shouldn’t women, and men, be entitled to these feelings without shame just as well as men and women who want to share their feelings more freely? There are so many kinds of love, why should the act of sex betweeen two people who don’t want to be in a long term relationship be demeaned?

    The movie was about an alternate reality… why couldn’t one alternate reality be that while Kirk had his fun while Uhura kept rejecting him that eventually the two got together and Kirk realized that this was the one woman he could settle down for? It would be possible if Uhura didn’t already have her sights set on Spock.

  58. oh, and a nod to Joel Brown for making me laugh… but I just want to say that having an issue about a movie that may or may not portray a race, gender, or whatever that you identify with in an unflattering way is a valid arguement or discussion to have. You said that people should just relax and have fun watching the movie, yet if you felt belittled by a movie, it wouldn’t be fun to watch would it?

  59. Last one…. It’s sexist that none of the men were wearing miniskirts. Why should women have options but not men?

  60. You make many good points in this article, but your central complaint is flawed.
    Spock’s decision not to put Uhura on the Enterprise had nothing to do with sexism. It was only because they were in a relationship. You can switch the genders of either character and make any combination (mm, ff) and the scene still makes sense.

  61. Wow. This article really seems to have struck a nerve!

    I think the author has a lot of good points. Star Trek/09 seems to be much more testosterone-driven than previous versions of Trek.

    Personally, I’m still waiting for some on-screen LGBT time. We’ve already had now-Openly Gay actors (including George Takei,Paul Winfield, and David Ogden Stiers) and at least one writer (David Gerrold).

    We’re all still waiting for a more perfect future…

  62. I really liked PRE’s post. I never really thought about movies vs TV that way, but it’s so obvious now. Big blockbuster movies have so many millions of dollars riding on them that they have to cater to the lowest common denominator.

    The Star Trek 2009 film was enjoyable, but it also didn’t feel like Trek. For one thing… all the non-human looking aliens were either evil or nearly invisible on the Enterprise. So it’s not just women who took a back seat to the men in the transfer to the big screen. Aliens largely vanished too. Compare Deep Space Nine to Trek 2009, and it’s like night and day. In DS9, humans were minorities. In Trek 2009, humans are pretty much the only good guys around, and Spock is just a human-like guy with big ears and a funky haircut.

    As a Trekkie, it’s kinda cool to know that “Star Trek” is “cool” to the general public now, thanks to the new movie. But on the other hand, it’s only “cool” because it sold out so many of its beliefs. So much so that I kinda wish Paramount had simply created a totally different IP.

  63. Re: the “other” female in New Trek: Mama Kirk. Thanks for squeezing out Jimbo, Mom. Now please get the hell off the screen. We don’t need you for anything else, brood-mare. Who do you think you are– Martha Kent? Pretermitting the most obvious issue, that being the presence of families on starships some fifty years early (I thought the whole “family-friendly ship” thing started with “The Next Generation,” but JJ Abrams, bless his vapid little heart, chucked all that canon nonsense clean out the window– who the hell needs forty years of continuity anyway when you’re dealing with the Twitter Generation?), my two least favorite things on film are, in ascending order of nausea, childbirth and rape. Not only was the birth sequence a cheap (and poorly written) bid for emotion, it lobbed Trek women all the way back to “barefoot and pregnant.” Way to go with the devolution, Abrams! I’ll take my Feminazi pledge-pin now, thanks.

  64. jesus christ!!!take a stress pill lady!!!you know you’re the one that’s actually making men think that women are the lesser thing by talking like that.i saw star trek and not once did it cross my mind to tackle these feminist/misoginistic/whatever ideas that you’re talking about.talk about getting worked up for nothing…if you consumed all this energy to save a rainforrest,or a panda bear,or something like that,we’d all be happier.AND YOU WOULD HAVE ACTUALLY DONE SOMETHING USEFULL…

  65. For the love of God can you deal with your position and shut the hell up? Women should be wearing miniskirts everywhere and trained to keep their stupid mouths shut. SHUT UP AND LOOK GOOD! KILL ALL THE FEMINIST PIG BITCHES!!

  66. Don’t know if this was rectified, got bored reading crap about halfway through, but captain Pike, DID call the Enterprise the flagship. Something about it not getting the christening it deserved, and being rewarded that when they’ll get back.

    Otherwise, the weather is great, I’m going outside, I suggest you people do the same.

  67. Nemo I’m confused… if you are saying that the next gen introduced families living on ship, well, that was over a hundred years after enterprise first launched. Nobody “threw it out” it just wasn’t there in the timeline.

    Also, deep space nine would have more aliens because it’s a space station in deep space, far away from earth and far into the future when Enterprise had made many successful first contact missions. The time in which the latest movie was when humans were really just starting to explore. Enterprise was the first ship whose sole mission was exploration.

    I know I’ve gotten caught up in it, but really! Most of these complaints are about little details that were put in to keep true to the timeline and setting… Of course with a hollywood budget there could be more aliens, but there wasn’t a reason to have so many aliens. It’s like complaining that there weren’t enough women in Saving Private Ryan… cause historically there weren’t any! If movie makers are supposed to add some so that everybody is represented fairly, then they really are ruining the story just to cater to the masses as you complain they are.

    I don’t mind that the original Star Trek is mainly about three guys. I like guys. If I want to feel strong and empowered as a woman, I’ll watch something else. However, I went to see the new Star Trek movie because I wanted to see these cool characters I had become familiar with. I wanted to see how they met and how their interactions would be portrayed, and I was happy with a movie that centered around character development instead of the usual bunch of meaningless, albeit exciting, bunch of events that are just an excuse to make explosions happen.

    Plus, the no-sound sound effects when things exploded in space? How cool was that? And they thought that they had to add sound cause the reality was unexciting…

    I’m a geek, I know this.

  68. Wow. Thank you for articulating the problem so well. This film managed to successfully drain Star Trek of everything that made it interesting, leaving us with a formulaic buddy-movie with star-ships and explosions. The final use of “to boldly go where no one has gone before” is ironic and painful. The writing of this film is so careful in treading familiar Hollywood ground. My expectations were low, but I did not expect this empty husk of a universe I love.

  69. Jerry, in response to your complaint about a predominantly Human crew of Kirk’s Enterprise, it’s not really fair to use DS9 or even Picard’s Enterprise as a basis of comparison because something like seventy to eighty years exist between the two. In that time, more aliens joined Starfleet. Of the original cast, only Spock was an alien and he was only half. The Next Generation had a half Betazoid, an Android, a Klingon, eventually a Bajoran, etc.

    But even on a Galaxy-class starship like the Enterprise D, Picard claimed there were only representatives from 13 species. (TNG, “Reunion”) Considering how many planets belong to the Federation, that’s not a huge percentage.

    At the end of the day, while Starfleet is open to people from all Federation plants (and even non-Federation species as long as the applicant has a letter of recommendation from a Starfleet officer), it an Earth-based organization and will probably always be heavily Human. Starfleet Headquarters, Starfleet Academy…they’re all on Earth.

    Why? Because we like seeing a vision of ourselves in space. The aliens are fun and fascinating and we all like to wear nose-pieces and fake ears at conventions, but at the end of the day, what makes Star Trek so special is that it’s about our species in the future. Gene Roddenberry wanted to give us hope that one day we’d be out there in the stars, having adventures, learning, exploring, being better than we are right now.

    If we want that vision to come true, then we should quit demeaning each other for having different opinions over something like the (so-called) anti-feminist principles in a movie about the future, and channel our time and energy towards something constructive that will lead us to a better one. Join a protest, campaign for a public official, recycle, vote, donate to a charity, find a cure for cancer (little stuff, people!!!)

    Change who we are now so that we won’t be having these arguments in 2258.

  70. Very good points. And bravo for making them. I’m a lifelong Trekkie, and I knew that this new movie didn’t sit well with me for a variety of reasons. You explored this one in excellent detail, and it’s just another element of the Trek mythos that has escaped a new movie that aims to be loud, exciting, and hollow.

  71. @Jerry:

    “The Star Trek 2009 film was enjoyable, but it also didn’t feel like Trek. For one thing… all the non-human looking aliens were either evil or nearly invisible on the Enterprise. So it’s not just women who took a back seat to the men in the transfer to the big screen. Aliens largely vanished too. Compare Deep Space Nine to Trek 2009, and it’s like night and day. In DS9, humans were minorities. In Trek 2009, humans are pretty much the only good guys around, and Spock is just a human-like guy with big ears and a funky haircut.”

    Then I suppose you think that the original series definitely did not feel like Trek? TOS had *no* aliens at all on Enterprise apart from the half-human “human-like guy with big ears and a funky haircut”, and even most of the people from different planets in various episodes LOOKED 100% LIKE HUMANS, and not just that – in many cases they een replicated human culture. Even the Klingons looked human (before they got a make-over in The Motion Picture). Apart from the pointy ears of Vulcans an Romulans, very few episodes featured any even remotely non-human-looking aliens. And when it does happen, as in “Arena”, “Devil in the Dark” or “Journey to Babel”, the makeup is so poor and looks so ridiculous, that it becomes clear that it is very fortunate that they did not use non-human-looking aliens in more episodes. I’m guessing that they were trying to stick to human-looking aliens for budgetary reasons, but the fact is that awful makeup is one of the things that looks most dated when you watch TOS today.

  72. I walked away from this movie feeling disgusted and angry, not entertained and happy. Bottom line is the movie stank for all the reasons stated above and MORE. Not my father’s (and why not say parent’s???) ST indeed. It was a hack job extraordinaire by a man who obviously hated William Shatner and Kirk and did his best to denigrate the person / character at the expense of the movie.

    Abrams is the lowest oft he low IMHO.

  73. For god’s sake lady, stop ruining people’s fun moments like movie viewing with that sickening “women deserve better” stuff.
    That was a movie not reality, and every movie or any other entertainment media has certain requirements. This movie required Uhura to do what she did to develop her and Spock’s character and their mutual relationship. By taking your advice, the director/writers should’ve omitted that sequence, they should’ve omitted Romulans too because some people wanted Vulcans as villains or they should’ve casted lochness monster as Kirk because some people thought Chris Pine might be too unexperienced to take on the role.
    In case you don’t know, J.J. Abrams, Kurtzman and Orci’s wives were consulted during script writing and they adviced on how to make women characters stronger.

  74. Women are inferior to men and don’t have half the brains men have and if Abrams decided to bring this into their notice, they’re firing up just like you ladies in here.
    That’s right ladies, I know its harsh, disgusting, unacceptable, tear-inducing blah, whatever, but its the fact. Women were made to accompany men and aid them, not try to become equal to them.

  75. I think its high time all you funky sexy ladies do the right thing. Either make me a sandwich, or get back to vacuuming. Honestly.

  76. Also, I would like to add a few things:
    Picard was a closet homosexual and Han Solo could take on the entire Starfleet with his eyes closed.

  77. jj abrams is a FUCKING GENIUS. some of you ladies just need to take it up the ass and accept it.

  78. Oh damn, the trolls have found this discussion… *sigh*

    Just said:

    I would like to start by saying that I am (mostly) VERY impressed by the caliber of people responding here. I would like to suggest that everyone gather at the “C’est What” pub in Toronto on Thursday evening…

    That’s a great place, Just. I’m glad I got there during my last trip to Toronto.

    I think there’s way too much focus on the “Uhura changing scene.” Yeah, it was somewhat gratuitous, but it was also over in seconds.

    Why did Uhura discover the transmission “off-camera?” Well, the POV of most of the movie is either from Kirk or Spock (or, at times, their parents). But maybe if this really wasn’t “your father’s Star Trek,” maybe Abrams should have told it from Uhura’s point of view. But that’s not what happened.

  79. With reference to Nemo…I guess having kids is a pretty insulting job for a woman, huh? Here’s what was going on: they needed a big, dramatic scene to show Kirk’s birth. Abrams had no other intended message but that. Why didn’t Kirk’s mother show up again? Because, if you’ve ever written a screenplay, you know that you only show what you absolutely need. She didn’t need to be there anymore. Sexist? No. Just the economics of screenwriting.

    Sheesh, calm down. It’s a freaking movie.

  80. This was a pretty interesting article and while I disagree about the Spock/Uhura scene having sexist undertones, I wholeheartedly agree about everything else, especially regarding the voyeuristic Kirk moment and the message it sends out to young men and boys.

    Oh and Jennifer’s posts are pretty off-putting. She steps on every point she makes by making some stupid, unrelated comment just to defend herself. Why is the writer a moron just for pointing out obvious cases of sexism like the Kirk/Uhura one in the movie? You probably think that would be okay because you think it is perfectly alright for men to behave in such a way because they are incapable of respecting a gorgeous woman’s privacy while she is changing. Well, in that case, you are the one who underestimates men and you are the one who is just a poseur-feminist, not women like Mog and the writer of this article. And I don’t see why you feel a need to lecture Mog/Meg about the goals and values of feminism when she didn’t question any of it. What she(correctly) pointed out was how little you were satisfied with attaining and how readily you were willing to give men passes for things like the voyeuristic moment because you feel men cannot help themselves in such situations. I’m an attractive(I’ve been told) twenty year old having many friends who are pretty girls and we know lots of straight young men who wouldn’t peep at us changing if we asked them not to.

    And I hate people who say stuff like, “Calm down, it is just a movie/book/show/comic!”. Yes, it is supposed to be mindless entertainment but it has proven time and again that it can be much more powerful than that when it comes to affecting lives and beliefs, especially a franchise like Star Trek. Hence the writer was pointing out some critical flaws the movie had because it should be more responsible than this. She may not be right in one instance like the Spock/Uhura scene but I could understand where she is coming from. If you want to be a real feminist, Jennifer, you should stop underestimating men and believe that they are perfectly capable of acting like..well, MEN and fully respect a woman even in minor, casual situations like respecting a female friend’s privacy while she is changing or even the privacy and dignity of a girl they are DATING. Not just the privacy and dignity of women colleagues/bosses/sub-ordinates in the workplace.

  81. WOW. If what you do is pay 12 dollars to go see a movie, bypass the popcorn and pop. Come on its a movie, and sit their and jot how every little nuance makes the movie sexist to women, you are a big C word. I’ll say it. I don’t think the title was, Star Trek: Women have equal rights and are just as good or better than men, and shouldnt be treated differently in the 23rd century. Whoopdifuckindoo. And everyone is an intellectual. Well, you see here. It’s a movie. And it’s about space travel and aliens. It is complete fiction. Sorry if I wasn’t born when the orginal show aired. Do you honestly think J.J. Abrams was worried if Feminists would enjoy his movie? No. He cares about $$$$$$$. Thats it. Why screw with that. It is the most important thing in the world. And have you ever seen J.J. Abrams. Does he look like a feminist. Do you sit and watch Winnie the Pooh and gawk about sexism there. For God’s sake women, take what ever is shoved so far up your ass and remove it please. It is because of women like you, that men beat women. I said it. Your an obnoxious women. Sorry but the worlds been around for a long fucking time, and humanity has had a pretty good run as well. You expect that in 50 years everything is going to change? As to the nazi comment, i have no comment. But you need to get a grip on life. Actually enjoy movies. They are for entertainment. Fucking FICTION. FICTION. FICTION. This has never happened, nor will ever happen. So you enjoy your 50 cents less an hour than i make, and fuck you. have a nice day, you stupid cunt. HAHAHAHAHA

  82. Oh yay, all the cretin trolls are arriving from IMDb! I knew this would happen when they linked this article on the front page of the site.

  83. Some of the comments from ladies have proven how shortsighted and cry-at-every-little-thing annoying nuances they are. I agree with Greg, Abrams and Spielberg and all of that lot cares only about one thing which is money. I wouldn’t go in to see a movie in which a woman has an important role because I know it’ll suck. In 23rd century or 3rd millenium, women will remain behind men in every aspect and that’s not gonna change no matter how loud you feminist jukies cry.
    You ladies need a break, go get a nap.

  84. Feminism should be banned and I voted Obama in the hopes that he’ll divorce Michelle and do it. The only legitimate place this article belongs to is the already full trash bin in my storeroom.
    All of you girls need some good men to fuckk you up.

  85. So Vi, are you saying that if you didn’t ask the guys not to look, then they would “peep” at you if you were changing in front of them. By the way, in what situation would you really be changing in front of them without first exploring other avenues of privacy?

    And shouldn’t some credit of Kirk’s peeping go to the green chick that he was in the room with as she was the one who forced him under the bed to begin with. If she had allowed Kirk to do what he wanted, which was getting caught, then the whole peeping incident wouldn’t have happened. And why didn’t the green chick do more to stop Uhura from changing knowing full well that there was a male in the room that was probably looking. No one mentions that. If Uhura walked in with Kirk standing right there she would have kicked his ass for being in the room, or at least told him to get out, thus asserting herself even more and proving that she was a strong and independent woman.

    But wait a second! Didn’t she do that after Kirk revealed himself? Didn’t Kirk respect her by revealing himself and not allowing Uhura to remove more clothing? Plus, couldn’t Kirk have just been trying to figure out who just entered the room? Did he continue to linger and ogle Uhura? No, once he knew he got up and left.

    So you continue to jump all over Kirk, but forget just how Uhura handled herself in that situation. Notice how she didn’t freak out or try to cover herself up. Couldn’t that be considered a step towards feminism by being unashamed of her body, and thus more “sexually liberated?”

    See you all need to stop equating sex or being sexy as a bad thing. It’s not. Sex is normal, healthy, and fun and shouldn’t be looked down upon no matter which gender is engaging in the sex.

    Oh and hear are a few links to further argue against the articles writer.

    http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Rant-Miniskirts-Don-t-Make-Star-Trek-Sexist-13126.html

    http://allyourtrekarebelongto.us/toswomen.htm

  86. Interesting observations on a film I have no intention of watching. I’m sure it’s got lots going for it, but I don’t care of a revival like that. It was bad enough to learn Spock failed to save Romulus, leading to the destruction of his homeworld. Aren’t they supposed to accomplish the impossible? Furthermore, I don’t need to waste my time with the schlock of re-inventing their relationships.

  87. Would it have made you feel better if Uhura had bagged the green chick? You are really to full of your ideas about feminism, lady. Try being black or gay or jewish, then bitch about inequality. Oh, by the way…it’s still only a f***ing movie! Calm down.

  88. we don’t need star trek to realise your vision of women in the future (and present)…battlestar galactica is amazing in it’s portrayal of women as true equals of men without compromise…get your daughters to watch it!!!

  89. Get a life: it’s a work of fiction! Maybe when they remake Casablanca they can make bogart into a womyn who is more communicative of her feelings to balance the film out with some estrogen.

    Your attitude ruined star trek, every episode had to have equal representation for gays, all races, genders, transgender, and have a moral message about how violence never solves anything

    To make the show actually entertaining again, it had to go back to its roots as an adventure story around interesting characters first, and a vision of a hopeful future second.

  90. Awesome article: I found it really interesting. Nicely done!

  91. Amazing article that was well researched. One point that should be noted. With all the talk of Uhura being overlooked for her position simply because of her sex, it should be noted that, fresh out of the academy, she would have to prove her worth as would any other cadet, male or female. Talent or not, without the proper experience, she would have to prove her worth, against, undoubtedly, the best and the brightest that Star Fleet would have to offer. This holds true in todays world in todays military. The best are brought to the front. But they, as I said, man or woman, must prove their abilities.

  92. I would like to point out the irony of the “Calm down, it’s just a movie” type responses by people who are clearly infuriated by the article and make it a point to personally insult the author. Besides the rather obvious point that the ones telling the author to calm down are clearly riled up, if it was just a movie to you, then the article really shouldn’t bother you all that much. I think these responses really mean: “I enjoyed that film, and I don’t want to consider that there might be a problem with its gender politics, so shut up. Now let me make snide remarks, ignore all the points you raise, and bitch at feminists.”

    I also think that it’s no coincidence that the very people whose comments are dismissive and sexist also don’t tend to see anything remotely sexist in the film.

  93. David
    Thanks to women loving idiots like you these women can actually make this kind of bullshit heard.

  94. Hmmmmm, tasty bait. You truly are are master-baiter.

  95. So Vi, are you saying that if you didn’t ask the guys not to look, then they would “peep” at you if you were changing in front of them. By the way, in what situation would you really be changing in front of them without first exploring other avenues of privacy?

    And shouldn’t some credit of Kirk’s peeping go to the green chick that he was in the room with as she was the one who forced him under the bed to begin with. If she had allowed Kirk to do what he wanted, which was getting caught, then the whole peeping incident wouldn’t have happened. And why didn’t the green chick do more to stop Uhura from changing knowing full well that there was a male in the room that was probably looking. No one mentions that. If Uhura walked in with Kirk standing right there she would have kicked his butt for being in the room, or at least told him to get out, thus asserting herself even more and proving that she was a strong and independent woman.

    But wait a second! Didn’t she do that after Kirk revealed himself? Didn’t Kirk respect her by revealing himself and not allowing Uhura to remove more clothing? Plus, couldn’t Kirk have just been trying to figure out who just entered the room? Did he continue to linger and ogle Uhura? No, once he knew he got up and left.

    So you continue to jump all over Kirk, but forget just how Uhura handled herself in that situation. Notice how she didn’t freak out or try to cover herself up. Couldn’t that be considered a step towards feminism by being unashamed of her body, and thus more “sexually liberated?”

    See you all need to stop equating sex or being sexy as a bad thing. It’s not. Sex is normal, healthy, and fun and shouldn’t be looked down upon no matter which gender is engaging in the sex.

  96. I am no troll. Its just like this, if chicks find something they can moan about, theyll moan about it. And to tell the truth, its starting to get annoying, seriously. How many men out there actually give a damn about whether or not a girl has equal rights? I dont. Its the same as everyone else, who actually cares? If you dont want me to open the door for you and you want to exert your power, fuck should I care? I just dont give a damn either way. I’ll treat a lady like a lady until she gives me reason not too, and going off about how Hollywood is doing this stuff on purpose and so is the rest of the world is just stupid. Shit, I treat my wife like a piece of gold. Would you rather I didnt? Would she rather I didnt? Sure we joke about it (sexism) all the time but the reality is most guys from my generation realize that you chicks are pretty damn cool and we want to treat you well, because we like you. Could you maybe rather than turning around and bitching about it just be like “ah cool”? ok so maybe you dont have such huge parts in movies or whatever, but Ill tell you this much: this world would totally suck without you gals. Theres just so many good things about you! We freakin love you! Hell, we need you! Just being ridiculous with you might be the only way to make you realize how ridiculous you actually are being about this whole feminism thing. Is it really so detrimental that you will go to the lengths you do? Sure this article touched a nerve with guys, because we cant understand all the crap we get. Well anyways, thats all Ive got to say.

  97. The problem with the Uhura/Spock relationship is that there seems to be a romance there, which would be unethical in the least. He is an instructor and she was his student. A romantic relationship would certainly be against regulations, for the very reason we see in the show.

    I wouldn’t have a problem with them having a romantic relationship *other than* his being in a position of authority over her.

    I happen to agree that it was unnecessary to see her strip. I *liked* it because she’s hot, but there’s no reason why she couldn’t have simply entered the room and plopped in a chair, kicked her shoes off and let her tired feet rest while saying the same lines. This is Star Trek, not 90210 Trek. There are enough plot issues (far too many promotions far too quickly, and poor Scotty *could not* be qualified to use the equipment n Enterprise’s engine room without being trained on it- it can’t be the same from ship to ship because it would change as technology changes during construction) that we don’t need to complicate things with mere titillation. Star Trek is above that.

    The Orion chick was a good thing.

  98. I’ll start by saying that I haven’t read all of the comments. I read the first 15-ish, and the last couple. So forgive me if I repeat something that has been said. One of the dangers of these things.

    Anyway, it seems Ms. Lawrence’s primary issue is with Spock’s initial decision to post Uhura somewhere other than on the Enterprise, so that’s what I’ll address. First, though, an apparently superficial point – this movie is not just a Prequel, but an Origin Story, which is a particular type of prequel. An origin story shows how characters came to be who/what/where the audience knows them to be. The Star Wars prequels are an origin story, but ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple Of Doom’ is not (it is, though, a prequel). ‘Hannibal Rising’ is an origin story, ‘Red Dragon’ is not, both are prequels.

    The creators of Star Trek (2009) set out to tell an origin story, not just Kirk’s or Spock’s but the Enterprise’s. While Kirk and Spock’s journeys get the most attention, we actually see most of the characters’ rise to their posts. Remember, Sulu wasn’t supposed to be there at first – he only got his spot because some other character had “ear worm”. Bones was on board but he wasn’t the chief medical officer on the ship when it first takes off, he inherits the position from some poor doc who (in)conveniently was on the one deck that got seriously damaged in the initial fight. Scotty has his whole comic arc, Chekov is there but has to earn everybody’s respect, and the ship even takes its own proverbial first steps. Uhura, in fact, gets two of these moments: first when she makes her way onto the ship, then when she secures her seat on the bridge. The former serves multiple story-telling purposes. As somebody else mentioned, it foreshadows the eventual relationship between her and Spock (I personally don’t think there was a relationship at that point in the story); it also provides a concise and dramatic explanation of her credentials, which thereby foreshadows her later moment in the sun, when she earns her promotion. Had she just been assigned to duty on the Enterprise in the first place, we would never have known that she was the best at what she does, and we would have just taken for granted that she went with the ship. But it wasn’t granted, she had to fight for it. AND, later on, when she proves she’s more capable than the man on the bridge, it would have seemed totally out of the blue, and a lot harder to swallow except that we already know her credentials, because she told us. Commenter Jennifer mentioned the “economics of screenwriting” – that’s a lot of value they got out of one little scene.

    Before I submit this comment and never look at this page again, I’ll address the underwear scene. If you look at it the same way I just broke down the other one, from a screenwriting/filmaking perspective, it’s a very practical scene. I’ll start with the most crass argument, which is: film is a visual medium, and (18-34 year old male) moviegoers would rather see a woman standing in lingerie than sitting at a computer. There’s no getting around that. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s right. So, let’s think about it differently. They could shown us Uhura “in action” doing the translating, yes. Fully clothed, to be sure. But then they would have needed to find some way for Kirk to find out about it. Because that’s why the whole thing is in there in the first place: Kirk hears about the message she translated, puts that Two together with the Two of the lightning storm in space, and realizes it’s the evil ship that killed his pops. Kirk has to find out about the message she translated, because if he doesn’t then the Enterprise flies into a trap without being at all prepared to engage, and it gets destroyed and we have no movie. So, again, Kirk has to find out. So, really, we couldn’t have just seen Uhura in action, unless Kirk was in the room reading over her shoulder, which would just be out of character for him. Or we could see her translate it alone, and then see him at the cafeteria and say “Oh, hey Jim, listen to this crazy thing I just translated…” but of course that would be out of character for her. She wouldn’t tell him about it – she can’t stand him. She’d tell somebody else about it, like her roommate. So, in order for Kirk to hear it, we have to have him overhear it. All that having been said, I think commenter Scott is right, we could have just had her sit down and put her feet up. Though, and I admit I’m kinda reaching here, here’s a possibility: if she had just come in and sat down, Kirk might have tuned out and tried to wait the whole thing out. It could be that the only reason he was listening is that he was also looking, and therefore he needed something to look at.

    Okay, that’s about all for me. As I mentioned above, I’m probably never gonna find my way back to this page, so if you respond to me on here, I won’t see it. Feel free to email me, though, if you’ve got something interesting to say – maxually@gmail.com

  99. wow, way to ignore the fact that Uhura is a much bigger presence here than she was ever allowed to be in TOS. She’s on a level with McCoy. Heck, maybe bigger… and the attempt to turn the sequence where she demands her place on the Enterprise into some anti-female slap is, well, absurd. It’s a damned good character moment with a self-assured character who won’t let herself be shunted off to another vessel.

    And when you misinterpret that moment so fundamentally just to fit the agenda of your article, it throws all of your conclusions into doubt.

  100. It’s a shame that it took the cartoon series to really see Uhura kick ass (“The Lorelei Signal”).

  101. ok, i started skipping posts about 20 posts down but i never once saw anyone mention the fact that spock, an instructor at the academy, was in a relationship with a student and that this would be at the least unethical and most likely against the rules of the academy. this one fact would more than account for his not wanting her on the enterprise.

    overall i feel that uhura took a huge step back as far as how women are portrayed in the trek universe, i’d even say it was further back than the original. in TOS she may “just be a space operator” but she is damned good at her job and doesn’t sleep with anyone or bully anyone to get it.

    as for the whole retooling we’ve lost the optimistic future that roddenberry envisioned. sad really.

  102. I’m a woman and I agree with Cal. That moment with Uhura and Spock (when she demands to be put on the Enterprise), was a set-up for the later scene of us finding out they are in a relationship. Being the logical mind that he is, I think this scene was meant to show us in hindsight that he was trying to be professional and not create a conflict of sexual interest. I am a screenwriter and I loved how this interaction created some mystery for the audience. It was like, “Whoa, why is he backing down and changing her assignment? what’s going on here?”

    Ethics are involved here also. Spock is a teacher at the academy. I’m sure sexual relations with students is still a no-no in the future.

    This re-booted version made Uhura an equal member of the team. Not the quiet black chick sitting in the background most of the time in the original TV show.

  103. I am a woman and an old Trekkie. I didn’t have any notions of what it would be like before I saw it. I loved it. I’ve seen it twice.

    But then while I’ve seen the original Star Trek episodes numerous times each, I haven’t seen all the episodes of the other series. I thought this was a rather good update on the original series.

    The only nit I really had was with Kirk’s mother being on the first ship while pregnant. The Next Generation Series says that the first family ship is then, decades after the Enterprise of Kirk which is 20 or so years after his birth. Once the wormhole opens and the Romulan ship comes through, historical events change – so I’m fine with the historical changes after that.

    I don’t agree with a lot of what the author of the article says, but I only see one real error in it. And that is that Dr. Lester, from Turnabout Intruder, was not refused a captaincy because she was a woman. She failed the psychological testing. If I remember correctly, the part of that episode that I didn’t like was the statement that Kirk would not be allowed to remain as captain in Dr. Lester’s body. Perhaps that’s the statement that the article’s author is thinking of.

  104. I think a lot of what the author has written makes some interesting points. I think, though, that there are ways to look at those choices that JJ Abrams made and see them in a positive light.

    For example, it’s sad that in the 23rd century the glass ceiling still exists and Uhura has to fight her way on to the bridge. But that gives us the opportunity to see her strength and conviction in action. In those moments she is speaking for the women of today, and hopefully not the women of our future. I’d rather see that aspect of her character in action than watch her listen intently to gobbledegook and then translate it.

    It’s fine to train a microscope on one aspect of a film’s weak points, but it opens up a can of worms. Will the Scots start writing about how Scotty went from the most capable engineer in Starfleet to a Chaplinesque boob? Will the Russians complain that he used Chekov to make funny words with his accent? WIll Asians resent being portrayed as swordsmen? Will Leonard Nimoy complain about whoever fitted his dentures?

    In the end when the lights go up, I think Uhura comes across as a fine role model for young girls and women as well as, like her predecessor, a sci-fi nerd guy’s wet dream. And all is right in the Alpha Quadrant.

  105. One argument I see mentioned a lot is that Uhura saves the world and it’s a shame we didn;t get to see her do this on screen. I’m bothered by the idea that if we had, this would somehow diminish the sexism of the whole thing. Actually, it’s not necessary to see this film on scene because off screen it fulfils it’s duty.. and that’s to show Uhura as intelligent, but in a womanly kind of way. Note that she doesn’t take part in any of the fight scenes or off planet action – because she’s a tecchie or communicatios officer or whatever.

    My convoluted point being that, yes, I think that there’s a perception that women can be smart and do things etc but it’s important for male directors right now to keep women out of areas of physical dominance or the practical sphere so that men can have their cake and eat it, and continue to feel that there are areas where they easily and rightly dominate over women – citing tired arguments I suppose that we’re fundamentally different emotionally and physically.

    Whether Uhura saved the world or not with her mathematical skills, it’s clear that the film values Kirk’s authoritativeness far more.

  106. @ Chris: No, I didn’t say the guys would definitely peep at me if I didn’t forbid them to. And there has been one situation where I had to change in front of them because there weren’t other avenues of privacy. During an unplanned trip to a beach without changing booths, my friends and I had to change into swimsuits inside the car because we weren’t already wearing them inside our clothes, so we asked the guys to stand outside and keep guard. While they teased that they’d peep through the windows, they didn’t, so there.

    You could argue that Kirk was only trying to ascertain who entered the room, but I’m sure he was staring at her removing her clothing for some time even after seeing that it was only her. Of course, a point could be made that he wanted to reveal himself to Uhura only when she was in a state of undress where he thought she’d be slightly unprepared and not likely to immediately attack him because she may not want to come into physical contact in that state. I don’t think that was the case though. And I don’t see what the other chick had anything to do with Kirk’s actions. She may have been part of the cause that situation occurred in the first place but it isn’t like she forced Kirk to peep at Uhura. That was a decision Kirk made of his own free will.

    And yes, Uhura not being ashamed of her body or her sexuality is definitely a sign of feminism but that is the only part of feminism most of mainstream media seems to be interested in highlighting. Being strong and independent and being sexually confident may not be exclusive things, but the first thing isn’t only about the second either. In fact, it is just a tiny, miniscule part of being a strong and independent woman. To suggest otherwise is yes, objectification. It is time there were empowered female characters in fiction who didn’t have obligatory situations related to sex someway or the other. Sex is cool but little girls deserve more appropriate role model figures to look up to in the entertainment field, aka the field receiving the most exposure. Male characters don’t have to be sexual to prove that they are strong, so why a different case for women. Get what I’m trying to say?

  107. On your period, huh?

  108. I believe the author has a point and should have touched on more examples. The Spock-Uhura relationship can be interpreted in different ways so I find this a weak example of sexism.
    How about the lack of women in the command structure? The only woman I recall in authority (with a speaking role) was the googly eyed doctor that delivered baby Kirk.
    Each of the principle male characters (with the exception of Bones) had their own shining moment where they were the hero.
    The fate of Spock’s mother was just a cheap plot device and a continuity error. (didn’t they already have a transporter lock on her, just like Kirk and Sulu 3 minutes ago ?)
    This is the first time a recall the word “whore” used in any of the movies. (Spock’s little bullying classmates in reference to his mom.)
    I was mostly disappointed in the movie because I was expecting more than just a typical sci-fi movie. It didn’t boldly go anywhere.

  109. Vi, interesting how you had your swimsuits even though you had an “unplanned” trip to the beach. And notice how you said that you had to ask your friends not to look. Even though one of your guy friends joked he would look, I would be willing to bet that given the opportunity, a real opportunity, then he would sneak a peek on whatever he could.

    FYI, men are visual creatures. Science backs that up. Women can be as well. You give a women a well toned, muscled, and oiled up man, guarantee that she sneaks a peak.

    For the movie though, you keep blaming Kirk for looking. He will look because he is a guy. Guys look. It’s what they do. To not do it would go against his primal nature as a man.

    Also, he was looking mainly to see who it was that came into the room. the fact that it was during when Uhura was undressing was more of a result of the fact that she came into the room and immediately started taking off clothes. Kirk would have looked to see who it was no matter the state of undress. It’s called being lucky in the timing, but he was also trying to asses the situation to see what exactly he was up against. Should he had stayed under the bed until Uhura got dressed? How would he have known if he didn’t look? So basically your saying that the man should imprison himself by staying under the bed all in the name of respecting women. Doesn’t wrongful or unfair imprisonment go against the very nature of the constitution of the United States, where Starfleet Academy clearly resides.

    Also, why didn’t Uhura get dressed at all? She was quite content to stay in a state of undress. Isn’t she disrespecting herself by staying in that state? And couldn’t you say that she was peeping at Kirk because he didn’t bother to put on shirt before appearing from under the bed? Does peeping only have to include looking at the opposite genders sexual organs, or can it extend to looking at the opposite gender in various states of undress?

    And as for the green chick, why didn’t she do more to warn Uhura that she might want to put some more clothes on? She might not have made Kirk peep, but she wasn’t doing anything to help the situation.

  110. One of the things that I think you’ve overlooked here is that the movie, in many ways, was also to get the main embodiment of the original series. Meaning, that the orignal series was very much “the Kirk-Spock-Bones” show. For the movie to spend less time on the other characters shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.

    Although Uhura didn’t display “brilliance in action”, it was her that convinced the Captain to make critical changes to their tactics based on the aforementioned brillance.

    And sure, Chekov and Sulu did get some glory – but Scotty didn’t. He too was supposed to develop a groundbreaking calculation, but it was shown to him by old Spock. So, your argument about not enough Uhura in the movie could be equally applied to Scotty.

    Hrrm…maybe the movie is sexist and anti-Scottish?

  111. Scotty was the one who saved the ship from the black hole by dumping the warp core, so he did get his glory.

  112. I watched the movie and, being a guy, I liked it. My trekkie female friend liked it too. I think that the changes you would have made probably would have turned the movie into a niche market expressive film type deal. Maybe I’m just a chauvinist? I don’t know. Personally, I like the fact that the future human race depicted in the movie isn’t perfect. That’s how we are today and probably will be for a long time. I think that’s sort of what Abrams and crew were going for, making the characters identifiable and as relevant to today as possible. The Starfleet guys at the bar reminded me of jocks and the scene with the green girl was something akin to a college themed movie like Animal House. Did it fit with the original Star Trek series? Maybe not, I haven’t seen enough to know but maybe it wasn’t supposed to. All I can suggest is to watch these types of movies for fun, not as something to validate your social views… or you can keep at it I guess, whichever. Choices are for everyone, including analytical trekkie film watching ladies such as yourself. Trust me though, the dark side’s more fun.

  113. “I didn’t want to destroy her. Her life could have been as rich as any woman’s if only…” Kirk never finishes the sentence. He trails off and then Kirk, Scotty, and Spock all turn around and walk into the turbolift. Was he going to comment on Starfleet’s system being wrong? Or suggest Janice should have been content to go as far as she could on her tether? We never know.

    I read the James Blish adaptations of The Original Series, which may or may not have been direct adaptations of the original scripts, and he has Spock finish Kirk’s statement by saying “If only she took pride in BEING a woman.” I interpreted that she was angrier over being female than not having an opportunity to be a Starship Captain. Kirk’s testimony (in Janice Lester’s body) confirmed that. Maybe the author of this essay was angrier at Abrams & co. for not going beyond TOS than the idea that Spock didn’t want to compromise himself and Uhura by serving on the same ship!

  114. Ellen, you have certainly touched a nerve! Good for you :)
    I just want to thank you for encouraging us all not only to watch movies closely, but to think and challenge ideas brought about.

  115. I like to watch Veronica Mars episodes as well Lost. I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  116. Janeway rules everyone else in Star Trek. End of. So this discussion really is an unnecessary one.

    Women and men, let’s all just get a long, o-fucking-k?