I follow a lot of the feminist critique of pop culture and agree with a lot of it but... but but but... I don't feel the Bechdel Test is the end-all be-all. Furthermore, I feel people are overlooking what STID got right because of two things it got wrong (Bechdel test failure, gratuitous lingerie shots).
What it got right that is even progressive by today's standards:
Lt. Darwin - the shaven-headed, powerfully built bridge officer does not conform to the rigid standards of femininity we usually see in the movies. I'd like to see more of her!
Lt. Uhura - is not at any point in the film a "damsel in distress". Is a key part of the crew and her role is indispensable and irreplaceable.
Dr. Marcus - a competent scientist who has no love story at any point in the film, she's there completely for her own reasons. She is never fridged. She becomes a crew member at the end of the film.
The Bechdel test isn't reliable to me because it's too shallow a marker; plenty of films do great on it but fail in other ways.
I guess my issue is that I didn't really get to see any of that happen in this film. You could argue that Uhura being the only one to speak Klingon is one of the things that makes her indispensable, but when she speaks Klingon it really is all for not.
The same kind of goes for Carol's "big moment," to me. She's supposed to be the expert weapons specialist, but when she's trying to
it kind of seemed like she got it right out of luck just as much or more than skill and like it was played for comedic effect a little. So, it kind of fell flat for me.
I just come away with the over all opinion that the women weren't handled well in this film.
Yeah, applying the Bechdel test to any single film, particularly one whose characters had been selected in the 60s and whose
, is not a fair application of the test. They did put women in nearly half of the commanding positions, and made nearly half of the bridge crew women, so it is not like there was not any attempt to represent women fairly.
Now, if you insist it should have been a more central goal (which makes sense if you see Star Trek as a vehicle for progressive messages of fairness and equality), you could have made
, you could have made Keenser or Gatt's character female, or made the tactical officer from the Kobayashi Maru a black woman in 2009 (or the Kobayashi Maru supervisor).
But if you do, I'd like to point out something: In both films, with the exception of Gatt's character, the only non-main cast that ever spoke on the Enterprise bridge were women
. I don't recall a bridge guy ever speaking.
Even cupcake shut up once he went up there. The universe in which the film seemed pretty fair and equal to me.
And the film is centred around Kirk, who has a perception of the world that can be described as harmlessly sexist-ish, so you could claim it makes sense for the story to fold around his perception because he does not hang out with his female comrades as much and pays less attention to their actual accomplishments. Not a good excuse, but you can come up with something in-universe to explain the focus on the original crew. Two crew women arguing in the turbolift about the captain's attitude will do for me.
ETA: The turbolift thing is cheesy. Give a crew woman an assignment meant for Chekov after she went to complain to the captain for showing too much favouritism for the kid, even though she was as qualified as him for it, even better, give it to her after Chekov screws it up. Or something along that line, just not written by me.
I do. And it wasn't just a word or two. There's a bald guy in a blue shirt standing at one of the stations that I can swear has a conversation with Spock or someone.
And Chekov. He's been through enough. I kind of felt bad for him in this movie.