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Old June 29 2013, 06:22 AM   #662
Vice Admiral
Location: La Belle Province or The Green Mountain State (depends on the day of the week)
Re: Star Trek Into Darkness & The Bechdel Test

Spock/Uhura Fan wrote: View Post
Ovation wrote: View Post
Maurice wrote: View Post
And while all interesting points, they don't forgive the piss-poor portrayals of women as characters in much of the media so much as rationalize them.
I wasn't looking to forgive them. My day job is to offer explanations for why things have occurred they way they did, not advocate or condemn them. In my free time, I offer my own views on such things more directly. I think it is a serious shame that pop culture portrayals of women are less progressive now, in a number of ways, than they were when I was in elementary school in the 1970s--but I also don't like the idea that we, as an audience, are entitled to be satisfied by makers of art and entertainment according to how we think things ought to be. The power of the wallet and the power of persuasive argument are two useful ways to advocate change. But (and I'm not placing you, specifically, in this camp) the tendency to get excessively outraged over rather minor things in an effort to draw attention to a particular "wrong" is often counterproductive. So while making a persuasive case for improving the portrayal of women characters in Trek, for example, is laudable--suggesting misogyny is at work to explain why Uhura's phaser was somewhat ineffectual in the scene where she fires at Khan, on the other hand, is simply absurd and laughable.
It is not absurd, and you may be laughing but a lot of other people are not, including myself. All of these scenes are set up to play out the way that they do. In other words, there are plenty of artistic choices at a writer's fingertips. When the only person to shoot a phaser several times and still they need help is a woman, that says something. You can say that Spock needed her help too, but he is the one who ultimately takes Khan down in the end.

No one is getting excessively outraged here, but feel free to assume that's the case.
Right on cue. And yes, it is most assuredly absurd to think the screenwriters hate women because they set up a scene where a major secondary character joins the action (instead of a more "real life logical" character whose skill set would be better suited to the job, admittedly, but that kind of substitution is a standard story-telling technique not limited to Trek) to assist a primary character in accomplishing the task at hand. To expect the secondary character to be given "the moment" is the first absurdity--it was ALWAYS going to be Spock that took out Khan once Kirk was incapacitated. The second absurdity is the outright ridiculous suggestion that Uhura was provided with an ineffectual phaser because of her sex. "Cupcake", Sulu, Scotty, McCoy, Chekov, nameless other security guy who went to Kronos…put ANY of them in Uhura's place and the phaser would have been exactly as ineffectual.

You can argue that the female characters in this Trek movie were not as fully developed as they could have been. You could argue there were not as many as there could have been (but doing so would need to account for the fact that the two primary and five main secondary characters are six men and one woman as per the source material). You can argue there are sexist moments in the film. But sexism is NOT synonymous with misogyny and Uhura's ineffectual phaser is NOT an indication the screenwriters hate women. To insist otherwise is, however, laughably absurd.
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