IMO It all comes down to the fact that according to some women cannot express love and feelings because if they do that they're considered "weak". On the other hand there is this very radicated patriarchal idea in the star trek fandom in particular that men being defined by their interpersonal relationships are good story telling and character development (maybe because it had always been like that) Only men are allowed to show feelings without being made weak by them.
For some maybe but my reservations with Uhura's expressions of feelings in STID come from how it was done, not the fact she had feelings.
Mostly I think that the moment of entry of their ship into Kronos' atmosphere, 3 minutes eta from Harrison, was a really inappropriate moment for her to front Spock about his apparent lack of care for her feelings. This was underlined by Kirk's "are we really doing this now" which elicited a generalised snicker from the audience when I saw it and IMO made Uhura look unprofessional and foolish.
Elsewhere in the movie she did really well, but that IMO unfortunate moment was what caught my attention the most on first viewing.
I won't object to your perspective
but I'll just point up that Kirk hadn't acted so differently in the whole movie and I hardly see people complaining about that even though he was, you know, the acting captain. This is another thing that makes me worry about possible double standard in the way female characters are perceived compared to the male ones because this is not the first time that people point fingers at Uhura and call her unprofessional and yet they don't even seem to notice all the other examples where the male characters act unprofessional.
Uhura's issues with Spock were issues that Kirk had repeatedly voiced as well (just from a friend perspective compared to the perspective of his girlfriend) that scene between S/U happened in front of Kirk for this very reason, I think, because he was there to eventually take her side and support her (as he did) as he had the same problem with Spock. Intentional fallacy perspective: you could say that if the wanted the writers could have made them talk about it in private (and I would have preferred it too, honestly
) but the pace of the movie didn't give them the chanc
e and they, most importantly, needed
Kirk to listen to that too so that he could understand Spock more but
Spock would never open up about his feelings with him only Uhura (or more specifically Nyota
) could make him do that because, of course, he'd have a personal reason to open up with her that way and try to make her understand his side careless of the fact that other people would listen to that.
I might also incidentally point up that maybe the movie is from Kirk's perspective and this is the reason why most of the scenes happen in front of him. You hardly get any interaction between characters that aren't in some way linked to him. It really was a Kirk movie foremost IMO
I might also note that in the scene in the shuttle Uhura wasn't the only one with the fault when it comes to who started the argument. When she made her initial comment ("good thing you don't care to die") I bet Spock heard it perfectly
but he still asked her if she had said something and if she could repeat thus giving her the chance to eat him
I think that the scene showed how exasperated Uhura was by his behavior, the implication was that he wouldn't talk about it and he kept avoiding the topic and she just couldn't help it anymore. They could have died in that mission and they knew it so from her pov it was now or never.
It was inappropriate and unprofessional but no more than Kirk arguing with Spock in front of their superior officer (Pike) because he was angry and frustrated by him. They're officers but they're human too so having them act in a matter that seems unprofessional sometimes might be intentional from the writers and part of their character development.
Another perspective on the scene is pretty much what JJ and Zoe Saldana said. JJ mentioned (in an article for the empire magazine) that the scene was originally written as a simple chase scene and it was "fun" but he felt it added nothing and it had no depth and no purpose. It later became a placeholder for the S/U scene that he considers important for them and a "microcosmic example of what the movie is about". His point was that he felt he needed to make people care about the characters and humanize them even while they were risking their life and going on important missions... that is what Zoe Saldana more or less also said here:
There’s a great moment in the film when Uhura brings up these issues with Spock in a really dangerous moment…. Zoe Saldana: I love that scene when we have that conversation (laughs). It’s in front of their boss too, the Captain is in-between us. We’re getting shot at and I ask him to commit to more. It feels like a typical, contemporary love story (laughs). That’s one thing that’s great about working with J.J. and his team of writers, in that you’re going to be stepping into shoes of human beings – whether they’re superhuman, or whether they’re fighting battles. Even considering what they do as work, they’re still being challenged with everyday matters of the heart, you know? And they’re still being challenged with politics and self-discovery. So the story and the journey between Spock and Uhura is, in my opinion, she’s learning the kind of person he is, and she’s encouraging him to cater to his human side, to his human half. And there’s a conflict there, because he doesn’t want to be compromised, because he feels like if he’s to be compromised he’ll be weak and a lot of people will suffer.
And Uhura, she needs to learn to just understand his Vulcan side. She’s with a man who has duty before anything else, she needs to accept and embrace that when he tells her that she’s important to him, that she is. But that’s really hard for us ladies, we often want more (laughs). So that’s the conflict. But I liked the way in that scene that it was presented how we would have it out, you know? It’s not just us sitting down having a cup of tea (laughs), our lives are in danger. With the levity of the situation it’s really humorous.
so, people might consider the "how" and "when" of that scene a flaw in the writing and even OOC for her but I think it was completely intentional from their part thus important the way it's for the reasons above mentioned.