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Trek Literature "...Good words. That's where ideas begin."

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Old January 27 2014, 03:54 PM   #16
George Steinbrenner
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Re: The Skant in TrekLit

Ironic, really, that the skant should be described as "unisex":

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Old January 27 2014, 04:07 PM   #17
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Re: The Skant in TrekLit

Christopher wrote: View Post
Jedi_Master wrote: View Post
Simple reason?

Because the skant looked silly. Even in the 21st century, both males and females can wear pants, slacks, jeans, or any other type of lower body garment with two separate legs.

Pants are the unisex garments of the present and future.
The only reason you think pants are less silly-looking is because you're more used to them. That's the kind of ethnocentric bias that the Federation is supposed to have grown beyond. There have been many human cultures in which men and women both wore draped or skirtlike garments -- kilts, saris, togas, kimonos, etc. -- rather than pants/trousers. Trousers were invented by horse-nomad cultures as a more practical type of wear for riding horses. Presumably they caught on among nobles in the West because horseback riding was common among that class as well. But for people who don't habitually ride horses, there's no particular reason to prefer them beyond fashion, and that's arbitrary.

Besides, as I've said many times before, it's illogical to expect the fashions of another century not to look silly and bizarre by our standards. We're chronologically closer to the era of powdered wigs and bustles than we are to the era of TNG, and yet TNG-era fashions seem hardly any different from our own. I've always found that a failure of imagination.
In all fairness, you don't know anything about my culture or its preferences. Just saying.

With the notable exception of the kilt, the majority of unisex wrapped garments reach the feet, and with good reason. A Middle Eastern style garment, or Pacific Island wrap is very comfortable, practical, and stylish. I would prefer to wear such garments, particularly in the hot climate of my home, but unfortunately Western European styles dominate the "business attire" that is required in my office.

The skant is a very silly and impractical garment.

As for "lack of imagination" when it comes to sci fi clothing design, I don't imagine that the human body is going to change its fundamental shape anytime soon. Fashion is based on the comfort and utility needs of the human body. So although there are some notable exceptions, that is the basic framework for any human clothing.
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Old January 27 2014, 04:28 PM   #18
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Re: The Skant in TrekLit

I have to wonder whether the Inuit invented their traditional fur trousers thousands of years before trousers showed up in recorded history in the 6th century BC according to Wikipedia, and even that wiki acknowledges the possibility of trousers being prehistoric. Unfortunately, Inuit history exists mainly in oral tradition and they live in the land of waste not/want not, so concrete evidence of when and how they developed their art is, according to what little I know, hard to come by.

In any case, the circumstances of inhospitable weather provide non-arbitrary reasons for trousers.
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Old January 27 2014, 04:30 PM   #19
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Re: The Skant in TrekLit

There are legitimate grounds for saying it's impractical for use as a uniform, but calling it silly-looking is an aesthetic judgment, and that's a matter of cultural preference, not universal law. Every fashion, including your own, is going to seem silly-looking to people from another time or culture.
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Old January 27 2014, 04:34 PM   #20
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Re: The Skant in TrekLit

Jedi_Master wrote: View Post
The skant is a very silly and impractical garment
Never have been able to get past the fact that the slang term "skant" refers to a prostitute who is so unattractive she can't find clients.

A skank who can't.



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Old January 27 2014, 04:36 PM   #21
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Re: The Skant in TrekLit

^I thought that was "skank."

I believe "skant" is a portmanteau of "skirt" and "pants," because it's sort of a culottes-like garment.
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Old January 27 2014, 04:48 PM   #22
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Re: The Skant in TrekLit

Christopher wrote: View Post
There are legitimate grounds for saying it's impractical for use as a uniform, but calling it silly-looking is an aesthetic judgment, and that's a matter of cultural preference, not universal law. Every fashion, including your own, is going to seem silly-looking to people from another time or culture.
Since we are parsing here, I grant you that aesthetics vary by CULTURE, but not likely TIME. Culture does have an impact on initial impressions, although those impressions are often changed when a person actually wears the garment in question. Time however is not as big of a factor, as the human body generally needs to have certain types of covering, and fashion tends to follow those needs.
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Old January 27 2014, 05:20 PM   #23
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Re: The Skant in TrekLit

The skant-wearing officers aren't too dissimilar to some of the people I see occasionally walking about town. I live in the London area, and we have pretty much every ethnicity, culture, religion and personal oddity on the planet, so little surprises me when it comes to fashion choice . Some of the Scottish visitors from the Highlands come down in traditional highland dress, meaning short kilts on the men, complete with sporran and other additions. People often ask them about it, and they tend to play up their Scottishness. At least, I think they're playing it up...

Basically, when big, beefy guys can be seen strolling in and out of McDonalds wearing highland dress, a skant is unlikely to raise any eyebrows. By the 24th century, where there's no longer a sexual division of labour, and with a million humanoid cultures added to the mix, I imagine the concept of gender-specific clothing would largely be obsolete. Who even knows what's normal anymore, when there's so much variety and so little tying any one person to a particular social identity?
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Old January 27 2014, 05:23 PM   #24
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Re: The Skant in TrekLit

King Daniel Into Darkness wrote: View Post
Skants? Pfft. I want these uniforms to return!
Too late, sir. The entire bridge already knows your private affairs.

No, please, please don't clam them up.
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Old January 27 2014, 05:32 PM   #25
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Re: The Skant in TrekLit

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
The skant-wearing officers aren't too dissimilar to some of the people I see occasionally walking about town. I live in the London area, and we have pretty much every ethnicity, culture, religion and personal oddity on the planet, so little surprises me when it comes to fashion choice . Some of the Scottish visitors from the Highlands come down in traditional highland dress, meaning short kilts on the men, complete with sporran and other additions. People often ask them about it, and they tend to play up their Scottishness. At least, I think they're playing it up...

Basically, when big, beefy guys can be seen strolling in and out of McDonalds wearing highland dress, a skant is unlikely to raise any eyebrows. By the 24th century, where there's no longer a sexual division of labour, and with a million humanoid cultures added to the mix, I imagine the concept of gender-specific clothing would largely be obsolete. Who even knows what's normal anymore, when there's so much variety and so little tying any one person to a particular social identity?
Two points..
1) Isn't the kilt in a way culturally gender specific? If you see someone wearing one it says "Scottish male".

2) Aren't pants unisex? The contention, as I understand it, is that 24th century Starfleet officers should be wearing unisex garb, but don't they already do that?
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Old January 27 2014, 05:45 PM   #26
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Re: The Skant in TrekLit

Christopher wrote: View Post
Jedi_Master wrote: View Post
Simple reason?

Because the skant looked silly. Even in the 21st century, both males and females can wear pants, slacks, jeans, or any other type of lower body garment with two separate legs.

Pants are the unisex garments of the present and future.
The only reason you think pants are less silly-looking is because you're more used to them. That's the kind of ethnocentric bias that the Federation is supposed to have grown beyond. There have been many human cultures in which men and women both wore draped or skirtlike garments -- kilts, saris, togas, kimonos, etc. -- rather than pants/trousers. Trousers were invented by horse-nomad cultures as a more practical type of wear for riding horses. Presumably they caught on among nobles in the West because horseback riding was common among that class as well. But for people who don't habitually ride horses, there's no particular reason to prefer them beyond fashion, and that's arbitrary.

Besides, as I've said many times before, it's illogical to expect the fashions of another century not to look silly and bizarre by our standards. We're chronologically closer to the era of powdered wigs and bustles than we are to the era of TNG, and yet TNG-era fashions seem hardly any different from our own. I've always found that a failure of imagination.
Who's to say what the "unisex garments of the... future" will be? Given the vast number of types of garments we've had during the last several thousand years, it'll probably be some combination of them... or something entirely different that may owe its origins to new technology or even new alien cultural influences.

On the subject of trousers and whether or not people who wear them are also people who ride horses... that may have been true centuries ago, but now? I live on the Canadian prairies and have been on a real live horse exactly twice (hated it both times). None of the reasons I wear pants have to do with horses. I've had the not-really-fun experience of shivering in the early morning because it was simply expected for girls to wear dresses to school. I remember my grandmother telling me how she wished she could have worn pants when she was younger, given how cold the winters got here. You'd think that she could have worn pants, given the fact that she and her younger brother had to ride a horse to get to school...

I'm not saying fashion doesn't play a huge part in whether or not people in this region wear pants, but the weather definitely does.
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Old January 27 2014, 05:45 PM   #27
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Re: The Skant in TrekLit

Jedi_Master wrote: View Post
Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
The skant-wearing officers aren't too dissimilar to some of the people I see occasionally walking about town. I live in the London area, and we have pretty much every ethnicity, culture, religion and personal oddity on the planet, so little surprises me when it comes to fashion choice . Some of the Scottish visitors from the Highlands come down in traditional highland dress, meaning short kilts on the men, complete with sporran and other additions. People often ask them about it, and they tend to play up their Scottishness. At least, I think they're playing it up...

Basically, when big, beefy guys can be seen strolling in and out of McDonalds wearing highland dress, a skant is unlikely to raise any eyebrows. By the 24th century, where there's no longer a sexual division of labour, and with a million humanoid cultures added to the mix, I imagine the concept of gender-specific clothing would largely be obsolete. Who even knows what's normal anymore, when there's so much variety and so little tying any one person to a particular social identity?
Two points..
1) Isn't the kilt in a way culturally gender specific? If you see someone wearing one it says "Scottish male".

2) Aren't pants unisex? The contention, as I understand it, is that 24th century Starfleet officers should be wearing unisex garb, but don't they already do that?
1) Yes, it is. I'm sorry about any confusion, there - I wasn't trying to make a direct comparison between now and the 24th century Federation; I meant that after another few hundred years of cultural integration and intermixing, advanced technology eroding gender roles in occupation, and the influence of a million alien cultures, it would be like today's cosmopolitan cities taken up to eleven. Kilts are indeed gendered, but I assume that the Federation has so many styles and traditions (many of them probably contradictory!) that they'd eventually all bleed into one another. Which in some way might well be a shame. Then again, the novels have explored the "Federation diversity or Federation homogeneity" issue before. It's an interesting question, isn't it?, and a very important one. People take their symbolic adherence to cultures, sub-cultures, tribes, genders, etc, very seriously. Does a completely free and diversified society eventually undermine itself by leeching the significance from its own component cultures - its functional diversity eventually torn apart into complete alienation and troubled individuality?

2) Oh sure. I wasn't trying to justify the odd uniform variant, I was just throwing my two cents into the "looks silly" discussion. Again, sorry for any confusion - I need to be clearer rather than waffling on. (I have no idea why Starfleet would want to introduce a skant option, myself)
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Old January 27 2014, 06:04 PM   #28
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Re: The Skant in TrekLit

Jedi_Master wrote: View Post
Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
The skant-wearing officers aren't too dissimilar to some of the people I see occasionally walking about town. I live in the London area, and we have pretty much every ethnicity, culture, religion and personal oddity on the planet, so little surprises me when it comes to fashion choice . Some of the Scottish visitors from the Highlands come down in traditional highland dress, meaning short kilts on the men, complete with sporran and other additions. People often ask them about it, and they tend to play up their Scottishness. At least, I think they're playing it up...

Basically, when big, beefy guys can be seen strolling in and out of McDonalds wearing highland dress, a skant is unlikely to raise any eyebrows. By the 24th century, where there's no longer a sexual division of labour, and with a million humanoid cultures added to the mix, I imagine the concept of gender-specific clothing would largely be obsolete. Who even knows what's normal anymore, when there's so much variety and so little tying any one person to a particular social identity?
Two points..
1) Isn't the kilt in a way culturally gender specific? If you see someone wearing one it says "Scottish male".

2) Aren't pants unisex? The contention, as I understand it, is that 24th century Starfleet officers should be wearing unisex garb, but don't they already do that?

Pants are unisex NOW. As any woman born prior to the 1960s would tell you, a woman in pants prior to that would have been considered quite scandalous and as unacceptable as a man in a dress.
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Old January 27 2014, 06:08 PM   #29
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Re: The Skant in TrekLit

Here is my unnecessarily long and detailed discussion of the "silly" concept.

Lets use (in my mind) apt comparison.

The characters all speak English. Why? Because the television audience for Star Trek historically has been majority English speaking. It is incredibly ethnocentric to think that 300 years from now that the majority of the entire human population spread across the galaxy will be speaking English, and even more ridiculous to think that aliens would speak perfect English (including the mouth movements).The creators of the show recognized that and created a "easy out" with the universal translator. So there is an in - universe explanation of why people are all speaking a language in the future that is amazingly easy for us in the present to understand.
Even in the novels there is little discussion of the how alien X is somehow speaking perfect English or how in the middle of speaking perfect English it can choose to use it's "native" language for a few words. Apparently the universal translator can be selectively turned on and off at a whim.

The existence of the skant is a similar type situation. It is apparent that the creators of the show decided that the skant was not selling very well to the MAJORITY of the intended present day audience, and it went away. Of course an author or story teller could specifically mention its existence or have a character wear it, but I think the chances of that are as slim as an author describing the fact the Universal Translator is actually doing the talking when an non - human is conversing with a human via subspace.

So we can all take comfort that in the 24th century Garak speaks beautiful Cardassian and that his shop used to specialize in repairing Lt. Bashir's skants, even if that never shows up on camera.
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Old January 27 2014, 07:06 PM   #30
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Re: The Skant in TrekLit

Jedi_Master wrote: View Post
Since we are parsing here, I grant you that aesthetics vary by CULTURE, but not likely TIME. Culture does have an impact on initial impressions, although those impressions are often changed when a person actually wears the garment in question. Time however is not as big of a factor, as the human body generally needs to have certain types of covering, and fashion tends to follow those needs.
Tell that to the women in past centuries who've had their body shapes unnaturally and often painfully distorted by whalebone corsets, bustles, foot-binding, stiletto heels, torpedo bras, and the like. You're enormously underestimating how big a difference time can make, perhaps because you're only approaching the question from a male perspective. Historically, men's fashions have been more guided by practicality than women's.


Gotham Central wrote: View Post
Pants are unisex NOW. As any woman born prior to the 1960s would tell you, a woman in pants prior to that would have been considered quite scandalous and as unacceptable as a man in a dress.
Exactly. Just 60 years ago, a woman wearing pants would've been considered a transvestite. It's actually a sexist double standard that we today consider it perfectly acceptable for a woman to wear pants but ridicule the idea of a man wearing a skirt. I've always applauded the idea behind the skant; it was an attempt on Roddenberry and Theiss's part to reject that double standard, to say that it was just as acceptable in the future for a man to wear a "dress" as for a woman to wear pants. Maybe it would've worked better as off-duty attire than a uniform variant, but they already had the precedent of the miniskirted female uniforms of TOS.
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