it's sexist!

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by spoonunseptium, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. spoonunseptium

    spoonunseptium Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Oct 23, 2008
    in the future
    I was watching The Man Trap today, which I haven't seen before, and I was astonished at how sexist the episode was. I mean, TOS is laced with various bits of sexism. Mudd's Women, anyone? The entire show- "I just want to be a normal woman, cooking and cleaning for my rugged husband!"

    The first line by Uhura in the entire series is "oh, Spock, don't you want to tell me how attractive I am?" That was paraphrased, of course.

    During the episode(Man Trap), the checker-haired girl(can't remember her name) is walking down the hallway with a tray of food, and her fellow crewmen are oogling her. It was incredibly bothersome to watch this, because it seemed like she was getting no respect from her co-workers.

    Not to mention the uniforms the females wear. The future may be less conservative, but in all practical sense this was a television show in 60s and you can pretty much assume those uniforms were meant for something more than futuristic social allowances.

    Finally, most of the women I've seen in TOS are emotional wussbags that serve as nothing more than something nice to look at.

    Now, I will say that the other Trek series do the same thing- namely the skin-tight suits of Deanna Troi, Seven of Nine, and T'Pol. But it's fairly balanced by the fact these women are shown as intelligent, strong, and worthy of a background story.

    In TOS, there is such a pronounced disservice to women that my enjoyment of the show has been a bit soured by it.

    What do you think?
  2. Warp14

    Warp14 Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Jul 14, 2007
    The Ghetto Of Tucson
    Maybe you don't remember how America was in the mid-60's. It was of its time.

    I went through similar realizations about TOS myself, when I started watching it as an adult in the 90's as opposed to a kid in the 70's. Very sexist. But they were still miles ahead of most things on television and culture in 1966. It is a little unfair to try to fit this 40 year old show into the current 2009 paradigm.

    And, what can I say, I like the miniskirts.
  3. Haytil

    Haytil Captain Captain

    Oct 26, 2004
    I remember seeing an interview with one of the actresses in the 90s (I think it was the actress who played Rand). She was saying (paraphrased) "Everyone now says it was so sexist for them to make us wear those miniskirts. But we liked wearing them - they were sexy!"

    In essence, the actresses enjoyed showing off their stuff - they weren't forced to wear them against their will, they thought it was great. Just because you're attractive, doesn't mean you should have to hide it. An asset is an asset - just because it's physical, doesn't make it sexist to enjoy it. They weren't ashamed of themselves, they were proud.

    Don't be too quick to judge the intentions, motives, or attitudes behind actions that took place before your time.
  4. Hoshi_Mayweather

    Hoshi_Mayweather Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Apr 6, 2004
    In Busyland...
    TOS had some issues with its portrayal of women: Ex: The aforementioned Man Trap, Turnabout Intruder...

    The uniforms and the costumes for the females were obviously made for the guys to gawk at. However, I like what TNG did in the sense it gave the ladies a choice of what to wear (and those skants weren't as short as they were in TOS). For example: Tasha Yar in 'Encounter at Farpoint'...where she wore a jumpsuit during certain times, and wore the skant

    The miniskirts and go-go boots were a sign of liberation for the ladies as the prevoius era didn't allow much to be shown due to censors and what was generally allowed. (I didn't grow up in that era, but it's from what I understand).

    I do wonder how Number One (the original) might have fared if she was kept on, along with Yeoman Colt.

    Star Trek has improved, but I think the best female characters were on DS9 with Kira and Jadzia; Janeway and B'lanna are up there as well.

    Uhura was doing double duty, as she was not only a prominent black character at the time, but a female character who can hold her own. (i.e. Mirror, Mirror). Unfortunately, given the era...her character was not given much depth, with the exception of what many fans came up with.

    Hopefully, we'll see Zoe Saldana do the character justice...

    I'm still waiting for a strong Asian female character, though: Keiko was a stereotype on TNG, but you can argue her character came into her own on DS9; some believed she became 'bitchy.' Hoshi on ENT had potential, but really was given much; she was somewhat redeemed in 'In a Mirror Darkly.' Ogawa on TNG, was a background character, just 'there.'
  5. Shaw

    Shaw Commodore Commodore

    Feb 21, 2007
    Twin Cities
    I'm sure you were looking closely at the episode (and with a non-critical eye), so I'm sure that you noticed that Uhura was at the navigation station at the beginning of the episode (in the mid-60s women pilots were unheard of, much less command officers). It is funny that you bring up the mini-skirts as that episode had a female crew member waring pants in one of the scenes.

    Uhura was Uhura... she didn't have to be masculine to do her job and do it well. Throughout the series Uhura demonstrates herself to be a very versatile member of the crew. She was shown to be adept at mathematics (running contrary to a prejudice that women still face today) and a skilled technician (running contrary to another prejudice that women still face today).

    In the end Star Trek is something of a Rorschach Test... people see in it what they want to. Personally, I don't think that equality between the sexes requires women to give up being feminine. Nor do I think that any one character in any one episode (such as the woman you were offended by for wanting something different than you) defines all people who have any common physical traits (she was Caucasian, does that mean that all Caucasians, male and female, strive for her ideal domestic setting... because it sure sounded awful to me).

    But you can't stop people from seeing this the way they want... people still assume that Kirk was kissing some girl in every episode of the original series even though the evidence contradicts that assertion.

    In Star Trek and in life, people come in many different varieties. If the characters as written didn't measure up to your standards I'm sure that there are tons of real people who are similar that you also reject out of hand just as quickly... sad as that may be. :(
  6. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Cartoon Premium Member

    Nov 4, 2001
    Vasquez Rocks, Bajor

    "What's wrong with being sexy?"
  7. JNG

    JNG Chief of Staff, Starfleet Command Rear Admiral

    Sep 29, 2001
  8. cabby

    cabby Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Aug 18, 2007
    Yeah, we do this if you are hot. Nothing to do w/ respect or disrespect, we just oogle things we like to look at.
  9. GodThingFormerly

    GodThingFormerly A Different Kind of Asshole

    Jul 10, 2002
    An "American" in Friedrichshafen, Deutschland
    Being a total sexist swine myself I fully concur with Gene Roddenberry's views concerning the acceptable uses of women aboard a starship. :cool:

  10. Outpost4

    Outpost4 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 22, 2004
    Upper Mississippi River
    It's dangerous to view a past time through our current eyes. I want you to find me a single television show from the 1960s that wasn't sexist. Even in breakthrough shows like That Girl! and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, the women were subservient to the male characters ("Oh, Mr. Grant!").
  11. trekkerguy

    trekkerguy Commodore Commodore

    Jan 2, 2006
    Boise, ID
    ^Yup. It's all based on the individual. You can be as butch as you like or
    as soft as you like and you shouldn't criticize others for doing what they do.

    And seriously... it's a '60s TV show. That was the culture back then whether
    we agree with it now or not.
  12. ROBE

    ROBE Commander Red Shirt

    Oct 23, 2008
    The miniskirts were a woman's idea, sorry but there is nothing liberating about a woman losing her femininity and dressing like a man or being called sir/mr.
  13. Jarrott2

    Jarrott2 Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    Aug 20, 2008
    The women in TOS went through a sexual revolution.
    You see they are smart, able to kick ass and still be a woman.
    They aren't afraid to look feminine.
    They know they are on the same level as a man and don't have to pretend.
  14. T'Bonz

    T'Bonz Romulan Curmudgeon Administrator

    Apr 1, 2000
    Across the Neutral Zone
    There was nothing liberating about always having to move carefully so you didn't flash your underpants either. :p Going up stairs in a school was a nuisance. I guess the fellows enjoyed the views they got. ;)

    I can't speak for women of the time because I was a teenager, but for teen girls, the skirts were the fashion. We just wore them because it was the done thing (and you couldn't find anything else in the stores anyhow and only middle-aged matrons and old maids wore skirts to the knees.) Minis were good if you had the figure for them (I was the right age, thankfully, and looked good in them back then,) but they had drawbacks. Wearing a miniskirt, even with pantyhose, when it was winter, sucked. It was friggin' COLD. It was much better to wear them in the spring or summer.
  15. number6

    number6 Vice Admiral

    But how do you look in one now??
  16. Kryton

    Kryton Admiral Admiral

    Dec 22, 2006
    In ur Starbug
    But you always knew Mary was going to make it after all!

    (Tosses hat into air where it freezes in place.)
  17. MANT!

    MANT! Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Mar 14, 2005
    in Atomo-vision
    let's least TOS did show women in powerful positions and treated rather equally in regards to men unlike "The Wild Wild West" or "Gilligan's Island"..or "Beverly Hillbillies" or "The Lucy Show"..or "The Invaders" ,in fact, it was light years ahead of it's competition... Women were commissioners, Judge advocate generals, fleet commanders (at least in the Romulan Empire) technicians, pilots, researchers, psychologists, and many other roles. just because it was fashionable to show women in short skirts when it was made really can't be the primary reason to paint it as sexist with a broad brush...
  18. ROBE

    ROBE Commander Red Shirt

    Oct 23, 2008
    The miniskirts didn't show anymore that a modern cheerleader would show in the US, a female tennis player at Wimbledon, a female latin dancer on Dancing with the Stars/Strictly Come Dancing or a female hockey player (fond school memories from the 80s).

    Who knows maybe Hillary Clinton would be President Elect now if she had wore a skirt? It didn't hurt Margaret Thatcher.
  19. TheLonelySquire

    TheLonelySquire Vice Admiral

    Jan 30, 2007
    I think TOS was very progressive toward women. Uhura on the bridge, Romulan Commander, female attorney, etc. Sure, it was sexist, but it was 40 years ago. And I'm much happier watching Kirk chasing skirts rather than trousers. ;)
  20. RobertScorpio

    RobertScorpio Pariah

    Jan 25, 2008
    San Diego
    ..and yet, 40+ years later, it is still the most popular of ALL the Star Treks....You can take Picard,Sisko,Janeway and Archer, add up their Q rating, and not even scratch Shatner/Kirk jockstrap....