Starfleet Unitards for Women

by Diepiriye Kuku

21 May 2010

Trekkie compilations and more cocoa in Starfleet to confront viewers with the show's embedded sexism.
 

Trekkie compilations like “Star Trek Sex Compilation” really hit home the pint of sexism in the various series. The plots, undertones, and catchy phrases connected in this compilation tell much of that story. Another story is even more visually reductive. The black women in an episode from the final season of Deep Space Nine provoke one of those ‘cases in point’ that causes for pause (to literally press “pause”). It is undeniable that the entire Star Trek franchise resists ethnic diversity on Earth, and even fails to hire black extras for even the most mundane roles. Hence, when we see some cocoa where no man has gone before, we notice.

Like most all women in modern Star Trek series, she wears a unitard as if she is ready to twirl on a pole. This might work well on most of the unitard-wearing women in Starfleet. Yet, on this sister, you can’t avoid those healthy humps—in the back and in the front. Beyoncé has got thighs like that. So, isn’t it out of character that some officers wear unitards and others wear shirts and pants? While there’s regularly a camel toe threatening to burst out, have you seen any male packages on Star Trek?

Admittedly, some aspects of this gender divide are certainly worse than the second skin that 7 of 9 wears in the Voyager series. Another unitard diva is T’pol is the Vulcan science officer in Enterprise. I am searching for a tailor to copy T’Pol’s red velvety V-neck unitard, or the spandex turquoise unitard she more often wears. Yet, one cannot help notice that over half the women encountered in the whole galaxy walk around with their chest so perched out they look like they have a sever case of scoliosis. Why are so many women in the 24th century strutting around with the “f**k me” walk!?! Enterprise is the series which chronologically predates Spock, Kirk, Sulu, Scottie, Uhura, Checkov and Bones. Each character was a stereotype of the main players in the geo-political politics of the day—and reflected a preferred world order. For sure, men wore the pants, and women wore teeny, tiny, short mini-skirts.

If it weren’t for the military setting, one is certain that the women would have been assigned hooker heels to announce and help reproduce them as weak and in need of being escorted and rescued by men. Though Tina Tuner makes it look sexy, that’s part of the allure of performance. And anyway, what woman wears a unitard into battle? Oh, women are still not on the frontlines in many nation’s military or heads of corporate structures. And as Sarah Palin’s candidacy shows, even women in modern politics better wear some lipstick and sexy clothes. I guess we’ll expect the first female president to have served her time on the pole.

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