Friday, February 19, 2016

Starfleet Miniskirts: Really?

I was watching Star Trek (2009) and Into Darkness this week and...okay, no. I lied. I've been reading copious amounts of Star Trek fanfiction because I can't seem to focus on anything else for the past two weeks. Which is horrible timing because spring semester just started. Though I will say I learn more about biology in Star Trek books--actual books, not fanfic--than I do in my intro-level bio class. Too bad it doesn't count as a "credible source."

Anyway, a few times the authors mentioned the women's "sexy miniskirts" or "optional miniskirt uniform" or "tight red dress," and I thought back to the movies and the show and realized that they are wearing miniskirts. In the military. At work. 300 years into the future.


(Yes, yes, I know; Starfleet isn't actually a military despite the guns and wars and ranks. But they are a government program with a ranking system based on the US Navy, and its people spend an awful lot of time traipsing through strange wildernesses and fighting hostile aliens. Have you ever done any of that in a skirt? Not fun. Not fun at all.)

I can understand the show having the skirts. It premiered in the 1960s, just when women empowerment and second-wave feminism were starting. And I give full props to the writers for having so many women characters, the first interracial kiss, and all the other progressive values and philosophies that we all love in a time period where that kind of thing could've easily gotten them fired or worse. So I'm not going to go nuts over the costume designs of a brilliant TV series from fifty years ago, even if they are a bit objectifying.

It is now the 21st century, people.

Starfleet is supposed to be peaceful, quasi-military, right? Well, here's a modern-day women's uniform worn by officers in the navy:

Here is the Starfleet uniform for men. Note the lack of objectifying the body, because these are work uniforms.

And now, Starfleet standard issue uniform for women, both in the original show (top) and from Into Darkness (bottom):


I don't know about the rest of you girls, but I would freeze my ass off in this. And running away from aliens and monsters and all around the ship? Forget it. So I'd petition for long pants for the winter and shorts for the summer, which the guys should have, too. We don't want anyone getting heatstroke here.

Now, in researching this blog post, I did see a lot of exceptions. Whenever a captain or other high-ranked woman appeared on the original series, they were in pants, not a miniskirt with knee-high boots. New Generation had women who didn't wear miniskirts either.

I had to wade through a lot of little tight dresses and questionable Halloween costumes to find this, so I hope you're happy.

Which means we went from having some women in miniskirts and some women in pants in the 1960s, to most women wearing realistic quasi-military uniforms in the 1980s, to all miniskirts all the time in the Alternate Original Series in 2009, with a few exceptions from Uhura and one scene from Carol--after being shown in a bra and panties--that put them out of uniform.

The miniskirts look great and are sexy, yes. But female officers do not get their position by looking great and being sexy. They get it the same way Kirk and Spock and McCoy and all the others did: hard work, talent and skill, and an unhealthy dose of stubbornness. They do not deserve to be objectified by skin-tight dresses.

There is no way in hell that miniskirts would be the standard issue quasi-military uniform in a society as progressive as the Federation. When Star Trek Beyond comes out in July, I really friggin' hope that we see some more realistic uniforms. It's probably not going to happen, but I still hope.


Thanks for reading!

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  1. While I agree that miniskirts in the military are out of place by today's standards, in the 1960's, it was far different.

    To be slightly fair, Christina, After Darkness was set in the same time windows (though in an alternate universe) as the original Star Trek. As such, the throwback skirts were simply a tool to keep the audience in the timeline. By the time that the writers get around to 50-60 years after After Darkness, women's pants will be back.


  2. I think the future will be more utilitarian than the standard issue unitard/jumpsuit of Star Trek The Next Generation. I mean, where is the influence of all these myriad races from around the galaxy and the attire which certainly MUST be standard for their species? Plus, men might want to wear Utili-kilts or utility coveralls as the farmer colonists did back in Star Trek: The Original (original) Series. I think Capt. Kirk's brother Sam wore one (a coverall-type, ill-fitting, v-neck outfit) as did a few other key characters.