Friday, September 16, 2016

Slut-shaming Lt. Uhura, or Feminists in Miniskirts

On Twitter, someone shared this quote by Rod Roddenberry, son of Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek:
There was a great quote that D.C. Fontana said about Nichelle Nichols and having a black officer on the bridge and what my father said to that. Apparently, he would get letters from the TV stations in the South saying they won't show Star Trek because there is a black officer, and he'd say, "Fuck off, then."
In response, someone else tweeted,
The blind spot in this colour-blind egalitarian vision: Lt Uhura was a miniskirted receptionist.
Then someone tweeted the link to a post where I shared this bit from BBC Online - Cult - Star Trek - Nichelle Nichols:
How did you feel about your costume. It was very revealing.
So? I was wearing them on the street. What's wrong with wearing them in the air? I wore 'em on airplanes. It was the era of the miniskirt. Everybody wore miniskirts. It amazes me that people still make some remark about 'the revealing'. They revealed nothing. I had long black stockings on and boots up to my knees and the skirts and panties on and a skirt that gave you freedom to move in, - so what? It amazes me because everything is more revealing today on the street than those costumes.
I then tweeted to the person who had called Uhura a "miniskirted receptionist",
Martin Luther King was her fan:
Star Trek's Uhura Reflects On MLK Encounter : NPR
Are you slut-shaming her for liking a costume that was common at the time?

Apologies if my previous tweet seemed harsh. But '60s miniskirts were seen as liberating.

Many '60s feminists loved miniskirts because they rejected 1950s puritanism.

Here's Angela Davis, who I hope you recognize, in a mini-skirt.

The discussion seems to have ended there. But if you want a picture of another famous feminist in a miniskirt, visit Power Clothes: The Unabashedly Feminist History of the Miniskirt, which has an illustration for this:
...women like Gloria Steinem continued to hold on to the idea that the miniskirt was a transgressive act, wearing them to rallies and speeches, proving that you can be strong and wear feminine clothing at once.
ETA:


ETA 2: The slut-shamer replied:
I see that you, too, haven't quite grasped my point. Never mind, dear.
I tweeted back:
Your point is that historical context doesn't matter.

But what's possible today is due to what was accomplished in the past.