'I thought it was freaking awesome. People really need to learn to relax a little.'
'I forgot about the scene until now. I think Alice Eve Aka “Kirk’s baby moma” is Hot. I like seeing her that way , I am a healthy straight male.'
'A gorgeous, gorgeous actress in her underwear – I like how we’re all so repressed that we can’t even comprehend such a thing! If Alice Eve didn’t want to shoot that scene, she wouldn’t have. I’ll bet she did, because she is hotter than that volcano at the beginning…'
'That's because the old Star Trek was still stuck in conservative times. The gratuitous nudity here just makes it better.'
'It must be really hard for you to find any joy in the world when you live your life over-analyzing everything, trying to find how it's slighting you.'
'Indeed. How is it “misogynistic” to show a sexy woman on screen? The director thinks she looks good in underwear… therefore he hates women?'
'You girls can go ahead and run with this. Have fun.
I agree, #10. This is a non-issue. So sick and tired of reading about ‘diversity.’ Yawn.’
In case you hadn’t guessed already, these are a random selection of the comments written in reply to a few of the articles reviewing Into Darkness and/or talking about what I’ve dubbed the ‘Carol Marcus Underwear Incident’.
I doubt any of you are shocked or surprised.
How can we be? This sort of BS is spouted by men (and occasionally, some women) across the internet. No one who’s been online for any substantial amount of time would be surprised at these comments, or the underlying sexism of the people commenting.
For those that have been living under a rock, or perhaps hibernating in the tunnels of Janus IV, the Incident in question is beautifully summed up by this article -
I’ll set the scene. Kirk accompanies Carol Marcus to a shuttlecraft to discuss sending her to a nearby planetoid to try and diffuse some of these mysterious photon torpedoes aboard the Enterprise. She’s the logical choice since, as we learned in her introductory scene, she holds an advanced degree with a specialty in weaponry. Great, nothing out of the ordinary here, I’ll just go ahead and OH! You’re in your underwear! That’s just great.
But, let’s back up a second. Why exactly is she in her underwear? She tells Kirk to turn around, doesn’t mention why (were we expecting her to require a change of wardrobe?) and then acts coy when Kirk sneaks a peak at her half-dressed body. The scene was flat out gratuitous. It had no point. There was no reason for her to change clothes. There was no reason for her to change in front of Kirk. There was no reason for her to change in a shuttlecraft with the back door hanging wide open. The writers threw the scene in for pure, testosterone-driven shock value. (Side note: lucky she was wearing her brand new Victoria Secret push-up bra. I’m sure that’s real comfortable under her uniform, especially in a combat situation)
In case that rock was particularly large, when called out on how gratuitous the entire scene was, these were some of the responses that JJ and his team gave -
"She’s changing and the idea was- the intent was, it’s Kirk, who was always a womanizing character. So the idea was, have a beat like that amidst all this action and adventure. He looks and then looks away. I don’t think I quite edited the scene in the right way. To me, it was a sort of balance, there is a scene earlier where he is not dressed either. It was a sort of a trade off. Some people did feel like it was, you know, exploiting her and while she is lovely, I can also see their point of view.”
- JJ Abrams (on Conan, May 2013)
"Why is Alice Eve in her underwear, gratuitously and unnecessarily, without any real effort made as to why in God’s name she would undress in that circumstance? Well there’s a very good answer for that. But I’m not telling you what it is. Because… uh… MYSTERY?
[…] As for the [Cumberbatch’s] shirtless scene… we scripted it, but I don’t think it ever got shot. You know why? Because getting actors to take their clothes off is DEMEANING AND HORRIBLE AND…
- Damon Lindelof (Email to Josh Harowitz, May 2013)
"I copped to the fact that we should have done a better job of not being gratuitous in our representation of a barely clothed actress"
"We also had Kirk shirtless in underpants in both movies. Do not want to make light of something that some construe as mysogenistic "
"What I’m saying is I hear you, I take responsibility and will be more mindful in the future"
"Also, I need to learn how to spell ‘misogynistic’ "
- Damon Lindelof (a series of tweets from his twitter) [OP: I’m curious, how does one represent a barely clothed actress in a way that isn’t gratuitous?]
"Last time, Zoe needed to wear underwear, and this time it was Alice Eve’s turn. You know, it’s a rather large male fanbase, and JJ wanted to appeal to that."
- Michael Kaplan (costume designer, The Guardian, May 2013)
(These quotes were all taken from this fantastic collection assembled by finnemores).
How lucky are we? Getting such understanding and supportive apologies from everyone involved. Oh wait, what’s that? They don’t seem at all apologetic, supportive or understanding? Huh, you’re right.
In fact, to me, it seems that -
- They don’t understand either the fandom (and the fact that there are women in it) or the source material.
- They aren’t even slightly supportive. Really, they seem condescending more than anything.
- They’re pretending that this outrage over such blatant misogyny is a surprise to them - which means they either knew it would happen and didn’t care, or are completely ignorant.
- And worst of all, they think that these feeble ‘apologies’ excuse them from the fact that this scene was in the movie at all.
What makes this entire Incident even more outrageous and frustrating is that it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It wasn’t just Carol in her underwear, the only other female characters in the reboot movies - Uhura and Gaila, were both in their underwear in the last movie!
And, expanding even further out, when you add these movies to the greater tapestry of Star Trek, you’ll note the this is just the latest drop in a trend that is moving steadily downwards for women’s representation - and presentation - in our beloved science-fiction franchise.
As Jadzia Dax remarked, in the scene that inspired this weekly segment, in the Original Series women wore less. Space bikinis, often little more than scraps of fabric that looked like they were held on with magic space glue, were par for the course
Even once our female characters were given duty uniforms that kept them covered as much as the men, there was often at least one character put in a catsuit to show off her figure - as I talked about inno less thanthreearticles in the past.
Enterprise went to new lows when it put its main characters - men and women both - in their underwear for numerous scenes, because, uh, mystery?
And now these reboot movies have finally done away with the idea of having well-written, complex female characters who are at least equal to the men in their importance to the crew (and the plot) if not in the wardrobe department. Because, after all, the fanbase is largely male, so why on Earth would they want to see female characters who were more than eye candy?
I think if I roll my eyes any harder they’re going to pop out of their sockets.
Of course (some) men don’t see anything wrong with this. Since the advent of the film industry they’ve had scantily clad women served to them on silver platters. Its as if film makers have to fill some sort of boob quota in every movie they make. Like ‘don’t worry lads, we’ll make sure you see some titties along with your spaceships and explosions’.
So many men (but not all of them of course) are so genuinely baffled by our objections. ‘But Kirk appears without his shirt’! They’ll say, if they even bother to defend their attitude at all (which most of them don’t).
Do you ever think they’ll grasp the idea that the two things are entirely different? That Carol (and Uhura) having an entire thirty seconds of unobstructed screentime in their undies for no reason other than so men can see them is not the same thing - even slightly - to showing Captain Kirk in bed with yet more alien women.
They’re entirely different situations, because ultimately - and this is the thing these men don’t seem to be able to get their heads around - showing women randomly in their underwear is taking away from both their character and their power. When a man sees a woman on a screen half-naked (or in a catsuit for that matter), he seems to lose all respect for her.
On the other hand, showing Kirk - or other men - half-naked isreinforcing their power.
If you’ll forgive the digression - It’s the same as male and female superheroes.
Yes the men are often shown with costumes that mould to every muscle, but this is meant to make them look powerful - the people reading them (who are of course, assumed to be men) are meant to want to be them. They respect these heroes, because their costumes - and importantly, the way they are drawn - emphasise how powerful and strong and heroic they are.
Even if the women are shown with rippling muscles and abs of steel beating up enemies, their costumes are inevitably more revealing and their boobs are often unrealistically proportioned - and that’s not even getting into the poses they’re contorted into so that the viewer can appreciate both their tits and their asses. Despite being superheroes, the ultimate purpose of these characters is to serve as eye candy for the male readers (who, like in science-fiction, are assumed the be the only gender of the audience).
Captain Kirk is who men want to be - he gets all the girls, while looking dashing and handsome and all that. Carol Marcus, Uhura, and Gaila are who the men (remember, they are the target audience) want to have sex with.
That is why we’re upset.
Not because ‘oh no, women are in their undies!’. As I explained in one of my first posts in this segment, I’m bisexual, so I have no problem with admiring attractive women! But unlike some of the men in the audience, I’d rather not be taken out of the story by a random, gratuitous, unnecessary scene just to see Alive Eve in her skivvies.
I don’t need to have half-naked women handed to me (visually) on a silver platter, there are plenty of photoshoots I can ogle for that and y’know, porn, that thing that was invented for people to get off to.
I have no objection at all to men, and women, and all androgynous beings, admiring half or entirely naked people, but why exactly does that have to cross over into Star Trek? What does it add to the story or the movie?
Sometimes I wonder if I’m missing some fundamental aspect of this, whether I am just being a prude or repressed like those commenters seem to think, but if that was the case then why are the literally dozens of articles calling them out over this scene?
I can’t be the only one who feels this way, or I wouldn’t have found these gems amidst the comments on those articles -
Well, Damon Lindelof has admitted the mysogeny of the scene. No doubt about it, it is sexist.
Not to mention that the writers have misunderstood Kirk. During TOS, Kirk would respect a woman’s right to privacy and not merely turn around, but leave the shuttle. Kirk in TOS had flings with a bunch of women, but he was always respectful towards them, and there was always an element of romance in there.
Alice Eve is a beautiful creature and if you can’t bypass the cultural construct that constitutes sexism to appreciate her body, each she obviously works her to maintain, then you would reevaluate yourself a little.
The body she unhealthily worked to maintain, you mean? Because here is a link to an article where she admitted prior to filming STID, she went on a diet of eating nothing but spinach for two months. Which any nutritionist would tell you? Not healthy.
…which pretty much sums up the problem with objectifying women in media. It’s damaging, psychologically, and in this case, physically to women. But of course some of you don’t care about how objectification effects we women, of course not, why think of anything that doesn’t effect you directly yet gets in the way of your ogling?
In the context *of the film* it’s out of place, has no sexual chemistry whatsoever, is utterly irrelevant to the plot and adds nothing of value to their ‘relationship’. Does Kirk react to her? Yep. Does he react to anything with a pulse? Ohhhh yes. And therein lies the problem, this particular Kirk is currently an adolescent frat boy looking to score at every opportunity. Hell we even get a scene in the first half of the movie at his apartment when he’s sharing his bed with two women. Carol Marcus is nothing special in the context of this film whatsoever. There’s certainly no need to establish a sexual component between the two as this Kirk doesn’t seem to be choosy.
Now if that scene had continued, or for that matter if she’d stripped down and Kirk *hadn’t* looked (and in so doing acted differently that he does normally) it might have had some meaning. Maybe there’s a big deleted scene after that which would add something to it, who knows.
And, even more delightful, articles like this one calling out JJ and co’s attempts to ‘apologise’ for the scene -
On Tuesday, I noted that one of Star Trek’s writers, Damon Lindelof, defended the gratuitous and consent-hostile scene of Dr. Carol Marcus (played by Alice Eve) in her underwear by drawing an equivalence between female and male nudity and giving pathetic lipservice to critics in an attempt to diffuse the criticism while clearly standing behind the scene.
Last night, director J.J. Abrams was a guest on Conan O’Brien’s show, and doubled down on the same strategy in an awkwardly staged segment designed to feign concern about the criticism while implying in every conceivable way that critics are oversensitive hysterics. The scene is pitched at O’Brien’s show site with: “To answer charges of sexism in ‘Star Trek,’ J.J. shows a cut scene of Benedict Cumberbatch showering.” Which pretty much sums it right the fuck up.
Yeah, I also love how Abrams suggests it might have been an editing problem. Sure. If by that you mean: “It should never have been edited into the movie, in any form, at all.”
Or this one -
The fact that the display of female skin presented in terms of “turns,” especially when there is no equivalent for the male actors is horrifying. (No, we’re not being hyperbolic. It’s actually scary.) The resulting pleasure of a “large male fanbase” is absolutely no justification for exploitation – in fact it is simply an excuse for the blatant sexualisaiton and objectification of women. Given Kaplan’s propensity toward the miniskirt (super practical on a spaceship with cold plastic seats and miles of reflective flooring), we are not especially surprised.
Marcus spent the majority of the film as a damsel in distress, a chip on a board who can only shriek prettily and wait to be rescued after her one failed moment of glory in standing up to her father. Marcus is present to provide motivation; she has little of her own. Her intelligence, while admirable, is an inorganic plot device – an attempt to imbue value in a character which the film has no intention of treating as valuable.
Telling us that she possessed advanced knowledge that the other characters don’t have is irrelevant if they don’t actually demonstrate this. Or was the scene where she desperately ripped all of the wiring out of the torpedo a mysterious and precise technique that she had learned during her studies?
That said, Lindelof is only halfway there, as the apology itself shows that he may still have missed the point. Aside from using the buzzword “gratuitous,” by comparing Eve’s naked scene to Pine’s, he is essentially saying “don’t blame me, there were naked men as well.” Alas, this is not actually an argument in defense of objectifying women.
Even the deleted scene released earlier featuring a nude Benedict Cumberbatch is no argument – it was cut out because it was deemed irrelevant. Why wasn’t Alice Eve’s scene deemed the same?
I think it’s safe for me to say that this scene was (excuse my language) a phenomenal fuck up on every level. Because this sort of thing doesn’t just happen by ‘accident’. A film, especially one on this scale, is an enormous endeavour, made by the collective effort of hundreds of people.
To have this scene air in the final movie meant that not only was the scene written in the first place, but that it survived multiple re-writes and the scrutiny of the entire production crew. It then had to be shot, which means that people spent time building the set, lighting it, rehearsing lines, choosing camera angles, and then actually filming it. And after all of that, it had to survive the editing process.
That doesn’t just ‘accidentally’ happen. Nothing in the movie happened accidentally! For JJ and his team to act like ‘whoops, how did that get in there?’ is frankly insulting. The scene is in the movie because they wanted it to be there.
They had ample opportunity in the years it took them to make the movie, to realise that the scene added nothing and would most likely piss a lot of people off, and they decided to include it anyway.
Sorry JJ, but I don’t accept your apology. Try harder next time, or get the hell out of our franchise. And take your sexist colleagues with you.
It’s a little presumptious, perhaps, for me to even try and add anything meaningful, but I’d just like to say that these guys have NO CLUE about who the Star Trek fanbase is. NO CLUE.
It is AT LEAST 50% women, if not more, which they might even have realised, had they, for instance, looked at photos of audience members at convention panels dedicated to Trek.
Besides which, it’s insultingly heteronormative to think all the guys in the fanbase are sexually interested in women.