The original Star Trek series was more feminist than you thought.
I know. Crazy, right? People are quick to point out all the ridiculous 60’s tropes such as the campy mini-skirts, but they don’t think as much about how progressive the show was for its time.
In the Star Trek universe, women could have important jobs, like Uhura who was a first officer. In the early 1960’s, that feat was rare and even unheard of. Although women were present in the workplace, men were not prepared to take them that seriously, but on the Starship Enterprise, everyone listened to Uhura and took her seriously. “Star Trek” boldly looked forward to a world where women were regarded as equals to men in the workplace, even if they still had to wear those ridiculous dresses.
In addition, women were not expected to take sexual assault. Sure, Kirk kissed every woman on the show, but usually, it was consensual. Women did not have to take romantic advances. They could refuse them. In season one, Janice, the yeomen, reprimands Charlie, the all-powerful teenager, for slapping her on the bottom. She also fights off Kirk’s evil personality when he sexually assaults her. These advances were small, sure, but they were a move against the patriarchal culture of the time that expected women to take all their affections and never say no.
To conclude, “Star Trek” made some steps towards gender equality in their portrayal of women. It was the beginning of the feminist sentiments that would inspire the women’s liberation movement.