Women of Star Trek: Uhura

This series of drawings brought to you by Neil Degrasse Tyson. If you don't know who that is, it is my pleasure to introduce an astrophysicist whose wonder and love of the universe is contagious. In many ways he is a successor to Carl Sagan, particularly in his effort to publish advanced scientific information in a generally accessible form, and to popularize scientific thought of all kinds.

The spark for the series I'm beginning today is a podcast that Neil hosts called Startalk. Not too long ago he interviewed Nichelle Nichols, whom you may recognize as the original Lt. Nyota Uhura.  While listening to the recent time capsule episode, I was inspired by the juxtaposition of the interview with Nichelle and Neil's interview with Whoopi Goldberg, who of course played Guinan on TNG. (That's [Star Trek] The Next Generation, for all the non-nerds.) Both were amazing and they reminded me of the formative role Star Trek played in my perception of women and gender relations in the future. While I never really fully bought into Gene Rodenberry's utopia, I find I carry little bits of it around. I assume that the future will be full of women and men who can obtain equal levels of professional success, and that promotion is based on excellence. That sometimes even saying 'men' and 'women' will be a bit inaccurate, because not all people will fit under either heading. That no one will assume agression, tenderness, or other emotions are gendered qualities. All and all men, women, and other sentients will be presumed to be equal, without the assumption that they are the same.

I wanted my depiction of Uhura to primarily reflect two things: her competence/professionalism and her almost aristocratic grace. The facts: Uhura is curvy bordering on voluptuous, dressed in a miniskirt, and is typically presented sitting like a telephone operator with a funny-looking doohicky in her ear. I think I met my goals admirably, considering these restrictions.

I'm still not sure about the lack of chair. It works for me because I'm so familiar with the scene that by brain auto-fills that detail, but I think perhaps that her sitting on air may look strange to the general audience. Ah well. Like hell I'm drawing a full background of all those knobs and switches.