“Fierce” Women of Star Trek

The other day I posted a screencap of this StarTrek.com poll because I wasn’t sure what “fierce” was even supposed to mean.

My friend ea-p shared the poll and commented:

I don’t understand what these characters have in common, other than being women.

Tangentially I wondered why I never hear the adjective applied to men in the same way. Like how someone could say “T’Pol is so fierce” but not look look at Trip Tucker and go: “Ooh…fierce.”

Now, I’m pretty introverted (shocker!) so I figured maybe I’d just missed a nuance of popular slang. So I turned to Urban Dictionary, and found there’s a significant association between the term and the idea of making bold fashion choices. A representative example:

“being bold, displaying chutzpah, especially relating to fashion, clothes, hair or makeup”

At any rate, it appears I’m not the only one who didn’t know how to interpret the poll. A whole whack of commenters on the StarTrek.com Facebook page seem to think “the most fierce” means “the one I’d most like to bone”:

Post from StarTrek.com Facebook page with comments like "7/9 is definitely 10/10"
More comments from the FB thread, like "I'd explode my photon torpedo on any of 'em"

“Explode my photon torpedo on them”? Just no.

Another few gems from the Trekkies of Facebook (I stopped reading after I’d read a couple hundred comments because I was too grossed out at all the dudes sharing their fantasies, like “A Dan sandwich of 7 of 9 and T’Pol” [shared by a guy named Dan]):

More comments

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing wrong with a character being celebrated for being sexy and empowered about it, as part of the rest of their character traits. I do take issue with the sense of entitlement to treat the women characters as sex objects by publicly fantasizing about “do[ing] each and every one of them in the butt”.

I’ll let Riker say it for me:

Riker says to Worf "That is an incredibly outmoded and sexist attitude"

For women fans who want to participate in online Trek communities, an environment with so many objectifying comments can feel intimidating and increase insecurity. 

I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a big shout-out to the brave few who waded in and expressed their concern with the sexism behind the question and comments. High fives to all of you for sticking up for the inclusiveness and equality that should be at the heart of the Trekkie fandom at least as much as it is in the Star Trek universe.

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