Nearly half a century has passed since Star Trek premiered on NBC in 1966, and in that time the series has earned a reputation for presenting an optimistic and inclusive vision of the future, which pushed the envelope when it came to television norms. While this view has merit, Star Trek was also a product of the time it was made the mid-to-late 1960s and to contemporary viewers, the casual sexism of the series may come as a surprise, especially to those who know the series based solely on its reputation. What follows is an inventory of ten of the most sexist moments in the original Star Trek, sorted by episode.
10. "The Changeling
Some of Star Treks most surprisingly sexist lines came out of the mouth of the supposedly logical Mr. Spock, and this exchange between the Vulcan science officer and the powerful space probe, Nomad, doesnt even take the cake for the most offensive instance of this on the series. Observing the crew (after a lucky coincidence stops Nomad from wiping out the Enterprise), Nomad is confused when it encounters Lt. Uhura singing at her station on the bridge. After scanning her brain, Nomad concludes, That unit is defective. Its thinking is chaotic. Absorbing it unsettled me. To this, Mr. Spock responds, That unitis a woman. Not to be outdone, Nomads response is even worse. A mass of conflicting impulses, replies the probe.
Michael is one of the founders of FACT TREK (www.facttrek.com), a project dedicated to untangling 50+ years of mythology about the original Star Trek and its place in TV history. He currently is the Director of Sales and Digital Commerce at Shout! Factory, where he has worked since 2014. From 2013-2018, he ran the popular Star Trek Fact Check blog (www.startrekfactcheck.blogspot.com).