Kirstie Alley in Starlog, 1982

Kirstie Alley in Starlog Magazine, June 1982:

“When I was a little kid I used to watch Star Trek on TV. Every week, every episode, I’d sit there thinking, ‘I should play Spock’s daughter.’ I mean, I could arch my eyebrows as good as Leonard Nimoy! Get ’em waaaay up there. Whenever I’d watch the show I’d write dialogue for myself so I could actually take part in the story. When Leonard said a line I’d respond.

“When my manager told me about this part, I thought, ‘Perfect! It’s not Spock’s daughter but it’s pretty close.'”

And this was an interesting observation on the challenge of portraying an emotionless female and worrying how the audience might react:

“The most difficult aspect of the job was developing Saavik in a believable, acceptable way. With a man, it’s easier to adapt to an emotionless personality than it is with a woman. When you’re trying to show no emotion as a woman, you can come off as being cold and unlikeable if you’re not careful. It was hard to be unemotional and yet remain feminine.”

This made me think about how we tend to think of women as more emotional and men as more rational/logical, which means it’s easier to accept men in a range of roles, but also makes it harder for men in real life to express a full range of emotions for fear of it seeming “unmanly” .

For women, that assumption of women=emotion/men=reason is a lose-lose – if you’re emotional you ‘re irrational or overly sensitive, but if you’re unemotional you’re “cold and unlikeable” or “unfeminine”. I think that overall issue persists in society, even though characters like Saavik and T’Pol and other women Trek characters like B’Elanna, Dax and Janeway, help us challenge that underlying assumption.

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