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Nyota Uhura - 5 reasons why fans don't like you

Updated on September 6, 2013
Nyota Uhura in the 2009 movie.
Nyota Uhura in the 2009 movie. | Source

I loved The Original Series. Really. I mean, the technical equipment looked pretty funny, especially if you have seen The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine or Voyager before (which sort of happened to me; from some reason the TV companies deemed it necessary to show us the newer stuff before they showed us the origins of phenomenon called 'Star Trek'). But the characters! The plots! The breakthroughs showed in each and single episode - it was simply glorious.

Captain Kirk got the girl most of the time, Spock would quirk his eyebrow and argue with Doctor McCoy about logic of emotions, Sulu would run around the ship half-naked and wielding an epee, Uhura would sing and make eyes at Scotty, who in turn would shout in outrage at anyone who would have though of hurting his pretty silver lady and Chekov would talk funny and everything would be invented in Russia.

From all the characters in the New Universe (meaning the changed timeline from 2009 movie), Uhura is probably most controversial; fans (or rather 'fangirls') seem to either love her or hate her, only few of them are able to see her in 'she's alright' style. Quite a lot of the fanfiction you find to the fandom have various levels of Uhura bashing in them. I myself am guilty of writing several fictions where I may not directly bash her character, but I'm not very favorable towards her either.

So, here I am, trying to make peace with NU!Uhura with answering to the reasons why so many of the fans dislike her so much.

Uhura meets Kirk in Riverside Bar.
Uhura meets Kirk in Riverside Bar. | Source

Reason No. 1

She's so unlike the Uhura from TOS!

Well, nothing to argue about here. She's not like her TOS!version - but so is not Jim Kirk, so is not Spock, so is not anyone else, and not only because the Enterprise crew got together over ten years sooner than in The Original Series.

Gathered from all the discussions I've read through, NU!Uhura is obviously smart, hot and capable - but also too arrogant, not sensitive enough and certainly in need of being taken down a peg.

Fact is that should some drunken guy (read "drunken Jim Kirk") hit on me in a bar, I wouldn't be very friendly either, especially after the boob-grab scene showed in the movie. Even then, though, Jim managed to surprise Uhura with knowing what linguistics is about, and also made her smile several times. At the same time, there is certain level of animosity radiating from her during the Kobayashi Maru simulation, which is something what I myself can't really imagine with TOS!Uhura.

Uhura Comforts Spock after destruction of Vulcan.
Uhura Comforts Spock after destruction of Vulcan. | Source

Reason No. 2

2. She is dating Spock!

Well, this closely follows the reason #1. Uhura and Spock, yet another example why Uhura is nothing like she was in TOS.

In TOS they certainly seemed to be really comfortable around each other, close even, but not with the romantic connotations. Any romantic inclinations were mostly showed to other men, later in the movies Uhura really seemed to be into Scotty.

I myself had been really surprised when I've seen them together in the movie. To my specuations, Spock, as a Vulcan, would in all probability be one of the instructors at xenolinguistics, too, so Uhura would be one of his students. He never seemed like someone to break regulations in order to start dating one of his students, and I suppose I'm not the only one to think so.

And yes, the fact that many, many, MANY Star Trek 2009 fanfictions are for slash pairing Spock/Kirk or Spock/McCoy, discarting Uhura completely in favor of manly romance, also plays a role, here - all in the spirit of 'it's already not much believable - so why bother with it at all?'

Reason No.3

3. She didn't accomplish anything!

Well, I confess that I myself thought that Uhura didn't accomplish anything but jumping Spock in the elevator when I've seen the movie for the first time, and the scene where she corners Spock and demands (well, it looked like that to me) to be stationed on Enterprise would support this, especially since she doesn't justify the demand with no further evidence than that he was aware of how much she wanted to be stationed on the ship.

Yet later, when Kirk drags her and McCoy to the bridge it's shown that unlike the communication officer she not only is able to distinguish Vulcan from Romulan, she also knew all three dialects. That definitely looks like accomplishment in my book, wouldn't you agree? (As well as makes the original officer look incompetent. Really, Admiralty, isn't the flagship supposed to get the best offered?)

Reason No.4

4. She's too hot!

Well, this seems a bit silly, but I've met even with this opinion. It's not that Nichelle wasn't "hot" in her role of Uhura - but her sex-appeal had been calmed down, tuned into a serenity which only accentuated how pretty she really was.

Zoe in her role of Uhura is slightly younger than Nichelle was, and back then it wasn't as "trendy" as it is now to make women actors into sex symbols whose sex-appeal will slap you into your seat. Back then, the top was to give the "woman of future" extremely short uniforms. Now, we obviously prefer all our actress and actors as steamy hot as possible.

Nothing against the eye candy, but sometimes, it's better to have smouldering embers instead of blazing wildfire.

Reason No. 5

5. She's so unprofessional!

Well, the elevator scene definitely didn't look much professional. Or the scene when Pike, Kirk and Spock are transported back to Enterprise. We never see her asking for permission to leave the bridge - yet here she is.

While we know for sure she didn't ask for permission to leave for the elevator scene, we do not know what happened before she run with McCoy and the medics into the transporter room, as the movie doesn't show that. So maybe she asked for permission. Or maybe not.

Resume

NU!trek Uhura is different from her TOS!trek counterpart. Just like every other character in the movie (well, apart from Spock Prime).

One of the things in fandom I strongly dislike is that you almost can't post a prompt at the memes all over the internet with Uhura not being shiny example of BAMFness without being called mysogynist and hater. Well, quite a lot of these prompts were in "Uhura needs to be taken down a peg => final pairing Kirk/Spock" or "Uhura doesn't show enough compasion and understanding to Spock - but Kirk does => dumping Uhura, final pairing Kirk/Spock" or "screw Uhura, let's write something with Kirk/Spock" style, so no wonder in ended in "wank" and "flamewars" and locked topics.

In another of my hubs, Heterosexual fanfiction, where are thou?, I was wondering what happened to heterosexual fanfiction is some fandoms. Or rather - what happened to believable heterosexual fanfiction. It received pretty interesting comment, stating that in fandoms like Star Trek (no matter the series), there usually is lack of strong female characters, so the fanfiction authors tend to end their romance stories with pairings of strong men characters.

So please, book authors, movie directors... Give us some real and strong female characters. We need those, too.

Final Thoughts

After receiving one interesting comment to this hub I decided to add some final thoughts. First of all - while the commenter voiced some good points, I still refuse to say that writing this hub makes me Uhura hater.

I realize that in the beginning of the hub I wrote that I'm not very fond of Uhura. At the same time, I'm not very fond of chemistry, or the new Alternate Universe - is non-fondness hate? Is writing down a collection of impressions I get while moving in the fandom hate?

My commenter writes that we obviously watched different movies. I say that we watched the same movies, but looked for different things.

My commenter says that Kirk was believed in his "it's not natural catastrophe - it's Romulan attack" scene only because Uhura confirmed it. I say that this may be half true - bt the other half of the truth in this (the way I see it) is, that Spock would be likely to bellieve his linguist girlfriend than he would to someone whom he viewed as a cheater, no matter of his study records. Myself, I think that Pike would probably believe Kirk even without Uhura stating she was the one who heard the message - it would just take more time.

It only reinforced my belief that when it comes to the characters of New Universe, people have problems to stay in the middle, instead of being either absolute lover or absolute hater of some character (been there, done that, although I would like to think that I'm at least moving in the proper direction of seeing both good points and bad points).

I just have to say that I'm curious if and when do I get called hater, when I release my hub "Jim Kirk - Five Reasons Why the Fans Don't Like You."

© 2012 Veroniquebee

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      Gabriella 13 months ago

      I completely understand what the writer of this site was trying to portray. I honestly hate the reboot Uhura. And No, I'm not an irritating Trekkie (Well, yeah... I'm irritating and a Trekkie) who would say something like "Oh! I hate the Kelvin Timeline Uhura just because she's nothing like the character that's been displayed for decades!", although, people who are defending the new Uhura should face the facts. I've loved this franchise since I was seven years old, and I still cry JUST HEARING THE THEME from the Original Series... and to see a character that you have known and loved completely changed in a reboot movie is truly heartbreaking. My dad and I literally sat down to watch the trailer for the Star Trek Beyond movie, and we literally screamed "ENOUGH WITH THIS SPOCK AND UHURA NONSENSE!". It's irritating and disappointing. Imagine, say, a Star Wars character that YOU know and love- like Leia (Who is a strong and independent character) just being completely turned around due to a silly reboot. These characters are TRULY my friends and I don't like what has happened to Uhura. And to the person that argued "I think most Uhura haters forget that Uhura had saved all their arses in the 2009 movie! If Uhura had not deciphered that transmission about the Romulan attack on the Klingons, they all would've been dead! So Uhura actually helped to save the ship and everyone onboard with her skills. So the next time Uhura haters criticize her, they should think about it first", Well, yes, she did save their skins from Nero, but JJ Abrams could have told ANYONE to do that. I mean, JESUS CHRIST! You are being completely overdramatic about that one stupid part. There has got to be at least ONE other person on that starship who is skilled in Xenolinguistics. Ha! SKILLS...? Anyone who took a proper linguistics course could have determined that. PLEASE AT LEAST WATCH THE ORIGINAL SERIES FIRST.

      And of course, There's SPOCK. My favorite character in ALL of Star Trek (The Original Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space 9, Voyager, Enterprise, and Reboots), who is becoming Intimate with this LAME EXCUSE for Uhura. Who thought this up? Geez Louise! It drives my entire family insane. I was Six years old when watching the reboot, and I would cringe at the sight and thought of my beloved Spock and Uhura (Or whoever she was in the reboots...). It's just a chance for the producers to slip in some lame and cheap excuse for romance into a 21st century Sci-fi movie.

      Know what your talking about- Please...... Just... Consider how important the essence of these characters is to some people- THE TRUE TREKKIES.

      Thank You,

      Live Long and Prosper.

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      Gabriella 13 months ago

      I find the new Uhura to be completely unprofessional. She doesn't do anything for me, she doesn't make me smile, she doesn't make me feel- well, anything! I've known all these characters since I was five years old, and this is not how I would imagine Uhura AT ALL.

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      Rose 16 months ago

      Elizabeth, they don't need to rebuke anything because in these movies Kirk, Mccoy and Scotty are way more unprofessional than Uhura supposedly is for the 'try too hard' reasons you listed, but they get a free pass. The male characters had always, especially in tos, been not professional, yet some people hypocritically nitpick on new Uhura only. You can't have the cake and eat it too. In tos the friendships between the guys were essentially based on and praised on all the moments where said guys acted unprofessional for their friends. In these movies, Kirk cheated on an important test at the academy and as a result he wasn't assigned to a ship, but Mccoy sneaked his best friend aboard the best ship with him abusing his position as a medical officer. Kirk was constantly insubordinate with his superiors, and his connection with Pike was a clear example of favoritism from Pike's part but no one cares. In the scene where Uhura left her station to 'chase her boyfriend' (let's pretend she didn't do that to comfort her significant other, how outrageous for her to fo that! Better what Kirk did, I guess, when he provoked Spock and the latter almost choked him to death in front of the crew) said boyfriend, who also was the acting captain, had just left his own working place himself (he did that twice in the movie and even abandoned the ship to go save his parents) WHILE on duty. HE also kissed his girlfriend while on duty. I find it adorable that you all ignore Spock's very active role in the relationship with Uhura as if she did it all by herself. How transparent! It's the most funny when fangirls hate on and are jealous of a fictional female character being the one who gets the love and attention of their favorite male character. The delusion is so strong you must pretend that Uhura somehow forced 'your man' into being her boyfriend. In other words, this is a clear example of double standards and sexism that fans have for female characters, in short: mysoginy. If Uhura was a white guy she would be loved for the same reasons she is hated as a girl.

      Uhura is hated by a vocal minority of fans for no other reason than the fact she 'gets in the way' of peoples' old trek 'men only' party and she dares to be part of a narrative that, before, was an exclusive to the male characters only.

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      Elizabeth 2 years ago

      i noticed all you Uhura lovers didn't dare rebuke how unprofessional she was in the movies, leaving her station chasing after her boyfriend, kissing her boyfriend in public WHILE on duty, dating her Professor.....Yeah she's such a strong character :/

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      Kian 2 years ago

      I think most Uhura haters forget that Uhura had saved all their arses in the 2009 movie! If Uhura had not deciphered that transmission about the Romulan attack on the Klingons, they all would've been dead! So Uhura actually helped to save the ship and everyone onboard with her skills. So the next time Uhura haters criticize her, they should think about that fact first.

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      Naoto 2 years ago

      dan - it seems we have a misunderstanding but it's not unpeexcted. it's not death that there is no victory over, it's life. existence is inescapable. our egos, our nature to be self-preserving, our nature to be logical, metaphysical, our nature to subsume all that is unknown to our-selves; to be this is the cheat of existence, what comes pre-programmed. the winning' comes with death. hence the second cheat that overcomes the first cheat: in death, life is overcome. but what do i mean by death' and life'? i've written about this numerous times already but i'll reiterate. by death i mean an ontological death, a death of the ego and the self; the death of one's being, one's will to metaphysics. by life i mean sin' (to borrow from christian vernacular), that which does not exist without self-interest, that which is bound with being(perhaps check out the birth of God' post for clarification). so back to the initial confusion: there is no victory over life. at least no absolute victory and not in this life. in life one is again and again confronted with the unknown that manifests itself in Others, in Nature and ultimately in Death. it is in the face of these unknowns and how one chooses to either embrace or evade that separate cadets from captains', the person of fear from the person of faith though fear and doubt pave the way for faith. but the passage from fear to faith requires a death of the self..that requires the denial of the self that, in all its will, holds onto its self-certainty and reason; that requires a death of one's assumptions and being in order to embrace madness, to embrace what confounds reason..faith. but this is no absolute victory for this process is not final. what death nihilates is being, what it births is becoming. a new creation. now, the [nothingness] that lies on the other side of death, well, that's another story. one that cannot be told. for that is the future'. or the present' moment, which is infinite, depending on how you consider all this temporally. however, there are definitely small victories' in life which is what amounts to striving with life. but these small victories' do not happen apart from the many possibilities for death in life. for what follows death is rebirth. the small victories'. and to bring this all back to kirk and spock without an other' there is no possibility for death. we need each other in order to cheat life and strive with it. for alone, we are solitary beings, we are who we are, who we are condemned to be. but together, we are becoming. becoming what? exactly. tis unknown. undetermined. hence to go boldly anyways, i find the kirk/spock dialectic quite pronounced in myself..partially why i love the movies so much. hope all that made some sense! lemme know if any of it was confusing, this is all a nut-shell explanation

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      Susie 2 years ago

      Your answer lifts the intceliglnee of the debate.

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      Slade 3 years ago

      Yeah, I just don't see it the way you do.

      Uhura is one of my favorite characters in both of the movies, and I could never get into the TOS. In the NU Uhura, like kcmknice says, she proves herself to be a capable officer on the Enterprise. Her words carry weight because of her knowledge, skills, and abilities in her field. The Enterprise is the flagship, and she had to point out to Spock that she refused to be denied her post there, simply because she was dating him, when in actuality she earned it.

      "The NU Uhura has none of those traits. If anything, her sexxed-up

      depiction is a step *backwards* for African-Americans and for

      women. The few moments when she demonstrates any competency

      beyond fanservice seem fake, little consessions clumsily appended

      onto her character only to camoflauge just how sexually exploitative

      her character actually is"

      I honestly don't get how you came to the above conclusions. Sexually exploitative? Sexxed-up? She only shows affection for one person in both movies, the person she is dating. And that affection in no way came across as sexxed-up. They were sharing moments during private conversations. How is is James Kirk can be a womanizer, but Uhura can't show affection for her partner? It's not balancing out.

      I wish we had more characters of African descent portrayed like Uhura. Also, Uhura is from Africa thus not making her African American - which means she can't be a step back for African Americans. However with that being said, even if she was African American, I would still love her, and love the fact that there is someone like her being portrayed on screen.

      As a Communications Major and Air Force Veteran, I think people don't understand race or military culture. Sometimes when I'm listening to people voice their opinions on military or veteran issues, I wonder, "How the hell did they come to that conclusion?" A lot of it comes across as unrealistic expectations, naiveté, or just plan ignorance. I bring this up to say, don't try to place Uhura the Star Fleet Officer into this idealized representation of what an African American military officer should be. Just take her as a character with human dimensions. She's not supposed to be perfect.

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      JossHub 3 years ago

      If the actress that plays the Admiral's daughter in "Into Darkness" can be who she is why can't the new Uhura? Why put anyone or any character in a box? As stated in the article, all the main characters are not the same as in the original. I think Jim Kirk's character is almost silly at times compared to the original.

      But in the 21st century characterizations of institutionalized systems are not has rigid as they were in the 60's, 70's or 80's for that matter. Placing such a heavy burden on a black character to represent something high and mighty seems dated to me.

      To me Star Trek is an entertaining movie that is pure fantasy. If people dislike the new Uhura because of some of the above reasons, they are taking this genre too seriously. If this was a serious drama that was conveying a message, I can see the discomfort. But this is SciFi. Light entertainment which contains a tremendous amount of fantasy.

      I see it for what it is. light entertainment for the masses. Uhura is/was not a Winnie Mandela or Coretta Scott King and never will be.

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      Matthew 3 years ago

      I think you missed the key reason so many of dislike this new Uhura.

      The character is a cheap, exploitative, hackneyed, cliche' sex kitten with almost no personality to her beyond her role as a sex kitten.

      Nichelle Nichols' Uhura was a pioneering character: one of the first African-American characters in a position of authority, one of the first high-ranking female characters (fourth in command after Kirk, Spock, and Scotty), one of the first to show any moments of interracial romantic intimacy (not only the famous kissing scene with Kirk but also her flirtations first with Chekov and later with Scotty), and despite the widespread sexism of the 1960s, she passes the Bechdel test in a number of episodes. In both the original TV series and the subsequent films, Nichols' Uhura had several functions beyond the occasional moment of fanservice and the embarrassing Network-required moments of her saying "I'm afraid" to Kirk.

      The NU Uhura has none of those traits. If anything, her sexxed-up depiction is a step *backwards* for African-Americans and for women. The few moments when she demonstrates any competency beyond fanservice seem fake, little consessions clumsily appended onto her character only to camoflauge just how sexually exploitative her character actually is.

      That is the reason I have heard most often in RL discussions of this new Uhura. Most scenes with the original Uhura had the audience cheering; most scenes with NU Uhura have the audience cringing.

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      kcmknice 4 years ago

      Wow. I guess I watched a different version of this movie. One were Uhura doesn't make her case in the hanger by quoting Spock's previous comments on her competence. Or how the only reason Kirk is believed about the Romulan ship is Uhura's confirmation. Or how every other person on that ship left the bridge whenever they pleased.

      The only legitimate issue with Uhura's character in the new movie is we don't learn anything much about her except her technical skill, willingness to stand up for herself and her love for Spock. Spock and Kirk are treated as leads rather than members of the ensemble, McCoy and Uhura act as second tier and Chekov, Sulu and Scotty are comic relief.

      But carry on hating Uhura. I'm sure that's the best way to lobby for more inclusive, well written roles for women.

      Thanks for reminder that people are often wrong on the internet.

      Kcmknice