The Women of Star Trek Boldly Go Above and Beyond
The reasons we love Star Trek, in all its various incarnations, are as numerous and unending as tribbles. Star Trek has always been “ahead of its time” – see what we did there? – in featuring brave and bold women who were courageous, righteous and idealistic. Sure, there are still plenty of star babes out there, but when Trek sets out to write a fearless female character, they get it right.
Based on a few criteria, we have narrowed down our list of women who kick butt in the Star Trek universe to those who met the following criteria: they must have all served aboard a Federation starship and stood for something greater than themselves. Without further ado (and in no particular order), we give you the top five out of this world women of Star Trek!
Oh, Lieutenant Yar! (SPOILER!) Your death was for naught! Well, the first death. Then they brought you back just kill you again…..but at least this time it was meaningful? Tasha Yar may not have lasted long on The Next Generation, but she certainly made quite the impression on even the most casual of fans. Yar made history as Star Trek’s first female security chief, and kicked butt and took names in the process.
Not only was was she tough and brave, she also showed her vulnerable side. Her romantic relationship with a fellow officer, an android named Data, saved him from becoming property of the Federation. Despite a tragic backstory filled with lawlessness, she went into security and sacrificed herself for the betterment of humankind. This is one woman who didn’t let stereotypes (or death) keep her down!
Uhura broke up the 23rd century men’s club on the bridge of Kirk’s USS Enterprise. As the only woman on the bridge of an ultra “mod”-ern starship (see what we did there again?), she served as communications officer and deftly managed the crew’s interactions with hostile aliens. She may not have a tragic backstory or a toughie image like some of the other ladies on our list, but she sure showed true grit and proficiency in operations.
Nichelle Nichols’s groundbreaking role as an equal-to-the-guys black woman on television went on to inspire countless famous African American women (and women in general. And men); most notably, Whoopi Goldberg, who would later star as Guinan in The Next Generation. In the rebooted movies, Uhura is praised by Spock as unmatched in xenolinguistics and Kirk specifically asks Uhura to be the communications officer during his third re-take of the Kobayashi Maru test. This is one strong woman everyone wants by their side — including us!
Though she only appeared occasionally in three seasons of TNG, Ro Laren makes our list of women who are tough and brilliant. This passionate Bajoran was initially brought aboard the Enterprise to convince a Bajoran terrorist to call off his raids on a Federation colony. Not only does she battle the Cardassians, she takes on the Romulans and the Ferengi too. Did we mention that thanks to a transporter accident, she foils the evil Ferengi plot as a mere CHILD? They should really get those transporters looked at. But as awesome as that all is, we’ve saved the best for last!
Even though it means disappointing the bald and beautiful Picard, she follows her heart and gut and joins the rebel group, the Marquis. Not many people would have the gumption to defy Jean-Luc’s orders to return to duty, but Ensign Ro will boldly go where no Starfleet officer has gone before.
Yup! Our girl, Kathryn Janeway, premiered as the CAPTAIN of the starship USS Voyager in 2002. She may just be the most divisive captain so far of Star Trek fandom. Plenty of people criticize her ability as captain, but we say she rocked it! Who else could have maintained order when they found themselves 75 years away from home AND unite two quarreling factions?
Janeway always upheld the Prime Directive purely on principle, even though she was a bajillion miles away from authorities who could hold her accountable. She repeatedly demonstrated her ability as a leader — not because she is a woman, or in spite of being a woman, but because of who she IS as a person. We’d trust her to make the tough calls any day!
Can we get an Oh Heck Yeah for Bajoran Kira Nerys? She survived a childhood under Cardassian rule (not to be confused with the similarly named reality family, the Kardashians). Recruited at the age of 13 to be part of the underground resistance, Kira served aboard Deep Space Nine and even took command of the whole station when Captain Sisko disappeared.
Kira is never worried about being perceived as the nice guy or fitting in. She is complicated, nuanced, and most importantly, authentic. She may not have been everyone’s favorite at the beginning of DS9, but she surely earned a place in Star Trek’s Women Who Kick Butt Hall of Fame!