Nyota Fashion Project | Unclothed

Uhura Prime was not unclothed on screen until 1989, 22 years after her debut, when Nichelle Nichols was 57 years old.

Naked (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)

20 years later, Kelvin Timeline Uhura gets undressed on screen in her second scene, about 20 minutes into the film.

Underwear (Star Trek)

Isn’t progress awesome?

There is no narrative reason for Uhura to take off her top in the 2009 film. It can be argued as establishing her character – that she likes to get out of uniform as soon as she’s home, that she’s comfortable with her body – or her relationship with her roommate Gaila (who is also in her underwear).

But the male gaze is explicit in this scene as the audience watches from the point of view of Jim Kirk, the protagonist, who is literally hiding and observing an unawares Nyota undressing, exactly like the audience. 

In contrast, Prime Uhura’s fan dance is a part of the plot. Not a part of the plot that makes sense – there is no way Uhura’s naked fan dance is the most logical option for a distraction – but in a movie that starts with pushing 60 year old Kirk climbing a mountain to prove himself at least the naked fan dance is performed by an equally mature woman? Who, for what it’s worth, reportedly enjoyed the sequence. And at least they tried to make it make sense. Also! Uhura invited her audience to look at her naked body. Kelvin Uhura did not invite Kirk, or us, into her bedroom at all.

Neither ‘costume’ has anything to contribute to the story. It’s nice that Nimbus III provides palm frond fans, I guess. But the white bra on Reboot Nyota is so standard I assume it’s Starfleet issue.

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