einahpets: (Yodel)
[personal profile] einahpets
As people know, the new Trek movie has a few things that went and upset people. Today TrekMovie.com posted an article about a shot that could be seen as sexist. Well I attempted to write a response that kinda analyzed why people would see that. But it was deleted mere minutes after I replied to the article. That actually made me LOL (and not all surprised because I'm sure it would have sparked some hot debate that would spiral into wank and attack). Fortunately I have a LJ where I can post this mini essay!

As a disclaimer I talk about Star Trek Into Darkness spoilers. Also, I'm not really all upset over what happened in the scene because it's a product of society. The best thing to do is just realize it, not to get so upset over it, and try to educate others to be smarter movie goers and analyze what we're being shown.



If we were to remove the changing scene, the movie would not be affected in the least.  You could have had the conversation scene in the shuttle bay, without her changing, and then switch planetside where we can see McCoy and Marcus in the mission jumpsuits. Like an intelligent audience, we would have assumed they changed sometime during the scene jump.

However, we do have the changing scene. So let's look at it a bit more closely and try to understand why people are reading it as sexist, gratuitous, and purely a fanservice moment. It all has to do with the directing, composition, and editing.

Let's start with the scene being used as the counter argument by The Powers That Be, specifically Kirk in bed. In my opinion, comparing the two scenes is like comparing apples to oranges, they're both fruits but ultimately different. First off, the nude aspect was not the forefront of the shot. I would say that the forefront of the shot was Kirk being pulled away from a good time. Not to mention, it kinda makes sense to be undressed for sex. Unless I'm missing something about copulation. Also he had a sheet covering his modesty. Lastly, and I think this is the most important aspect, in Kirk's 'naked' shot the camera has it so our eyes meet Kirk's face at eye/conversation level.

On the other hand, Marcus' shot was completely meant to show her body and done in a scene not set up as a precursor to mature content.
Let's be analytical movie viewers for a second and look closely, past the obvious that is her body.
The shot is arranged to force the viewer's eyes to look directly at her torso, in focus, and straight on with no distractions. JJ intentionally chose to do the shot like that. The camera angle says it all. By being positioned below human eye/conversation level, we have to look up her body to finally get to her face. This perspective is done solely to showcase her body and have the viewer almost mentally take off her under garments.
I can't emphasis enough how intentional the choice to focus on her assets, not her face, was.

Now this is where it gets dodgy and why people are wondering 'why?'
There really was no point for the shot to be done like this unless you were going for fanservice. You could have had the same exact scenario ... still have Marcus changing in the shuttle bay, still have Kirk there, have him peeking, and even some flirting. All the director had to do was be more creative, change the composition and camera angle making it so the audience got the hint that Kirk was taking a looksie but done without exploiting her body and 'objectifying' her.
Instead JJ intentionally went for the torso shot and what we have now is a screenful of body and a lot of disagreements.

I'm not saying gratuitous shots are bad. However, when this is the only gratuitous body shot at this camera angle in the whole film (and it doesn't really add anything to the scene) it stands out. It's why we're all hearing it now. Cause yeah, it can be read as sexist. Especially when you see the deleted 'Khan shower scene' and realize that even though he's nude, the camera angle is such that you're looking at him at 'eye/conversation level.' The same level we saw Kirk in his 'nude' scene. Even though the shot is panning up his chest, his body is turning from the side to the front so by the time the camera gets to his face, we're at eye level.
So the final count is two 'nude' men shots at eye/conversation level with other things going on in the background and one female in her underwear shot focused on her at torso level.

Now some questions.
Does the perspective of these type of shots in movies have an impact to how we think about men vs women? Is it possible that shots like this send a subconscious message to viewers? Would you take one gender more seriously than the other? Also, would your respect for a man/woman change if these camera angles were switched? ie. a woman undressed seen at eye level and a man semi clothed seen at torso level.
Imagine the changing scene set up exactly as it is, same perspective and angle, but instead of Marcus we see Kirk in a speedo. Would this type of shot objectify the Captain? Would you respect Kirk in a position of authority if you saw him like this?
Not to get too deep but I think these are good questions to think about. Not just in Star Trek, but in all media.

HOWEVER

If you're going to go for the sexy and fanservice, there should be gratuitous shots like this showcasing and objectifying both women AND men.

Were there to be a reedit, I would suggest that the Khan in shower scene be put back in, just for the sake of some Cumberbatch skin. Also, I think JJ should seriously reconsider the wetsuit scenes. Specifically the choice he made to have digital editing done to diminish the obviousness of Captain Fine's derriere and package.
By making changes like that there would be some nice sexy, and we get to see objectification of men along with women. Also it will help draw in both the fanboys and fangirls. Especially if you direct some fanservice to the female fans.

On a real serious note, the creative team may want to get a woman on board to consult with. A new perspective can't do anything but help and perhaps open their eyes to a different viewpoint.
Let's not forget some TOS favorites were penned by a woman.


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