When you go to the movies, it's not particularly shocking to see actresses wearing swimsuits, undergarments, or sometimes nothing at all. Women have been appearing scantily clad for years, and often for no good reason (" Alien," anyone?). In the new Star Trek film, the character Dr. Carol Marcus (played by Alice Eve) has a scene where she sheds her clothes and appears in a bra and underwear. Standard fare, right?
Some fans, however, were outraged. Dr. Marcus is a molecular biologist and clearly a smart cookie, and when she appeared half naked for no reason, the scene was interpreted as being misogynistic.
Co-writer Damon Lindelof got wind of the disapproval and addressed it in a letter to MTV, saying, "Why is Alice Eve in her underwear, gratuitously and unnecessarily, without any real effort made as to why in God's name she would undress in that circumstance? Well there's a very good answer for that. But I'm not telling you what it is. Because, uh, MYSTERY?"
As you can imagine, that response didn't go over that well. Director J.J. Abrams also commented on the Conan O'Brien show, saying "some people see it as exploiting her, and while she is lovely, I can also see their point of view.”
Lindelof backtracked a bit shortly after the MTV interview via his Twitter account.
Was the scene misogynist or just standard sci-fi fare? The answer is murky, but one thing is for sure: attractive people in their underwear in films is not a shocking new development. What is new, however, is the voice of dissent -- one that seems to be popping up more and more as of late. Abrams pointed out on Conan that showing skin was not just reserved for the ladies and shared a deleted shower scene featuring actor Benedict Cumberbatch shirtless.
When asked what she thought of all the hullabaloo, Alice Eve said that since the nature of what actors and actresses do is so visual, it's normal to fall into typecasting. She supported Abrams' vision for the film, saying that he walked the line between giving audiences what they want and trying to avoid stereotypes.
"So he gives us strength. And he does it for men too. There's vulnerability in all humanity and that vulnerability doesn't just belong to women," Eve said.