honestly, star trek has a fucking problem with basically demanding that women be attractive and “sexy”
like for the original series i might give the miniskirts a pass because they were a symbol of empowerment and such but a lot of the other costumes were pretty explicitly designed for the male gaze. tv tropes even has a trope called the theiss titillation theory named after the tos costume designer.
the bajoran makeup is as minimalist as it is because rick berman wanted to make sure michelle forbes still looked pretty. he told michael westmore “We’ve hired a pretty girl and I want to keep her that way. Think of something that we can take and make her look a little alien, and still get the idea she’s from another planet, but she’s still gorgeous.”
the trill makeup was changed between tng and ds9 specifically because they wanted to make sure terry farrell was still attractive. she said that “paramount didn’t want [her] to look strange” because they wanted the character to be beautiful.
rick berman conceptualized the character of seven of nine as a “borg babe”. before she even had a name or a story or any real character, they had decided she needed to be hot. jeri ryan was fully aware of that, she said "I knew exactly what I was in for when I had my first costume fitting. Clearly my character was added to the show for sex appeal, which remains the one way to get attention very quickly. ”
catsuits are everywhere. t’pol wears them even though they look nothing like what every other vulcan we’ve ever seen seems to wear. kira wears them, though at least the fact that it’s a uniform makes it slightly better. troi wore them along with a variety of other outfits - none of which, notably, show her rank. she is a lieutenant commander and between the pilot and “chain of command” she never has rank insignia. marina sirtis was ecstatic when she got to wear an actual uniform “it covered up my cleavage and I got all my brains back, because when you have cleavage you can’t have brains in Hollywood… I was allowed to do things that I hadn’t been allowed to do for five or six years. I went on away teams, I was in charge of staff, I had my pips back, I had phasers, I had all the equipment again, and it was fabulous. I was absolutely thrilled.“
and of course there are the infamous reboot underwear scenes, the countless alternate “sexy” versions of the female characters that pop up in the mirror universe and in holosuites, the revealing outfits given to background women like the orions or dabo girls…
every single female regular - a number, which, for the record, has never exceeded 3 on a single show and never more than 1/3 of the main cast - has to be attractive, apparently. that is clearly what the men in charge think. no one cared if worf or quark or odo or neelix or phlox looked “attractive enough” in their prosthetics. men can wear tight costumes or be shirtless from time to time, but they don’t have to have “sex appeal” as a major facet of their characters. no one designed a male character thinking of their looks first and foremost.
and it fucking pisses me off. the way star trek in general treats women needs to be improved in all aspects - there need to be more women, they need to be diverse, they need to fill a variety of roles, and they need to not be required to be “sexy”. an beautiful woman in a proper uniform is still a beautiful woman, no need to give her a skintight catsuit or strip her. a woman under complete alien prosthetics that make her look “less attractive” is still as interesting and compelling of a character as she would be without them. a woman whose body type isn’t skinny or curvy or whose looks aren’t “conventionally attractive” has just as much to offer to a crew.