I used to work with a woman who is a very proper person. She does not swear, she is fair minded, she wishes the best for others, and she is a devoted friend. There is something wrong with her though: she hates science fiction. She refuses to watch Star Trek or anything like it. Her explanation: "I was made to watch the old Star Trek, and I didn't like how all the men were made to look so good and the women were only there to look sexy."
OK, I can kinda see her point and that perception, and there was probably no need for Uhura or Yeoman Rand to wear a dress THAT short, but that was more a style of the times than anything else. Sure there is some old sci-fi books, stories, and movies in which the women are only sex objects, but I daresay we have moved beyond that.
Let us look at Major Samantha Carter. A normal woman. Sure, she's pretty, but she is there because of her advanced degrees in science, not because she is a cute blonde. She is a soldier, trained in combat and survival. More importantly, she is a brilliant scientist who never fails to get SG-1 out of many a bind. And when she can't, she readily owns up to her limitations and seeks the help and talents of those around her.
How about Dr. Beverly Crusher. Another talented scientist prized for her abilities, but also a great model of a successful working mother. She cares as much for her patients and fellow crew members as she does for her own son. Luckily she lives in a time and culture where she can be equally fulfilled with her career AND her family and enjoy the odd romance every now and then. Personally, I think that her character dynamics were often idealized, but that was well-tempered by the fact that she was allowed to make mistakes and learn from them, just like a normal human being would do.
Then let's consider Battlestar Galactica, a show teeming with strong women. Laura Roslin come immediately to mind. She stood her ground on all issues, and made her decisions based on the good of everyone, even if it meant changing her mind on certain issues. Then we have Capt. Kara "Starbuck" Thrace. She was a skilled pilot and determined leader. Some might say that her emotional issues would get in the way of truly being a strong woman, but tell me what human being you know without some kind of issues. I think my former co-worker, however, would object to her high libido, but why not show women with such a libido. That's just a whole other issues though.
So I presented to my co-worker these things that have changed in sci-fi. Women are not presented the same way as they were in the past. They are as varied in personality as the men are.
She thinks that nothing has changed.
Sure, all of these women are good looking. They have been known to wear skimpy clothing or use their female sexuality, but try to find a show or movie that does not do the same, I told her. I daresay that at least science fiction allows them to have brains as well as a body.
Her answer: "That's why I don't watch much other television either."
You just can't argue with that.