Fans weren’t entirely happy with Nana Visitor’s character
By the time Star Trek: Deep Space Nine debuted in 1993, fans had grown accustomed to the women of Star Trek: The Next Generation—the intelligent and kind Dr. Beverly Crusher and the empathic and soft-spoken Counselor Deanna Troi. They weren’t quite prepared for Major Kira Nerys or how Nana Visitor chose to portray her. And that led to some negative feedback for the actress.
In an interview with the Costa Rica News, Visitor explained that she was so hungry for a chance to play the role even though science fiction was known to be a career killer in those days. She knew this was a great opportunity not just for herself but for women everywhere who had grown used to seeing women in peril, women playing mothers, wives, and daughters, but not women who were tough and wouldn’t back down from a fight.
Fans thought Nana Visitor was doing women a disservice
Because of Major Kira’s background, Visitor played her tougher, using how her own body and mind would react to have PTSD. Because of this decision, she got a lot of negativity for her portrayal. There were people who told her she shouldn’t be angry or tough, and that she was doing women a disservice by playing Kira “like a man.” Visitor stood her ground because she didn’t want to play an idealized version of how a woman might respond after a traumatic past like Kira had.
Kira was a tough woman, and circumstances made her that way. Visitor had to play the character harder because she’d been through hell and back. And during seven seasons on Deep Space Nine, Major Kira went through even more trauma so there was no changing her. Visitor didn’t play Kira like a man. She portrayed her like a woman that had had enough and wasn’t going to be mistreated again.