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Is Steven Moffat a Feminist Writer?

Guest contributor Gregor Schmalzried examines if Moffat’s stories are in fact female-empowering.

amy-wedding-of-river-song

To get this out of the way, I never bought into the “Moffat is sexist” accusations that frequently spawn on a certain blogging platform that most online Doctor Who communities tend to ignore or at least treat very critically. Still, the subject comes up regularly, again and again. The debate is far from over, as proven by the fact that Karen Gillan herself was confronted with it on a recent press conference.

I think it’s time to shift the debate. The way I see it, the fantastic stories and characters Steven Moffat gave us since the series’ revival in 2005 are not only not at all sexist, but largely quite the opposite, they are women-empowering and to me it doesn’t seem a stretch to call a lot of them feminist. If you find this statement far-fetched, let me go through the four most significant feminist elements in Steven Moffat’s Doctor Who stories.

Amy and Rory

doctor_who_amy_rory_doctorWhenever a couple are among the main characters in action and adventure cinema and TV, there’s one character dynamic that appears so frequently (especially the farther you go back in time) that it can be hard to even get worked up about it: A man who’s always up for an adventure and eager to take every risky opportunity as long as it’s fun and a woman who stands back, asks whether it wouldn’t be a good idea to overthink this and worries about her hair or fingernails suffering. She’s the needy of the two, who would rather have a quiet evening at home than spend it being chased by villains.

In the case of Amy and Rory those roles are reversed. It’s the guy who’s the needy one, it’s the guy who’s wary and careful and it’s the girl who’s perfectly fine going off and doing her own thing. Visiting alien planets, seeing the stars, fighting monsters, that’s what Amy does and Rory needs about half a dozen episodes until he’s really up for it as well. And even after that, Amy is still clearly the more adventurous of the two and her importance is also made predominant by the fact that she and Rory are regularly referred to as “the Ponds” as opposed to “the Williams’”.

Jenny and Vastra

jenny-vastra-sThere have been many jokes made about the omnipresence of homosexual characters in Russell T Davies’ stories, but a closer look at them reveals that they really aren’t that big of a deal. Most of them just casually mention being gay in passing and never do we see a gay kiss or relationship onscreen. Jack Harkness is the only gay character who appears in more than one episode and I don’t think it’s wrong-headed to mention that he’s a bit of a bisexual stereotype. And please believe me, I’m not criticising here, I’m just making observations.

Steven Moffat however gave us Jenny and Vastra who are not only regularly featured on the show but also probably the least conventional and stereotypical gay couple ever on television. I mean, one of them’s a lizard woman. It should also be noted that while they both have more or less clear-cut sad back stories, they are highly confident and intelligent women with their own agenda who live in a time in which relationships with either lizards or partners of the same sex were highly unconventional to say the least. To give these characters a place on tea time television is something that would have been unusually bold even for Russell T Davies.

River Song

rivers storyThere is something about Alex Kingston which is rarely talked about, for the simple reason that both she and Matt Smith portray characters that are an awful lot older than they appear. For this reason, you don’t usually think about it, but there have been some people during the last years who have pointed out the (quite distinct) age difference between the two. Although she doesn’t really look it, Alex is almost twenty years than Matt. The double standard that it’s completely normal for an older man to be dating a young woman in a movie or a TV show, but weird (and a lot rarer) the other way around is something feminists have rightly been complaining about for a long time now. Furthermore, when Melody regenerates into Alex Kingston, she looks about thirty years older and still explodes with joy over her new body.

River is a very interesting character in general. Similar to Jack Harkness, she often feels like a character from another show that casually turns up in Doctor Who to see how the Doctor’s doing. Of course her story is very closely intertwined with the Doctor, but at an important point in her life, she consciously chose to stop running after him and live life her own way. She never travels with him for too long. Yes, she may be his wife and she may love him, but she still got her own stuff to do.

Believable and layered heroines

BlinkSteven Moffat loves writing female characters. That doesn’t have to be feminist on its own, but I still find it striking that of all the returning characters Moffat has come up with so far, only two (Rory and Strax) are men, while seven (River, Amy, Vastra, Jenny, Clara, Kate Stewart and Madame Kovarian) are women. Additionally, there rarely goes an episode by without an interesting female one-off character. And since one thing feminists are always hoping for in television is representation, we can tick that box already.

The next question would be: Is it good representation? And my whole-hearted answer is yes. Although there are of course exceptions (Tasha Lem springs to mind), almost all of Moffat’s female characters are fully-rounded interesting characters with strengths and flaws. To name just a few, there is the heroic and tragic teenage mother Nancy, the smart and authentic Sally Sparrow (who became a big fan favourite after just one story), the kind and determined Madge Arwell or the distrustful and responsible Clara Oswald. All of them showed a great range of emotion and character. I could go on, but the best way to demonstrate how well Moffat’s writing really works would be a recap of Amy’s story in series 5 (unfortunately, there’s not enough space to get into a lot of detail):

After being terribly disappointed by the Doctor as child, Amy has more or less come to accept the Doctor as an imaginary friend of her childhood. She feels insecure and the desperate need to not be a child anymore, shortens Amelia to Amy, starts working as a kissogram and is on the brink of entering a marriage she’s not sure she’s ready for. Then her imaginary friend returns on the night before her wedding, on the night before the day she’s meant to grow up. She runs away from her responsibility, learns to embrace her sense of adventure and wonder again and after a turbulent series she learns that there’s no reason why she can’t have both, being married to the man she loves and travelling with the Doctor. Which is particularly beautiful since she came after a streak of companions that were married off at the end of their respective runs.

Conclusion

I deliberately worded the headline as a question, because I didn’t want to do a traditional “4 reasons why blah blah” article. I wanted to give my thoughts on the subject while not pressuring anyone into agreeing with me. A food for thought-article if you will.

I also didn’t address most of the common sexism criticisms of Moffat, because those already were addressed on dozens of occasions all over the internet. I didn’t want to write a defence of Steven Moffat, I wanted to turn the tables and write down why I think that he doesn’t only deserve not to be constantly cyberbullied by a small, yet very loud part of the fan base, but actually deserve some praise for his treatment of female characters. But still, I’m always open to constructive criticism. I would say that what I just wrote was some positive constructive criticism and therefore I can deal with some negative, as long as it’s not… you know, that certain blogging platform.

Step back in time...

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314 comments
DustyP
DustyP

I'm really looking forward to seeing Peter Capaldi as the Doctor but am desperate for Steve Moffat to write some decent female characters.  I have been SO disappointed with him. After loving Blink, I expected more.  Rose, Martha and Donna were exceptional characters I wish, wish, WISH Russell T Davies would come back, Amy didn't even come close to any of them.  Clara is ok - hopefully she will be developed further.  Let's just hope with new female characters, we don't get more of the same old, Sexy-feisty-hint-of-a-sexual-past-with-the-Doctor drivel that we've had to put up with during the Matt Smith years.  Come back Russell, or maybe give Helen Raynor a shot at being head writer.  I don't think it is sexist to keep the Doctor a man as some people do but maybe it is time for a female head of the writing team.



budcharles999
budcharles999

Yeah, the female characters WERE believable... until Clara.

EllieLindan
EllieLindan

This is ridiculous. Moffat's characters are weak, controlled by the men they're surrounded with, denied their autonomy and they seem to exist for the Doctor to figure out.  Moffat's characters are boring and tired. There's a reason people are tuning out. 

MeganHustmyer
MeganHustmyer

I am really confused as to why there is so much going around about doctor who being sexist???  I watched it as a kid and I never got any of that from it. Rose Tyler? Martha Jones? Donna Noble? Amy Pond? Clara? Sally Sparrow? Nancy? Gwen? I don't see any of them being subservient to men or being represented as a lesser human being because they're girls. I see how they're all "strong" women, and apparently that' an overused character trait in women these days, but personally it isn't one I mind. No, I don't mind seeing my gender being represented as strong, opinionated, bad ass, adventurous, and confident rather than submissive, subservient, silent, shy, and weak as they are in other shows/films/books. So Moffat doesn't write female characters of a wide variety, at least he's writing about women in a way that makes them equal to men or at least not lesser than men. So women in the show are often devices to move the plot forward in the doctor's story. well of course they are, men are used like that too! Doctor Who is about the Doctor, primarily, after all he's the titular character, not anyone else however much we like them. Other characters are parts of the doctor's life, people in his life that change him, and there are events that change him and the show shows us how his character changes and what he does. the show is about the Doctor's life and his adventures. 



EllieBanks
EllieBanks

I'm sorry, but I don't buy any of this. And you've got it wrong: feminism is not about writing STRONG female characters, it's about writing REAL, RELATABLE female characters you can empathize with, and that's where Moffat falls flat on his attempts. A female character can be soft and peaceful and still be a feminist icon, if written with an interest of making it a real human being and not just a cardboard cutout used for plot-advancement (of the men). Amy Pond waking up in the middle of giving birth? And later losing her child? And she is not the least bit traumatized? Come on, that's a freaking cartoon, and NOT BELIEVABLE AT ALL, no matter how many times she ventures into alien spaceships to push buttons. Victorian character Jenny stripping to a skin-tight black suit to fight? We know precious little of her backstory, but it just doesn't make sense that somebody living in Victorian England would turn into Trinity from the Matrix just for the sake of a cool fighting scene. And does River Song ever lose something important to her? Even when she sacrificed all her regenerations to save the Doctor (which was stupid, IMHO), she's still the same character with the naughty schtick. She cries, of course, but does she ever change? Isn't Mels just the same character, no development, as Professor River Song, summoned from the Library as a ghost-thing? Look, even the non-flirty, science-y Osgood from the movie is a caricature of a... I wanted to say scientist, but she's more the jock's vision of a nerd, for fun purposes: glasses and an inhaler? And also awkwardness... it's like the make-fun-of-this-person trifecta, out of a Chuck Lorre sitcom, and I'm really surprised that more people didn't find her offensive, since she's supposed to represent the nerdy fans...


So I'm with Sabrina P. Find a woman to write an article about feminism. Also, someone who really knows what it's about. Enough voices of men telling women what they should and should not do/talk about, isn't it time for a fresh breath of air from someone who's directly affected by this issue?

Riversmith
Riversmith

For those who think Moffat only writes strong, flirty women…how about Ingrid Osgood (from Day of the Doctor)? Sure, she is not a companion, but she is still a Moffat female character. She was clever but rather nervous and insecure.

SteveWillis
SteveWillis

Moffat isn't sexist. It's just 65% (number pulled out of the air, not a real stat) of female character he's written are just very similar. It just makes him not the best writer for female characters. If he was sexist, all female characters he'd write would be subservient to a male and make sandwiches for men all day. Terry Pratchett to some degree has the same problem. His female characters are great, just it was sometimes dull when we got another female character who was essentially Susan.




greggc72
greggc72

wait a minute,,,

strax is male???!!!???



notYourGoldfish
notYourGoldfish

I agree with everything you said. Actually, I think it's strange that it's Moffat of all people who gets criticised for writing sexist, anti-feminist stuff. If I had to name one writer who writes empowered female characters, then I'd say Moffat's heroines  are a picture book example of strong woman. 


I know, if I'm lucky someone will leave a reply to this comment referring to 'Coupling. But I haven't header about the writers behind 'Two and a Half Men' or 'How I Met You Mother' being accused of having committed similar offences. It's a show. Only because you create a character, it doesn't mean you agree with their opinion on a personal level. Otherwise, the guys behind Hannibal or Dexter would be in serious trouble.

Hewy
Hewy

In no way is Steve Moffet a feminist writter, "Coupling" proves that we have a key running gag a character taping love making between himself and he's many conquests, without their consent. Not only is this not veiwed as illegal - it is; but is shown to be funny.

MarlonJBonnici
MarlonJBonnici

Like I've said before. Moffat writes strong female characters. But if you've seen one of them you've seen them all because besides surface differences they're all the same.

The Living Angel / is Regenerating
The Living Angel / is Regenerating

Moffat is neither a feminist or a sexest writer, he is just a writer!  

I would suggest that the people who claim, sexism,racism, homophobia etc, are the kind of people that will see these things wherever they look.

Patches365
Patches365

I'll let the Doctor sum up my thoughts on this article:


"You let one of them go but that's nothing new. Every now and then a little victim's spared because she's adventurous, 'cause he's gay. 'Cause they're middle-aged. And that's how you live with yourself. That's how you disempower millions. Because once in awhile—on a whim, if the wind's in the right direction—you happen to be kind."

Sabrina P
Sabrina P

...If you wanted an article on your site defending Moffat from feminist critique, couldn't you at least have found a woman to write it? Just what I need, some dude telling me I'm doing feminism wrong. This article reeks of desperate apologism.

milkcandiez
milkcandiez

@budcharles999 I thought Clara was underdeveloped in Series 7, but luckily Moff made it up in S8 by showing that she isn't as dependent on the Doctor and that traveling with him was only her (spoilers!) hobby

DW_girl
DW_girl

I know what you mean. Clara, although showing a sense of responsibility, had no character development- nothing that made her relatable. Rose did, for example.

EllieBanks
EllieBanks

@MeganHustmyer Explain how most of his companions are women, then? If men are used as plot advancement too, perhaps there should be a bigger number of men companions, alone, not together with other women. The thing is, women in television have been used, historically, as props for the advancement of the men's storylines, and Doctor Who is not the exception. You say you watched the show as a child, right? It's easy to have missed the finer shades when you were a kid; you've probably encountered people who say their childhoods were 'ruined' because they watched a childhood favorite as adults and realized all the stuff that went over their heads. It's something like that here, too.


And the thing is, the range of women in reality is not just 'strong' and 'weak', and worse, it isn't divided in 'good' and 'bad' either. If a writer takes that stance, then the resulting character is a stereotype, a caricature, a cardboard cutout that resembles nothing in real life. And I know Doctor Who is sci-fi, but the show is being seen by real people, all of them. Same way you can have sentient furniture and talking animals in a Disney movie, for example, and *identify with them* (wouldn't happen in real life, would it? Would you identify with the struggles of a real lion, out there in the wild?), characters played by humans, to be seen by humans, have to be something that the humans that watch can identify with, or at least feel sympathetic for, and that is the biggest problem with female characters in general, including the ones in Doctor Who: they are not. Someone already said that the Moffat females all kind of merge into each other, and that's really bad; it would never happen if they were written as actual human beings, not walking paragons of "strength" and "sass" and "badassery".

Sam in Cardiff
Sam in Cardiff

@EllieBanks 'Amy Pond waking up in the middle of giving birth? And later losing her child? And she is not the least bit traumatized?' You'll forgive me if I didn't bother reading the rest of your comment, as you clearly didn't bother watching Asylum of the Daleks, which clearly shows Amy being traumatised by the events of Series 6...




Riversmith
Riversmith

I don't see how he "falls flat on his attempts". He writes interesting characters that fit into the plot. I don't believe he is unsympathetic to female characters. It is not fair to reduce a character to two attributes ("science-y", "nerd") and then label them a caricature. By that standard the Doctor could be labelled a "science-y nerd". And sometimes a show - particularly a sci-fi adventure - requires a larger-than-life hero or villain, not just a "real person".

EllieBanks
EllieBanks

@Riversmith Moffat writes caricatures of women. It doesn't matter if they can lift a train with their sass, if they're impossible to empathize with, they're bad characters.

EllieBanks
EllieBanks

@SteveWillis He doesn't have to have the women doing all the chores for the men for it to be sexist; if they're there merely to advance the man's plot (the Doctor's), they're props, and therefore, not good characters. They're cartoons, impossible to empathize with, because they behave in a way that's not realistic at all. And yes, most of them kinda blur into each other, which is really sad.

ConnorWhite
ConnorWhite

@greggc72  Who knows? Strax is a clone, just because he is played by a male doesn't mean he is one. I mean who knows if there is female Sontarans

EllieBanks
EllieBanks

@notYourGoldfish He doesn't have to write strong female characters, but believable ones, and he fails at it. If he doesn't write women like they're human beings, but rather this cartoonish females who go through life with no real purpose or development, then those are bad characters, no matter how strong they seem. 

As for Chuck Lorre, that guy is so far out on the sexist writing that it doesn't even bear mentioning, but his shows are aimed to another kind of audience that... doesn't seem to notice? And it's not a matter of agreeing with your character's views on life, but how the issue is presented on the show. The same issue can be presented different ways, take Community vs The Big Bang Theory, for example. Both contain a lot of nerdy references and situations, but the first makes it cool and relatable, even in scenarios where it seems impossible (8-bit games), and the second points and laughs at its characters, making them look awkward and ridiculous for being who they are.

Riversmith
Riversmith

What about Ingrid Osgood? She was a shy, clever and very likeable female character.

TheOncomingFish
TheOncomingFish

@MarlonJBonnici  I don't think that's true. How are Amy and Clara the same? For starters, Clara isn't flirty like Amy. Clara is committed and so only travels with the Doctor on Wednesdays so that she isn't disregarding her commitments at home. She also makes the Doctor wait for her. This is a contrast to Amy who is, at the beginning, afraid of commitment. She is also 'the girl who waited', unlike Clara who makes the Doctor wait for her. Clara is very good with children whereas it was shown from her interactions with Mandy that Amy isn't (at first. As time progresses and after she has Melody she becomes more motherly and caring towards them. That's a small part of the large amount of character development she has). I would say that although on the surface Amy appears confident, underneath she's still, at first, the lost little girl trying to appear like she's an adult (in the words of Karen Gillan). Clara however is already quite self assured. Although she doesn't show it, Amy is very in awe of the Doctor and has a huge amount of faith in him (until series 7 where she matures and grows out of the childish view she has of him- again, character development). Clara is obviously impressed by him but isn't as in awe, maybe because she didn't meet him as a child like Amy did. Amy pushes people away because of her abandonment issues and is distrustful of people because of what she went through, whereas Clara isn't like that. They are both caring but Clara probably shows it more than Amy.  I could go on- there are lots of differences, not just surface ones but very internal ones like Amy's issues with abandonment. 

KelvTwelve
KelvTwelve

@Sabrina P  Okay let's just edit the title and rename the author to Gregora and we'll be set.

TheOncomingFish
TheOncomingFish

@Sabrina P  If you disagree with the article you could come up with some logical reasons for why you disagree rather than using the author's gender as a reason for why the opinions in this article are wrong.

Me and Stuff
Me and Stuff

@Sabrina P Just because I'm a man doesn't mean I can't have an opinion on the subject. And if you scroll down the comments you will find all kinds of other opinions, among them women agreeing with me and men disagreeing. And that's all fine. Why shouldn't everyone be able to have their say?

 Notsosmartguy: Time Thievious Racoonus
Notsosmartguy: Time Thievious Racoonus

I seriously doubt that was the authors intention. Also what apologism? All I see is someone defending a writer who gets a bit more flack than he deserves.

Me and Stuff
Me and Stuff

@DW_girlClara's story is not done yet. And Rose's character development consisted of falling for the Doctor so much that she couldn't bear to live without him. Yup, that's a strong independent female character.

IbeanAdler
IbeanAdler

@Kuroba @EllieLindan Many examples actually. If we go back to Rose, Martha, and Donna we see that they had back stories. Rose worked in a shop, she had a best friend. Martha had a job as a training Doctor, Donna was a temp from Chiswik, she lived with her mom and grandpa. What I am trying to say is that RTD wrote character with back rounds, he showed us that even an every day person could do something special. We could relate to them. Now, we see Amy, a kid that has a thing in her house. The Doctor said he would be back in 5 minutes, but didn't show up for years. Because of that Amy had to see different psychiatrists, and that made her life revolve around the Doctor. Now Clara. Clara was, as she said, "Born To Save The Doctor". She had barely any back round information, and if her title doesn't prove the point that Moffat writes characters that revolve around The Doctor than I don't know what does. 

This article is not showing how Moffat isn't sexist, it's showing how his characters are hard core. He is sexist because he is writing the lady to act only because of the males action.      

EllieBanks
EllieBanks

@Sam in Cardiff Sure, ignore anything that might make you change your mind. You're free to remain uneducated, if you so choose. 

And the plot point you refer to is Amy's inability to have any further children, not the events of Series 6. She acknowledges they 'did something to her' ('oh right, remember that? That was a wild weekend, whew!'), but what puts the tension in her marriage is the ultimate realization that she has been left unable to conceive, not the things they did to her. Get your facts right.

Kuroba
Kuroba

@EllieBanks @Riversmith  "Moffat writes caricatures of women. It doesn't matter if they can lift a train with their sass, if they're impossible to empathize with, they're bad characters." A single example of this would be nice, thanks.





Obsessedoctavia
Obsessedoctavia

Every single companion we've had in the 50-year history of Doctor Who has been there to advance the Doctor's plot. Rose, Martha, and Donna were all there to advance the Doctor's plot. Amy, River, and Clara are here to advance the Doctor's plot. But each of these characters have their own plots, their own storylines, and their own character development. Don't you dare tell me Amelia Pond didn't go through massive character development. She went from the scared girl running away from her problems to the confident, earthshaking woman who doesn't take any shit.  We've seen River Song transform from a reckless, rebellious whirlwind of a teenager to a wise, powerful woman who is the perfect complement to the Doctor. Even Clara has had character development already, although we haven't seen the last of Miss Oswald. All these women have their own plots, and sometimes those plots interconnect with the Doctor's. But none of these characters are merely there to advance the Doctor's plot.

Obsessedoctavia
Obsessedoctavia

But Steven Moffat does write believable female characters. Take Amelia Pond, for example. It is ridiculous to say that she hasn't had character development. When we first meet little Amelia Pond in The Eleventh Hour, she's a young girl left all alone in a big house in the middle of the night, scared of the crack in her wall, as much as she refuses to admit it. Even when she comes back as a twenty-one year old young adult, she is still terrified of commitment, to the point where she runs away with her Raggedy Man on the night before her wedding. And she has a right to be. Her entire life, no one has kept their promises to her. The Doctor left her alone with a monster in her bedroom and a promise that it would take him fourteen years to fulfill. Her aunt dragged her to four different psychiatrists and refused to believe her. It's this Amelia who runs away from her marriage, who tries to kiss the Doctor on the night before her wedding. Even when Rory is brought on board the TARDIS, she still comes on to the Doctor, she still flirts, and she is clearly still terrified of the commitment she's about to make. Then the universe is rebooted, and Amelia Pond has two versions of her life stored away in her life. One where she gets left alone in the middle of the night and one where her parents take care of her. She mellows a bit, her abandonment complex lessens - but doesn't magically go away! She still can't keep a job near the end of the sixth season - she lets Rory become her husband, because she knows Rory won't ever leave her behind, won't break his promises to her, and the Doctor becomes her best friend. We see her grow so much throughout the next season and a half - she becomes a mature, confident woman who suffers impossible things - and anybody who thinks that Amy Pond didn't care about the loss of her child obviously didn't watch The Wedding of River Song. The Doctor is very dear to me, that's true. But do you know what else he is, Madame Kovarian? Not here. River Song didn't get it all from you, sweetie. Amy has never been the type to broadcast her pain for the world to see, she hides it behind layers and layers of nonchalance and sarcasm. But it comes out, in this moment, when she murders the woman who took her baby away from her in cold blood. - but grows and learns from them, and becomes an amazing person who would rearrange space and time for her little family. How can you not think that that's development? Amy Pond is not a prop. Amy Pond is not a cartoon. Amelia Jessica Pond could easily be a real woman, even if the things she has experienced are impossible. She may be neuroatypical, she may have two lifetimes tucked away in her head, she may have years of painful and scarring experiences, but Amy Pond doesn't let that turn her into a villain or a victim. She is a strong woman. She is a believable woman. So is her daughter. So is Clara Oswald. 

MarlonJBonnici
MarlonJBonnici

@TheOncomingFish @MarlonJBonnici

They're both headstrong fiesty women as was River Song as is Jenny as is vastra as was Liz ten and queen Elizabeth. They both show an instant understanding of how things out of their world work as well. Example. Amy realised within seconds of meeting a Silent how they're particular trick worked. Clara as soon as seeing a vortex manipulator somehow knew how to use it. Liz ten was full of attitude and queen Elizabeth (I think it was queen Elizabeth in the 50th anniversary correct me if I'm wrong) also knew how to beat a Zygon when realistically she would have been killed.


They've all got surface differences, looks, origins, personality quirks, but they are all essentially the same kind of character. Classic who had a lot more "Damsel in distress" Types but new who is all about damsels who save the Dr as much as he saves them. It's not a bad thing by any means but it is overdone now.

As for Osgood didn't she click quite quickly how the Zygon's had infiltrated U.N.I.T. also didn't she have a quick witted response on how to get away? Again besides surface differences a strong female character. AGAIN.

notYourGoldfish
notYourGoldfish

@TheOncomingFish @MarlonJBonniciI agree with OncomingFish. His female characters are different. Sure, they have certain similar character traits, but if you asked someone who is not familiar with Who if Clara and River are written by the same writer, they'd say no. Or Sally Sparrow. They have different moral concepts, different relationships to male (and other female) characters and different dating habits.

Sabrina P
Sabrina P

@TheOncomingFish @Sabrina P Not in the mood to cover point by point the logical and factual fallacies in this article. I'll go for one example: author claims there were no homosexual relationships in the RTD era when in fact there were. Off the top of my head: Ianto and Jack, old ladies in Gridlock, the couple in The Unicorn and the Wasp. He also says there were no gay kisses, forgetting Jack kissing the Doctor. He then praises Jenny and Vastra, whom I like, but have also been problematically written. One example of this, they're a couple who've never been shown to kiss, but the Doctor kisses Jenny against her will and it's treated like it's a joke, rather than disturbing behaviour.

The fact that the website could have chosen to have a woman's voice weigh in on the debate about the sexism in Moffat's writing and had a man write the article instead is something that deserves to be criticised.

Sabrina P
Sabrina P

@Me and Stuff It also means that that your opinion is less legitimate. And the article itself did nothing to ease my scepticism of the author being unfit to comment on this subject.

Sabrina P
Sabrina P

@NotsosmartguyThe author is fairly dismissive of feminist critique in the first paragraph. "A certain blogging platform that most online Doctor Who communities tend to ignore" ? Please. The author does not consider the points raised by the critique or acknowledge they may have validity that he, as a man, is unfit to dismiss. Instead he suggests that we "turn the tide" of the debate to fit his point of view, and then provides weak arguments for it.

DW_girl
DW_girl

I agree with you here. Clara has just got no character development. She has remained constant throughout, her experiences in The doctor's timeline not having any effect on her, and seemingly forgotten. And yes, she's impossible- impossible to relate to. I only thought her character real depth in Asylum, Snowmen, Akhaten, Day and Time. She was okay in Nightmare and Name, mediocre in Hide, and plain in Bells, Cold War, Journey and Crimson. Such a shame. All the other companions, including Amy, had real depth and character development, so in my opinion, I think they should've delayed Clara's debut until series 8.

EllieBanks
EllieBanks

@Kuroba Okay, what about Clara? How can one empathize with an "impossible girl" (note that she's an adult woman and is still called a "girl" - that's infantilization). And even if we remove the supernatural elements of her existence, what's left? She's bright and quick on her feet, but what else? Does she have any fear? Is she struggling with something? Is she growing and developing? Or is she the same person now than when she started? So far the only different thing about her is that she's changed jobs, from nanny to teacher, why did that happen? Was there growth, change, anything in her character to make her change? 

And what about the effects of jumping into the Doctor's timeline? Does she remember? Did it affect her in any way? She clearly remembers what happened: in the movie, Eleven reminds her about the time she met Ten, and that happened nowhere else but his time stream. She died multiple deaths! She remembers all that! All the struggle, the anguish the pain... And there's no change whatsoever in her! It's like those cartoons of old when something important happenes in an episode, but in the next one it's completely forgotten and everyone just goes on with life. But this is with real people we're supposed to sympathize with, and past events are referred to, but rarely any consequence is shown. That's bad character writing, and it's something that affects mostly Moffat's female characters, hence the sexism; like it was mentioned in a comment above, Rose didn't have those problems (or Martha or Donna). 

I could go on about Amy as well, but you asked for one example and I'm pretty sure you can make your own questions after reading this.

MarlonJBonnici
MarlonJBonnici

@DrWhoClone221b Different show so I'm not including her in my list. When it comes to Dr Who all his women are still basically the same.

DrWhoClone221b
DrWhoClone221b

Molly Hooper. Not from Doctor Who, but I'd like to direct anyone who think moffat only writes fiesty, obnoxiously strong female woman towards molly hooper from Sherlock. Probably one of the most normal, absolutely ordinary characters, especially female, that you'll ever find on tv. As such one of the most relatable and believable female character. Moffat should truly be proud of molly hooper, because she's quite extraordinary in the sense she is completely ordinary.

_thomasilva
_thomasilva

@BJAMES @EllieBanks@Sabrina P I've been reading this thread for an hour or so (and sorry to bring up the talk all over again) but oh my god bjames you're the cutest person in the world and I'm so, but so glad that there are people like you. (I know I'm a complete stranger, but your comments here are just beautiful. And that's a long way to say - I agree with ya.)

LadyCarrotFire
LadyCarrotFire

@Sabrina P @ilyootha"Kissing someone against their will is a form of sexual assault and normalising that kind of behaviour colludes in rape culture."


So every time my Grandma kissed me as a five year old, she was sexually assaulting me and was colluding in rape culture?!   MY GOD.  That horrible woman.  Surely I should seek a therapist post haste.

BJAMES
BJAMES

@EllieBanks @BJAMES@Sabrina P See my comments above. Now you are being simply well beyond merely ridiculous. You are delusional. I have no intention of making this personal, I don't know you or have knowledge of anything you've experienced, but something personal has obviously saturated your entire perspective. I'm fine with educating myself, and even more inclined to be open to education provided by others. I've nothing to learn from you. You sound very angry, very scared, and very reactionary. You need to take this somewhere else, because your issues have nothing to do with a television show and its viewers opinions.

Sabrina P
Sabrina P

@Amy the Consulting Commentator How come whenever someone criticises something Moffat's written, someone always responds with "BUT RTD DID IT TOO!" as if that justifies anything? RTD's era had problematic elements as well, which were critiqued in their time, but he left the show years ago. Whereas the future of the show is still in Moffat's hands so when people point out the flaws in the current writing of the show it's in the hope these things will stop.

f you're interested in my opinion on those examples anyway, despite their irrelevance to the discussion at hand, here goes:

I didn't like the trend of people kissing the Doctor against his will that began in the RTD era. Cassandra was an example of this. In that particular case I was not personally offended, but I would never deny anyone their right to criticise it. I believe the forced kiss trend has become worse in the Moffat years, where it's not merely one-off characters (a villain, in Cassandra's case) kissing the Doctor (the recent equivalent being Queen Nefertiti), but the main characters doing it, again and again after a lack of consent has been expressed (Amy in Flesh and Stone) or outright mocking consent (Clara in The Snowmen: "you blushed, so you liked it!", the Doctor to Jenny: "that felt good!" and whatever the hell the exchange with Tasha meant). When the Doctor does it to a woman there's added power/privilege issues at play which makes it especially wrong.

As for Jackie and Elton, Jackie did apologise to him in case you don't remember, and her and Rose's anger at him was justified since it was because Elton was using Jackie to try to get to the Doctor. Again, if that scene of Jackie hitting on Elton did make someone else uncomfortable, I would not argue with that. More or less the same scenario with Minnie.

As for Owen, that was totally scummy and I hated it, but I guess Owen was supposed to be a slimeball, and this was an adult show, which doesn't have the added factor of an impressionable audience.

Here's a checklist for when something problematic happens. The more it hits, the worse it is:

1. It happens more than once

2. Text treats as funny or no big deal

3. Character experiences no consequences for doing it.

4. There are power/privilege issues at play.


Eleven kissing women against their will: hits all four. Cassandra kissing Ten? Hits number 2 and maybe number 3 (I say maybe because that's the episode in which Cassandra dies, so).

EllieBanks
EllieBanks

@BJAMES @Sabrina P"Are you insisting that the Doctor's euphoric kissing of Jenny after she'd rescued him was some sort of violation of her as a woman, or as a lesbian?"

It was inappropriate and nonconsensual, so it was a violation of her personal space, and a normalization of rape culture. I fully agree with Sabrina P about that.


"If you're seeing sexism and homophobia here, the issue is entirely in your head, it's something you're bringing with you" 

Well, then it must be a collective delusion 'cause I'm seeing it too. If you're not seeing it, BJAMES, then try educating yourself. That is, if you do care about what you're shown on TV and the effect it definitely has in your appreciation and respect for other people's choices.

Amy says Peter Davison is the Thirteenth Doctor!
Amy says Peter Davison is the Thirteenth Doctor!

@Sabrina P @ilyootha  "But he clearly doesn't see it as inappropriate behaviour, since he had the Doctor do it to Tasha as well. Kissing someone against their will is a form of sexual assault and normalising that kind of behaviour colludes in rape culture."

- Then was RTD not just as guilty of "colluding in rape culture" by having Cassandra in Rose's body and Jackie forcibly kiss the Doctor, and by having "Minnie the Menace" sexually assault the Doctor in "The End of Time"?  And by having Jackie force Elton into a sexually-charged situation in "Love & Monsters"? And by having Owen literally date-rape a couple in the first episode of Torchwood? And none of these instances were so much as questioned aside from Minnie (though she only received minimal scolding); Elton even ended up being yelled at by Rose for upsetting Jackie, and she was the one who went after him! ("Big absorbing alien over there and you're having a go at me!?") Clearly RTD must find this behavior to be appropriate as well.



BJAMES
BJAMES

@Sabrina P @ilyootha Did you actually just suggest that Doctor Who somehow advocates "rape culture"?  Sabrina P, you need to go and talk with someone ASAP. You need HELP. I sincerely hope you get it.

BJAMES
BJAMES

@Sabrina P @BJAMES You really are defensive aren't you? My statement spoke to the fact that, just going by the level of your intensity, you've obviously got an axe to grind, or issues that go well beyond a television show. Are you insisting that the Doctor's euphoric kissing of Jenny after she'd rescued him was some sort of violation of her as a woman, or as a lesbian? That's just nuts. Sexism and homophobia in Doctor Who? It's simply NOT THERE to make light of, and I certainly wouldn't if it was. It goes well beyond RTD being a gay man and introducing an openness about that aspect in the context of stories and characters during his tenure. Moffat has continued in that direction, and even has seen to the introduction of the show's first transgender Time Lord, with the Corsair in Neil Gaiman's "The Doctor's Wife". Just what show are you watching? If you're seeing sexism and homophobia here, the issue is entirely in your head, it's something you're bringing with you. Doctor Who and Steven Moffat have nothing to do with it. Maybe you're justifiably angry about sexism and homophobia that you have encountered in your experience, but that doesn't mean Doctor Who or Steven Moffat should have to become your whipping targets.

Sabrina P
Sabrina P

@ilyootha Moffat is the showrunner and therefore the ultimate arbiter of what goes on screen. He watches all the rushes and the edits and he should have realised how inappropriate it was and used a different take. But he clearly doesn't see it as inappropriate behaviour, since he had the Doctor do it to Tasha as well. Kissing someone against their will is a form of sexual assault and normalising that kind of behaviour colludes in rape culture. Not finding it offensive personally doesn't make that okay. And yes, straight males should not be telling queer females what they should be offended by or not.

In none of the Doctor's previous incarnations has he ever exhibited the disregard for the personal boundaries of people the way Eleven does, it's supremely out of character for the Doctor. His alien nature could have been shown in ways that don't collude in rape culture. Perhaps he could enjoy doing strange forms of fistbumps that won't become popular until 100 years' time, but no. Inappropriate kissing it is.

ilyootha
ilyootha

@Sabrina P "The idea that showing a lesbian woman being kissed against her will in a humorous light is problematic is not merely my opinion, it's a legitimate example of sexism and homophobia in the show"


The scene you are referring to was apparently improvised by Matt Smith and was neither Moffat's nor the episode's author's intention. Anyway, it fits well within the character of the Eleventh Doctor, who, due to his alien nature, tends to kiss people randomly when getting excited. I personally don't see any sexist, homophobic or other bad subtext here, nor I did when he kissed Rory or Tasha. But I guess you'll just say that my opinion is not very legitimate here, simply because I'm neither a woman nor gay.

Sabrina P
Sabrina P

@BJAMESI'm going to quote you, this what I meant by an attack: "I'm catching a drift here that what you might actually need to talk about, and be engaged by a listening ear in regards to, might have nothing to do with Doctor Who."

The idea that showing a lesbian woman being kissed against her will in a humorous light is problematic is not merely my opinion, it's a legitimate example of sexism and homophobia in the show. Much feminist critique was written about it. But you clearly don't care about that. So you're right that I'm not going to find much satisfaction in your comments.

BJAMES
BJAMES

@Sabrina P @BJAMES@TheOncomingFish What "point" did you make about Jenny and Vastra? That they were problematically written? That is merely your opinion, an expression of how you feel about how they have been written, it's not a "point" to be made. And I am not attacking you, I am attempting to respond to some very, in my view, irrational and aggressive statements you have made. If anyone is in attack mode, it's you. You seem to have severe difficulties separating your opinions and convictions with anything remotely resembling reality. At any rate, you'll get no satisfaction here.

Sabrina P
Sabrina P

@BJAMES @Sabrina P@TheOncomingFishIf you're in the mood to engage with me, how about starting with the point I made about Jenny and Vastra? I see no proof you're willing to do anything but blindly attack my person rather than treat the the topic being discussed with respect.

BJAMES
BJAMES

@Sabrina P @TheOncomingFish Perhaps, then, you should come back when you are "in the mood" to actually engage in a discussion, as opposed to tossing out otherwise inexplicable, baseless criticism? I'm catching a drift here that what you might actually need to talk about, and be engaged by a listening ear in regards to, might have nothing to do with Doctor Who.

Me and Stuff
Me and Stuff

@Sabrina P @TheOncomingFish If you want to write an article defending your stance, then there are no reasons for the site not to publish it as long as it's well-argued. There have been negative articles in the past.

TheOncomingFish
TheOncomingFish

@Sabrina P What I'm saying is that they didn't say 'we want a feminism article, but we're going to get a male to write it'. They received one and decided to publish it. It's not like they looked at a male's article and a female's article and decided that a male would be better at it, which seemed to be what you were implying when you said 'The fact that the website could have chosen to have a woman's voice weigh in on the debate about the sexism in Moffat's writing and had a man write the article instead is something that deserves to be criticised.' They didn't choose not to have a woman do it. 



Sabrina P
Sabrina P

@TheOncomingFish Right, 'cause this website has no editorial control at all. Let's see if they're just as equitative about publishing the fourteen articles criticising Moffat's sexism that this existence of this article may spark.

TheOncomingFish
TheOncomingFish

@Sabrina P The website didn't choose to have a man write it rather than a woman. That isn't how this website works. They didn't decide they wanted an article to do with feminism, the article was sent in by Me and Stuff. That's how guest articles work. They didn't choose to have a man write it because they never advertised the need for a feminism article or decided to choose someone to write one, they received one and decided to publish it. Personally I thought it was a really good article.

EllieBanks
EllieBanks

@supermoff Simple, because equality does not exist yet. Women's voices are more important in a debate about feminism because there are so few of them; for centuries it's been mostly men talking among themselves about what women should and should not do (complain about in this case). Easy enough to understand?

Sabrina P
Sabrina P

@supermoff @Me and Stuff Since you've chosen to read an article about feminism in Doctor Who and respond its comments, I'm going to to assume you're interested in feminist theory. Here's a link to a scholarly article about men's role in feminism, and maybe you'll see where the author of Is Moffat a Feminist Writer failed in that regard: http://www.nomas.org/node/122


Hmm, maybe links don't work. You can google Roles of Men with Feminism and Feminist Theory by Brian Klocke. Note that the author is a man, but he's clearly aware of the existence of the issue. The article should elucidate the conditions for a man to write about feminist theory, which I agree with.

BJAMES
BJAMES

@Sabrina P @Notsosmartguy Everyone's voice, and everyone's ability and willingness to listen are equally important regarding this topic. We converse, communicate, listen, engage, learn, and hopefully come to an understanding. The people listening to those women's voices are as important as the women speaking because without both or all parties engaging nothing but barriers and obstacles will remain. There are men who have listened and learned, and hopefully they pass that on. It's a process, on ongoing dialogue and journey, and providing that respect is always present, everyone needs to be involved. "Us and them" never gets anybody anywhere but off in isolated, closed off places.

Sabrina P
Sabrina P

@Me and Stuff @Sabrina P@Notsosmartguy Feminist critiques written by women can indeed have problematic elements that can then be argued against, or indeed be plain rubbish and dismissed for it on its own terms. But having a man write this and be dismissive of feminist critique is definitely a strike against this article.

Me and Stuff
Me and Stuff

@Sabrina P @NotsosmartguyThere are women who say that it's better for women to stay at home and don't try anything stupid. There are women who's response to the coming out of a lesbian is "well you just haven't found the right man yet". Are you going to argue that their voices are more important than those of feminist men?

Sabrina P
Sabrina P

@NotsosmartguyNo. It means I think women's voices are the most important in a debate about feminism. Are you going to argue with that?

Me and Stuff
Me and Stuff

@Sabrina P @Me and Stuff Well, then that's your thing. I happen to be of the unprogressive opinion that an article should be judged by its content, not by the gender of the author.

EllieBanks
EllieBanks

@BJAMES AdriaCurioso already replied to your question about thte women who work in DW, so I'll leave that out. If you care to read again, carefully this time, I never said I expected the "Powers That Be" to notice ~*me*~. I don't care about that, and I phrased my concerns as a group, because there are definitely more people out there who think like me, and we need to be more vocal. 

I realize I might come across as agressive, and I'll admit to that; I have full conviction in my beliefs and are not afraid to speak up, that's viewed as "agressive" sometimes, especially coming from a woman (see the sexism?). I also accept that I don't know you at all, and perhaps I've been talking to you thinking you're male, and you're actually female, so you've definitely experienced sexism. If that's the case, I apologize. However, if that is not the case, I... I simply don't know how else to explain it, and if you want to keep benefiting from the privilege of being ignorant (because that's a privilege you, as a male, have in society, even if you won't acknowledge it), then that's your call. 

You've called me reactionary, paranoid and defensive, and you claim I'm promoting opposite(?) prejudice. That's more akin to slander than anything I've said so far. You accuse me of "slinging accusation and insult", I'd like to see where exactly I did that? In the best case, you mistook my post with someone else's, in the worst, you're making slanderous accusations. Also, I'd like you to point out where's the slander, or the crass generalizations, because so far, you're coming across as someone with reading comprehension problems.

AdriaCurioso
AdriaCurioso

@BJAMES @EllieBanks @Sabrina P  Feminism, to me personally, is about getting people (men and women) to view women and men as equals. But just because a woman is a woman that does not mean she is a feminist, and one woman does not speak for all of us. So yes, there are many women who work on Doctor Who, that does not make them "traitors" to our "feminist cause." Some people just don't analyze the implications of what they're doing to DW, some just don't care about the harmful tropes and stereotypes they're enforcing. But they are there, and it's bad to deny there existence. I will say they are subtle, but that makes them all the more harmful.


BJAMES
BJAMES

@EllieBanks @BJAMES@Sabrina P You might actually be helping people to understand what feminism is not. It's not reactionary, paranoid, defensive ranting that does more to promote an opposite prejudice by making such crass generalizations. What you're spewing is more akin to slander. Your aggressive comments don't even seem to take into account that you're judging and slinging accusation and insult at another human being who you don't even know. You're not coming across as a feminist so much, as you are more than a tad imbalanced. You're quite mistaken if you think anyone amongst the "Powers That Be". as you named them, would take heed of you for even a moment. Are all the women who have been involved on the production teams behind Doctor Who all blind, or just traitors to your "feminist" cause?

EllieBanks
EllieBanks

@_thomasilva @EllieBanks@Amy the Consulting CommentatorNobody's silencing anyone. You can say whatever you want. And I never said all men think the same. But being a man, you belong to the group that holds the power, however you chose to wield it. Speaking in favor of equality? Good, you're a decent human being, and that is a useful thing you're doing. Thank you. But you can never know first hand what institutionalized sexism feels like, as a man. You can be discriminated against, and prejudiced upon, and those are bad things that should not happen to anyone, including you, but experience sexism? Just no. That's something that comes from a group of power (as in 'men', how many times do I have to stress this), towards a group historically powerless ('women').

EllieBanks
EllieBanks

@BJAMES @EllieBanks@Sabrina PYou're talking about it, that's got some value, and if just one person can leave with doubts that will later result in their education, then mission accomplished. As for attacking the show instead of doing something of value, care to enlighten me? What can I, a lowly fan, do to change the show, other than express my views in a public forum like this? It's not like I'm gonna be called to write for the show, is it? But if me, and others, start demanding better-written female characters, and eventually our voices reach the Powers That Be, then someone who can actually do something will start thinking about it. That's how change operates. So I'll just keep talking and talking, whatever names you want to call me. Surely someone, perhaps not you, will get something out of my comments, if only an interest in knowing more about the topic of feminism.

_thomasilva
_thomasilva

@EllieBanks @Amy the Consulting CommentatorWell that's just silly! To think that all men think the same is just plain ridiculous. We all suffer of sexism. We all have roles to attend that are imposed by society. Don't come here and tell that >only< women suffer from this. Men are sexists with other women AND men. If you're saying that other men suffer sexism from MEN then why can't other men talk about feminism? You all are talking about "we won't be silenced!" as you silent other people - who are not really saying anything bad 'bout you.

BJAMES
BJAMES

@EllieBanks @BJAMES@Sabrina P Who's stopping that from happening? Doctor Who fans? Steven Moffat? What's stopping that from happening? A television show? The person who currently runs it? Are you accusing anyone here of stopping anyone talking about these issues? You are commenting within the context of a commentary section topical of a television show. As I related to Sabrina P, it sure sounds like your concerns are well beyond just that. Is it easier to attack a television show than actually go out and do what you claim needs to be done? The only overabundance here is the unrelenting intensity of your misplaced hostility. The two of you, Sabrina P and EllieBanks, are in my estimate, examples of just why change isn't a much more progressive reality. You're soap boxers, full of sound and fury, accomplishing nothing of value here.

EllieBanks
EllieBanks

@Amy the Consulting Commentator"- So sexism against men doesn't exist?"

No, it doesn't, because men hold most of the power in society, so it is only them who can be sexist. Men can suffer discrimination and prejudice, which are bad, but that does not carry the same collective weight as sexism, which is institutionalized. And bear in mind that most of the discrimination against men (for example, against gay men) comes from OTHER MEN, not women. 

EllieBanks
EllieBanks

@BJAMES @Sabrina P"Equality in anything will have to be accomplished by male, female, including LGBT individuals as a group of human beings working together"

Yes, exactly. And there ALREADY EXISTS an overabundance of male voices and presences trying to "educate" everyone else, so I'd kindly request for them to step down and allow space for the other minorities you allude to to talk about these issues, most importantly the ones that concern them, for equality to exist as per your description.

Sabrina P
Sabrina P

@Amy the Consulting Commentator @BJAMESDismissing through blanket generalisations is silencing, yes. I don't approve of death threats either. That kind of fringe unfortunate fan behaviour crops up in all quarters. It's not the people writing thoughtful feminist critiques who are making them.

troughton who?
troughton who?

@Amy the Consulting Commentator @Sabrina P @BJAMES  Unfortunately, no it doesn't, because society is balanced in favour of men. (just like cisphobia, heterophobia, reverse racism doesn't exist). Men can be disadvantaged in situations but that's not women's fault. The proportion of men who abused by women is much smaller in comparison to the amount of women who face sexism from men.  And I agree with you that a lot of hate against Moffat is exaggerated - it is hate, if you will. I'm not denying that Moffat can write some problematic - even sexist - things at times; but just because you criticise him doesn't mean you have to hate him.









Amy says Peter Davison is the Thirteenth Doctor!
Amy says Peter Davison is the Thirteenth Doctor!

@Sabrina P @BJAMES  "Women are the victims of sexism"

- So sexism against men doesn't exist?

"Attempting to silence feminist critique (I repeat: "A certain blogging platform that most online Doctor Who communities tend to ignore")"

- That's not "silencing feminist critique." That's dismissing the rampant and exaggerated hate that often comes out of Tumblr; hate that generally tends to include unfounded and poorly-drawn accusations of sexism in Moffat's work. But nevertheless, if your method of supporting feminism includes spewing unwarranted hate toward a writer who doesn't deserve it and petitioning for him to lose his job/sending him death threats, then yes, I do believe that you are doing it wrong.








Sabrina P
Sabrina P

@BJAMES You are talking a lot about nonsense scenarios that have nothing to do with my point. Women are the victims of sexism, which is why they are more qualified to talk about sexism in the media. Men should definitely support feminism, and can start by supporting women's voices. Attempting to silence feminist critique (I repeat: "A certain blogging platform that most online Doctor Who communities tend to ignore") is DOING IT WRONG.

BJAMES
BJAMES

@Sabrina P @Notsosmartguy That's a bit of what I was getting at in my comment here. That sort of statement is just a breath away from saying that men should not be writing for women, or about feminism. I personally know and have encountered many men who were far better "feminists" than many women I've known and encountered. The whole, "I don't need some dude telling me" angle is extremist to put it kindly. Equality in anything will have to be accomplished by male, female, including LGBT individuals as a group of human beings working together to educate, represent, and bring about change. I mean, I could just as easily discount any female opinions and points of few on Doctor Who by saying, "I don't need some chick telling me about anything that concerns men". Does that sound rational or even like common sense? Follow that through, and no men would be writing women characters, and no women would be writing male characters, and that is absurd. There should be respect present when anyone addresses someone of another genders experience, but men, women, including LGBT individuals throwing the "You don't or can't understand because you're not (fill in the blank)" is just akin to everyone going off to their own respective islands instead of living in an integrated world. It's isolationist and divisive thinking. Maybe women shouldn't be watching shows which feature men as leads? How can they possibly relate? Maybe men shouldn't be watching shows that feature women as leads, because how will they ever get it? Carry that across into films, books, art in general, and what would that be aside from utter nonsense?

KrishnaLeigh
KrishnaLeigh

@EllieBanks @Kuroba I am always torn on this.  I think that any series (especially heavy Sci Fantasy) with a central male character is automatically going to fail the Bechdel Test just by definition.  The show is the Doctor, so he interacts with most people, he's central to the plot, and he ends up being what most people talk about if they're not talking to him.  That's not really that unrealistic, though, I think.  To be honest, if a blue box fell out of the sky that was bigger on the inside that traveled through time and space, and the person who used it was an ageless time lord?  I'd do my damnedest to try and talk to whoever stepped out of it, regardless of gender, and I'd probably talk about whoever stepped out of it, regardless of gender, I should think.  Hell, whenever the show is on or comes up, I talk about it, because I'm a huge geek -- I cannot really help myself.  It's not because I'm sexist and only think about dudes and only care about dudes.  It's because I really, really love the geekiness of time travel.  If only guys were important, I'd probably talk more about football or some other random crap, but I don't.  I do also love having long discussions about River song, as an aside, because she's pretty awesome too.

That being said, I think that whether you like Moffat's writing or don't like Moffat's writing, though, that he treats males and females equally (outside of the doctor).  I don't think that the males who aren't the doctor are any more useful or dimensional or autonomous or developed or less used to "further plot points" or more relatable or believable than the female characters are.  If we remember, he was the one who first wrote Captain Jack Harkness in the Empty Child who was the overly flirtsy oversexed omnisexual guy from the 51st century turned immortal, and then he wrote Rory, the lapdog turned millenium old Roman Soldier, and a few other random dudes here and there.  And for all of our "quasi-regular" dudes, there are just as many quasi-regular girls who don't become regular cast -- for Craig, we have Sophie, for example.  So if you want to bring up "Oh Craig's a regular dude", my only point is, so are several of the characters who never really become important companions.  He can write one-off "relatable" characters, they just don't become part of the Doctor's life overall, but I think that makes sense too.  But here's why I think that makes sense too... I think only exceptional and not average people would run off randomly and risk their lives every day throughout time and space.  We all fancy ourselves adventurers sometimes, but in reality it's only something like 1% of the population who truly is okay with true adventure and uncertainty -- so maybe that's why YOU don't feel the characters are relatable.  Some people don't find them that unrelatable.  Sure, what happens to them ultimately might seem a bit fantastic... but it's a sci fantasy show, so by definition it is... but how they act and their humanity and the fact that they are clever and adventurous and seek out and crave that kind of zest?  Doesn't seem that far off and crazy.  It also makes sense given the story.  I mean, I should think that someone like Craig, for instance, who really prefers the sofa and TV, etc., wouldn't want to travel with the doctor to begin with, so not only would he not last as a companion, he would never travel with him to begin with.

In other words, a prerequisite of being a companion to begin with?  Means the person has to already be unique and only like <1% of the population.  I cannot really imagine the Doctor dragging around a soccer mom who was like, "But I gotta get the sandwiches made for lunch and I miss my kids, so take me home."  or a frat guy who was like "Let's do beer bongs dude!" or some schlep who said, "Eh, can't we just hang out and watch TV?"  Or a neurotic type who was constantly hemming and hawing about going places and who had no sense of adventure, or maybe a much older companion who was complaining about their chronic back pain?  There are plenty of other examples of things that regular people do that could make companions more "normal", but that's never been the point of Doctor Who, and having normal people do mundane things has never been the point of the show.  It's never been about being relatable, it's always been about being wondrous and exceptional.

So while I cannot argue with you one way or the other on whether Moffat can write good, relatable female characters, or good relatable male characters, for that matter... I don't think that Doctor Who is really about being normal by any stretch of the imagination.  I think, though, if or when there is a female doctor, then we'd see if there were a change in the ability to write for such a complex character.  But she wouldn't be relatable either -- she'd be just as unrelatable as the doctor has always been.  At least I hope she is. Because that's what I love about the Doctor...is how magnificently unique and different he is.