[Boo! The video was removed from YouTube.]
[Update: Here is a shittier version.]
Kurt: It's just a room Finn! We can redecorate it if you want to.
Finn: Okay. Good. Well, then FIRST thing that needs to go is that faggy lamp. A-and then, we need to get rid of this faggy couch blanket...
Burt, walking in: Hey! What did you just call him?
Finn: Oh, oh no. I didn't call him anything. I was talking to the blanket.
Burt: No, you use that word, you're talking about him.
Kurt: Relax, Dad. I didn't take it that way.
Burt: Yeah, that's because you're 16 and still assume the best in people. You live a few years, you start seeing the hate in people's hearts. Even the best people. [To Finn] You use the N-word?
Finn: Of course not.
Burt: Yeah, how 'bout retard? You call that nice girl in Cheerios [the cheerleading team], with Kurt, you call her a retard?
Finn: Becky? No, she's my friend, she's got Downs Syndrome. I'd never call her that, that's cruel.
Burt: But you think it's okay to come in my house and say faggy?
Finn: That's not what I meant...
Burt [interrupting]: I know what you meant! What, you think I didn't use that word when I was your age? You know, some, some kid gets clocked in practice, we'd tell him to stop being such a fag, shake it off. We meant it exactly the way you meant it. That being gay is wrong, that it's some kind of punishable offense. I really thought you were different, Finn. You know, I thought that being in Glee club, and being raised by your mom, that you were some, you know, new generation of dude, who saw things differently. Who just kinda, you know, came into the world, knowing what's it's taken me years of struggling to figure out. I guess I was wrong. I'm sorry, Finn, but you can't stay here.
Burt: I love your mom, and maybe this is going to cost me her. But my family comes first. I can't have that kind of poison around. [Turns to Kurt.] This is our home, Kurt. [Turns back to Finn.] He is my son. Out in the world, you do what you want. Not under my roof.
[Finn walks away. Burt turns to Kurt again.]
Burt: Place looks great.
[Burt walks past Kurt and puts his hand on his shoulder, leaving it there. Kurt touches it with his hand.]
Okay, let's talk about Doctor Who! (Spoiler alert, obviously.) First, Moffat has been exceeding my expectations! I worry about him sometimes. But he seems to have matured from the lowest-dominator misogyny of Coupling. (If you haven't seen that, it's like Friends, but more sexist.) I'm still a bit weary, but so far, I am extremely pleased with the Doctor, Amy, and Rory (oh, Rory! I hope you come back), and their relationships. The depiction of the female characters in this series has been impressively three-dimensional and inoffensive.*
That said, there have been some issues. The first I want to talk about is the end of Flesh and Stone. (Yes, I'm behind on this. I know.) The scene where Amy assaults the Doctor was complicated for me.** For one, I love that Amy takes charge of her sexual desires, and that we get to see a healthy adult woman decide to have a one-night stand. It's great! Amy wants sex, knows what she wants, and goes and gets it! Unfortunately, even once the Doctor decidedly says no, she continues to force herself on him, and it starts to get uncomfortable. Not uncomfortable in a look-at-the-poor-Doctor-isn't-it-funny-that-she-won't-stop-kissing-him kind of way, uncomfortable in an oh-god-nearly-every-woman-watching-this-has-had-that-happen-to-her kind of way. The Doctor said no, Amy ignored his non-consent, and continued to try and have sex with him. I'm all for women taking the initiative in sexual contact if they want to, but once a partner has made it clear they are not consenting, YOU STOP. Period. What she should have done, after kissing him and having him pull away from her, is stop trying to touch him and undress him. Several commenters on a recent Shakesville Doctor Who open thread mentioned that this was sexual assault, but the best explanation I found was at Reconciliate:
Do you really think that was sexual assault?It's frustrating for me, because Amy's sexuality, and her refusal to be ashamed of it, is one of her best characteristics. So why did the DW writers feel like it was appropriate to turn this scene into one of sexual assault, where Amy find non-consent to be a joke? It felt like this scene was supposed to be funny in a similar way that the Doctor popping out of Rory's bachelor party cake was funny. Amy certainly thinks it's funny, and her cracks during the scene (I'm 907! Don't you know what that means?--It's been a while?) are supposed to make the audience laugh. In the middle of a scene where one character is sexually assaulting another. The writers don't seem to be able to imagine a confident, healthy woman who likes sex without imagining her as unconcerned with her partners' consent. Which I find depressingly disappointing.
Yes, I really do. The Doctor’s nonconsent was obvious and constant, and Amy did not pay attention to it at all. Sexually touching someone–in this case, attempting to remove their clothes or kissing them–after they have indicated their nonconsent, is sexual assault.
But it didn’t look like sexual assault to me. Sexual assault is violent and serious.
I hear this a lot in rape apology. Often sexual assault that does not take place in a police/military/corporate context involves no weapons nor punching nor direct physical dominance. Many sexual assault victims think of their experience as “the time that person had sex with me/touched me/kissed me and I didn’t want them to,” because they feel as though sexual assault is a concept that should be reserved for something serious.
The truth is, that’s all there is to sexual assault: you indicated you didn’t want to have sexual contact, but somebody made sexual contact with you anyway. (Sexual assault can also happen if someone makes sexual contact with you without giving you a chance to consent.) While sexual assault with a weapon or accompanied by a physical beating can often be more traumatizing to a victim (for example, higher rates of PTSD), any sexual assault is violent.
If Amy thought the Doctor had bad or irrelevant reasons for not wanting sex and wanted to address them, she could have dealt with his concerns before attempting to take off his clothes or kiss him again. She could have stopped touching him and explained that she just wanted one night, not a lifetime relationship.
She didn’t, though. She continually grabbed at him and tried to undress him while he was making his protests and without waiting for his consent. In fact, she showed a total disregard, throughout the scene, for his nonconsent, despite the fact that he was physically and verbally showing her he was flustered, upset, and unwilling. Although the word “no” didn’t pass his lips, he was still saying no every time he physically removed himself, shoved her hands away, redressed himself, and verbally gave reasons he did not want to have sex.
His “no” is unmistakable except by people who have an interest in not hearing it. This is common in instances of sexual assault. Most sexual-assaulters would claim they could tell their victim really wanted it, no matter how explicit the no was.
Worse than the writer's inability to imagine a respectful sexual woman, however, was the fan reaction, which I wouldn't have even known about (particularly since I haven't listened to DW podcasts in for-fucking-ever) if all my fave feminist bloggers weren't Doctor Who enthusiasts. Kate Harding documents the oh-so-frustrating douchey fan reaction to this episode:
Not only is there slut-shaming galore (I forgot to mention that Amy’s supposed to get married in the morning, so OMG HOW COULD SHE?) but there are several people advancing the theory that her hitting on the Doctor is meant to be read as evidence of mental illness (by which they seem to mean daddy issues and low self-esteem, mostly, but they’re framing it in terms of a disorder). Simply because she wants to have sex with what appears to be a very cute twentysomething guy (ok, he’s a 900-year-old alien, but still) after going through several adrenaline-pumping adventures with him. Previous companions in the new version have either mooned over the Doctor endlessly or kept it strictly platonic, and on a show about time and space travel and aliens and monsters, the fact that no one’s tried to bone him yet has strained my credulity more than just about anything else.WHAT THE FUCK, DOCTOR WHO FANS. It's all okay as long as Amy Pond is our eye-candy hot girl in a miniskirt, doing what she does because it's sexy for us, but as soon as she expresses desires of her own***, she's pathologized? Fuck that noise. I'm going to blow your minds for a minute: Women often like sex. Women sometimes choose, without being mentally fucked up, to have casual sex. These are true facts!
[...In Doctor Who Confidential] the show runner, Steven Moffat (who’s been accused lots of times of being anti-feminist, but whatever, that’s another post) says: ”Here’s this man, this generally rather good-looking man — sometimes older, sometimes younger, but generally good-looking — who’s wonderful, funny, passionate and kind, and the nicest, bestest human being (apparently), you’ll ever meet. And all those girls… didn’t notice? Ever? Not once?” GOD, THANK YOU. ABOUT TIME. Yes, previous companions have been crazy about him, but only in a “You are my One True Love and I will wait around until you think of me that way, which I know you never will” way, so later, Moffat explicitly states the obvious: Unlike them, Amy’s just looking for a romp, not true love, because why not? See also the part around 3:05 where Karen Gillan, who plays Amy, gives her reasoning for why the character went for it: “I don’t know, sometimes you do things in the heat of the moment…when you’re, like, excited, and you’ve shared something with someone and… [shrug].” Indeed. NOT ROCKET SCIENCE.
And yet. Precisely because she just wants sex, a disturbing number of people can’t figure out her motivation. There must be something deeper — something dark and fucked up, in fact — because a young woman just wanting a roll in the hay because hey, you’re here and you’re hot and all that stuff we just did was kind of mind-blowing? Well, that makes no sense whatsoever! To take that at face value, you’d have to believe that girls like sex or something!
But not only do Doctor Who fans think that Amy is a screwed-up slut for her sex-liking, but mentally ill for also not liking the babies inside her! I've added this blog, Behind the Sofa, to my feed reader recently, and it's not usually groundbreaking or anything, but better than average when it comes to episode-by-episode blog reviews****. Usually when I disagree with these guys, it's in a friendly manner. They tend to not make me want to punch them. But when I saw Neil Perryman's review of Amy's Choice, I almost had an aneurysm. Okay, not really. But I did get super pissed. It just hit me in the face, because I actually liked the review:
In Star Trek this would be the result of a quaintly segregated parallel universe or a bizarre transporter accident but in Doctor Who we are told to accept the fact that the villain of the piece is buried deep within the psyche of our hero. And still is.Did you steal into my heart, Neil Perryman, to figure out why I loved this episode so much? And:
How macabre is that?
I've noticed that some Pond/Gillan scepticism has reared its head over the last couple of weeks. I just don't get it. Yes, she's full of contradictions, kooky mannerisms and bouts of selfishness but that just makes her feel like a fully-rounded character to me. Even if the crack of doom isn't exerting a malign influence over Amy, her actions seem perfectly reasonable when examined in context.I love that he loves Amy! And finds Amy scepticism to be silly! Unfortunately, what he doesn't find "perfectly reasonable" is that Amy isn't consumed in rapture because of her unborn child in this episode:
Amy's lack of compassion for her unborn child, as she hastily cobbles together s [sic] suicide pact with the Doctor, could simply be interpreted as yet another subtle clue that the OAP world wasn't real, even if I'm still surprised that the Doctor would go along with her plan considering that he didn't know for sure that she was right, and she wasn't exactly thinking straight having just seen Rory crumble to dust like that.UGH. I found Amy's pregnancy, and decision to commit suicide even while pregnant, to be perfectly realistic. Especially when it becomes perfectly clear that she doesn't actually want a baby. (Also normal! Not all women want babies!) She chooses the chance of having Rory alive over her baby, and I don't get how this is an irrational or unbelievable choice. Is it because she's a woman? If she was pregnant in the hospital and had to have risky surgery, and the surgeon told Rory they may need to choose between saving her and saving the baby, would Neil Perryman argue that Rory choosing Amy (and not just Amy, but the mere chance of her surviving) is a "subtle clue" that there's something wrong?
Not all women see their bodies as mere incubation containers for the glorious baby-flesh that is inside them when they are pregnant, and are thus quite capable of making decisions that put that baby in danger when they think it's necessary. That doesn't make them mentally ill or whatever. It makes them people who can make their own damn decisions. Like, you know, men.
Even professed Amy-lovers, then, seem to have issues with Amy not following the Patriarchal Narrative of Ladyness, in which she is sexy Only For Men, keeps it in her pants except in Serious Relationships, and Want Babies. Also, Love Them more than herself or Rory. Do you see why I am repelled by Doctor Who fandom?! It is distressing. I am distressed.
*Has anyone else noticed that Doctor Who has pretty much NEVER had an episode pass the Bechdel test? Even when the show has two women (very rarely), all they really ever talk about is the Doctor. Is this different in the classic series?
**I should preface this by pointing out that I am no purist (although I find the arguments that the Doctor is always and forever asexual in the classic series unconvincing, since he starts in the TARDIS with his granddaughter?). I love seeing sex and relationships in television shows because they are present in real life. Without them, it all feels a little Victorian. Which is to say, we all know it's happening, we just don't talk about it. Because sex is dirty and shameful. I'm under the impression that most DW fans who want so very desperately for the Doctor to be chaste have issues. Like, lady issues. My friend Amy asked me what the fuck was up with the anti-River Song movement among fans, and I told her that they are probably mostly anti-Doctor-romance, and don't think the Doctor would ever sully himself with vaginas. Anyway, I find a lack of any sex in Doctor Who totally unrealistic. Why the hell wouldn't the Doctor find any of his companions attractive? They totally are! And he's super hot lately!
***I was going to say, and not for laughs, but this scene appears, as I said, to be intended to be funny. The other moments where we see Amy Pond owning her own desire are also usually wrapped in humor (because nothing's funnier than a LADY liking SEX).
****Unfortunately, it also has seven contributors, ALL MEN. What the hell is up with that?