02 June 2010

Doctor Who fans are uncomfortable with women who want what they want.

Television! That may or may not be what I've been doing with my summer. This is a Doctor Who post, but I want to start with the awesomeness that is Glee, so we can start on a happy note before I get all pissy with DW fans. So, Kurt's dad? Kurt's dad makes me wish I could have him for my dad. He's so awesome! Every time the man talks, he makes me cry. Literally. This week (in the Gaga! episode), he gets onto Finn for being a homphobic dick to Kurt. (Transcript below.)

[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.

Kurt: Dad.

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.]

*Sniff*

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?

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.
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.

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.

[...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!
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!

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.

How macabre is that?
Did you steal into my heart, Neil Perryman, to figure out why I loved this episode so much? And:
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?

21 comments:

Gemma said...

So, first of all, I'm sorry that I only comment on your Doctor Who posts and not on more important stuff.

Anyway.

YES. I AGREE. GOD DAMN.

I've been finding it pretty difficult to describe how I feel about Amy trying to get it on with the Doctor- on the one hand, it was uncomfortable to see the Doctor saying no and not being heard, but on the other hand, the reaction from the online community was "Amy is such a whore". What, because she has the hots for the Doctor and not you? Gah. I mean, yes, her behaviour in that scene was problematic but we have to talk about it in a mature fashion and actually discuss the real issue- i.e. lack of consent- rather than resorting to knee-jerk misogyny.

Also, I was wondering- have you seen any negative reactions to Jack Harkness over the last few years? I was just thinking that if people react this way to a woman not being a stereotype, Captain Jack would probably scare them too, and yet I haven't really seen any bad feeling towards that character. I'm just curious as to whether it's out there as part of a general 'Doctor who fans can be really horrible' thing.

Courtney said...

Gemma,

No, Jack Harkness seems to be pretty popular. (The creation and success of Torchwood seem predicated on the popularity of this one character, after all.) Any negative reaction to him has been mostly homophobic, not slut-shaming, and there's not tons of that in the DW fan community. Jack may not be a stereotype, but there's more room for that in a man than there's room for female characters to step outside the boundaries of being a lady.

SnowdropExplodes said...

Great post.

Just thinking about episodes of the original series that pass the Bechdel test - there aren't many sets of companions with more than one woman involved. I think Barbara talks to Susan about various facts of history (since Barbara is set up as Susan's history teacher, it makes sense to talk about the historical stuff they actually visit from time to time!). I know that in Castrovalva (early '80s) Nyssa and Tegan discuss trying to fly/mend the TARDIS themselves. In Dragonfire, Ace talks to Mel about her childhood without reference to any men. There's two women scientists in Remembrance of the Daleks who talk about retiring and growing begonias (seeing as the alien tech outstrips anything they know) - but that gets interrupted by the Doctor - there's also a scene where Ace explains about the Daleks' racial purity civil war to one of the women scientists. In Battlefield, Ace and a local girl of her own age talk about a shared interest in explosives (and Morgan Le Fey talks to Ace and the local character about how she'll set a monster on them unless they give up Excalibur).

I don't have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the original series (there were a LOT of stories over 26 seasons!), but those are the episodes that spring to mind.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know where exactly you're getting this idea that Amy's assertiveness is a problem. She certainly should have stopped trying to hump the doctor when he objected, I'd have thought that would have gone without saying. Her mode of dress is certainly no different than those of the companions of the classic (real) series and I don't know a single fan who is objecting whether they like the new series or not. Futhermore, taking a classic series companion, Sarah-Jane Smith, and transforming her from a strong confident character into someone still hung up on a man, no matter how remarkable, is more offensive by far. Especially since we later see that she regrets not having children and is a lonely and rather sad spinster, even with K9 to keep her company.

And for the record Captain Harkness was NOT objected to because of his polysexuality (he was mostly gay, but seemed happy to shag anyone imo), but because he was a hideous parody of gay men, and RTD gary-sue to boot. No-one has a problem with his preferred choice of partner.

Courtney said...

Anonymous, Did you actually read the post? Because I quoted or linked to the places where Amy's assertiveness and desires, when they break from the traditional lady narrative, have resulted in slut-shaming and other sexist bullshit.

I imagine the Gary Sue policing of gay men to be almost as problematic (that is, sexist) as the Mary Sue policing in fan fic, so, still not okay.

And, besides, anyone who calls the classic series the real series can go hang out with the Trek fans who do the same thing on Asshole Island and leave the rest of us alone.

Gemma said...

Anonymous, just because people you know personally don't say homophobic things about Jack, or don't slut-shame Amy, that doesn't mean this stuff isn't out there. I know that my experience isn't the only kind of DW fandom, which is why I asked Courtney about her experiences of people's reactions to a character. If you'd framed your post as 'I've found that people disliked X because of Y instead of Z' as opposed to talking like you know exactly what all fans think then that would have been awesome- but you came across as thinking you know better than the rest of us.

As it happens, since you brought Sarah Jane into it... in her spin-off show, she has an adopted son who she looks after on her own, and at one point she almost gets married. I'm not saying that changing her relationship with the Doctor is totally cool, but it's not as much of an issue since she's still generally shown as a capable woman with her own life.

Anonymous said...

Sigh, yes I did read your posts and your comments and I stand by what I say. And actually as a life-long Doctor Who fan I do know what I'm talking about. I actually remember this the first time round.

Yes it is out there and I have found this is usually a good way of filtering the real fans from the dribbling idiots.

Even so the framing of certain characters on the show is utter rubbish.

Anyway I'll leaving you to your mindless squeeing.

Courtney said...

Anonymous, don't be a douche. You decided before you even read anything that I'm not a "real" fan, and calling my analysis of Doctor Who and its fandom "mindless squeeing" is just fucking inaccurate. Even if you don't agree with me, you can't possibly think that critical analysis is "mindless" or "squeeing," unless, of course, you've decided beforehand that lady DW fans (particulalry those who only watch NuWho) are dumb and squeeing. In which case, you are part of the problem.

Gemma said...

Oh but Courtney, we are ladies, clearly we only got into Doctor Who because the Doctor is, like, totally hawt these days. And OMG, Amy Pond has such cute outfits! Or, I dunno, something.

Anonymous, I'm a life-long Doctor Who fan too. I can see my DVDs of The Green Death and The Brain of Morbius from where I'm sitting- episodes I remembered from my childhood and bought for that exact reason. Just because I'm a woman, that doesn't mean I suddenly decided to start liking science fiction because I wanted to squee- and so what if some of us do squee sometimes? What, I can't get excited about my favourite TV show? Fuck that noise.

I hate this 'real fans' crap. Female-identified Whovians get it all the damn time. I am so, so sick of people telling women who happen to like sci-fi that we're not good enough. You know what? We are good enough. That's why Courtney can do critical analysis of the damn series in the first place.

Courtney said...

Gemma, I love you a little bit. And, in response to your first comment here, Doctor Who IS important stuff. So don't feel bad. :)

Neil Perryman said...

Wow. I'm sorry. I didn't read my comments like that at all. I wasn't saying that she should want babies because she is a woman, I just that it seemed odd she would not give it a second thought given she was 8 months pregnant and seemed happy with the situation when the episode began. That's what struck me as odd. I didn't mean to come across as a misogynist!

Neil

Lee Starnes said...

Courtney,

I fully don't know if there's something wrong or something RIGHT with me that I never once even thought about the fact that Amy tried to kill herself with the van while pregnant. I really loved the "Amy's Choice" episode, honestly, and I found the whole Rory death scene fantastic in the way it was handled - the doctor had a very fallible, almost human moment in his response of "Not always" to Amy's desperate plea of "You always save everybody." And Amy, to me, became a much stronger character by essentially taking charge of her destiny in that moment and dragging the DOCTOR behind her, as opposed to the other way around.

Truthfully, I was so pulled in by that moment that I totally forgot about the entire pregnancy issue, though prior to that moment I was very aware of it and was glad that Amy wasn't constantly smiling down at her own stomach as though she was smuggling the cure for cancer in there.

One of the ways I interpreted the moment (and the episode in general)was in an adult-child context, wherein the Doctor is generally the adult and his companion(s, including Rory) are basically just kids he babysits. The Doctor is older and supposedly wiser than them, so he generally makes no sense and seems to pull solutions out of thin air. His companion Amy, in the moment of Rory's death, really showed off a child-like innocence (maybe we can interpret that specific moment as a true regression) in her request that the Doctor essentially resurrect Rory, and when he reveals that he can't, Amy sees that he isn't God, he doesn't have all the answers, he just wings it like we do - all the things that many of us inevitably figure out regarding adults. To me that is a moment of innocence and naivete lost (the whole thing isn't a fun adventure or an escape anymore), and as such Amy takes responsibility for what happens to her, as opposed to careening around without a plan.

--Lee

a. brown said...

I squee, and I am not ashamed. I just found your blog and I love it. I am a new DW fan and I have a lady brain also, so it's good to find a place to safely discuss/dissect/squee (nothing wrong with a little squeeing) about it. Yay for feminist critique of sci-fi!!

Punning Pundit said...

I hadn't really considered that scene from a standpoint of sexual assault. And now, much like the "Willow raped Tara" thing from Buffy-- I can't _unsee_ it. And that's too bad; the scene is funny (to me) for reasons I'll get into in a bit.

To try and make the scene watchable, I'm going to imagine that at some point the Doctor pulls each companion aside and says "If I ever really, _really_ mean no, I'll use my safe word. It's my real name." After all, there's only one time the doctor would ever reveal his real name...

What made the scene funny, to me, was the juxtaposition of the smart, beautiful woman saying "yes" and someone saying "no". It's just so.. unexpected? My laughter would have been the same (I think) if she'd thrown a pie in his face.

Additionally, I tend to react with mirth to the Doctor's enthusiasm. When he starts to really geek out over a topic, I tend to smile and laugh. A lot of my friends do too. Amy was basically geeking out over the idea of sleeping with the doctor. At least, that's how it seemed to me.

I am disappointed to learn that anyone watched that scene and thought poorly of Amy...

Courtney said...

@Punning,

It's not like you have to hate Amy after watching this scene critically. (Although it does make me very, very uncomfortable to watch again, and I think that's a good thing.) I think Amy is still a good person, and that if anyone sat her down and talked to her about sexual assault and the importance of respecting someone's voiced or bodily "no," she would get it.

Treehouse Photography said...

It's no secret to people who know me that I'm not a fan of Amy Pond. I'm coming around since the last three episodes, but it was a long time coming.

This scene bothered me, not because it was a woman, but because I think anyone who doesn't listen to "no" is a jerk. I don't want to think of Amy as cold or unfeeling- because she isn't...usually.

I think my issues come from this feeling I get that Moff doesn't like women much- and it's showing the strongest in Amy. Whether that's because she represents more fear (second in command and smart) to him or because she simply has more screen time; that's up for debate.

For me, this scene is just another example of Moffat showing his fear and misunderstanding of a powerful woman.

Lord knows, I can't voice that opinion on GB- I'd be burned at the stake I'm sure! Thank you for having a safe space where I could voice this- as it's been bothering my husband and I for quite some time.

Courtney said...

Treehouse,

You're welcome! If you're looking for other blogs to talk about DW, Shakesville has a Doctor Who open thread every week. They're on the BBCA schedule, though, so be careful with the spoilers.

Daran said...

*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.

Seriously? Because my impression is the exact opposite. Given the structure of the show - a central character around whose superhuman capabilities the story turns - it's inevitable that when the other characters talk to each other, a lot of the time it will about him. Nevertheless, the show manages to pass the Bechdel test quite regularly.

Off the top of my head:

In 'Silence in the Library'/'Forests of the Dead', Donna talks with Miss Evangelista about many things. In 'Turn Left', she talks to several female characters about the monster on her back, with Rose about several things, with the Female UNIT commander about some techie stuff. In 'the Fires of Pompey' she talks with the female soothsayer about her powers. In 'Blink' Sparrow talks to Nightingale about several things. In 'New Earth' Rose talks with Cassandra about Cassandra. In 'Human Nature', Martha discusses women's rights with the servant who was later possessed by Mother of Mine. In 'Utopia' she talks with Chan-tho about the latter's speech patterns. In 'Boom Town', Margaret Blaine talks to the reporter about the latter's pregnancy (and it thereby motivated to spare her.). In 'School Reunion' Rose and Sarah Jane Smith have a pissing contest over who has seen the most terrible monsters. In Tooth and Claw, Rose organises the servants to save themselves from the monster.

That's just off the top of my head. I bet I'll think of more examples just as soon as I post this.

Anonymous said...

ACtually, what you're calling 'slut shaming' I feel I would have said had Amy been male. I wasn't upset by her wanting sex, I was upset about her wanting sex when she's in a serious relationship and I would be with ANYONE of any gender who tried to jump someone when they're already partnered off to someone who wouldn't be happy. She doesn't respect Rory which in and of itself is fine, but what ISN'T fine is that she has agreed to marry him. She already thinks she knows she doesn't want to. It' wrong to keep someone hanging on and it doesn't take much to say 'sorry Rory, I'm not ready'. Then she'd be free to chase who she wants and best of luck to her.
It's the same reason I dislike Rose, because they don't treat their current partners well, which should ALWAYS be a prerequisite when you lead someone to believe you're in a serious relationship with them. It's a responsibility which Amy shirks. Running away on the night of her wedding was a spur of the moment thing; after that she should have been prepared to treat Rory with some respect and tell him she wasn't interested. I'm sorry, but you don't treat people that way. That she was excited and impulsive is no excuse to hurt someone, even if he'll never know. She acted not like a slut, but like a disrespectful and selfish person. THAT is the problem.

Courtney said...

Anonymous,

So unless Amy and Rose are perfect about their partnered relationships, they're terrible people? I try to give people a little more room to be human, even in television shows, no matter their gender.

Frankly, I find Amy's actions completely predictable (except for the not giving a shit about the Doctor's consent part) after her first crazy, adrenaline-filled adventure. How the other companions kept themselves from jumping the Doctor after *their* first times is almost incomprehensible to me.

And, frankly, I think Amy *does* think it would be hard to say "sorry, Rory, I'm not ready." He's a bit clingy, no? And she might be worried about his reaction and his feelings if he reads too much into "I'm not ready to get married," and think that means, "We need to break up." (Since those are the only two options *you* give her, maybe that's what she's afraid of.) It takes two (or more) to have a healthy relationship, and Rory seems just as uncommunicative (did you *see* how much he liked that pregnant-and-in-the-middle-of-nowhere fantasy, seemingly without noticing how fucking *unhappy* she was?) a partner.

As for Rose, again with the not recognizing how much the male partner is to blame for their relationship. Rose was a little selfish, but we have to remember that they've known each other since childhood, and we don't actually *see* any physical reminders of a romantic relationship after Mickey refuses to go on the TARDIS with her. For all we know, when she says in the alternate universe, "What if I need you?" she means what if I need the only other friend I have in the world besides my mom? Just because *he* interprets it to mean what if I need a boyfriend doesn't mean that he's right.

Mickey holds a torch for her without a whole lot of encouragement from her, and he walks through those first two seasons with his eyes wide open. Rose *should* have talked to him about it, but he could have initiated a conversation just as easily. The blame for their awkward relationship is not just hers.

So, yeah, when you only blame female characters for dysfunctional relationships, even when their male partners are just as uncommunicative and unresponsive to their partners' feelings as the women, I hesitate to call that better than slut-shaming.

Courtney said...
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