I think the reason that lots of people think Steven Moffat’s version of Doctor Who is sexist is because it repeatedly acts and sounds sexist. It may be that Moffat consciously tries to craft his Who as feminist or pro-feminist. If so, I don’t think there’s any better illustration of the crucial point that, in a sexist society, however much of an ‘ally’ you may be, if you’re a man then you still enjoy male privilege, and probably don’t realise it half the time.
The Doctor describes Clara as “a mystery wrapped in an enigma squeezed into a skirt that’s just a little bit too tight”. The Doctor describes Marilyn Monroe as though she really was nothing more than the stereotypical ‘man crazy’ ditz she played in some of her movies. Rory likens being married to Amy to being trapped inside a giant robot duplicate of her. We get dialogue like “Why did she try to kill you and then want to marry you?” “Because she’s a woman”. Osgood, a scientist, is shown to be secretly obsessed with jealousy towards her prettier sister. A Dalek develops a female alter-ego, and she spends her time cooking.
In Moffat’s show, women are overwhelmingly defined by their traditional gender roles or bodily functions. It doesn’t matter that their excellence in these gender roles is praised by show and lead character. It doesn’t matter that we’re supposed to be impressed by the virtuosity with which River tricks people using her feminine wiles. It doesn’t change anything that the Doctor goes into rhapsodies about the wonders of motherhood. That isn’t liberating; it’s still the mapping of male, patriarchal conceptions of female value onto female characters.
River exists entirely because of the Doctor. Who the hell is River? She is an assemblage of gender essentialist tropes and wisecracks. When does she ever – beyond, arguably, her first appearance – behave like an academic or a scientist? When does she ever display anything resembling erudition or intellectual curiosity? When does she ever do or say anything to show or engender love? Admittedly, the Doctor seems to be sexually aroused by the way she shoots people… which is just charming. In ‘Let’s Kill Hitler’, she is incarnated as Mels, a character we’ve never seen or heard of before, and plonked unceremoniously into the story out of sheer, brazen convenience. She stalks Amy and Rory (her unwitting mother and father) for years, pretending to be their friend, all because of her pre-programmed monomaniacal desire to get to the Doctor. She regenerates while “concentrating on a dress size”. She spends the rest of the episode obsessing over her hair, clothes, shoes and weight. River’s instability is finally conquered by the love of a good man. This seems intensely hostile and patronising. If that isn’t what was aimed at, then somebody is a very bad shot.
It doesn’t matter that River is ‘powerful’. Fetishizing ‘power’ in women characters – having them kicking ass and always being ready with a putdown - isn’t the same as writing them as human beings.
[…]The reason I feel ill when the Doctor snogs River’s ghost at the end of ‘Name of the Doctor’ is not that I hate emotion in Who, or that I want – because I’m a sexually and emotionally repressed nerd or something – Doctor Who to be emotionless. Rather, the opposite of this is the truth. The reason I feel ill at moments like that is rather that I hate fake emotion, cheap emotion, unearned emotion. Commodified emotion. Packaged, marketed, profitable, sugary, junk emotion. Sentimentality, in other words.Sentimentality is disgusting because it’s not fundamentally about other people, or relationships. It’s about oneself. It’s self-regarding, self-comforting, self-pleasing. It isn’t social. It’s narcissistic. This is precisely what is so horribly wrong with all those Moffatian emotional tornadoes. How can they be touching when the characters and relationships are so shallow? When we’re watching narcissists adoring their own reflections in their partner’s eyes?[…]I don’t like having to hate this show. I want to love it.
what guys say PMS does:
- turns women into emotional bitches
what PMS actually does:
- increases breast size from retaining water
- increases sex drive
- lowers a woman’s tolerance for sexism
also it ups our testosterone levels which makes their complaints incredibly ironic
hi im a woman living in a post apocalyptic environment/desert island on a tv show and i have the smoothest armpits u have ever seen
hi im a woman in medieval times and my eyebrows r perfect and I have no leg hair
hello im a viking woman in a movie and i have a thin and trim waist and a huge rack and perfect eyeliner
Hi I’m a woman in a world without power and I wake up with perfectly curled hair
In the criminal justice system, supernatually-based offenses are considered really, really weird. In Beacon Hills, California, the dedicated detectives who investigate all this bizarre shit are Sheriff Stilinski and Derek ‘The Nose’ Hale (that guy, you know, the lurky one whose family died in a fire? Yeah it’s totally him).
These are their stories.