Steven Moffat’s Female Characters: Response Rant
Original post here
So this started as a reply to the above but got pretty…side-tracked since I was only going to reply about the women and then drop it but whoops. So I guess it’s getting its own post? I dunno sorry everyone.
Okay, here’s my problem with the whole thing, and here’s where I’m, quite frankly, going to lose supporters. Can we talk about this in terms of problems with character instead of sexism? Like, that’s my issue. Because this person starts off on Amy by saying “I’m dealing mostly with S6 Amy” - okay. I agree. She’s growing up and it seems mostly off screen which is a hard pill to swallow because, well, we only see on screen and how are we supposed to take your word for huge things like this based just on what’s implied? And I don’t like a surprise pregnancy thrown into plots either (hey Breaking Dawn) particularly when it’s dismissed with suspicious rapidity and an even more suspicious lack of giving a fuck. But, like, notice how I said all that approaching it from a perspective of slips in writing and not by calling him sexist. I mean while we’re at it, Rory’s gotten pretty one dimensional, huh? Just kind of does a bunch of accidental bad ass things and that’s it. What about Jack Harkness? No one gave shit to RTD for writing that walking sex joke.
But I love him! You know why? Because it’s a TV show and he delivered some great one liners. I love River. She dives off buildings and expects to be caught. This accurately reflects my expectations of a man, and I appreciate it being represented on television. If this makes me a bad feminist then okay. I’m just tired of being made to feel guilty for not giving a shit if Steven Moffat has a limited perspective on women because of his generation and his penis. If I knew him in person and he asked me why I pursued a degree which would in no way aid me meeting my husband (do you actually think he would say that?) well then I’d punch him in the face like I were Rory and he Hitler. Until that day I’m gonna have fun on Saturday nights.
I came back to respond too. I think you pretty much said a lot of it. Like the writer even said in her post, if I cared about every stupid thing a writer or an actor said/did that doesn’t coincide with what I believe in, I’d never get to watch anything. I’d have to write off LOST forever because Matthew Fox thinks it’s acceptable to smack women. But how much can you honestly let in while you watch the show? It is going to affect your perception of characters and things and push them in a certain direction just because you know the writer holds a certain opinion. We can’t jump at every remark and assume it’s because he’s a sexist. Some things really are just a joke. River’s comments about going to weigh herself in LKH were something everyone got up in arms about but in reality she was just going to put on the Lipstick. It was a cover. You also can’t really judge River in that episode because she isn’t River yet. I think people are quick to jump on Moff’s characters because they don’t like Moffat, is what I’m saying.
I’m just going to focus on River because the critiques on her are what get me the most. I honestly don’t see the issue with River’s characterization. I think she’s in a unique situation, where she’s been brainwashed to kill this man, and then the way their time lines interact (almost back to front but not quite) causes them to very much be a part of each other in a way that takes away a bit from both of them. River says “Spoilers.” for example. So when Doctor meets Regenerated Almost River in LKH he says “Spoilers.” which causes River to pick up on saying “Spoilers.” Chicken and the egg. Yeah, the diary was left for her because he knew that in the future she had the diary. River had to happen the way River happened. Her not having a choice is one of the major parts of what her character is supposed to be about, and is it sad? Yes. It’s supposed to be bittersweet. Personally, I think it’s beautiful. River no doubt has seperate adventures (she’s made a few jokes about men she’s dated and even had her friends from SITL) but the show is Doctor Who and unfortunately we don’t get to follow River around unless The Doctor is involved. UNFORTUNATELY. Because I’d watch that.
I don’t think it’s wrong for a woman to focus on a man if that’s what she wants (fuck, especially in a situation like River’s) and it doesn’t mean that’s all she is. If you can give that much of yourself to another person, become that intertwined, while still holding on to your own personality, then I think that’s great. The moment a woman seems too focused on a man in Fiction everyone is quick to rage. She’s still a fucking badass. A badass who happens to know what she wants.
I want to point out a contradiction you made first, saying she’s a badass who knows what she wants following the fact that you said she’s been brainwashed to know what to want. My ultimate point was simply that River’s ability to choose has always been extremely limited to the point where how much free will she has is questionable.
It was just a joke, yes. It’s not a joke how many women suffer from eating disorders and poor body image because of jokes like that being acceptable in the media and excused away. I’m not jumping on every little thing. I’m pointing out real issues. Why, exactly, was the decision made to have River worry about her weight? And yes, I do know it was to put on the lipstick but as I pointed out, it makes no sense to kill him when she already did in her timeline and would in his. At any rate, all of those things were chosen for no good reason. She says the lipstick is because he is a peaceful man and yet she states she’s learned he isn’t at all. Sarcasm, perhaps, but again the underlying issues are so much deeper.
I disagree that it’s bittersweet. It’s disgusting. The narrative in no way treats all this with the gravity it deserves. River’s lack of choice and free will are never once shown as the true horrors that they are. If you’re going to bring up disturbing plotlines, follow them through. Don’t go on romanticising it.The problem is that yes the show is called Doctor Who but we’re not even given a throwaway line about a life outside of him.
If you wish to agree to disagree, that’s fine, but dismissing points because you think people are jumping the gun or looking for reasons to be mad at Moffat isn’t agreeing with the point I made about sometimes just shutting off your brain when you watch things. What I know of Moffat now I learned after I already hated the way his writing treated women. It only explained the reasons.