We’ve lamented the downward spiral of Doctor Who’s general quality here before, but one thing that’s annoyed me throughout Moffat’s run is his treatment of religious institutions. More specifically, I’m talking about the fictional Church of the Papal Mainframe, which, it seems, he created more as a foil to the Doctor than as any sort of genuine religious organization.
Just a few days ago, GLAAD released their 2014 Studio Responsibility Index, an annual survey inaugurated last year to grade major Hollywood studios on their representation of LGBTQ+ characters. Sadly, the results aren’t pretty:
Out of the 102 releases GLAAD counted from the major studios in 2013, 17 of them (16.7%) contained characters or impressions identified as either lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. In most cases, these characters received only minutes – or even seconds – of screen time, and were often offensive portrayals.
Ouch! Those are some low numbers. And the surveyors weren’t content with stopping there—they asked film professionals why this might be happening, but got differing answers from each side of the problem. As their introduction says: “From Hollywood executives, we repeatedly heard ‘We’re not getting scripts with LGBT characters,’ while screenwriters told us, ‘The studios don’t want to make films with LGBT characters.'” Some blame can probably be assigned to both parties, but while Hollywood is entrenched in its struggle over whether or not it’s profitable to produce stories with well-written queer characters, television is far outstripping its silver screen cousin.
“I didn’t come here because I thought you needed me,” he said, his voice low. “I knew you didn’t. I didn’t come because I missed you, though I did. I didn’t come because I love you, though I think I must, given the evidence.” His thumb traced the curve of her cheek. “I came back because I’m old and tired and selfish, Rose, and I wanted to see you again. Because I finally could, and I didn’t think of the consequences.”
Rose closed her eyes. There was a sour taste in her mouth, like metal and blood and heartbreak, and she almost didn’t have the breath to say what needed to be said. “I can’t go with you.” She turned her face away, and his hands fell to his sides. “I’m sorry. I can’t leave them again.”
There was a silence. “If you can’t come with me,” he said, “can I come with you?”
Her eyes snapped open. “What does that mean?”
“I don’t know,” he said, his expression wary. “What do you want it to mean?”
Rose Tyler has always been my favorite Doctor Who character. Most people think it’s one of the Doctors, probably Ten, but I’ve always loved Rose best. To quote the Doctor, “Everything she did was so… human.” She was adventurous and clever and passionate, but she was also reckless and juvenile and selfish. In other words, she was allowed to be a human character with human flaws. That’s something we, unfortunately, rarely get to see in a female character. And so I was really annoyed with the “Doomsday”/”Journey’s End” plotline that stranded her in an alternate universe, brought her back, and then sent her back permanently. It felt like a half-assed compromise between the part of the fanbase that wanted Rose gone and the part that wanted her to stay, and it didn’t particularly make much sense.
As for character development, I was thrilled that older Rose got to take a level in badass, capitalizing on all her positive traits—but less than thrilled that any character development with her negative traits was left to the wayside. Still so selfish. Willing, again, to give up her family at the drop of a hat to be with the Doctor. Eventually I came to realize that the Rose/Doctor relationship that I wanted to happen (as opposed to the one we were given) wasn’t possible within the constraints of the show. Rose would always have to fight her way back to the Doctor, where the plot was happening, and the Doctor would always need a rotating crew of young female companions for, I dunno, reasons.
Fortunately, when life gives you crap TV, write fanfic, right?
One of the most common criticisms we at Lady Geek Girl and Friends have of geeky media concerns a lack of representation in our books, films, and TV shows. So why, exactly, is it so important to have diversity in our geek media? Why does authentic representation matter so much? Is it enough to simply have diverse characters on our screens, or is there something more? In order to dive into these questions a little more deeply, let’s take a look at how one group, Black women, are represented in geek media. Continue reading
Geek culture really has a thing for nuns. Specifically, Christian (mostly Roman Catholic) women who have made vows to live in community with one another in order to pray and do good works while living a chaste, simple lifestyle. But geek culture doesn’t like nuns for the right reasons. Whenever nuns pop up in geek media, they almost always function as some kind of trope-filled plot device. They look more like the writer’s idea of what a nun is, and less like real nuns. If nuns were depicted accurately, they’d be a great source for feminist characters and plotlines.
There’s a high price tag on being a woman in our society. And I don’t mean financially, although cis and trans women both can easily spend thousands of dollars trying to meet the minimum social requirements of femininity—tampons, makeup, clothes for passing as female, gynecologist appointments, hormone treatments, as well as pepper spray and self defense classes, add up to a pretty penny. I mean the fact that women’s bodies are considered public property. In both fictional media and real life, women must be beautiful before they can be anything else, and we are at fault for not upholding those standards of beauty to an impossibly precise degree.
An oft-cited real world example is the difference between the media receptions of Lance Armstrong losing a testicle to cancer and Angelina Jolie’s mastectomy—while the former was treated as a sad but necessary loss for Armstrong in his struggle with cancer, the latter was met with significant outrage. Didn’t Jolie know she was a sex symbol? By having her breasts removed for the important and personal reason of cancer prevention, didn’t she know that she was selfishly depriving horny guys around the world the ability to jerk off to them?
Belief is a funny thing. When most people talk about belief, they’re usually taking about believing in things that are intangible; things like religion, a cause, or a greater good. Belief is often closely tied to faith. It’s a bit strange to talk about belief in terms of something we can touch or measure, because that kind of belief requires a simple glance over the evidence staring us in the face. It doesn’t really take any effort on our part to agree that something is true when a scientist or other expert has done all the work for us. The more interesting kind of belief requires some component of faith. A large part of faith is believing in something greater than oneself. This sort of belief is crucial to some of the most popular stories in fantasy and science fiction, from Peter Pan to Doctor Who to Serenity to The Hunger Games. It’s this kind of faith in something greater than oneself that gives true power to the characters in these works.
Spoilers for all three Hunger Games books, Doctor Who, and Serenity below.
Actor Samuel Anderson will be joining the regular cast as Danny Pink, a fellow teacher at the Coal Hill School and a coworker of Clara’s. Anderson has been in a ton of British television shows that I’ve never seen or heard of, but fan reception of his acting seems to be positive. Anyway, I have a lot of feelings about this announcement, so let’s get right into it. Continue reading
This Valentine’s Day, as all Valentine’s Days, will not succeed in bringing our city down. This Valentine’s Day, as all Valentine’s Days, will soon recede into painful memory, fading with time, until another foul Valentine’s Day is upon us again.
—Welcome to Night Vale, “Valentine”
It’s that time of year again, nerd friends. That awful time of year known as Valentine’s Day. Once a year, before Valentine’s Day, our authors nominate and then vote on ships for our Top 20 Romantic Couples in Geekdom (10 Canon/10 Fanon) list. It is during this time that the LGG&F writers go from peaceful coexistence straight into full-blown anarchy as each writer battles for their favorite ships to make the list.
Few people inspire more division and frustration in the geek world than Steven Moffat. Showrunner of Doctor Who and co-creator of BBC’s Sherlock, Moffat’s storylines and female characters have attracted plenty of accusations of misogyny. But Moffat refuses to acknowledge any problems with the way he handles his shows. It’s abundantly clear that he believes he’s a feminist… and I think he might be right. Although he probably doesn’t know it, I believe Moffat is a New Feminist. New Feminism is a flavor of feminism popular among many religious conservatives, arising from a supposedly “biblical” view of the sexes.