Sexualized Saturdays: Raised Female Killers and Pursuit of Autonomy

A while ago we had a post discussing female protagonists who are being watched over/controlled by men/patriarchal organizations. Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Orphan Black were primary examples. Today, I would like to expand on the ideas of that post and talk about a subset of this type of female characters—female characters who are not only overseen by men/organizations (often patriarchal, though perhaps not always) but are also raised to be killers and assassins against their will. I’m a bit torn when it comes to this type of character. On one hand, these women are complex and their tragic backstories allow for character development and growth. But on the other hand, the misogynistic undertones in their arcs are troubling.

women-weaponsSpoilers for Orphan Black, Killjoys, Firefly, and Doctor Who below the jump. Also, trigger warning for child abuse and self-harm.

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Oh, My Pop Culture Religion: Steven Moffat, the New Feminist

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.
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Why Are You Sad That There’s No Female Doctor?

Much of the internet has feels (this blog included) about the lack of female Doctor. I personally do not have such an opinion simply because Moffat has proven time and again that he is incapable of writing a decent female character, specifically his female companions.

female doctor1Too frequently Moffat treats his female companions like an audience for the Doctor: that they should just smile, nod, and take everything that is given without question. It’s getting to a point where the Doctor is hero-worshipped by his companions as opposed to the companions balancing him out. I’ve discussed before how the companion’s job is to, in a sense, keep the Doctor from losing control of himself. Eleven, in my opinion, has had too much freedom and not enough checks. And it is the writers who didn’t give us strong female companions.

I also think that Clara and Amy are too similar when you get right down to it, and that I can most definitely attribute to poor writing. Our first female companion is Amy, a plucky Scottish girl with a supposedly impossible problem, a crack in her bedroom wall that keeps following her around. And then we have Clara, a plucky English girl with a supposedly impossible problem: multiple lives/existences. For me, they’re just way too similar in initial concept. I honestly don’t think that Amy had much of a personality while she was a companion and so far Clara hasn’t exhibited much of a personality either. Amy’s personality came out in her relationship with Rory. And when you need a male character to give your female character personality, that’s wrong. And I blame Moffat.

Now I know a lot of you are saying “What about River? She’s got a personality!” right about now, but Moffat hasn’t exactly done her justice either. First, he made her entire world revolve around the Doctor, just like the other companions. Then, Moffat couldn’t even figure out a way to work in her sexuality to the series for goodness’ sake. If that doesn’t demonstrate an inability to write, well then I don’t know what does. Not to mention if you’ve ever seen something else with Alex Kingston (the actress who plays River Song), such as her guest starring roles in NCIS and Upstairs Downstairs, you know she plays practically the same character every single time. So any personality River has I attribute more to Kingston as an actress than to Moffat’s writing ability.

So we have three female protagonists and three failures for decent character writing. One could say that Moffat is bad with characters in general, but Moffat can write a good male character. Take Rory for example. So many people liked Rory more than Amy simply because he had a stronger character that was much better written. So it’s only the ladies who are suffering from bad writing, not the gents.

Now imagine if Amy was the Doctor. Or Clara. How boring would Doctor Who be? It would be a snoozefest! I’d go so far to say a female Doctor under Moffat’s leadership would kill the show. For more information, check out this link to Saika’s Tumblr and a plethora of discussions on the topic.

What do you think? Am I spot on or losing my mind? Let me know in the comments!

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Sexualized Saturdays: River Song

Oh, Steven Moffat, why do you so often introduce ladies that you claim are bisexual only to never give any hint or evidence in the actual show that they are? River Song is not the first character to be outed outside of her TV show, but is there any evidence in the actual show that River Song is bisexual? And does it matter if there isn’t?

tumblr_leo5unpjjl1qzb8r6o1_500River Song is one of those characters that I find extremely confusing. Don’t get me wrong, she’s extremely interesting, but she’s a time traveler, we meet her out of order, she ends up being Rory and Amy’s daughter, as well as the Doctor’s wife and murderer. Everything with River was very confusing. Add to that a confusing representation of River’s sexuality and suddenly you need some damn strong headache medicine.

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The Angels Take Manhattan, Inspire Many Feels

I have many excuses for why this is late. For one thing, I was watching The Avengers and getting smashed on Saturday night. For another thing, I have a lot of feels to parse through. Hit the jump to find out what those feels are.

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Invisible sexuality cannot and does not make a difference.

I found out the other day, while perusing internet speculation as to why Doctor Who and Sherlock showrunner Steven Moffat deleted his Twitter account on Saturday, that River Song is bisexual.

You know, I’ve been watching Doctor Who for almost two years now, and have seen the entire series at least twice all the way through, and I don’t think River’s ever been seen to be in a romantic relationship with a woman, nor has she ever shown more than platonic interest in a woman, nor has she really ever been given screen-time with women besides her mother except in her debut.

I am not trying to erase her sexuality. I don’t take kindly to people who say “Oh, she says she’s bi but she’s never actually dated a girl so she’s probably just saying that for attention/to get guys/stupid other excuse.”

But for a fictional character, this Word-of-God declaration is totally empty.

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Sexualized Saturdays: The Doctor is…?

Oh, have I ever been excited to write this post. For the purposes of this post which I am excited to write, let it be known that I am only familiar with the events and companions of the 2005 series and the first season of Hartnell’s Doctor. Also, I’m looking specifically at the person of the Doctor and how he behaves and what is in character for him, and not at the meta societal influences that have shaped the casting, writing, and acting choices made in the show.

The Time Lord we know and love is a tricky character, because we actually know next to nothing about him. We don’t know his real name, or if he even has one (although this season might change that?); we don’t know how Time Lords reproduce, or if they get married or have similar social norms. And since sexuality is tied up in gender, you have to factor in that it’s been introduced in canon that Time Lord regeneration is not restricted to one gender, and so therefore it’s difficult to put a label on that as well.

So given that we have only circumstantial evidence to go on, where do we go from here?

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