Okay. I’ve been sitting and quietly watching this shitstorm all day. I’ve got three points and then I’m out.
1. To people who think that RTD’s era was so much better in regards to feminism… what? Do you really think Rose, the main female for the whole RTD era, was portrayed to same standard Amy is being held? RTD had some super questionable moments with both women AND GLBT issues. It’s nostalgia syndrome. Everyone’s forgetting about the complaints people had against Russel’s writing because it’s now got the rose-tint of the past on it.
2. Some of the weaknesses people assign to Amy as sexist are character flaws. Amy is the girl who waited, who has all of this strength that everyone can see and instead chooses to wait on others to come along and let it out. The Doctor, Rory, even River in their first encounter with the Angels. This isn’t just Amy’s reliance on men. Amy seems to want to wait for someone, anyone, to be the catalyst of action in her life. Hell, even the flashbacks with Melody showed that Amy spent most of her time waiting for Melody’s hijinks to happen or a resolution to their consequence. Amy’s reluctance to be on her own is right up there with Donna’s brashness or Martha’s doormat syndrome. It’s not a pretty trait. It’s complex, and hasn’t always been handled well on the show. However, it is sort of her personal arch throughout her time as a companion. Every other companion has had them. And let me tell you, Martha got plenty of grief for hers. People hated Donna for a while too.
With Amy, it’s sort of a wait and see. Will her personal issues get resolved? Will it be fairly tragic and, in the end, the cause of her own undoing?
3. REAL PROBLEM ALERT: Both the RTD and Moffat eras have had massive issues. However, watching Old-Who, it wasn’t like they’re being exceptionally bad in comparison. Seriously, if you think that Old is somehow better than New than I redirect you to the point made in 1. They’ve both got problems regarding gender roles, women and feminist issues. The real question is — How to address some of this?
Doctor Who needs more female writers in general. I can only think of one woman who is credited with writing an episode of Doctor Who since its relaunch. One woman! That’s the real shame. She’s written two two-part episodes and… that’s it. Even Torchwood, during its four seasons, had five women writers who contributed a total of 12 episodes to the series. If you want to look for the cause of confusion and poorly handled gender issues, right there is part of it.
There’s some institutionalized stigma against women writing science fiction, and it’s seriously reflected on the history of this show. Even in Old-Who, there were only a TWO women from 1963-1989 given SOLE writing credit for a episode. Other than them, there’s only three other female writers given ANY co-writing credit, and with two of them, it is contested over how much they actually wrote.
So, yes, Moffat’s got issues. However, this isn’t something new for Doctor Who. If you want to complain about the series, look at the broader and more insidious problems that exist than what the current writer is bringing to the table.
I still think that OVERALL RTD does a better job on a feminist/minority reading than Moffat, but this post does make some excellent points about flaws in both RTD Who and Classic Who.