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I decided to make this post after a morning watching Freema’s first episode of Confidential. I am a huge fan of Freema and Martha is my favourite companion by miles. I didn’t watch it with the intention of getting this fired up, but I found myself stunned by the difference of approach I was seeing as I watched.
Moffat’s era of Who is far too sexist, heteronormative and non-inclusive to be particularly enjoyable to me, but it really struck me, watching RTD and his team talk about Martha with such love and excitement, that the role of the companion really has changed since RTD left.
I feel the companion has become too much of a side-kick, too much of an accessory, as opposed to the main character, our gateway into the Doctor’s magical world, our link with the beauty and potential of humanity even in the most awful situations.
I realise not everyone will agree with me, and i’m not saying you have to, but I’ve collected some quotes together to emphasise what I think is the toxic difference in the approach of each showrunner in their writing and presenting of the companion, and why we have such an issue with women in Doctor Who at the moment.
"I write Doctor Who for myself" - Moffat in reply to a question about his motivation behind writing for Who
Just gonna leave this here
It’s even worse than that.
"The only way to write anything is to write it for yourself," Moffat says. “It’s witless and completely pointless to try to think of what other people would like.”
That’s kinda true for writing, tho. Unfortunately, Moffat is a tool.
Basically. I write for myself, to be honest. If other people like it, that’s cool. But Moffat is a dickwad.
Writing for yourself is fine, I do it all the time. However, you still have to be a good writer to begin with.
But who gauges what a good writer is? Different strokes for different folks, as the saying goes. What Supreme High Council is there to determine who is and isn’t a good writer?
The point is, Moffat’s writing for Doctor Who has been hit or miss, and largely missing for almost 80% of the series since he took over. I fell off after Ten because he began writing his female characters into…corners, and then had the nerve to claim he writes them this way because he believes ALL women are just out hunting for a husband. The Companions are one of the most integral parts of the entire series and we went from having new and unique Companions to these boring, one-dimensional, damsel-in-distress types with no real distinguishing characteristics to make them memorable.
I think that writing for yourself works better with books/short stories than with Television or Movies.
With Books you’re creating a world that only exists in your mind and the mind of the reader, you’re inviting them into a world that only existed for you for a long time. If they like it, great! You’ve essentially shared with the world a piece of you.
With Television/Movies, you’re still doing that, but it’s a different medium, it’s a wider medium and you’ve got to account for that. If 2 million people can’t understand your vision then maybe you need to go back and revise it a bit. Not change your ultimate story, no. But figure out a way to tell that story and reach as many people as you can? I think with Moffat (and several other directors/writers) it’s easy to get caught up in your own head and not think about what other people are going to see/think because they understand it and who else matters?
And with something like Doctor Who, I think a writer should be showing us a different interpretation of a world that already exists, and has existed for 50 years.
Moffat shouldn’t be writing stories just for him and that he wants to see, because Doctor Who wasn’t created just for him. He should be writing for everyone because everyone can be a lifetime fan of the show. Old or young, any gender, any sex, any race can and has watched it and should want to consider watching it.
Writing only for himself, and how he views the world is selfish and it’s easy to see it, he enjoys big flashy stories with damsels in distress because maybe that’s what he saw when he watched Who. But lol it’s not very good is it? He’s stuck inside his own head and since it’s still technically a success he’s going to keep doing it.
With content provided by suivre-le-vent and
- Stereotypes women using sweeping generalizations such as “Women are needy” and believes that “There’s a huge, unfortunate, lack of respect for anything male”
- Thinks asexuality is boring and the Irene Adler in the original story was un-feminist
- “You have to hand it to the Doctor for dumping a slightly needy girlfriend by palming her off on a copy of himself. He tried leaving her in a parallel universe, and that didn’t work.”
- “And I thought, ‘well she’s really good. It’s just a shame she’s so wee and dumpy…When she was about to come through to the auditions I nipped out for a minute and I saw Karen walking on the corridor towards me and I realized she was 5’11, slim and gorgeous and I thought ‘Oh, oh that’ll probably work’.” - Doctor Who Confidential, All About the Girl
- “And there’s a moment with two Amy Ponds in it. If you’re a red-blooded male surely that’s enough! You’ve got Amy Pond flirting with herself.”
- Regarding bisexual representation “We don’t acknowledge you on television cos you’re having FAR TOO MUCH FUN. You probably don’t even watch cos you’re so BUSY!!”
- Told a dyslexic follower to run their tweets through spell checker, never apologized