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Steven Moffat the sexist: The Whovian Dilemma

Steven Moffat, the writer for Doctor Who since 2010, has said horrible things about the female fan base of this show, and Sherlock, which he co-created, as well as detestable things about women in general. Highlights might include calling women "needy," calling actress Karen Gillan (Amy Pond) "wee and dumpy" and claiming that women only enjoy Sherlock because they are attracted to Benedict Cumberbatch. This is enough to enrage anyone, but does it affect the quality of his Doctor Who episodes when he dismisses the majority of his own fan base as boy-crazy, "needy" idiots.

There has always been a sort of dismissal for anything in pop culture which attracts female viewership, (especially young female viewership), implying that girls don’t know the difference between good and bad entertainment. As feminist scholar Stacy Wolf says, "Historicizing the devaluation of girls’ tastes shows how categories of cultural worth are highly gendered." (Changed for Good, 222) Does this apply to Doctor Who since Moffat took over? This study would compare the quality of female characters on Doctor Who before and after Moffat and their overall impact on the quality of events.

  • I haven't personally read or seen any of Moffat's sexist remarks. Although that doesn't mean that I don't believe he said or meant them. If he's like this, I can believe it. However, only recently have I felt truly like his writing of female characters has shown it's true colors. When Russel T Davies was running Doctor Who, Rose Tyler was interesting, she had her cliched female moments and she could be rather self-centered, but she was fun and unique. Martha Jones wasn't much of a character for the most part. She was a tad vague and devoid of distinctive identity I felt. But then Donna Noble really shook things up and had a strong voice for a change. She also had no romantic interest in the Doctor, thank goodness. When Moffat did fully take over, Amy Pond was really really delightful, especially when she was eventually married to Rory and their companionship together took off apart from the Doctor: which had only happened once before (I believe), way back with the first Doctor. Then there was River Song on and off. She's been incredibly captivating and intriguing, especially when we finally get to see how she went from being Amy and Rory's daughter, to Amy and Rory's childhood friend, to the River Song we eventually know, and then up to when she has to kill the Doctor, after which we find her locked up in prison, randomly escaping to go on adventures throughout the 11th Doctor's run. Finally there's Clara Oswald. And after all of the ups and downs (minor ones) with the previous companions and characters, Clara is the one I was most disappointed in, because at first I really really loved her. She was spunky, she was steadfast, she was inquisitive, curious, and very very loyal, and she was also rather attractive to me personally. But her character just fell apart when the 12th Doctor came around. His transformation changed her, revealed her to be an incredibly shallow character, beyond the reasonable reaction of not knowing who or what this new Doctor was or was going to be compared to the last one. She also showed that she could be incredibly needy, selfish, and even demanding when it came to her relationship with the Doctor, when before she would have never acted that way. All of these observations and feelings have been confirmed and shared by many other fans as well. She just turned into such a unlikable person that by the end, I'm rather glad to see her finally go. I just wish it had been a tad sooner. So if anything, Clara's character at the moment the 8th series began is when I could tell something was screwy with Moffat's writing of female roles: when before it was only in small slightly awkward doses. I'm not sure who or what I expect for the next companion, but if anything, I'd appreciate another duo dynamic by bringing on both a male and a female companion, but more of a platonic pairing rather than a romantic one. I also believe Moffat is supposed to be leaving the show now, though he may have changed his mind recently. I don't know the exact details on that. – Jonathan Leiter 6 years ago
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