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Blerd Chick Stories: It’s Time To Recognize That Steven Moffat Is A Misogynist

August 5, 2013

It doesn’t mean you can’t watch Dr. Who anymore. It doesn’t mean you can’t like Sherlock. It just means that you recognize that as a writer and show runner, he’s entirely disrespectful of women. Whatever you do with that admission is on you.

Yeah, the new Doctor was announced today. It’s a dude; a white dude.

12th Doctor

Try to contain your shock.

I’ve written before about how bad the writing has gotten and the sexism is pretty evident there too. River who is some creepy stalker chick who will not go away, Clara who…what she exists pretty much entirely as a sacrifice to The Doctor? Even Amy was eventually reduced to a shrill harpy who ceased to exist when she decided that her own life and the ability to make decisions about said life were something that she should maybe care about. Even the secondary female characters, Madame Vasta and Jenny, are pretty much just a series of lesbian stereotypes and jokes. Moffat’s writing makes it clear that he sees his female characters as extensions of or amusement for the males around them.

That’s extremely sexist.

Let’s not forget, a bunch of people, including Dame Helen Mirren, had been making the very valid point that maybe, in the 21st Century, it’s time that The Doctor was played by someone who was not a Caucasian male.

Moffat’s response?

“I like that Helen Mirren has been saying the next Doctor should be a woman. I would like to go on record and say that the Queen should be played by a man.”

Here’s the thing, Steve, the next “Queen” will be named either Charles or William and he will, in fact, be a man. See how easy that was?

And since it is now canon that Time Lords can transform everything, including gender (The Doctor’s Wife), there is no logical reason not to cast a woman, or a Person of Color or anyone other than another white dude.

But no, instead Moffat made a joke of the entire concept. So let’s be clear, the real problem isn’t even the fact that Moffat didn’t cast someone who isn’t a white dude. It’s the fact that he clearly finds the entire concept to be laughable.

Hey, that’s entirely sexist too.

And you know, he’s not alone. Geek/sci-fi culture is full of guys who dismiss the presence and value of women in the culture and the artistic expressions of that culture.

It doesn’t change the fact that some of the people who have that problem write good shit. It doesn’t change the fact that some few of them throw PoC and women a relatively not suck character once in a while. Moffat hasn’t managed to do that, but other people do.

Yes, Stephen Moffat specifically, has managed to put forth, what a lot of people still consider a compelling little sci-fi show. That’s fine.

But I don’t have to give the man my money while he laughs off my whole gender.

23 Comments leave one →
  1. August 5, 2013 2:37 AM

    Do you really want Moffat writing a female doctor? You pointed out just a few of his many problems writing women. I would love if there was a female Doctor. But until Moffat leaves I don’t really want him touching one. That doesn’t need to be our first female. I personally feel he’s almost killed The Doctor’s character too. He becomes less and less relatable with each season (Particularly the last half of season 7) That’s horrible because I’ve been a fan of the show since I was tiny and my family had me watching the classic Doctors.

    As for the person of color, Neil Gaiman stated that there was a PoC originally picked/ sought after, but he turned the role down. (You can find those posts on his tumblr where he talks several times about his thoughts on the pick) He won’t share the actors name because it was told to him by said actor in confidence.

    Despite the fact that I do eventually want a woman Doctor and also really want PoC actor, I personally love Peter Capaldi. He is a fantastic actor with a lot of range and I think he will bring a great dynamic to the Doctor (assuming of course he has decent scripts, which of course depends on the overall arch and the writer per episode.). Like David Tennant he grew up a major fan of the show and stayed with it in the New Who era. I feel bad that he is being boiled down to just another white dude, and is already getting a tremendous amount of hate for not being either of the above (and the disappointing part of the fandom hating him because he is “too old”). I know the respectful fans don’t judge him for that but it’s still happening and makes me sad.

    So, yes Moffat is abhorrently sexist; and he has an immense ego that leads to douche-baggery any time he is questioned and critiqued. But, I’m personally glad he didn’t cast a female just for the declining character’s sake. I already am appalled by him as a creator, and exceedingly as a human being. I don’t want him further ruining the show that has been a giant part of my life. I refuse to let him take that from me. I am hoping that the newly hired full time crew helps to point out and reign his horribleness in. Granted I’ve also been suggesting that people contact the BBC and tell them their thoughts to hopefully encourage him to step down as show runner.

    • August 5, 2013 11:20 AM

      What I would really like is for Moffat to recognize his privilege and fix it, which I realize is a pipe dream but still, that’s what I want. Because just having him step down as show runner probably won’t fix the real issue. Davies was almost as bad. Leaving aside what he did to Donna, for which I will never forgive him, the show treated Martha abominably and totally ignored the fact that MICKY was the fist non-Caucasian Companion, when they announced her.

      Just to be clear, i don’t hate on the new Doctor. I don’t have an opinion on him, really because I haven’t seen him in the part yet and frankly, he can’t be worse than Matt Smith, who never really embodied the part for me. He has always been a guy playing the part, rather than simply being The Doctor.

      The BBC can’t just change out the guy if they don’t change the underlying lack of respect.

    • Hopechild permalink
      January 13, 2014 9:51 PM

      ^LIKE. And written beautifully, I might say.

  2. August 29, 2013 6:38 PM

    If any form of art is tasteful (much like the old Bond films, where sexism was strife) and it succeeds in being artful and beautiful, political correctness can go hang in my opinion. When it comes to art, PoC is as evil as the discrimination it seeks to eradicate. You’ll just have to trust the director chooses absolutely the best man/woman for the role. If he doesn’t do that and picks a man because he is sexist, it is not the sexism that is the crime but rather the damage he does to the show by not picking the right man/woman for the job, and in turn the damage to the art form he has been put in charge of.

    • August 29, 2013 9:51 PM

      When it comes to art, PoC is as evil as the discrimination it seeks to eradicate.

      OK, first of all NO, it really isn’t.

      Second, I’m really hoping you meant PC as in political correctness and not PoC as in People of Color. Because those are different.

      Third, false equivalence. I didn’t write a post about PC versus good art. I wrote a post about good art versus bad, predictable, trite art.

      You’ll just have to trust the director chooses absolutely the best man/woman for the role. If he doesn’t do that and picks a man because he is sexist, it is not the sexism that is the crime but rather the damage he does to the show by not picking the right man/woman for the job, and in turn the damage to the art form he has been put in charge of.

      Actually it’s both.

  3. Kandice permalink
    January 3, 2014 2:13 PM

    Love this post! I have never really considered myself a flag waving feminist. I believe that men and women were created differently and I celebrate those differences. As a result, I tend to forgive more subtle displays of sexism in art and media… However, Moffat? Wtf? Seriously? He’s an absolute pig. His sexism cripples his ability for interesting character development. His interpretation of masculinity and how it relates to the female gender is pathetic. The guy is a creep.

    • Hopechild permalink
      January 13, 2014 9:55 PM

      We have the same views when it comes to feminism, but you’ve articulated it in a way I never could have in those 2nd and 3rd sentences. So thank you. X]

  4. January 14, 2014 9:16 AM

    So hi. Big problem with this article. It feels like you are forcing your views on how a female homosexual, aka lesbian, relationship should be. My and my grilfriend watch the series. We want to make costumes of Jenny and Vasta somewhere down the line.

    Their realtionship? For being in the media? Is FAR from the typical butch + lipstick stereotype, which is the stereotype that is in nearly all media sources. Both of comfortable in their sexuality, there’s no forbidden romance sub-plot {which is so overdone it makes me want to bash me head against a desk} despite them being in lesbians with eachother. Oh. And interspecies. They treat their love as if it’s something normal that they needn’t really hide once it’s actually brought up. Sure, they don’t mention or flaunt it freely, but that does not make it a ‘stereotype’ either.

    Vasta isn’t deep voiced, rugged, and manly like you expect her to be. And Jenny isn’t just her eye-candy. The fact their relationship is portrayed as a bit more than that, compared to let’s say the problematic writing of Pansexual’s or Asexual’s in the media, this ins handled very nicely.

    Now, tell me again how all lesbian’s act. We are all people and we all act differently. There is not a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to write us and, from a personal perspective, this is far from the ‘stereotype’ version of how we’re portrayed.

    • January 14, 2014 10:08 AM

      My girlfriend and I watched the series too, at least we did until it got so bad we couldn’t take it anymore.

      Sort of avoids the typical butch/femme stereotype, although the inherent power disparity in the Mistress/Servant dynamic does mirror it somewhat, but that isn’t really much to recommend it. The fact that it avoids falling into the most blatant and overused lesbian stereotype doesn’t protect it from all the other ways in which it is both disrespectful and badly written.

      Now, tell me again how all lesbian’s act. We are all people and we all act differently.

      What blog are you reading? That didn’t happen.

      There is not a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to write us and, from a personal perspective, this is far from the ‘stereotype’ version of how we’re portrayed.

      But there is good writing and bad writing. There is writing that is respectful of the overall subject and writing that makes the only gay characters into sexual fantasies, which is entirely what Moffat has done. And that’s misogynist. They are a joke. That is all. Their relationship exists entirely for the laughs it can generate. They are, like all females that Moffat writes, simply cut and paste concepts that have no depth or range who exist solely as a gag or a prop for the Doctor. You know what that’s called? Bad. Writing.

      Personally, I expect the writers of the shows I watch to be at least marginally respectful of Gender and Sexual Minorities if they decide to write them. If a writer can’t do that, which Moffat clearly can’t, then I don’t watch their show.

  5. Josh Labron permalink
    January 14, 2014 4:20 PM

    This is extremely unfair! I completely disagree with what you say about the female characters! And so what if it’s another white male doctor. Should hire someone just because they’re female, or black. I would love a female doctor, but not just for the sake of it. And I love that there’s a lesbian couple on the show. Madame Vastra & Jenny are great characters. Now yes, he’s said some sexist things in interviews, well, he’s just said some said some flat out weird things; but to call him a misogynist is a step too far! j

    • January 14, 2014 5:15 PM

      This is extremely unfair! I completely disagree with what you say about the female characters!

      Because being disagreed with, or in the case of Moffat, criticized is totally the same thing as someone being unfair to you.

      Should hire someone just because they’re female, or black.

      Look boys and girls, the eternal cry of someone who doesn’t really have a point to make but can’t help typing anyway!

      No one said they should hire someone just because of their race or their gender. However, since it is now canon that Time Lords can, in fact, change their gender, acknowledging that a female actress could do extremely well in that part and, you know, looking for the best person for the job, not just the best Caucasian male or even just the best male is not a ridiculous concept. Yet Moffat’s response to the idea is to ridicule it. In the process of looking for the best person, rather than just the best white dude, Moffat could avoid laughing off the entire concept of doing anything other than casting a male in the part.

      I would love a female doctor, but not just for the sake of it.

      The only people claiming that anyone wants a female in the role of The Doctor, “for the sake of it,” are people who are arguing against the idea. Feminists and fans who are tired of the shitty writing? WE ARE NOT SAYING THAT. What we are saying is all the stuff I’ve already written.

      And I love that there’s a lesbian couple on the show. Madame Vastra & Jenny are great characters.

      No they really aren’t. They aren’t characters at all. They are caricatures. They could be great characters in the hands of a writer who had even a tiny bit of respect for women. Moffat obviously does not.

      Now yes, he’s said some sexist things in interviews, well, he’s just said some said some flat out weird things; but to call him a misogynist is a step too far!

      Nope, it’s a step that is long overdue. Like I said, it doesn’t mean you can’t watch Dr. Who anymore. It doesn’t mean you can’t like Sherlock. It just means that you recognize that as a writer and show runner, he’s entirely disrespectful of women. Whatever you do with that admission is on you.

    • Anthea Brainhooke permalink
      January 20, 2014 3:52 AM

      Have you seen the BBC TV adaptation of _Neverwhere_, by Neil Gaiman?

      If you have, remember the Marquis de Carabas?

      Gaiman has said on many occasions that de Carabas is how he’d write the Doctor if he was given the chance (this was before he WAS given the chance).

      de Carabas is gorgeous, glorious… and Black. The actor who played him, Paterson Joseph, was seen as a serious contender to take over from David Tennant. He would have been perfect. Who did we get instead?

      Yet another white man.

      You cannot tell me that Matt Smith was the only person capable of doing that job. He isn’t. Far from it. There are many, many actors out there who would make amazing Doctors, but they’re being ruled out by Stephen Moffatt because they’re not white enough or not male enough.

      That’s not just wrong. It’s stupid.

  6. January 16, 2014 1:37 PM

    It occurs to me that a man–the brilliant Quentin Crisp–already has played the Queen, in the film Orlando.

    Take that, Moffat.

  7. January 16, 2014 5:49 PM

    Do you think that events should revolve around making statistics evenly distributed? Should the doctor be played by a geriatric, African-American, woman to make the numbers fit? Dr Who is a product. It’s a brand. The question is, can you sustain the brand by making a change (be that to the format, to the canon, to the core characters, to the setting, to the style etc.)? I would argue that Dr Who wouldn’t work if it became an exposé into the complex characters on screen with the central role played by someone you don’t associate the doctor with. Perhaps this is because it’s ultimately a children’s show. Dr Who will never be great to an adult (unless it’s the pony loving man-child) because it’s designed for children. It isn’t a character exploration, it’s a live action cartoon.

    Do I think the doctor could be played by a woman with a wealth of rich characterisations? Perhaps. But that will take a lot of time and isn’t a change that is necessary. The queen can be played on film by a man, but it isn’t necessary.

    • January 16, 2014 9:53 PM

      You did not read the previous comments, which I guess not everyone does. But honestly it can help one avoid repeating a point or series of points that have already been refuted.

      Do you think that events should revolve around making statistics evenly distributed? Should the doctor be played by a geriatric, African-American, woman to make the numbers fit?

      Like I said before, the only people talking about numbers fitting are the people defending Moffat. However, since it is now canon that Time Lords can, in fact, change their gender, acknowledging that a female actress could do extremely well in that part and, you know, looking for the best person for the job, not just the best Caucasian male or even just the best male is not a ridiculous concept. Yet Moffat’s response to the idea is to ridicule it. In the process of looking for the best person, rather than just the best white dude, Moffat could avoid laughing off the entire concept of doing anything other than casting a male in the part.

      I would argue that Dr Who wouldn’t work if it became an exposé into the complex characters on screen with the central role played by someone you don’t associate the doctor with.

      You should avoid that argument because the fact that regeneration happens, and thus the entire character physically changes as does his personality, the actor’s take on him and generally the writing, that argument would only make sense to someone who hasn’t seen the show.

      Perhaps this is because it’s ultimately a children’s show. Dr Who will never be great to an adult (unless it’s the pony loving man-child) because it’s designed for children.

      The Doctor has been great to adults, who are the main fan base and one hopes it will be great again as soon as they get a writer who does his job well and shows a little respect for half the human race.

    • Anthea Brainhooke permalink
      January 20, 2014 4:01 AM

      If you’re all about Doctor Who as a brand you should know it’s never shortened to “Dr.”

  8. A woc permalink
    January 23, 2014 12:12 PM

    People who keep replying and saying ‘so what if it’s another white dude’, please keep in mind that Doctor Who is an English tv show and here in England we live in a multicultural society. For example, London now has more people of colour than white British people and that is FACT, which has been proved by our National Census (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-20680565). It is, therefore, no longer acceptable for Moffat and his people to keep assigning the role of the Doctor to only white actors. It is a racist thing to do and if he keeps going down that road, I wouldn’t be surprised if the next season is the show’s last. I can’t imagine the BBC will put up with it for long either seeing as to how their own staff members and news reporters are a mixture of different races and they know how important it is to represent how diverse our society is.

  9. Nick permalink
    February 8, 2014 2:22 AM

    Having dragged myself through the vitriol splashed on this page, I can’t help but feel that Moffat is purely a punching bag of sorts for you. Given, Moffat is a douche, however mincing his words to a pulp is futile. It has the effect of offending you far more than necessary.
    I think you are mistaking misogyny for ignorance. That does not excuse what Moffat has said in interviews and the like, but I’d like to put forward my view on your dissection of his comment about Helen Mirren. It’s my personal view that the Doctor has, traditionally, been male as a form of continuity. If the doctor was female at the time of the character’s inception, then changed to male and never reverted back, you would have a stronger argument to make. The majority of the viewing audience view the Doctor as male. Why change the formula? You cannot please everyone.
    You claim to be invested in Doctor Who as a program – I don’t even watch it anymore – yet you mock Moffat for bringing in someone of the calibre of Capaldi. It seems that the new Doctor being white and male is the final straw for you, not the comments made by Moffat that can be construed as offensive.
    Also, you allege that geek/sci-fi culture is steeped in misogyny. Incredible. Tarnishing a group of people without any evidence shown is, at best, tactless and pathetic.
    You purport that Moffat has ‘ruined’ a television show that you have a vested interest in, and from occasional comments he has made in public, you have extrapolated that his views on women are from the dark ages. You do not know the man. Therefore these are your personal judgements. Do not preach it as fact.
    I’m sure Vladimir Putin would be a better target for a rage filled post than a screen writer.

    • February 8, 2014 9:12 AM

      I’m just going to sum up your comment because seriously? You’ve got too many bad arguments here to break it down piece by piece.

      You should look up the word vitriol. It doesn’t mean “opinion you don’t like.” Also, ignorance. For real, look it up because you’re using it wrong. Blah blah, misogynist excuse for Moffat’s continued misogyny, blah, blah, other stuff that makes no sense.

      Seriously, if you can’t resist a retreat into misogyny in order to defend Moffat from charges of same, you are nowhere.

    • Anthea Brainhooke permalink
      February 8, 2014 3:19 PM

      It’s Isobeldebrujah’s blog. Of course it’s her opinion. She’s not trying to “preach it as fact.” Good grief.

  10. February 23, 2014 10:17 AM

    As a lifelong (male) Doctor Who fan since long before the new series started, I don’t care whether Moffat writes politically correct Doctor Who or feminist friendly Doctor Who. I just want good Doctor Who, or in other words, good Sci-Fi. Russell T Davies was too interested in his particular social agenda to deliver that much of the time. Moffat is not. As far as I’m concerned, he’s got his priorities right and Doctor Who is all the better for it.

    • April 8, 2014 8:44 PM

      I just want good Doctor Who, or in other words, good Sci-Fi.

      Yeah me too and we don’t have that. We have crappy boring badly written sci-fi that also happens to be sexist as fuck.

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