Viewing posts tagged amy pond

The Circle in the Square (Doctor Who)

(Content note: This post references childhood sexual abuse, the objectifying male gaze, and the repression and processing of traumatic events in general.)

Given that, let’s start with something really abstract.  A symbol, and a pretty basic one as far as symbols go.  A circle, circumscribed by a square.  Simple geometry.  And the Circle in the Square is by no means a hugely important or influential symbol in Western esoterica – it’s minor enough to take some digging to uncover, and what’s uncovered isn’t exactly consistent.  Which, you know, is kind of part and parcel for abstract symbols. 

The first thing that might come to mind is a problem of geometry – “squaring the circle” refers to creating a square of the same area as a given circle, using a finite number of steps with only a compass and a straightedge.  It was eventually mathematically demonstrated to be an impossible problem, which is actually kind of delightful given the subsequent esoteric usages -- for if such fusion is technically impossible, its success is necessarily transcendent, pointing to Ascension. Anyways, in basic symbolism, the Circle represents the infinite, the cyclical, the eternal, totality and perfection.  ...

Creature from the Black Lagoon

Last week we talked about the expression of the Beautiful throughout the history of Doctor Who, and gleaned different kinds of aesthetics employed by the show in the process – from awe at new, strange places… to the banal objectification of women… to an almost ritualized praise of monsters in the modern era.  And it’s this latter sense of beauty that I find most interesting, given how monsters are now used in Doctor Who, especially in the Moffat era.  Because monsters are no longer just villainous plot devices for generating scares.  Quite often they are secret protagonists, and weighted with symbolic value, especially when juxtaposed with our main characters such that they become telling metaphors.  This latter process I call the “monstering” of a character, and of particular interest to me is how Amy Pond becomes consistently monstered during her time on the show.

But what does it mean “to be monstered?”  What does that look like?  And how unique is it to the modern era?  To answer those questions, I’ll step briefly back into the past, to The Android Invasion, aa 4th Doctor story with Sarah Jane in Season 13.  ...

The Perfect Companion

Yes, the female companions of the Moffat era are smart, strong, capable, multi-talented, capable, prone to saving the day, etc.

But this is just the job of the companion.  Even the worst of the classic series companions - Victoria, Dodo, etc - gets to be smart, strong, capable, etc when required.  They don't tend to save the day in the classic series, but they always do what is needed and expected of them.  It's a tautology: the companions do the companion things more or less successfully.  That's not something that's entirely untroubling, but - for good or ill - it's how this works.  In the revived series, a great deal more is expected of the companions.  It's actually worrying just how much is expected of Martha.  But the point is that they all step up because that's what they're in the text to do.  The ones that don't, fail to be companions (i.e. Adam).

You also have to look at what they do and what happens to them on top of their basic role as companion.  Rose rejects the roles of shop worker, daughter, girlfriend ...

Maybe some of us BELONG in the fields

A very good overview of the squalid pass to which Moffat has brought the show in its 50th anniversary year, with special attention paid to the issue of mysoginy, via River and Clara:

...we're not being encouraged to think there's something wrong with this person [River]: it's the show itself that comes across as jaded and withdrawn from empathy and decency to a psychopathic extent (and what a charming ethical copout to have the Doctor leave before he can witness the rest of the killing). Again, we have the depressingly widespread idea that a woman acting violently is empowering and a corrective to sexism and misogyny. When questioned about his ability with female characters during a Guardian interview Moffat replied:

River Song? Amy Pond? Hardly weak women. It's the exact opposite. You could accuse me of having a fetish for powerful, sexy women who like cheating people. That would be fair.
It would indeed. Unfortunately, a fetish for powerful, sexy women who like cheating people is no substitute for an interest in human beings.

http://richardhcooper.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/steven-and-women-or-how-steven-moffat.html

I don't agree with every jot and tittle of this, but it ...

Changing Times, Nice Guys and 'Strong Female Characters'

I've gone on the record saying I think Moffat's version of Doctor Who is sexist and heteronormative.  A challenge I often hear - and it's a serious point - is the idea that Moffat's Who is, at least, no worse than previous eras on issues like depictions of gay relationships, and is frequently better.  There are positive depictions of gay characters, quite unlike anything in, say, the Hartnell era.  Well, firstly, let me say that I don't want to claim that things are 'worse' now (in any absolute way) than in the Hartnell years, when homosexuality essentially didn't exist at all in-story in the Who universe. And sure, many old episodes have displayed all sorts of heteronormative stuff, and also outright homophobic stuff (albeit usually by implication).  Harrison Chase is, in many ways, implied to be an evil gay man (it's not that I think gay people are like him, but rather that he is constructed partly of tropes that connote gayness in pop culture).

It isn't that there's a scale that pertains to culture now just as it pertained in 1963 and 73 and 83 etc, with Who ...

Village People

A (positive) review of 'Amy's Choice'.  Because not even I can complain all the time.


Okay, that's better.  The best episode for quite some time.  The first really good one since 'Turn Left'.  Nothing major... but genuinely clever and verbally playful, with nice imagery and a texture of ideas, hints and suggestions.

Simon Kinnear called this, with his customary acuity, a "Freudian farce".  The Dream Lord is the truth of the Doctor as an older man, lusting after a young redhead... or at least, lusting after her attention and loyalty and esteem.  He and Rory compete over her as though she's territory.  The Doctor wants Amy's bump to disappear so that the bumpless reality will prove to be real.  Meanwhile, the ancient beings inside the elderly Ledworth residents annihilate the village's children.  The aliens are even 'oral'.  "They're not going to be peeping out of anywhere else are they?" asks Rory pertinently.

This is all played for laughs and, refreshingly, it's actually funny.  (Thinking back, I remember quite liking How Do You Want Me? whereas Chalk just made me want to kick ...

Companion Relief

So, it's now pretty much official.  Amy is there to be leered at.  We now have plots that hinge on Rory being unable to stop himself staring up her skirt.

Let me just repeat that:

Doctor Who, in 2011, has episodes (albeit charity 'comedy' ones) in which vital plot points rest on a man staring up a woman's skirt without her knowledge or consent.

Classy.

To add insult to injury, the episode coyly reminds us that the man in question is the woman's husband, as though that makes it okay...  So spying on a woman's privacy and getting off on it is permissable as long as your relationship is sanctified by holy wedlock, is that it?  

Still, Amy doesn't seem to mind too much, so it must be okay.  After all, if a woman character in a show written by a man makes a sexist comment or displays a sexist attitude, that proves she's okay with sexism, as long as it's all, like, jokey and ironic 'n' stuff.

But Amy wouldn't mind, would she?  Firstly, she's Moffat's meat puppet and viewer titilation service.  ...

Recent Posts

Archive

Tags

Authors

Feeds

RSS / Atom