Viewing posts tagged gender

Essential Problems and Dialectical Solutions ('Deep Breath' 5)

Many people have already commented on the expansion of Clara's character in 'Deep Breath'.  I think there's something to this... in that Clara now appears to have a character, now that she's been freed from her tedious and contentless mystery-arc.  Those impatient with the right-on critique of Moffat will respond with all sorts of examples of brave, complex things she did in Series 7, and some of those examples will be right, but still... she really did look like a characterless blur across the screen, a sort of jumble of traits, a Rubik's Cube with a face drawn on it.  There's no denying, she looked better in 'Deep Breath'.  It's possible that, as with so much else that seems better about 'Deep Breath', I may just be perceiving an improvement because the episode is largely free from the dominating and infuriating presence of a certain actor who will not be missed at all by me.  But then, such things do make a difference.  One performance in an 'actually existing' production of a written text can change the meaning.

Clara's monologue rebuke to Vastra is part of her ...

A Presumptious Dilettante's Five Belated Eggs

The more I think about it, the more I think a humble, sympathetic, non-domineering, non-entryist engagement with the anti-oppression movements springing up around issues of gender identity (i.e. Trans issues) is going to be absolutely crucial for the Left in the coming years. 

This isn't just a moral imperative.  Sure, the Left must stand with the oppressed.  Always.  By definition.  Otherwise why bother being on the Left?  Otherwise, what does 'The Left' mean?  But it's also a tactical imperative.  The system must be attacked at its weakest points.  The righteous and rightful rage felt by many on the axis of Trans oppression is absolutely one of the system's weakest points.  It hits people where they live: in their bodies.  Bodies are oppressed, disciplined, punished, curtailed, invaded, wounded and even dissected by capitalism... and it behoves the Left to realise that this happens in arenas outside the sites of direct capitalist production.  This is one of those things that everyone formally 'gets' and then puts to one side.  That's not good enough.  Capitalist oppression is total, hegemonic, far-reaching and omnipresent.  It ...

3

"Not so much of that oatmeal, girl," says Meg to one of the kitchen drudges, "It's only pikemen we're feeding, not horses."

They're in Irongron's castle, somewhere in the century or so following the Norman Conquest.  Sarah is undercover, cooking Irongron's stew.

"Don't the guards on the gate get stew?" she asks, wanting to know in which pots to drop the Doctor's knock-out potion.

"What, meat for those common creatures? I should say not. They'll have oatmeal the same as the rest of us, and lusty enough they are on that. So you watch yourself if ever you take out that skillet."

So class is, perhaps, a more fundamental division than gender, but gender oppression brings its own particular problems.

"I'm not afraid of men. They don't own the world."

Well, they kind-of do... but Sarah isn't discussing actual property relations.  She's talking about the way the world should work, with no one group 'owning' it.

"Why should women always have to cook and carry for them?" she demands.

"What else should we do?" asks Meg.

"Stand up for ourselves. Tell the men you're tired ...

27

TW


Adelaide screams at the sight of Palmerdale's dead body.

Leela slaps her across the face, silencing her.

This is horrible.  It's one of the relatively few examples of serious, realistic, non-Fantastic, gendered violence in the show.  Companions are captured by monsters, etc., but this kind of thing happens rarely.  It is better in some places.  Worse in others.  In 'The Time Meddler', Edith's implied-rape is in there simply to tick a box of genre tropes.  Yeurch.  In 'Vengeance on Varos', Maldak slaps Peri across the face to assuage his bruised ego.  It's utterly gratuitous and revolting.

But this is a woman slapping another woman.  (That's not worse... except in the sense that the representation, authored by a man, alibis male involvement in violence against women by ostensibly disappearing its gendered dimension.)

More than that - it's Leela slapping another woman.  Wonderful Leela, who has never done anything like this before.  Okay, she's a ruthless killer in battle... but slapping a 'hysteric' like she's James Bond or something?  Normally, though she dreads weakness in herself because of her self-identification as a ...

The Obligatory Returned-Episodes Post

Hurrah, etc.

As Lawrence Miles says, there's no point trying act all cool at a time like this.  It's great news and I'm very happy about it.  Sincerely.  You'd have to be a miserablist of a more perverse and determined stamp than I not to be as pleased as punch.

Of course, I could whinge about some things.

And will.

This blog has a USP after all.

I could, for instance, mention the way Nigeria - where the episodes were found - has suddenly swung briefly onto the mental radars of people who, until a few days ago, probably had only a dim idea that it existed at all.  It's ironic because, at more or less the time when those missing episodes were made, the Wilson government was helping the corrupt Nigerian military dictatorship crush Biafra.  Britain continued arming the junta for years, despite government denials.  The regime was engaged in a longstanding war against the Ogoni people - one of the forgotten persecuted peoples in the world.  Shell's exploitation of oil reserves in their region has had untold environmental and human costs, making the Niger Delta one of the ...

Vixens and Saxons


Some disjointed thoughts about 'The Time Warrior'.  Is it sexist?  Is Linx really a girl?  And what is the correct Socialist attitude to Irongron?


1.  Men Are From Earth, Sontarans Are From... umm... Saturn?  No, couldn't be.  'Saturn' is an anagram of 'Rutans' for a start...

'The Time Warrior' is the chronicle of a failed romance.  Irongron and Linx.  The odd couple.

Made for each other.
The initial attraction. The slowly dawning mutual realisation that they have much in common. They take turns helping each other out. Terms of affection pass between them: Linx is Irongron's "brother" and will be his "general". Physical intimacy follows, as Linx allows Irongron to see his face then almost takes his arm as they leave to deal with the android knight. Irongron gives Linx a familiar nickname (albeit a rather unkind one).  Then ...

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