on girls and movies and nerd culture and electra complexes
and I don’t want to post there, because it’ll get downvoted to hell.
So you get a rant instead, tumblr! Congrats.
I dislike romantic subplots as a general rule. Not always, and not violently, but I appreciate a good film that focuses on other shit. When I saw the title of this thread I got excited. Then I started reading. And then I got less excited. Because in Hollywood terms, ‘no sexual/romantic plot’ translates directly to ‘no women.’ Because women are only good for one thing. We can’t coexist among men in a non-romantic way. Hell, we can’t even have our own non-romantic stories, apparently. And I already know about the Bechdel Test, I’ve thought about it and written about it a lot. It was just…sort of disheartening to run into this all again, in a new context. Especially to see all the comments that specifically praised the lack of women in these films.
Sometimes it sucks to be both a woman and someone who doesn’t like romance. It reminds me of when I was younger, and it was extremely common among a certain type of young, female nerd to absolutely hate female characters in movies. It wasn’t hard to. Female characters in the nerdy, action films that we loved were generally poorly written eye-candy whose only purpose was a romantic plot tumor. They were distractions from the plot and from the quality (male) characters - but on another level they were also personally insulting. After are, we were female, and on some level, these awful characters were telling us that we were like them, or we were expected to be like them.
It’s just…I don’t think we understood that then. We didn’t have the correct perspective to separate ourselves from the characters, or even identify the problem. We didn’t know why women were always presented that way, and we certainly couldn’t explain our utter loathing of everything female. It just warped into a weird sort of self-hatred.
No wonder we hated the color pink and refused to wear make-up and hated ‘girlie’ things and wouldn’t touch anything with heart decorations on it.
I know this gets more into gender-roles-political stuff, so I will summarize quickly: I still don’t like how these things are held up as standards in the male/female dichotomy, and I still hate the concept of ‘girlieness’ (especially as opposed to ‘boyishness’). But when I eventually decided to wear make-up, I felt confused and hypocritical. I still push down weird feelings when I wear pink. No one should ever feel ashamed to express themselves how they want. Because I interpreted female as negative and male as positive (in terms of power and value, as presented by nerd-targeted media), I was taught to reject the feminine at a young age regardless of my actual preferences. It was like a strange, society-wide Electra complex.
Anyway, that opened up a whole can of worms. Back to the original thread - There were two redeeming mentions: Alien and True Grit. I’ll add Agora to my list and call it a day.
I’m kind of surprised how surprised/offended Aces are getting at Moffatt saying that asexuality is boring. It IS boring—for a writer. It completely eliminates a huge variety of plots and different character relationships, and average audience members find it confusing and difficult to relate to. Why did you THINK we were so rarely seen on television? A conspiracy?
Merlin’s episode 4x06 (the infamous “hug” one) was the latest on Syfy and i noticed something that had my jaw dropping
Gwen, for all the writers have stripped her once great character and slotted her into the Walking Boobs Of Worry position, she’s still been Merlin’s friend. She and Merlin were quick to bond and stuck like glue way before she was ever ANYTHING to Arthur.
So imagine my undignified bark of outrage when she’s among the ones telling Arthur to leave Merlin for lost. Instead of also worrying about her friend or showing support he’ll be found, she makes a short attempt to stop Arthur from riding out to find him. She tries to persuade him with reminders the scouts haven’t seen any trace of him in the days they’ve looked, and even asks Arthur to just send out others because he’ll be in danger if the bandits are still out there.
What the fuck? “Yes, Arthur, please go against the man you’ve always been by sitting on your arse in a comfy thrown while your best friend is missing/possibly dead.” Since when has she been that selfish and heartless?
To make matters worse: When the mind-controlling snake thingy (i pay attention) is first taken out of Merlin, Gwen doesn’t even ask if he’s all right or if he’ll be the same again. She says, “Good. Now Arthur is no longer in danger.” …I’m sorry? Wasn’t this the friend who sat worried sick and in tears at his bedside when he’d been poisoned in s1? Or was that different because she’d had a crush on him and not Arthur at the time? Gwen’s emotions are so fickle and narrow she can only care for the guy she currently likes?
That seems worse than everything. Worse than her character-downgrade; worse than the Lancelot-Arthur-Lancelot-Arthur seesaw; worse than ignoring Morgana. You’ve officially killed the only spark of the original Gwen i still saw, PTB. Cheers.
Remember when i was pissed at Gwen/TPTB for turning into someone no longer Merlin’s BFF?
It increased tonight with “Lamia” (4x08). I mean, the chick/snake/uglything made the knights total macho dicks over her, and that doesn’t exactly excuse them from suddenly going from Bodyguards-Of-The-King’s-Boyfriend to being abusive to their comrade. But Gwen wasn’t affected, so where was her concern for Merlin?
The first time they spit out Merlin is a lowly servant at best, Gwen doesn’t do that stand-up thing she’s done in the past to defend herself and others from entitled snobs. No outrage, no reminders exactly whose royal favor Merlin possesses, no question that on this mission the knights were to serve and protect HIM? Hell, she doesn’t even ask Merlin if he’s okay.
Later, Leon is physically abusing him and instead of defending him in any way, Gwen just yells about her brother needing a place to lay. Doesn’t even give Merlin a sympathetic smile on her way past. WTF?
She only seems to give a fuck right at the end when the Lamia is about to kill him, because i assume Gwen realized she’d be totally alone. But then Arthur shows up and she forgoes Merlin’s well-being, or even giving him a hand up, to run into Arthur’s arms like a fricken damsel rescued from a tower. Excuse me, i know the writers have limited your caring capacity to one male at a time, but Merlin went through a lot more than you this trip and your brother is still KO’d.
The ultimate insult though is the very ending. Merlin finding comfort in the knights who are now his dear friends again? No. Arthur lightening the whole thing with banter? No. Gaius reassuring Merlin of his abilities and the knights not being themselves? No. No, it’s just Arthur telling Gwen he’s never seen her brave fighter side before. Kissy, music, poignant sun beam through window.
What? HE SAW HER FIGHTING ALONG WITH MORGANA IN EALDOR IN S1 BECAUSE SHE’S A BLACKSMITH’S DAUGHTER AND KNOWS BASIC SWORD TECHNIQUES. Did s1 never exist for these people? Have we been on an AU ride since s2? Someone’s fever dream? A evil curse? Something? Fuck everything about this ep. It was pointless.
So, ya know: Yay Bobby and Dean is a Debbie Downer. But…
I just wanna touch on female characters getting short changed again. Real quick. Cut for one-off character spoilers.
Facts About Angels
Okay, so I’m just going to try to catalog what things are in the canon about the Weeping Angels.
This is interesting to me, because they only have three storylines/ 4 episodes. It’s not like they’ve been developing over decades, or have dozens of hours of on-air history or anything. Discrepancies in the Angels’ behavior/ physiology/ appearance from episode to episode are more damning than variations with Daleks, Cybermen, etc.
Things established in Blink:
- It’s an Angel when you see it. All we know is that if you look at it, it turns to stone. Not “It pretends to be stone” or “It appears to be made of stone,” but “It is a hunk of stone in the shape of an Angel.”
- An Angel does not choose to turn to stone. It’s a function of the Angel’s biology that when it is seen, it turns to stone. It cannot opt in or out of being stone. “Thinking” you can or can’t see it doesn’t matter (continuity error in The Time of Angels/ Flesh and Stone)
Related to this, Angels turn to stone. Not copper, bronze, brass, plastic, etc.
- We don’t know what the creature itself looks like. If they turn to stone when seen, they must not be stone when they are unseen. Because you cannot observe an Angel without it being forcibly turned to stone, the Angels cannot be shown moving onscreen. (continuity error in The Time of Angels/ Flesh and Stone)
- When stone, the Angels cover their eyes so they do not accidentally see one another. Because the Angels are themselves living things, seeing another Angel (or being seen by another Angel) means one or both of them is turned to stone. This fact of their biology saved Sally Sparrow and Video Store Guy in Blink. When the Angels saw one another in a ring around the TARDIS, they were all turned to stone, and trapped as such because none of them could move. (continuity error in The Time of Angels/ Flesh and Stone)
- Angels feed off time energy. The Angels send people back in time the same number of years they would have continued to live, and feed off the energy given off in the transferral (or something). This is why they wanted the TARDIS, and why they feared the Crack in the Universe. Moffat did acknowledge this discrepancy in Time of Angels/ Flesh and Stone.
Things established in The Time of Angels/ Flesh and Stone:
- The image of an Angel is an Angel. This is particularly problematic in The Angels Take Manhattan, because there are images of the Statue of Liberty everywhere, yet none of them come to life and zap anyone. This also creates questions about all the people with SOL postcards, T-Shirts, photographs, paintings, computer desktops, etc. Shouldn’t all those people be in mortal danger right about now? Why isn’t anyone worried about that?
- Angels can strip peoples’ neocortexes and use them to psychically communicate? I don’t know, that was a weird one.
Things that are problematic in The Angels Take Manhattan:
- Angels are made out of everything. Stone, bronze, copper, etc.
- Angels do not look like Angels. Not just “they’re decrepit and damaged” like in Time of Angels/ Flesh and Stone. The Angels in Manhattan take all kinds of forms. They’re colonial settlers, children, babies, and Lady Liberty, in addition to traditional Angel forms.
- Angels do not take the Angel pose. None of the non-Angel-shaped statues cover their eyes when seen. There are some Angel statues whose eyes are covered, but by and large the other statues do not.
- How the fuck did Lady Liberty get to that hotel? I had assumed from the preview that there was some mass power outage, and so Lady Liberty could not be seen. This was patently not the case in Angels Take Manhattan, so am I seriously meant to believe NO ONE, in a city of millions of people, had Lady Liberty in their line of sight for her ENTIRE WALK to Winter Quay? We heard her walking, so it’s not like she magically flew or disapparated or anything. When Rory and Amy were jumping off the roof, there were cars driving in the street below. But no one saw her?
That’s a whole lot of canon that got either sidestepped, rewritten, or ignored over the course of four episodes. Moffat’s a man with great ideas, but he’s shit with long-term plotlines and continuity.
And anyone going “CONTINUITY IS A HUGE ISSUE IN DOCTOR WHO IT’S NOT JUST MOFFAT GOD YOU’RE SUCH A HATER,” this is continuity over the course of four episodes. If he can’t keep it together for four episodes, there is something wrong. Sorry I’m not sorry.
Yessss! My brain hurt during the whole fucking thing. I still don’t even understand Winter Quay being a farm; or if the baby angels already sent Rory back to the 1930’s to feed on his “time energy” or whatever, how were they going to get him in Winter Quay to send him back AGAIN so far that he ends up dying of old age there in the 1930’s? Is it just because Rory’s weird life? How the fuck are people crying over this shit?
“IT’S CANON!” the mindless throng cries.
“No it isn’t!” I retort, desperation creeping into my voice. “It’s queerbaiting! It’s bad writing combined with homophobia!”
“BUT MOFFAT! PERFECT! SO GAY!”
“No!” I scream over the crowd. “Steven Moffat is an incredibly flawed writer! Look how flimsy his Doctor Who plots are! Look at the lack of a coherent theme or narrative! Look how little depth or variety his female characters have!”
“STRONG FEMALE CHARACTERS!” they screech in return.
He’s won. Steven Moffat has won. He’s acquired a completely uncritical fanbase who can’t see when they’re being toyed with and played for fools. I let out a broken sob and collapse in despair. As I fall to the ground, the crowd freezes momentarily before they all shout in tearful chorus: