Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Talking Point: is Doctor Who's Amy Pond a badly written insult to women?

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

US TV screenwriter Kay Reindl (Millennium, Haunted) wrote an interesting, impassioned rant about the current state of Doctor Who over at her blog—a show she's fallen out of love with since Steven Moffat took over from Russell T. Davies, despite the fact she was a vocal fan of Moffat's earlier work.

In this blog post, Kay posits that Moffat's writing for Amy Pond has been dictated by an alarmingly old-fashioned view on what a woman's role is in fiction. Amy was introduced as a "cute little girl", grew up to become a "leggy kissogram", then a "blushing bride", and now a "mother". The next logical step is to turn her into a "wrinkled old hag", right? In a quirk of the plot, Amy doesn't even have any parents or guardians to give her any sort of personal context beyond the fact she's the fiancé/wife of Rory.

Basically, Kay's claim is that Moffat's developing Amy in a mildly chauvinistic way, by shoehorning her into perceived "roles" women in fiction must occupy to be of "value" to male characters: a child, a lover, a wife, and now a mother.

What do you think? Is Moffat unable to write three-dimensional female characters of the strength Russell T. Davies achieved with Rose and Donna, or is he just using Amy in a way that hasn't been tackled on the show before--and that just happens to involve utilizing marriage and motherhood? I don't think Moffat intends to treat Amy/women with derision, but are there some subconscious biases and viewpoints bubbling to the forefront of the show he's unaware of himself? Pre-Who, Moffat was well-known for writing strong women (such as Press Gang's Linda Day), and River Song's certainly a good female role model on the show right now, so is Kay Reindl's theory wide of the mark?

I'm particularly interested to hear from women about this issue. Do you identify with Amy more than her nu-Who predecessors because she's a normal girl who got married and became a mum? Has Amy's use been insulting to you in any way? Do you think Amy's little more than a mini-skirted sex object who's being utilized in ways according to gender over character? I mean, Amy's actually been made pregnant twice since she was introduced last year, so it's hard not to feel there's something in the theory that Steven Moffat's at fault somewhere... but is it something work getting worked up about?

Thoughts, anyone?