Archive | December 26, 2011

The Hand That Rocks the TARDIS

Don’t get me wrong; I greatly enjoyed the special, and I think Steven Moffat is the wasp’s elbows. But Moffat’s gender politics do continue to bug me. Ranking especially high on my feminist gripe-o-meter this past season were the “Mrs. Williams” comment in The God Complex, and the revelation that the seemingly independent River Song’s entire identity, including her choice of profession, is determined by her focus on the man she loves.

The Widow

I’m sure some will see tonight’s episode as preaching female superiority. But if they do, they’re missing the point. The repeated message of tonight’s show was that women’s strength comes from motherhood. That line is one of the oldest arrows in patriarchy’s quiver.

In a long literary tradition, a female character is most likely to be allowed to express strength and resolve if her doing so is somehow connected to her “natural” role as familial nurturer. Think of examples from Greek tragedy: Antigone and Electra, whose heroism is triggered by their feeling for a slain relative, or even Medea, whose fairly extreme deviation from a nurturing role results from the disruption of her marriage. (Actually one can fit Lysistrata in there too.)

For the sake of the spoiler-averse, I won’t go into details about plot, but the Christmas special fit into this pattern all too well.

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes