So, thanks to the infinite patience of my flist, I discovered through a process of writing post and comments that I wasn't actually that interested in the question of Moffat vs. RTD in terms of sexism. I still think the discussion is weighted in some odd ways, but this post is not about that, because that's not what really bothers me about the discussion.
No, this post is about Amy's short skirts. Probably I would do better to direct you all to bewarethespork
's post here, which many of you have probably read already because it was recced in a couple of places:http://bewarethespork.livejournal.com/130601.html
But I'm still frustrated by this whole line of discussion, and when I'm frustrated, I write it out, so you get this.
If you want to have a discussion about whether Moffat is a sexist writer, that's absolutely your right. If you dislike Amy or don't "get" her as a character, go right ahead. But then you should probably not make Amy's clothing and appearance ("Karen only got the part because of her looks, because she can't act") your evidence, or at least not be surprised when people respond with "are you serious?!?" Because by saying "Moffat is a sexist writer because Amy Pond wears short skirts," or "Amy Pond is a sexist character because she wears short skirts," what you're saying is that there are clothes that are "feminist" and clothes that aren't, clothing that's "good" for women to wear and clothing that isn't, and that being feminist and acceptable is ultimately about dressing a certain way. This is the logic that allows the flip side of that, trashing the "bad" clothing of "bad" women who are "degrading" themselves by what they wear--comments like "she looks like a slut" or "she dresses like a whore" (which I heard on a sitcom just last night. Somehow, hilarity did not ensue for me). (And people are making those comments about Amy, by the way. "Why did they let Doctor Who
get all slutty?") "Amy is a sexist character because she wears short skirts" is the same logic. It might try to make itself sound like it's more about empowering and less about shaming, but it's the same thing--because what it's saying is that it's possible to dress in a way that isn't feminist. And that is Not Okay, no matter who's writing the character. Amy's skirt does not become sexist because she's a character written by Moffat any more than Rose's miniskirt in "Boom Town" is sexist because she's written by RTD, regardless of what my opinions on his writing are (and trust me, I have some).
And this is part and parcel of the same culture that tells women that they are to blame for unwanted male attention, because "they knew what they were doing when they left the house like that." 'Well, if the Doctor Who
producers didn't want people talking about Amy's legs, they should have covered them up.' 'Karen Gillan knew what she was doing when she chose to wear that skirt, so she can't complain.' 'Why are her legs such an issue on the show?' I call BS.
Oh, but the problem isn't Amy's skirts in and of themselves, you say! It's that she's being objectified! I imagine that the logic runs something like this: "Amy's short skirts mean that she's being offered up as a sexual object." But again, what you are saying is that a woman's clothing dictates the treatment she should or will receive. At a certain point, it doesn't even matter
how or why Amy Pond wears miniskirts, how many stupid things Moffat has said about her appearance or will say in the future, because we are reducing the character to an object more effectively than Moffat ever could. By arguing that her skirts are sexist, we are enforcing the idea that there is clothing that presents a woman as sexually available. We
are doing that. We say that Amy can't wear miniskirts and still be feminist, because by wearing a miniskirt, she is offering
herself up for male attention and desire. Amy's skirts are sexist because they turn her into a sexual object. So because men might look at Amy (or the real girls who dress like her) in a desiring way, Amy (or those girls) has to change. Because otherwise, she's putting herself out there
, and we can't have that.
Amy's clothes aren't anti-feminist or feminist. Wearing a miniskirt is not empowering (unless it makes you feel good about yourself personally) or demeaning. Clothing isn't even behavior. It's a choice that every woman is within her rights to make, without people jumping all over her for letting down the side somehow. Okay? Okay.