Dear Steven Moffat,
Mr. Moffat, I would like to know, has any one ever called you boring? Having seen your Doctor Who and Sherlock episodes, I would doubt that. You don’t seem to like boring very much Mr. Moffat. You do everything in your power to make sure that your shows aren’t “boring” You fill them with explosions, action, and even dinosaurs. And you make sure that none of your characters are asexual. Because, as far as you’re concerned, Sherlock Holmes cannot possibly be asexual. Because that would make him boring.
You see, Mr Moffat, it is not very fun to be called boring. To be called too boring to be on TV. Many people have called me many things. They have joked that I am a plant, they have told me that I cannot call myself queer, they have told me that my orientation is not real, that I just want attention, they have said many awful things to me. And so have you.
Perhaps to you it may seem inconsequential, but it matters to me. And it matters to a lot of asexuals too. Because where TV is concerned, we do not exist. So many people have never even learned that my sexuality even exists. The Doctor cannot be asexual because he has to be in love with Rose and River and Clara. And that love has to be sexual. Sherlock cannot be asexual because…because it would be boring. Boring.
Well, Mr. Moffat, I am not boring. I live the same kind of exciting life as anyone else. And if it’s ~relationship tension~ you want, I have that in spades. I have relationship troubles. I spend hours worrying about the dissonance in my romantic and sexual orientation. I waste my nights worrying about whether the person I love, loves me back. I fret about my family and friends. I have just as much relationship tension as any detective.
There are many things about you, Mr. Moffat, that annoy me. Your sexism, your poor writing, your queerbaiting, your homophobia. But what finally made me stop watching your shows was when you told me I was boring. Doctor Who has meant a lot to me, but I cannot enjoy the show until I know the Doctor is no longer in your hands.
Mr. Moffat, you are a well known man. Your words carry weight and you can hurt people. You have hurt me Mr. Moffat. And you have hurt many other people with many of your words.
I am sorry that you are as ignorant as you are. And I eagerly await your departure from Doctor Who.
With much animosity,
A Valediction Forbidding Moffat
In response and elaboration to this post which critiqued Moffat and his handling of Doctor Who - for all of you who disagree with it, and continue to idolise Moffat, here is a much more general overview of why you really shouldn’t, with illustrative evidence from Doctor Who and Sherlock.
sometimes I wonder if moffat realises that the people who watch doctor who are human beings who are hurt by his sexism, racism, heterosexism, and general bigotry
Sorry, but I couldn’t resist to reblog.
Sexism? Racism? Bigotry? HETEROSEXISM (lol, I see that Tumblr fighters invented new -ism)? Lol, where? Stop blaming him for things that don’t exist or exist only in your heads, okay? I see posts blaming all DW writers (even Classic ones) for these “issues” and it’s just getting ridiculous. You can hate me, but in my opinion these things are only excuses to blame a writer for things that some people can’t accept.
Moffat is not sexist. Moffat is not racist. Moffat is not heterosexist. Moffat is not a bigot. Moffat is just a bad writer sometimes and only fandom is looking for all -isms in his run.
Thank you very much.
I’m now waiting for your hatemail :P
right okay so either you are speaking from a position of privilege or you have internalised all kinds of isms hooray! probably a combination of the two.
don’t apologise when you are clearly not sorry.
let’s see he’s a misogynistic asswipe who reduces the women in his shows (not just dw but also in sherlock - irene adler is a prime example there) to plot devices and damsels in distress, and is openly disparaging about women.
his racism is evident first of all in his overwhelmingly white cast (which has been an issue since the reboot and likely since the start of the show but has gotten worse in moffat’s run in comparison to rtd’s) not to mention his placement of poc as antagonists - or in melody’s case, going from a cute little innocent white girl to a rebellious and violent black teenager.
heterosexism is a thing. google next time.
moffat consistently writes “queer” characters into heterosexual little boxes and then claims to be running a progressive show. he actually said that “there is a huge lack of respect for anything male” which underlines his lack of understanding of the world and his own male privilege (as well as his white and cis and straight privilege). there’s a whole lot more where that came from.
oppression actually does exist. it is something that affects billions of people in a variety of ways ranging from being bullied at school to being denied jobs and health care to being raped and murdered.
grow up and educate yourself. nobody needs or wants your inane and ignorant opinions.
With content provided by suivre-le-vent and
- Stereotypes women using sweeping generalizations such as “Women are needy” and believes that “There’s a huge, unfortunate, lack of respect for anything male”
- Thinks asexuality is boring and the Irene Adler in the original story was un-feminist
- “You have to hand it to the Doctor for dumping a slightly needy girlfriend by palming her off on a copy of himself. He tried leaving her in a parallel universe, and that didn’t work.”
- “And I thought, ‘well she’s really good. It’s just a shame she’s so wee and dumpy…When she was about to come through to the auditions I nipped out for a minute and I saw Karen walking on the corridor towards me and I realized she was 5’11, slim and gorgeous and I thought ‘Oh, oh that’ll probably work’.” - Doctor Who Confidential, All About the Girl
- “And there’s a moment with two Amy Ponds in it. If you’re a red-blooded male surely that’s enough! You’ve got Amy Pond flirting with herself.”
- Regarding bisexual representation “We don’t acknowledge you on television cos you’re having FAR TOO MUCH FUN. You probably don’t even watch cos you’re so BUSY!!”
- Told a dyslexic follower to run their tweets through spell checker, never apologized
You know why saying, “I hate straight people,” isn’t the same thing as saying, “I hate queer people?”
Because no one who says they hate straight people is trying to legally take away the rights of straight people.
Because no straight youth end up homeless just because of someone hating their sexual orientation.
Because no straight person has been murdered for being straight by someone who says, “I hate straight people.” But queer people are routinely murdered by people who say, “I hate queer people” (and this has been and continues to be in some places, the legally mandated response to learning someone is queer).
Because when queer people say they hate straight people, they’re often saying they hate the people who have abused, assaulted, bullied, and harassed them. But when straight people say they hate queer people, they’re saying they think queer people deserve to be abused, assaulted, bullied, and harassed.
Because oppressed folks expressing their anger and exhaustion at dealing with their oppressors is not the same thing as oppressors expressing their hatred of those they oppress.
THIS IS FOR EVERYONE WHO HAS REBLOGGED THAT FUCKING “THE ANSWER TO OPPRESSION IS NOT MORE OPPRESSION” POST.
Hatred is not oppression. Hatred is only a part of oppression. Until you have everything else that makes up oppression (like, say, legal lack of rights), then you aren’t fucking oppressed.
Here’s the deal, fandom people.
Laws against same-sex marriage affect actual same-sex couples. These laws do not affect your favorite same-sex couples involving fictional characters.
The only thing that determines if, for example, Dumbledore can marry Grindelwald is whether JK Rowling feels like jotting it down. “Dumbledore waved his magic wand,” she could write, “and all the governments of the world suddenly ratified marriage equality, and Harry Potter very much enjoyed the cake at the reception afterwards.” I realize Rowling would probably not write this, but the power is still hers to exercise, irrespective of real-world laws.
Or, y’know, you could write fanfiction. I mean, I’m pretty sure Dean and Castiel aren’t even in love on that TV show, but you used fanfic to change that. You can just as easily strike down DOMA and Prop 8 in your headcanon. So those guys don’t need the Supreme Court to do shit, they’re already fine. (Unless Dean is a mer-man in your fanfic and Castiel can’t figure out how to consummate the marriage, then I guess they’re not doing so hot. But they can still get married.)
The point I’m making is that the rights of fictional characters are somewhat trivial. So when you make a real-world civil rights issue about those characters, you’re kind of trivializing the issue.
Take the sign in the first picture above, which essentially makes the following points:
- I am a fangirl, which is very important.
- My fandom is The New Normal.
- My OTPs are Bravid and Klaine.
- They are “my gays.”
- I would like my gays to be permitted to marry.
- Also perhaps other gay people in general, kthx.
That’s the message you send when you bring your fandom with you to a civil rights rally: “I care about my fandom so much that I will talk about my fandom while demonstrating for an issue that would be important to my favorite characters, if they existed.”
Don’t get me wrong. It’s great that your fandoms have inspired you to campaign for social justice. But when it comes to how you campaign, maybe you should be asking yourself what your favorite characters would do, instead of telling everyone who your favorite characters are.
Queerbaiting and Other Queer Issues in ‘A Scandal In Belgravia’
I’ve seen a lot of posts reference problems with this episode but not so many as thoroughly as I would like (and there is a lot to be thorough with). As a queer person who was offended as hell by the baiting in BBC’s Sherlock in general, I picked this episode to criticise because I think it pretty much epitomises the writers’ problems on queer topics, and in particular Moffat’s.
This episode is his. In this post, I’ll be angrily talking about the baiting of both John’s sexuality and Johnlock as a ship (including why it is in fact queerbaiting, not hinting), the massive problems with Irene and how her sexuality was portrayed, and some miscellaneous issues. Read and weep.
To be white, or straight, or male, or middle class is to be simultaneously ubiquitious and invisible. You’re everywhere you look, you’re the standard against which everyone else is measured. You’re like water, like air. People will tell you they went to see a “woman doctor” or they will say they went to see “the doctor.” People will tell you they have a “gay colleague” or they’ll tell you about a colleague. A white person will be happy to tell you about a “Black friend,” but when that same person simply mentions a “friend,” everyone will assume the person is white. Any college course that doesn’t have the word “woman” or “gay” or “minority” in its title is a course about men, heterosexuals, and white people. But we call those courses “literature,” “history” or “political science.”
This invisibility is political.
Written by Steven Moffat
After the loss of Amy and Rory, the Doctor is ‘retired’. That changes after he meets a young woman named Clara in the Victorian period and discovers a plot involving telepathic snow.
Number of women: Madame Vastra, Jenny, Clara (deceased), Alice the maid, Francesca
Number of PoC: Modern!Clara’s friend at the end of the episode
Bechdel Test: Pass, Alice and Clara talk about Captain Latimer’s children and Francesca and Clara talk about Fran’s nightmares. Vastra and Jenny converse with Clara as well.
LGBT/Queer characters: Vastra and Jenny are involved romantically and consider themselves married. Vastra strokes Clara’s face while talking to her in front of Jenny.
Ableism: The Doctor calls Strax a ‘psychotic dwarf potato’. Clara asks ‘What is it?’ when first seeing Strax and the Doctor says ‘I don’t think his brains made the return trip!’ Digby, Fran’s younger brother, says ‘I think Franny’s gone mad!’ The Doctor continues to berate Strax with several remarks: ‘Don’t be clever, Strax, it doesn’t suit you’ and ‘I’m the clever one, you’re the potato one!’ and ‘You’re not clever or funny, and you got tiny little legs!’ in order to dismiss him. Clara and the Doctor call each other stupid and the Doctor goes ‘Maybe I’m an idiot!’ Strax also says Latimer has a ‘puny human mind’.
Misogyny: Dr Simeon point out that no one would believe that Holmes was based off of a woman, rather than a reptilian creature, after revealing Vastra’s face as if being a woman was more unbelievable. There was also an unnecessary camera zoom on Clara’s chest as she was undressing in the carriage. Latimer says that Clara has a lot of wisdom ‘for someone so pretty’, as if being pretty doesn’t mean you can also be intelligent. The Doctor, while talking to Strax, calls Clara a ‘bird’.
Cissexism/Heterosexism: Strax tells Clara ‘silence boy!’ and the Doctor explains to her that ‘two genders is a bit further than he can count’, despite the fact that Strax has been with Vastra and Jenny for a period of time. This particular line continues to happen throughout the entire episode. The Doctor also assumes Dr Simeon has a wife and continues even after Dr Simeon says he doesn’t.
Feminist moments: Vastra is made to be the inspiration for the Great Detective, Sherlock Holmes, but even she doesn’t think she is able to stop Dr Simeon. She insists that she and Jenny need the Doctor’s help. The Doctor attempts to use a memory worm on Clara in order to erase her memory without her permission. Clara is a bar maid at first, but it’s revealed later that she’s in fact a governess. Still unsure as to how either profession helps her be sneaky or climb on top of a moving carriage even though it’s shown she has trouble jumping 2 inches off the ground to get to the TARDIS’ ladder. Her double life is kept a secret for no apparent reason, and it could’ve been used to show the differences between the higher class position of governess to the lower class one of bar maid, but the latter was ignored even though she walked out on the job to chase after the Doctor early in the episode.
Clara kisses the Doctor without any prompting and he squirms and acts uncomfortable during the whole scene. He doesn’t reciprocate at that moment and she continues to kiss him. She continues to sexually harass him when they’re about to go up the ladder; she makes a point to tell him she’s staring at his backside and tells him ‘no!’ when he tells her to stop it. The Doctor makes a deal with Clara that he’ll save the world if she goes with him - sounds an awful lot like coercion. Also, Clara is fridged for the Doctor to get him out of his retirement, acting as a pixie dream girl. She spars with him intellectually, getting the Doctor to open up, but she still dies in front of him. After it’s revealed that she’s the same as Oswin Oswald from The Asylum of the Daleks, the Doctor perks up and takes up a quest to find her again. Clara’s death is also used to get Captain Latimer to be more emotionally open with his children.
Overall score: 5/11
After thoughts: Dr Simeon’s governess as a child insists that him being solitary ‘isn’t right’ - supposed to be an allusion to the Doctor’s retired life? There was some classism as Dr Simeon as an adult promised working men food as a means to get them to come to him, before using them as food for the snowmen. The pub that Clara worked at was ‘The Rose and Crown’, maybe a reference to Rose and Donna? Clara and the Doctor immediately hit it off and Clara follows the Doctor. The popular Game of Thrones line ‘Winter is coming’ is used several times throughout the episode as are gratuitous references to Sherlock Holmes. The Doctor mentions a friend brought Strax back, but doesn’t mention who that friend is (does mention that perhaps Strax’s brain didn’t come back with him). Introduction to the memory worm which is an interesting allusion to Clara’s repeated line ‘Remember’. The TARDIS stays on top of a condensed cloud with an invisible staircase that leads up to it - how?
Clara doesn’t seem to be too bothered by strange things. The word ‘pond’ was used to portray danger, going back to Amy and Rory and the Doctor was shown to be using Amy’s glasses to read. It’s strange that the Doctor gives Clara a key to the TARDIS - when he was upset over the loss of Rose, it took several episodes for him to give one to Martha and eventually open up. He retires after the loss of Amy and Rory, but immediately gives Clara a key after figuring out she was Souffle Girl from Asylum. Also, Clara falls off the condensed cloud to her near death and the Doctor wasn’t able to save her, despite the fact that he already used the TARDIS to catch River when she fell off a building - inconsistent, especially for someone who has a time machine. The Doctor shows a bit of a Nice Guy (TM) attitude after Clara fell, ‘After everything I’ve ever done, I am owed this one!’ while talking about the universe and fair chances. Clara is also portrayed as this huge mystery for the Doctor to solve.
In a fairly recent post you mentioned that “narratives trying to explore ~fluid~ sexuality can’t be really, really harmful— e.g. Irene Adler in Sherlock.” Now, as a bisexual female, Irene Adler never really sat well with me in the series, though I’ve found it pretty hard to define, or put into words, why or how. I’d be interested in hearing your opinion on the matter, if you don’t mind.
my problem with it is primarily the way it’s used within the overarching narrative. like, irene adler identifies as gay, and falls in love with a man. that’s okay! there are some gay women who fall in love with men!
but “sherlock” is all about this man, this one man, this one perfect wonderful white straight cisman who is above and beyond all other people, who is elitist and ableist and objectively logical and insightful and always always right, which is like, deeply unsettling to me on a personal level
and the parallel that “sherlock” tries to draw is between irene and watson— that sherlock is so amazing, so captivating, that he entrances all people regardless of their identifiers or their perspectives or their selves. that is the argument irene makes.
but like— watson (i’m straight! he shrieks again, hearing me mention his name)— there is absolutely no sincere canonical support for his genuine queerness for sherlock. “sherlock” is a queerbaiter to end all queerbaiting, like what if? do you think? haHA! but at the end of the day, no, it will never, ever have watson kiss sherlock on the mouth
so it’s afraid to queer the primary relationship in the show, but still so invested in the central importance of the central man that it uses this woman to demonstrate how inescapably wonderful sherlock is. and irene adler— the POINT of irene adler— is that she is meant to be the one woman who tricks sherlock, who gets away from sherlock, who is above sherlock
so when you posit her as a gay woman whose undoing is her romantic/sexual love for sherlock, a gay woman who in spite of herself leans towards sherlock like a flower to the sun and so unroots herself
and when you have this story in the middle of a larger narrative about sherlock’s whiteness and maleness inextricable from his intellectual rightness and goodness, and a refusal to genuinely queer the other character who is meant to truly see and love sherlock— when sexuality is only fluid when it is flowing back towards straightness— well, then we have a problem
it’s just yeah, it’s not a genuine caring investigation into fluid sexuality or trying to represent the complex ways that people love. irene is not in charge here; the narrative doesn’t care about irene. they just use her, and her identity, and the way sherlock supersedes her identity, to remind us about how great this man is: so great that your self-perceived gayness will be invalid, and your emotions will unravel you, and you will deserve it, because you are a whore and a trickster and a selfish manipulative dangerous woman. but sherlock will save you anyway.