Hey! Just discovered this tumblr, and I have to say it’s really made me think about the way I write. Reading all the information you’ve provided about representation in fiction and intersectionality has been eye-opening; thank you so much!
Just wondering, though: I am a budding writer and I have struggled with equal representation in the past. I was so afraid to write something that might offend someone that I didn’t write it at all, which meant my cast of characters was completely whitewashed and in no way representative of the real world. Now that I’ve recognised this problem in my writing, I’m trying to fix it, but I still don’t really know what I’m doing :P
I don’t suppose you could direct me towards some resources that would help me to represent POC and non-heterosexual people better, and help me become a more fair-minded writer?
Thanks for your help!
There are several resources that you can find around tumblr for writing, but specifically for POC, I find this post to be helpful. Personally, I believe that it shouldn’t be as hard as a lot of white writers tend to think it is. You create a character, and then make them a POC and/or non-heterosexual. It’s pretty much as simple as that. Sometimes you have to be conscious of stereotypes and what situations you’re thinking of putting your character into (For instance, neither Davies nor Moffat were very conscious of this when writing Martha Jones and her family. They were all great characters, but both writers made Martha and her family into slaves and servants - Davies’ offense is much easier to see, but Moffat wrote in Blink that Martha was in the 60s, struggling to work to support both herself and the Doctor who didn’t bother to do much. Also he sent a black man back through time to this period).
The most important thing is research! Just like writing for anything else you don’t know about, you can always research about different ethnicities and histories and significant people. Every ethnicity and culture and type of person has a rich history and it won’t hurt to try and take a look! If you’re struggling, you can always ask around (as long as it’s ok with the person you’re asking) or try and find a writers forum to see what works. Tumblr is also a great resource. In the end, if you’re still worried about something, just don’t do it. If it sounds iffy, drop it. That’s usually the best policy.
There is a consistent problem I’ve been having with Season 7 of Doctor Who: in a constant effort to create the dramatic Hollywood-movie feel Moffat promised Season 7 would have, the writers have failed to create the actual drama of the plot which truly make those moments dramatic. The writing has been rather shoddy, leaving me feeling as if the episodes are ultimately hollow.
Or, to put it in Tumblr form, every time I watch an episode, a day later I’m just like:
There are many, many examples I could give of this, put lets look at the “iconic” moment of this season and how it compares to other comparable episodes to really see where the drama is lacking.
Midway through “Asylum of the Daleks,” the Doctor tricks a Dalek into exploding itself, and in the ensuing explosion, Amy is knocked unconscious, leaving the Doctor to carry her prone body out into a field of destroyed daleks. This image became the “defining” image of Season 7, frequently used on BBC’s promotional materials both before and during the season’s airing and featuring prominently in the Season 7 trailer.
Yet there was nothing truly iconic about the moment. In “Asylum,” that scene was barely important, a minor throw-away scene we could’ve done without. It didn’t progress the plot, nor did it serve as a necessary focal point of the plot. In fact, the whole scene felt rather contrived, as if it were another of Amy’s photo shoots to capture an image of the Doctor carrying his helpless companion.
Now, most critiques have focused on how the image makes Amy seem helpless and is anti-feminist. However, I was mostly dissapointed at how…well…boring the moment felt. Because if done well, the Doctor carrying a helpless companion can be one of the greatest and most dramatic moments of the episode.
Consider Season 2, for example. At the end of “New Earth,” the Doctor catches Rose twice to prevent her from collapsing when she is un-possessed by Cassandra. In this instance, Rose’s collapse was the climax of the underlying subplot: Rose and the newly regenerated Doctor were still unsure about each other, where they stood, and what their new relationship would be like. After both a literal and figurative out-of-body experience, they both finally feel fully comfortable in themselves and in their relationship with each other. The are, quite literally, comfortable in their own bodies.
Or consider the beginning of Season 3, where the Doctor carries Martha’s unconscious body through the hospital at the end of “Smith and Jones.” In this case, there is an element of dualism and reciprocation. The Doctor is willing to sacrifice himself to save the hospital, and Martha finds him prone and unconscious after he is nearly killed by the Plasmavore. Due to her efforts, he survives, but Martha exhausts herself resuscitating him and passes out due to lack of exhaustion. Now the Doctor reciprocates the favor by caring for her while he ensures that the Judoon return them to Earth.
Finally, we have the finale of Season 4, where after having her memories wiped by the Doctor, Donna collapses into his arms, and he holds her up in what is probably the most devastating hug in Doctor Who’s history. As Dalek Caan predicted, by erasing her memories the Doctor has effectively killed Donna Noble; or at least, he has killed the Donna that he knew. She has reverted back into the person she was before she met the Doctor, a shallow, self-absorbed woman with a narrow perspective on life. When Donna collapses, she’s not merely prone and unconscious to the Doctor, she is effectively dead to him. So the Doctor is not carrying her to protect her or save her, he is carrying the burden of what he has done. He is carrying the body of one of his best friends.
It is devastating, it is emotional, and it is dramatic.
Show me the Doctor carrying Amy, and I’ll shrug. Show me the Doctor carrying Donna, and I’ll dissolve into a puddle of feels and tears. It’s as if the writers are demanding that we feel something without adding in the necessary detail to make us actually feel it. A moment doesn’t become dramatic because you have a bunch of explosions and then show a beloved character carrying another beloved character, a moment becomes dramatic when the plot weaves emotion, purpose, and action together. Character’s actions must have emotional depth ad subtext to them, otherwise we are left with a flat moment that leaves us feeling hollow and ultimately disappointed.
Hi, I’ve been scanning for a bit now and I was wondering if you could explain or link me to why everyone thinks Martha isn’t a very feminist character? […] Anyways, I always considered her one of my favorites, and I’m still learning about feminism, and I can only guess it’s because of her weird obsession with making The Doctor attracted to her? […]
Hey there, and thanks for the ask. Unfortunately, I had to split your questions into separate posts since there are different points of foci here. I’m afraid this is going to be rather lengthy, so I’m posting it under a cut. I just have a lot of Martha feels, ok?