WOULD ANY SANE PERSON think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday, or that chopping wood and carrying water would have gotten people out of Tsarist prisons, or that dancing naked around a fire would have helped put in place the Voting Rights Act of 1957 or the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Then why now, with all the world at stake, do so many people retreat into these entirely personal “solutions”?
Part of the problem is that we’ve been victims of a campaign of systematic misdirection. Consumer culture and the capitalist mindset have taught us to substitute acts of personal consumption (or enlightenment) for organized political resistance. An Inconvenient Truth helped raise consciousness about global warming. But did you notice that all of the solutions presented had to do with personal consumption—changing light bulbs, inflating tires, driving half as much—and had nothing to do with shifting power away from corporations, or stopping the growth economy that is destroying the planet? Even if every person in the United States did everything the movie suggested, U.S. carbon emissions would fall by only 22 percent. Scientific consensus is that emissions must be reduced by at least 75 percent worldwide.
Or let’s talk water. We so often hear that the world is running out of water. People are dying from lack of water. Rivers are dewatered from lack of water. Because of this we need to take shorter showers. See the disconnect? Because I take showers, I’m responsible for drawing down aquifers? Well, no. More than 90 percent of the water used by humans is used by agriculture and industry. The remaining 10 percent is split between municipalities and actual living breathing individual humans. Collectively, municipal golf courses use as much water as municipal human beings. People (both human people and fish people) aren’t dying because the world is running out of water. They’re dying because the water is being stolen.
I always felt like personal change campaigns - not just for the environment but for things like buying products for a cause or to donate to “Africa” were more about a cool and fun marketing campaign than actual change. But because they’re marketed as THE SOLUTION, politicians get to sit pretty and design systems that will guarantee that shit will never change.
War, Taliban, violations of human rights: unfortunately these are the things most associated with Afghanistan today. And yet in a society that has no place for them, 70% of the population of this country is made up of children.
Enter Australian skater Oliver Percovich, who first visited Afghanistan in 2007 with three skateboards in tow. It didn’t take long before he was surrounded by children eager to learn how to skate and his mission became clear. Since then, Olly has permanently relocated to Kabul and dedicated his life with his team to creating Skateistan, a non-profit NGO and full-functioning school where children can not only come to learn in a brand new skatepark facility, but in classrooms where they can choose to explore anything from creative arts to environmental health topics.
Regrettably, there are evident obstacles to teaching girls in a country such as Afghanistan but this NGO has worked closely with the local community and government to gain their full consent and support. It turns out, Afghans largely consider skateboarding a suitable activity for girls, but to respect the local law, they are taught on separate days to boys at the skatepark, by an all-female staff. Skateistan also arranges transport for the girls to make it easier and safer for them to attend.
Above is only an excerpt of something wonderful…
The folks behind Skateistan have opened branches in Pakistan and Cambodia as well. Check out the full article for a rundown of the organization’s history, plus an awesome trailer for their eponymous film that won the 2011 Cinema for Peace Berlin award for Most Valuable Documentary!
I have created this list because, whilst the occasional quote here and there containing problematic statements is easy to write off as ‘words being taken out of context’, seeing all of these quotes, articles, tweets, as well as some meta on major characters written by Moffat together is a little harder to write off.
Three things before we begin. Firstly this is by no means a comprehensive list, as such I will likely be adding to this post anything new said by Steven Moffat which I feel is relevant as well as anything I missed when I initially wrote it. Secondly, if you wish to link to this post, for whatever reason, feel free. Thirdly, if something on this list is unclear or you would like a further explanation feel free to drop me an ask, however I will not be responding to any hate I may receive so please try and be polite.
With that said, here is a list of everything I could find in which Steven Moffat demonstrates his ability to be a complete arse.
Just one choice quote; “I remember when I was reading that story as a kid, Sherlock goes on and on about The Woman, the only one who ever beat him, and you’re thinking, he’s had better villains than this. And then you click: he fancies her, doesn’t he? That’s what it’s about.”.
"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."
Doctor Who Confidential, All About the Girl. 10-04-10 (at 23:10 and 23:34)
“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 realised she was 5’11, slim and gorgeous and I thought ‘Oh, oh that’ll probably work’.”
Doctor Who Confidential, Blinded by the Light. 01-05-10
“Part of the mission statement when writing a script for Doctor Who is how bad of a time can you give Amy Pond.”
Regarding the Time & Space Comic Relief mini episodes. 02-03-11 (x)
"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.”
Doctor Who Magazine, first started appearing online 8/9-05-12 (x) (x) (x)
“What is the base group of people who would run away with the Doctor? They’re all going to be a bit mad. A bit dislocated. Not happy with where they are. Are they yearning for outer space? They’re going to be people who feel like they can take on the Doctor, who’s quite an intimidating sort of person. So, they’re going to be feisty—they’re going to be all those things.”
“I think the function of a companion is pretty simple. I don’t think that’s very difficult. It’s just a question of who credibly is going to agree to go in the TARDIS? Who’s going to do it? Is it going to be a mother of 15 children? No. Is it going to be someone in their 60s? No. Is there going to be a particular age range? I mean … who’s going to have a crush on the Doctor? You know, come on! It’s more than a format. It’s evolved from good, dramatic reasons.”
"Your wife turns into a boat, and shortly after that, you never sleep again and you clean shit off someone. It doesn’t seem like a very appealing prospect. Obviously, the moment I saw my child, that was different, but up until that point, I was thinking, ‘how long before she gets back to normal size? Will this damage anything?’"
“I AM sexist. Women are cleverer, nicer, kinder and better at stuff. Don’t let on or they’ll keep us in fields. FIELDS!!!”
3:00am, 31-03-12. In response to someone asking if we were likely to see any openly gay characters in Doctor Who. (x)
“Canton is nice. Vastra and Jenny are nice. Captain Jack is nice in both directions.”
6:11am and 6:16am, 10-05-12. Regarding what The Doctor would say about gay rights. (x) (x)
“You’d have to explain gay to him first. Then straight! Then why you were still talking when there’s ALL THESE SPACESHIPS!!” and “Then he’d be very cross it was ever in doubt, add a gay marriage setting to his screwdriver and accidentally marry a Krynoid. Again.”
7:46am, 11-05-12. In response to someone inquiring how The Doctor could be unaware of sexual orientations when he traveled with both Captain Jack and River. (x)
“Both of whom are happily bi. He comes from a world where such narrow views seem so ridiculous they’re hard to remember”.
5:07am, 11-05-12. Regarding the lack of bisexual representation in television. (x)
“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!!”
2:43pm, 18-05-12. Responding to polite comments regarding the fact that River doesn’t really contribute to bi-visibility if the majority of Doctor Who’s viewers are unaware of her bisexuality. (x)
“When did I say I thought I was contributing to bisexual visibility?? Please stop being rude to me, you have no reason to be.”.
When we are first introduced to River Song she seemed, to many, to be a very promising character. However, as more of her backstory has been revealed it has become apparent that she is far from brilliant.
Most of the problems with River Song can be summed up in a single sentence. Her entire existence revolves around The Doctor. Almost immediately after her birth she is kidnapped and brainwashed by The Silence in the hopes of defeating The Doctor. She doesn’t end up killing him, but still she is forced to serve a life sentence because everyone thinks she killed The Doctor. After she completes her sentence she becomes Professor River Song, finally living a life of her own she goes on an expedition to The Library where she dies to save The Doctor.
River really sums it up herself; “When I first met the Doctor—a long long time ago—he knew all about me. Think about that. Impressionable young girl and suddenly this man just drops out of the sky. He’s clever and mad and wonderful and, knows every last thing about her. Imagine what that does to a girl…I live for the days when I see him.”
There are many problematic elements to Amy Pond. Though she initially appeared to be a fairly progressive character, aside from a fair amount of appealing to the male gaze, by the end of series five she had been reduced to an incredibly passive role. This passivity is perpetuated in her companion title “The Girl Who Waited” which also infantilizes her.
In series six we saw the mystical pregnancy storyline, which basically reduced Amy to her reproductive system, as well as making her a damsel in distress. After this incredibly traumatic experience she has her baby stolen from her and is given no time to deal with the experience. She also seems to regress from the character, independent and looking for adventure, we see in series five. More and more she begins to fulfill the dutiful wife role.
In fact, the only time we get to see any substantial character growth, in The Girl Who Waited, it is snatched from her and she reverts back to the Amy we see at the beginning of the episode.
Yet again we have a character who initially seems very promising. Irene Adler began as a really strong character, though she is somewhat sexualized to appeal to the male gaze. The major problems, however, appear later in the program.
Whilst Irene tells John she is gay, soon a love story begins to develop between her and Sherlock. The de-gaying of queer characters is a long standing, and incredibly problematic and erasing, trope in the mainstream media.
Furthermore, unlike Arthur Conan Doyle’s original Adler, BBC!Irene does not triumph over Sherlock. Rather her silly, womanly feelings towards Sherlock prove to be her downfall which reinforces stereotypical and sexist ideas about emotions being a weakness.
Irene’s tale finishes with her on her knees, completely helpless, about to be executed Pakistani terrorists (this scene had incredibly racist overtones), when all of a sudden knight in shining armour Sherlock swoops in and saves her.
We live in a really weird era of feminism in which we’re not allowed to criticise any oppressive constructs/industries (marriage, beauty/make up, porn, etc) just because some women enjoy them.
I’m really sick of of opinions and discussions being shut down with “it’s not oppressive if we like it! don’t you know that some women choose to do these things?”
well, heck. don’t you know that men/the patriarchy have a lot to gain in keeping us content and complicit in our own oppression?
I think our generation of feminists have lost the idea of there being an oppressive structure (patriarchy) which moulds and controls the actions of individual women. So when we say “High heels are oppressive, they are a way of controlling women’s bodies, preventing us from being able to run and deforming our feet” a lot of women hear this as “Women who wear high heels are all stupid and not proper feminists. They are gullible stooges of patriarchy!” This is because Western women have been brought up in a culture that emphasizes individualism and personal choices and ignores the coercive social and cultural structures and hierarchies within which those choices are made.
The criticism is not of individual women and the question is not whether individual women do or don’t choose to wear high heels. The criticism is of the patriarchal system that coerces women into wearing high heels and that denies women a genuinely free choice as to whether or not to wear high heels.
last week i was out for drinks with a lady friend and we were discussing the concept of wearing bras that show underneath sheer shirts, which i’ve done before, and in response to this she told me that i was “part of the problem”.
i take a lot of issue with this because i know what she is saying, but because of how she delivered her message, it was very much put onto me, as an individual, for “oppressing myself” per se. now, i know full well that i think i look hot like that due to a coercive patriarchal environment that dictates what is and is not appealing or attractive, i know. i’m aware i enjoy things that are “part of the problem”, but my friend neglected to acknowledge that structural aspect to our oppression and it was literally pinned on me in a way that wasn’t constructive or supportive to other women. she was indirectly calling me a “gullible stoog of the patriarchy” really. she genuinely failed to acknowledge the existence of shitty social structures.
not in a million years would i have looked at her shaved arm pits, pointed at them and told her she’s “part of the problem”, meanwhile she did the same to me. because i know the pit hair thing isn’t on her, it’s our environment, it’s our socialization, and i can’t resent her for that.
SO, if you’re a person that is critiquing the structure that keeps women in their place, by all means do so, without actually attacking other women, as my friend did, because it just isn’t going to create any sort of helpful dialogue about our learned behaviours. i would much rather have a discussion with other feminists about how crappy it is we find ourselves performing our genders (because it really is a matter of self preservation) as opposed to ripping each other apart based on our appearances. there is a proper way to critique one another in a positive light!
“Until now. Sleepy Hollow (along with the dear departed Ugly Betty) has ushered in a new era in which POC TV protagonists are allowed to head the most ridiculous, campy shows out there. Sleepy Hollow’s Abbie is not a bland token, a symbol of black victimization, a mockable ethnic caricature, or a lesson for white people. She is the kickass action hero of an absurd, campy mess of a show that has little educational or moral value.
And ain’t that fab? Most TV writers still treat POC characters too seriously or not seriously enough, but our wonderful Abbie lives in a show that operates between those two poles. To be camp, a text must make audiences feel a mix of love and detached amusement, and Abbie is a character human enough to love even if she lives in a hilariously nonsensical universe.”—
because for one, the misunderstood, eccentric, and acidic genius white guy has real and serious consequences for his actions and deals with them in realistic ways and depends on help from his friends, the main one in question a wonderful strong woman who cuts through all of his bullshit manpain and puts him in his place and gets him on the right track to make amends
and even when misunderstood eccentric acidic genius white guy apologizes and tries to fix things, people don’t automatically forgive him for the things that he’s done just because of how genius-y he is, and also deal with their anger realistically