For Steven Moffat, the truly “impossible girl” is one who passes the Bechdel Test.

16 Sep

I keep meaning to write about Doctor Who. I’d intended to start reviewing this season’s episodes, but the month just kind of got away from me. So here we are, four episodes in, and I’m finally getting around to talking about the Doctor, his companions, and Steven Moffat, who has written most of the episodes since 2010.

Like many Doctor Who fans, I was super-excited to hear that Steven Moffat was taking over as showrunner in 2010. He’d written some of the most-loved episodes for the ninth and tenth Doctors – “The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances,” “The Silence in the Library / Forest of the Dead,” and, of course, “Blink.” These episodes combined incredibly creepy elements that were brilliant in their simplicity – the phrases “are you my mummy” or “don’t blink” are enough to bring shivers down even the most casual fan’s spine.

While, at the time, I was watching more as a fan and less as a feminist (hey, it’s possible), I think that part of my excitement at the announcement that Moffat would be taking over came from the female characters that he created in those episodes.

Nancy is flawed and resilient, and able to admit to her mistakes in order to potentially save the day, even though she’s justifiably terrified. River Song, in those two episodes, is irreverent and intelligent, although from a feminist perspective her character goes straight downhill from there.

riverbechdel

Click for source.

Sally Sparrow is brave and clever, and also gave me one of my favorite quotes ever – when asked “what’s good about sad?” she replies “it’s happy for deep people”. And of course, an honorable mention goes to Madame de Pompadour, the curious and composed “woman in the fireplace”.

As we’ve moved into the Moffat era, however, it’s become more and more clear that while he’s obviously capable of writing interesting, compelling female characters, he doesn’t actually know what to do with them.

Spoilers below.

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Ferguson Friday link round-up

12 Sep

Like many people, I spent a lot of last month clicking on links and reading tweets about the unfolding situation in Ferguson, Missouri, and growing more and more outraged, frustrated, and eventually despairing over the individual situation and the truths about race in America that it brought to the surface of our cultural consciousness.

Obviously I haven’t written anything here about it, largely because there are so many people already writing about it in a way that’s more informed, insightful, and nuanced than I could. As a white person, this is a situation where listening instead of speaking was really the better choice.

Still two Americas

Today, #blacklivesmatter is hosting a #fergusonfridays chat on Twitter, and asking people to tweet about the ongoing situation in Ferguson (yes, it’s still going on, even a month later, even if it’s no longer trending) and to promote and support black businesses.

In support of the chats and hashtags, I’ve compiled some links to posts that I found interesting and relevant in the past few weeks.

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I’m back

8 Sep

Ok, kids – obviously I’ve been away from here for a while. You know, I didn’t realize when I started this that blogging is actually a lot of work. Which is silly, because thinking about all of the blogs that I read, I’d never think that their authors weren’t doing work in producing their articles and posts. But between job applications, working up to three part-time jobs, and trying to stay caught up with friends, I’ve gotten a little overwhelmed.

Things have been busy here – mostly in good ways. The baby whose imminent arrival inspired this post was born; he’s sweet and mellow and healthy. My best friend from New Jersey came on a whirlwind visit to take me to see Kate Bush perform in London (I may review her show at some point – it was fantastic). I saw Jenny Lewis perform (she’s fantastic as well). I saw Prince William today (Can I call him that? Or is he only the Duke of Cambridge?).

Me & Wills

Me & Wills

As a former teacher, I’m hoping that September will signal a new start, new motivation, new goals, and new energy. Thanks for sticking with me!

Abortion myths vs. realities: Part 2

13 Aug

Here we go – part two in my abortion facts vs. myths series.

If you missed the first part, here’s the background: several months ago I wrote a post criticizing the methods and arguments of anti-choice protesters. Last month, some members of an anti-choice group that I’d counter-protested found the post and began to comment on it. I got fed up with their lies and misinformation and decided to write a fact-based reply to some of the points that anti-choicers use in their arguments.

Just to reiterate my point from the introduction to part one of this post – I’m not going to argue morals here. I’m not arguing right or wrong, or personhood, or anything that is a matter of opinion. I am simply addressing the false and misleading claims that anti-choicers use in their arguments.

factsThe quotes in italics are from the comments on my original post. You can go back to that comment section if you’d like a better idea of the context.

(Please excuse the inconsistencies in spelling; I’m American so I spell things the American way, but many of the sites I’m quoting from are English. You say fertilisation, I say fertilization!).

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Monday Listicle Round-Up

11 Aug

It’s a Monday morning in August, so I’m not going to even try to be clever in this intro. Here are some feminist-y listicles to ease you into the week!

sojourner Continue reading

Rape culture in real life: Poster edition

7 Aug

The other day, a woman I work with (Hi Sarah!) asked me what I thought about the controversy surrounding an NHS anti-rape poster that bore the words “One in three reported rapes happens when the victim has been drinking”. The poster features a disturbing photograph of a woman curled up on the ground, her hand between her thighs, obviously in pain.

I'm really disturbed by this picture. Plus, if two out of three rapes happens when the victim is sober, does that mean I'm safer if I'm drunk?

I’m really disturbed by this picture. Plus, if two out of three rapes happens when the victim is sober, does that mean I’m safer if I’m drunk?

A petition on change.org is calling for the NHS to remove this poster. The petition calls the poster “a blatant and appalling case of victim blaming by our own Government, putting the onus on the victim rather than the perpetrator.”

When the department of health was notified of the petition last week, their response was less than encouraging; they refused to apologize on the grounds that this particular poster campaign has not been in use for seven years.  While it was a bit of a relief for me to learn that this was an outdated campaign, they definitely missed a chance to send a message to the public that is more in line with the NHS’s stated position that “If you have been sexually assaulted, remember that it wasn’t your fault. It doesn’t matter what you were wearing, where you were or whether you had been drinking. A sexual assault is always the fault of the perpetrator.”

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I don’t need feminism because… oh. Wait. I do.

29 Jul

Several months ago, a friend sent me a link to the blog “Women Against Feminism,” figuring I’d appreciate its ridiculousness. I followed them for a while, even attempting to reblog and respond to several of the posts, before the overwhelming exasperation and rage I experienced every time one came up on my dash was just too much, and I had to unfollow them.

At the time, I thought about blogging about the posts, but never got around to it. However, the blog has now been discovered by Buzzfeed and is getting some online attention, so I figured now is as good a time as any to weigh in!

I'm going to argue that if you're unironically using the phrase "hysterical hipster whore", then you probably need feminism.

I’m going to argue that if you’re unironically using the phrase “hysterical hipster whore”, then you probably need feminism.

It doesn’t take long to get infuriated by the blog.

Some of their points are just lame. “I’m not a feminist because I love men”? We’ve been over that.

“I’m not a feminist because I believe in the equality of all people”? Yeah, well, that’s kind of what feminism is about.

“I like it when men hold doors for me and give up their seats for me on the Tube”? May I introduce you to benevolent sexism?

“The wage gap is a myth”? Nope.

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Abortion myths vs realities. Part 1.

19 Jul

Ok – so, several months ago I posted a bit of a rant about anti-choice protesters, outlining my frustration with their hypocrisy and with the ways in which they choose to act on their disapproval of abortion.

Early last week, that link must have been shared on the page of an anti-choice group, because I’ve gotten a lot of comments from anti-choice people. These comments have ranged from attempts to provide information and links to demonstrate that abortion is dangerous to name-calling and straight-up lies.

It’s easy to forget how easy I have it sometimes as a feminist; all of my close friends are brilliant critical thinkers and feminists, so I rarely encounter people who hold strong anti-feminist views. I was stunned by the inconsistencies, logical fallacies, and factual inaccuracies that were being shouted at me (often, while simultaneously calling me and the pro-choice side liars).

This is all I could think of when accused of lying by anti-choicers.

This is all I could think of when accused of lying by anti-choicers.

I tried to reply to some of the comments calmly and rationally, but quickly realized that that was not a practical or efficient response. However, the fact that they were using actual untruths as “evidence” for their agenda was something I couldn’t let go. My poor friends had to listen to me talking about those comments for days.

I’m not really sure why I’ve spent so much time researching this post. It’s certainly not because I think I’ll change anyone’s minds. I know that’s hopeless. Research has shown “misinformation is ‘sticky’ and is often resistant to correction” and that being presented with facts or research to the contrary can actually strengthen people’s incorrect beliefs (source).

It’s also not to inform my regular readers; I’m sure most of you realize that legal abortion is a safe procedure, and are probably kind of sick of having the same arguments over and over (I know I am).

I think it’s because of how scared it makes me that the people who are spreading these lies are gaining traction; in America alone “In 2013 alone, 22 states enacted 70 antiabortion measures, including previability abortion bans, unwarranted doctor and clinic regulations, limits on the provision of medication abortion and bans on insurance coverage of abortion. However, 2013 was not even the year with the greatest number of new state-level abortion restrictions, as 2011 saw 92 enacted; 43 abortion restrictions were enacted by states in 2012” (source).

The number of myths and lies about abortion is probably in the bazillions (that’s a rough estimate). In order to figure out which ones to address in this post, I went back to the comments on the original post. I’ve pulled direct quotes from the people who commented to give you a feel for their arguments. If you want to go back to the original post to get an idea of the context of the comments, go for it.

I’m not going to argue morality here. I’m not arguing religion or personhood. I’m just talking facts.

(Also, I’m going to have to divide this into a couple of posts, because there is a LOT of information.)

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Friday morning links round-up!

11 Jul

Sometimes, when it’s hot and humid, you don’t have the energy to read (or – ahem – write) a long, solid post. So here’s your July round-up of links to lists! A lot of these are applicable to some of my older posts, so I’ve included some links to those.

Abstinence-only education

Abstinence-only education

1. As many of you know, I’ve been getting some anti-choice people commenting in my post about anti-choice protests from a few months ago. The first two items on this list of 8 things America gets terribly wrong about sex help to explain why I feel the way I do!

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The Hobby Lobby ruling: why it’s hard to be rational sometimes.

2 Jul

If you’ve spent any time at all on feminist-leaning websites, blogs, or twitter feeds in the past few days (and I’m assuming you have because, well, you’re here) you know that a lot of people are outraged and scared by the Supreme Court’s ruling that Hobby Lobby, the Christian-run craft store, does not have to cover female employees’ contraception in its health insurance. The company cited its “sincerely held religious belief” that since contraception can cause abortion (what???), it is wrong, and the Supreme Court ruled that the company should not have to violate that belief by covering its employees’ contraception.

Click the photo for the source.

Click the photo for the source.

Now, the list of reasons for outrage here is a long one. First of all, I find it reprehensible that the Supreme Court allowed the “belief” that contraception causes abortion to be used as a reason Hobby Lobby shouldn’t be forced to pay for it. Contraception does not cause abortion. Contraception does not cause abortion. This is fact. Scientific. Medical. Fact. But because someone “believed” that it does, nobody is allowed to deny that.

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