People try to tell me that Superman is simple and naive. They try to suggest to me that Batman’s more psychologically complex stories are where adults REALLY gravitate. And in many cases, they do.
But I actually do think that Batman represents a certain type of naievete. Batman is about trying to CONTROL your environment. He believes that he can STOP bad things from happening. He is forever an 8 year old boy, holding his dying parents in his arms and thinking he can stop this from ever happening again. Batman hopes to eliminate criminals from his world entirely. With his fists.
Superman, for me, has an acceptance that bad things WILL always happen. In many versions, he comes to terms very early in life with the fact that despite his immense power, he cannot stop bad things from happening. That his goal as a hero cannot be to stop bad things from happening, but instead should be about using his gifts to help those in need when the time comes. Sometimes, yes, he can stop a bullet. But he cannot eradicate the darkness that would convince a man to fire it in the first place.
One is about fighting against the dire currents of life, one is about accepting them and trying to make the ride as comfortable as possible. There is maturity and wisdom in acceptance."
“Don’t let us forget that the causes of human actions are usually immeasurably more complex and varied than our subsequent explanations of them.”
— Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Idiot
Almost always forgotten in history. Everything is treated as if it’s black and white - automatons making all the decisions.
It’s only recently people have factored in that, say, during the Gallipoli landings, the top feller in charge of securing the beaches and getting in-land was totally obsessed with his mistress and was in the middle of a messy break-up. Certainly explains the total lack of activity on his part - or goes towards doing so.
It’s all a bit futile - we’ll never know what drives people, and all history really is is the actions of people. We can pretend we know - but we’ll never really know why Caesar crossed the Rubicon, or any other history-making action, for that matter.
Remember it’s Historia - meaning inquiries, not Historia - meaning fact.
Big difference between ‘I’ve asked around and this seems to be the case’ and ‘this *is* the case’. Nothing worse than believing your own hype…
This article essentially illustrates a lot of the problems we have with Moffat’s female characters. It’s FINE when women want to be sexy, to express themselves sexually and empower themselves with how they look and act. However, most of the time when it comes to media, especially male authors, there’s a REASON why women are sexy - because it appeals to the male authors.
There is a very fine and indistinct line between “being sexy because I want to be” and “being sexy because you want me to be”; many women dress attractively and revealingly and find it to be perfectly empowered, while many others feel forced and uncomfortable with it. The issue is not what is worn, or how someone looks, but why they look or dress that way. When female comics characters are almost unilaterally made into gorgeous women with unrealistically large breasts, it doesn’t feel like it’s empowering them, it feels like “that’s what the male artists want them to look like”. When Miss Chan says she wants her ideal character to be drop-dead gorgeous, that’s because it gives her character more control, more influence, and more power - the kind of things that make a character “escapist” to begin with. They are part of the central concept that a character who is empowering should have agency, should be in control of their own fate, and shouldn’t be shackled by other people’s desires or demands.
We got into an extensive conversation about Amy Pond and how she dresses a while back. Karen Gillan did put her own input into the character and how she dresses. That’s great! That’s empowerment. What was NOT empowering was how Moffat felt Karen was exceptionally sexy and decided to emphasise that by making her character into a model, giving her the codename ‘Legs’, or saying Amy only passed her driving test because her skirt was so short. When a woman dresses for herself, it’s completely different from when a man projects what he feels a woman should look like.
When feminine traits are made part of a feminine character, the part that it’s crucial to identify is: “is this what the author believes all women are like?” In many scenarios it seems like the answer is “yes”, because there’s not enough diversity to offset it. If you have a reasonable number of strong, capable women, then a female character who is weak and submissive feels more natural because it’s her as an individual, not her as a representative of her gender. The same is true of all “feminine” traits - if you have enough diversity that such traits don’t feel forced, the resulting product is more natural. It’s part of treating women like “people”, instead of some weird subset of humanity who all somehow behave the same even though there’s over 3 billion of them.
Again, with Amy, when women called Moffat out for making many of his female characters mothers, he went ‘THAT’S EMPOWERING!’ Yeah, if every woman WANTED to become a mother. But when several of his female characters become mothers when it goes against their character, then it becomes a stereotype. Moffat believes that every woman wants to become a mother, therefore he makes his women mothers. That is what he believes represents women, when in fact, it’s only a fraction of the women out there. Not only that, but he takes the motherhood away from his main female characters so much that he takes away their autonomy. River was trapped in a digital library taking care of digital children (who Donna had taken care of before) even though she had not shown, and never shows, an innate desire to raise kids. Amy was pregnant, but her consciousness was in a ganger. The Doctor knew she was pregnant and not actually Amy, but he still forced her awake right when she was about to give birth. She was thrust into a situation of pregnancy that she wasn’t aware of and giving birth to her first child who was eventually taken away from her. Her motherhood autonomy was literally snatched from her hands.
Also, he keeps creating women who he thinks would fall in love with the Doctor. Attractive, spunky, white women are not the only people who would find the Doctor appealing. They’re also not the only people the Doctor would find worthy of travelling with him. He does this consistently with his female companions that it’s become a trope with him - it’s essentially how he views women for his show. There’s no diversity.
The key to writing a female character well is to make her make sense in-universe. The more diverse and multi-faceted your universe is, the more believable she will be as a character. The more believable she is as a character, the more easily she can be accepted as being an independent individual with some sense of agency and self-determination. There are no traits that specifically make for a good female character, because “good” is a manner of representation and context, not a manner of who or what they are.
The same is also true of writing good male characters.
This is a great quote and some great commentary from stfu-moffat. I want everyone to keep this in mind when we are talking about our next two tropes, The Evil Demon Seductress and the Femme Fatale. There’s a fine line in media between a female character who is sexually assertive because she wants to be and playing into the old trope that women use their sexuality to manipulate men.
So, how do you fix that? I’m just shooting rubber bands at the night sky but here are a few ideas: Put women’s studies in high school the curriculum from war heroes to politicians, writers, speakers, activists, revolutionaries and let young people understand that women have been kicking ass in high threat conditions for ages and they are worthy of respect.
Total sex ed in school. Learn how it all works. Learn what the definition of statutory rape is and that it is rape, that date rape is rape, that rape is rape.
In the spirit of equal time, sites like Huffington Post should have sections for male anatomy hanging out instead of just the idiotic celebrity “side boob” and “nip slip” camera ops. I have no idea what that would be like to have a camera in my face at every turn, looking for “the” shot. I know what some of you are saying. “Then why do they wear clothes like that unless they want those photos taken?” I don’t know what to tell ya. Perhaps just don’t take the fuckin picture? Evolve? I don’t know.
Education, truth, respect, equality—these are the things that can get you from a to b very efficiently."