Yesterday, me and a number of friends were left disgusted by the racial stereotyping and casual misogyny running rife through the latest episode of Doctor Who, “The Caretaker”.
This morning, hellotailor made a comment on twitter that, in order to make any kind of meaningful difference, fans need to do more than tweet / tumblr their dissatisfaction, and lodge formal complaints to the BBC. Here’s the link for the complaints site: http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/complain-online/.
Here’s what I submitted. Please feel free to use this as a model for your complaints, though I believe individual responses will be more effective.
I am deeply offended by “The Caretaker”, which contains numerous insults against people of color and women.
For years, I have given Steven Moffat the benefit of the doubt, despite a number of questionable remarks made by The Doctor and other characters during his tenure. This episode crossed the line, for many reasons.
Let’s start with race:
- The Doctor has ZERO PROBLEMS with Clara dating a white character, despite the fact that he had never met him. As soon as he meets Danny, however, he makes a number of racially coded jokes about how a man like Danny could not be a maths teacher, but must be a PE teacher. This perpetuates negative stereotypes about black men only being suitable for physical pursuits, not cerebral.
- He insults Danny’s intelligence over and again, with no cause and great venom. The Doctor is allowed to insult people, and be protective of Clara, but if this is his “personality,” why no insults or wariness for the white bow-tied teacher?
- All three delinquent children are black: first the two truant boys, then Courtney. Again, this perpetuates terrible stereotypes.
Moffat’s treatment of gender is equally problematic:
- Throughout the season, Capaldi’s Doctor makes a number of comments about Clara’s height, weight, makeup and desire to have a personal life. He goes on and on about her body, when such comments are neither necessary nor amusing.
- This episode, he actively dismisses her work and her intelligence.
- The plot of The Caretaker revolves around Clara seeking approval from first her “space-dad” and then her boyfriend. God forbid a woman make her own decisions and enjoy her life without male approval.
It is not acceptable for a “hero” to engage in such pernicious and dated stereotypes, the likes of which we have not seen in 50 years of Doctor Who. It’s disrespectful, and disgraceful coming from the BBC.
If you send a complaint to the BBC’s official complaints page, then they have to pay attention to it — or publicly acknowledge it, if complaints arrive in bulk.
I sent in my complaint two days ago and got this back:
Dear Ms Maedler
Thanks for contacting us regarding the BBC One programme ‘Doctor Who’.
We understand you are unhappy with the new series as you feel it contains sexist and misogynistic content.
Thanks for letting us know you had concerns with the new series of Doctor Who. We would like as many people as possible to love what we do, but that’s not always possible and we accept that. Doctor Who has a very loyal fan base, and while we always try to listen to viewers thoughts on the show - your feedback is important to us - it’s not always possible for us to make the kind of changes you would like. We just hope you bear with us and give the show a chance.
We would never promote sexist behaviour on our programmes and all writers and directors for our programmes are extensively briefed on our editorial guidelines when producing programmes for the BBC:
Thank you again for contacting us, we value your feedback about ‘Doctor Who’. All complaints are sent to senior management and programme makers and BBC Departments every morning and I included your points in this overnight report. These reports are among the most widely read sources of feedback in the BBC and ensures that your complaint has been seen by the right people quickly. This helps inform their decisions about current and future programmes.
The letter posted by theoncominghope is too long to fit into the complaints box at the BBC complaints site :/ Have they recently changed this?
I changed the original text a bit so that now it fits in the text box. I felt kinda bad since it was worded so excellently originally but well, what can you do? Also, I’m not even sure line breaks go through in the end!
I’ve been a huge fan of the show for years, but since Steven Moffat took over as head writer I feel that the number of questionable remarks made by The Doctor & other characters have increased to a point where, in the episode “The Caretaker”, it crossed the line.
The Doctor has ZERO PROBLEMS with Clara dating a white character, but as soon as he meets Danny he makes a number of racially coded jokes about how Danny could not be a maths teacher, but must be a PE teacher. This perpetuates negative stereotypes about black men only being suitable for physical pursuits, not cerebral.
He insults Danny’s intelligence repeatedly, with no cause & great venom. The Doctor is allowed to insult people, and be protective of Clara, but if this is his “personality,” why no insults or wariness for the white teacher?
All three delinquent children are black: first the two boys, then Courtney.
Throughout the season, Capaldi’s Doctor makes comments about Clara’s height, weight, makeup & desire to have a personal life that are neither necessary nor amusing.
This episode, he actively dismisses her work & her intelligence.
The plot of The Caretaker revolves around Clara seeking approval from first her “space-dad” & then her boyfriend. Can’t a woman make her own decisions & enjoy her life without male approval?
A “hero” should not engage in such pernicious & dated stereotypes, the likes of which we have not seen in 50 years of the show. It’s disrespectful & disgraceful coming from the BBC.
Also, for the additional information required, here are some points I wasn’t a 100% on right away:
- Doctor Who is on BBC One
- Category: I put bias
- I put “Tired of the misogyny & racism in recent episodes” as the subject of my complaint, which was good since I had to cut the text so much.
- The website totally accepted my filling out my ‘title’ as Mx!
Feel free to copy that text as well! Let’s fill up their inboxes, because seriously, it’s getting ridiculous what Moffat is allowed to get away with.
#*dies of emotion* #but what if molly was his companion once #and now he stops by for breakfast #and keeps commenting because it seems like every time #there’s another ginger kid #adn when he sees harry it’s like ha! #i knew they couldn’t all be ginger! #and molly doesn’t bother telling the doctor that harry isn’t hers #because he is after all one of her boys #and she loves him just as though he was a weasley (via dwcompanion)
those tags broke me a little inside#Molly Weasley turned Daleks into actual pepperpots, because, honestly, she doesn’t have time for their nonsense.
so you’re telling me there’s an alien who regenerates into a completely random form, that he cannot control or determine himself, and who understandably could take millions of different appearances, but who all 13 times just turned into a different skinny white guy
I really, genuinely feel awful for all of the old Doctors now.
And the way Moffat explained it was soooo condescending:
“They’re all brilliant, they’re all terrific, but time has passed. I think it would be beyond the dignity of all those very fine actors to want to force themselves back into a costume from 20 or 30 years ago.” (SFX Magazine)
I saw Peter Davison speak yesterday at Hal Con, and his take on the issue was much the same. He said that he feels the 50th is celebrating the 50th Anniversary itself rather than 50 years of the program. He said that Moffat had basically penned something that celebrates his own work rather than something than something that celebrates the show as a whole. Peter Davison said that he felt let down to be part of a group excluded from the anniversary despite his role in its history, which is really very sad.
He said that Moffat had basically penned something that celebrates his own work rather than something than something that celebrates the show as a whole.
I know I’ve reblogged this before, but the added Davidson quote just makes me terribly sad. I got into who properly in the Eccleston years, but I’ve always been aware of it. It’s a huge part of the TV culture of the UK and the wider sci fi community. People who have no interest in the show now remember hiding behind the sofa when they saw the Daleks. And some people have been watching the show since the beginning and still love it now. The fiftieth should not be about one man and his ego. It should be about the fans, all the doctors, all the companions and all the stories that have been loved and lived. And we’re not going to get that.
Can people see now that’s it’s not just some people on tumblr who are upset about this? It’s the actual actors from the show you all claim to love, being shunted aside for Moffat’s wank fest.
I really really can’t wait till Moffat gets shoved out. I just wish it had happened before the 50th anniversary, for these reasons. :/
The issue is NOT that Moffat didn’t cast a woman (or a non-caucasian of either gender). It’s that the thought of casting one NEVER SEEMED TO ENTER INTO THE EQUATION. It’s as ludicrous to him that a woman would be the Doctor as a man would portray The Queen. Both represent a type of drag performance that might be amusing but certainly not authentic. And given that science fiction/fantasy is a place where “what if” and “why not” have their safest homes, it’s disheartening to see limitations put on a show that is, by its design, utter limitless […]
Had I not heard these rumblings before today’s special, Moffat’s comment about The Queen probably wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow. Had Moffat’s companions been strong, independent figures that weren’t ignorant of their own origins, Moffat’s comments would have gone unnoticed. Instead, his comments formed a triptych along with the other two elements that suggest a large, systemic problem that has absolutely no bearing on Capaldi’s capacity to play the Doctor but everything to do with Moffat’s ability to steer that ship.
Instead of focus on the new Doctor, maybe we should be focused on getting a new showrunner. The TARDIS can go anywhere in time and space. But Moffat seems stuck on the same patch of antiquated soil.
Sometimes you find an article that’s so incredible you just want to copy-paste the entire thing into a post and put giant flashing neon signs on it that scream:
This is one of those posts.Seriously, go read the whole thing.
Yeah, there are about six different bits of this I want to copy out, but it would be the majority of the post. I’ll just say: If you’re still unsure about the basis of this unhappiness with Moffat’s Who, read this. And I’ll limit myself to just this one piece:
To be clear, as my colleague Linda Holmes noted on Twitter: “questioning exclusion” and “demanding entry” are two different things. Those that choose to believe that anger over casting choices today boil down to, “You only would have been happy with a woman,” are missing the point so badly that engaging with such an argument is pointless.
Go read this.