perihadion: (Amy Pond (lost in a forest))
[personal profile] perihadion
Let's talk about Amy Pond: she's smart, she's sassy, she's sexy; she's the fearless little girl all grown up — and Doctor Who fandom has a serious problem with her. I'm also going to touch on Rory and my issues with him and his relationship with Amy.

Amy
I'm tired of having this discussion with people who seem to think that the only realistic portrayals of women are middle-of-the-bell-curve characters with few — if any — quirks. Amy is described as "unrealistic" because she's intelligent despite not (apparently) being university-educated, because she's 'mad', because she's confident and beautiful and she knows it.

Let me tell you something: a lot of intelligent women never made it to university and a lot of them dropped out. You can be intelligent without being educated and there are a lot of women with a natural aptitude for reasoning who never formally honed it because girls are discouraged from studying maths and sciences, because sometimes circumstances prohibit people from progressing in their education, because sometimes people are lazy and have other priorities[*] — this doesn't mean they're not smart, this doesn't mean they can't reason things through, this doesn't mean that they're unrealistic. In short, not everyone who is intelligent is educated — and don't assume your kissogram is not smart.

[*] Personally I dropped out of university when I was 19 and didn't return until I was 21. I study physics now but let me tell you that for those two years I had a lot of people assume I was too stupid for education when honestly it came down to the fact that there were a lot of obstacles, and a lot of indecision and flailing on my part. Amy is mid-flail in figuring out where she wants to go in life. Let me also tell you that part of the reason I didn't immediately go into a physics degree course when I was 18 was because a lot of people treated me like I was defective for wanting to — for a lot of the same reasons that people seem to think that Amy is an "unrealistic" character (i.e. that it didn't fit the mould of what people expect from women).

I also strongly feel like Amy has been established as an emotionally more than an analytically intelligent character. I said this a lot around the time of "The Beast Below" — because I really felt like that episode was establishing this Doctor as analytically but not emotionally intelligent, especially not with respect to himself, and Amy as emotionally intelligent by contrast (which is a theme which was carried through "The Victory of the Daleks" where Amy 'saved the day' by connecting with a character emotionally after the Doctor had figured everything else out with his powers of analysis). These actually are not such radical roles for a character team to assume and frankly I don't think anybody would accuse Amy of undermining the Doctor's intelligence if she were male — because she doesn't, she has a different type of intelligence.

And just as people are sometimes unexpectedly intelligent — and intelligent in unexpected ways — people sometimes have unusual personality types. I don't think the combination of Amy's personality and her intelligence make her 'unrealistic' — in fact, I think that her personality goes a long way to explaining why she never left Leadworth when she was clearly uncomfortable there. Amy's personality is a product of who she was as a child — the little girl who was afraid of nothing but the crack in her wall — and her experiences as an orphan who spent her whole life from the age of seven being told that she was insane. The problem with Amy is that she's too big for Leadworth to contain. She has spent her whole life trying to escape — which is what the acting out, the promiscuity, the problems in her relationship with Rory (which I'll get to later) all stem from.

I also have to say that I have a lot of issues with the prevailing idea that "Amelia" was a better character than Amy — because frankly they're the same character and I can't help but feel like the implication here is that a grown woman confident in her intelligence and in charge of her sexuality is inherently inferior to an asexual little girl who is nonetheless just as madcap and fearless. I've seen Amy criticised for more or less laughing in the face of danger when that was established with Amelia and the Doctor commented on it ("Box falls out of the sky, man falls out of a box," etc.).

It actually feels like women are only allowed to be as confident and as smug as the Doctor if they're not or can't be treated as a potential sexual conquest: Donna was allowed to be confident and smug, Amelia is allowed to be confident and smug — but these are ruinous character traits in Martha Jones (who also had the word 'unrealistic' flung in her direction despite being university-educated because she was 'only' a medical student rather than a qualified doctor), River Song (who — gasp! — sometimes knows things the Doctor doesn't and is just as self-satisfied about it as he always is when he knows things others don't), and the adult Amy Pond (who's just smarter than a real woman could ever possibly be, you guys). In fact, there are a lot of things women are only allowed to be when they're not potential sexual conquests.

Amy and Rory
Now let's take a look at Rory: this is a character who has been embraced by the fandom essentially for being everything that Amy is not. He is the "everyguy" character, the man who finds the colourful world of the Doctor just a little too much to handle and wants nothing more than to settle down in a nice village with a wife and kid and maybe have a pint with his friends of an evening; he's also passive-aggressive and needy and has something of a manipulative streak. Rory in my eyes embodies the "nice guy" archetype: the man who is nice to your face but never without expecting something — love, sex — in return. In "The Eleventh Hour" he says with a note of resentment that Amy "made" him dress up as the Doctor when they were children — this is not a man who does things with Amy out of a mutual interest or even as part of a system of compromise but a man who does things with Amy because he knows that if he didn't she would leave him in the dust. I feel like the reason that Amy and Rory are together is that Rory is the only man in the village willing to let Amy walk all over him, and she just fell into a relationship with him because it was "easy", because he was always there, and because he always would let her walk all over him. But it's not the life she wanted.

This is why I have problems with posts criticising Amy for being "mean" to Rory — because frankly I think Rory is getting exactly what he signed up for. He's not willing to take the risk that Amy might not care enough about him to stay with him if he makes her work for their relationship so he'll take the sarcasm and he'll let her deflect discussions about her feelings (as in "The Vampires of Venice") in exchange for the odd kiss or hug and the promise that she'll never leave him. But he's extremely wary of the Doctor's relationship with Amy because he senses — correctly — that with or without the promise of romance Amy might leave him for the sake of the adventure. That's why he paternalistically speaks on Amy's behalf to the Doctor (again in "The Vampires of Venice") as if she's a small child who must be swept out of harm's way regardless of what she wants, that's why in "Amy's Choice" he kept sending out feelers to Amy about whether she even wanted to settle down with him in Leadworth. It's not even that he necessarily thinks that Amy will fall in love with the Doctor and abandon him — it's that he knows Amy might abandon him anyway.

And frankly Amy doesn't owe Rory anything. If you're in a long-term relationship with someone you can't really see yourself with in ten years ("The Hungry Earth") it's not selfish if you eventually choose to walk out — whether you do it on foot or by Tardis (and it's not evil of her not to have figured this out when she agreed to marry him). I think that Amy cares about Rory, and I think she probably has a degree of guilt about him, but I find the idea that she's in love with him — or even frankly that he's in love with her when their interests are so divergent — a little hard to swallow. It's been established that settling down in Leadworth permanently is really the last thing that Amy wants — even in the alternate reality presented in "Amy's Choice" it's implied that she's been waiting for the Doctor to return. I can't help but feel like if Amy and Rory end up together Doctor Who will be just one more fantasy story where the awesome female protagonist had to give up on a life of adventure and shackle herself to a man who didn't really appreciate her when she was awesome so that she could settle into a life of unremarkableness she never really wanted to begin with. Because, children, settling into the life you never wanted is what growing up is all about (if you're female).

I would have so many fewer problems with Rory if he had only been written a little differently — if he had been genuinely sweet to Amy without expecting anything in return, if he'd been more confident, if he'd been willing to take a chance to better his relationship rather than passive-aggressively "wait" for Amy, if Amy hadn't seemed embarrassed to admit that he was her boyfriend in "The Eleventh Hour", if she had thought to ask the Doctor to take Rory along when he whisked her away (something I would expect of someone in a loving relationship), etc. But that's not the character or the relationship that I think has been depicted.
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Date: 2010-06-02 08:50 pm (UTC)
ext_1771: Joe Flanigan looking A-Dorable. (Default)
From: [identity profile] monanotlisa.livejournal.com
Thanks for this.

I'm definitely down the rabbit hole of this particular fandom, but the problems parts of Doctor Who fandom have with certain types of female characters are staggering.

It actually feels like women are only allowed to be as confident and as smug as the Doctor if they're not or can't be treated as a potential sexual conquest: Donna was allowed to be confident and smug, Amelia is allowed to be confident and smug — but these are ruinous character traits in Martha Jones (who also had the word 'unrealistic' flung in her direction despite being university-educated because she was 'only' a medical student rather than a qualified doctor), River Song (who — gasp! — sometimes knows things the Doctor doesn't and is just as self-satisfied about it as he always is when he knows things others don't), and the adult Amy Pond (who's just smarter than a real woman could ever possibly be, you guys). In fact, there are a lot of things women are only allowed to be when they're not potential sexual conquests.

Hadn't thought about it, but I think you're up to something here. Alas.

I can't help but feel like if Amy and Rory end up together Doctor Who will be just one more fantasy story where the awesome female protagonist had to give up on a life of adventure and shackle herself to a man who didn't really appreciate her when she was awesome so that she could settle into a life of unremarkableness she never really wanted to begin with. Because, children, settling into the life you never wanted is what growing up is all about (if you're female).

This. Half my Who-watching flist has mentioned it too; it's not in our heads - or, well: it is in a lot of heads, that's why it appears on teevee.

Date: 2010-06-02 09:14 pm (UTC)
ext_34962: (Sally Sparrow (all my pasts and futures))
From: [identity profile] penumbra.livejournal.com
This. Half my Who-watching flist has mentioned it too; it's not in our heads - or, well: it is in a lot of heads, that's why it appears on teevee.

It's becoming something of a pattern with Steven Moffat now too (see Sally Sparrow) — and that, honestly, is the only way I think his alleged sexism bleeds though into his writing, but it's a big way.

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Date: 2010-06-02 08:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sunnytyler001.livejournal.com
It's not about her being intelligent, beautiful and knowing it, witty, sexy and brave. it's about her being all those things... at the same time! Sometimes, it's just too much. (and the same goes for River Song)
But then, it's just how I feel, just my opinion, and I do understand that some people love her (and River) the same way I loved Donna & Rose.
Maybe it's also a question of taste.

Date: 2010-06-02 09:10 pm (UTC)
ext_34962: (Björk (pagan poetry))
From: [identity profile] penumbra.livejournal.com
But some actual, real-life women are all those things at the same time and know it too.

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here via lizbee and monanotlisa

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Re: here via lizbee and monanotlisa

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Re: here via lizbee and monanotlisa

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-sigh-

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Date: 2010-06-02 08:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ooxc.livejournal.com
Thank you - this is interesting.
My problem with Amy/Amelia isn't to do with the character - it's to do with the acting. Unless it turns out that there is a plot point involved - and I hope that there will be - the impression i get is that the littel girl is simply a more competent actress.

Date: 2010-06-02 09:08 pm (UTC)
ext_34962: (Default)
From: [identity profile] penumbra.livejournal.com
I actually disagree on that point. I thought that the girl who played Amelia was very good at some points but quite uneven at others.

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Date: 2010-06-02 08:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ooxc.livejournal.com
little little little
i i i

Date: 2010-06-02 09:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] smoke.livejournal.com
You do make some sense here but she was willing to give up her life to have Rory back in amy's choice. When he asked her how she knew that was the dream she didn't. You don't do that sort of thing for someone you don't love.

Date: 2010-06-02 09:17 pm (UTC)
ext_34962: (Amelia Pond)
From: [identity profile] penumbra.livejournal.com
Actually... I think some people would do that for someone they didn't romantically love (the Doctor for example routinely tries to sacrifice his life on behalf of people he barely knows). I'm not saying that her relationship with Rory is meaningless to Amy because I think it's obvious that she does care for him a great deal — but I don't think that, when it really comes down to it, she really truly loves him.

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Date: 2010-06-02 09:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jay-kateel.livejournal.com
This! I don't agree with everything about Rory, because he has the potential to grow and change, too, and want something beyond settling down to have 2.5 kids.


I'm not sure what fandom's problem with Amy is, or her actress (honestly, if you listen to her in scenes sans watching it, you can hear the emotions!), but they're calling everything from a stripper to a rapist! Clearly, if we're going to bring up the sociological impact of a woman jumping a man in a patriarchal-based society, we need to bring out the critical theory books, kids. (It isn't sexual assualt.)


Anyway, I didn't come to rant about that. I think people just don't understand people. Amy is a girl who spent her entire life dreaming of adventures. She's been beaten down, expected to conform, settled for Rory... Honestly, I'm surprised she isn't a drug addict and jumping off bridges! She's a girl that never wanted to grow up, never wanted to leave the rye field, never wanted to feel trapped... How can a person not relate to that?

Date: 2010-06-02 09:22 pm (UTC)
ext_34962: ("Girl on a Red Carpet")
From: [identity profile] penumbra.livejournal.com
I don't agree with everything about Rory, because he has the potential to grow and change, too, and want something beyond settling down to have 2.5 kids.

That's very true.

I'm not sure what fandom's problem with Amy is, or her actress (honestly, if you listen to her in scenes sans watching it, you can hear the emotions!), but they're calling everything from a stripper to a rapist! Clearly, if we're going to bring up the sociological impact of a woman jumping a man in a patriarchal-based society, we need to bring out the critical theory books, kids. (It isn't sexual assualt.)

Well, and I don't think that Amy actually would have had sex with the Doctor against his will. I think that if he had been distressed about the situation Amy would have stopped. I do wish that they had toned that scene down a bit but I think that all the accusations of attempted rape are out of proportion to what actually happened.

Anyway, I didn't come to rant about that. I think people just don't understand people. Amy is a girl who spent her entire life dreaming of adventures. She's been beaten down, expected to conform, settled for Rory... Honestly, I'm surprised she isn't a drug addict and jumping off bridges! She's a girl that never wanted to grow up, never wanted to leave the rye field, never wanted to feel trapped... How can a person not relate to that?

Yes. I think she's very screwed up and very flawed in an understandable way. I don't think that any of her flaws make her an awful irredeemable person.

Date: 2010-06-02 09:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hanelissar.livejournal.com
Totally with you on your entire section on Amy, (I am so glad to have missed out on the part of fandom criticising her intelligence because she hasn't been formally educated, because that is just a bizarre and crazy concept to me), particularly on her being unsure of what she wants. I 'know' where I'm going for the next five years of my life but heck, I'm still not sure if it's entirely what I want, even though I chose it. Karen's acting sometimes isn't brilliant, but Amy the character works perfectly for me and I'm sure Karen is growing and learning all the time and we'll only see her improve.

Not so sure if I agree re: your interpretation of Rory. I can see where you're coming from but I don't entirely agree. I think it's clear that in terms of personality, Amy is much more dominating and Rory more submissive. I think that's probably been the case ever since they were children and (presumably) nowhere near anything like boyfriend and girlfriend. I used to have a friendship just like that - I was friends with this girl and we'd play games together and it was great fun, but somehow it was always the game she wanted to play. If I suggested playing hairdressers she'd want to play horse-riding and that's what we'd end up doing. I didn't go along with her because I was scared if I didn't she'd stop being my friend, I did it because I was (and still am to an extent) a more submissive person who prefers to let someone else have their way if it's going to make them happy. Obviously I'm not the same person as Rory, but I think they're similar situations. Rory dressed up as the Doctor (as far as I'm concerned anyway) because Amy wanted him to and she's a dominant person and not because he was worried she'd stop being his friend if she didn't.

And for me at least, that carries on into adulthood. Rory fell in love with Amy, Amy was still hung up on the Doctor and messed up and wasn't really sure what to do with that, they became sort-of in a relationship. And then the Doctor comes and everyone realises Amy wasn't crazy/delusional and at some point she commits to Rory and they get engaged and then later in the TARDIS she says she realises she actually does love him in 'Amy's Choice'.

(Apparently I'm in a very inarticulate and verbose mood this evening and have to put this in two comments, sorry about that!)

Date: 2010-06-02 09:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hanelissar.livejournal.com
As for Amy not 'owing' Rory anything...I think she does. Not necessarily love, but I think when she agreed to marry him, even if she was having internal doubts, she owed him something. Whether that eventually would be to love him and be his wife or to admit that she doesn't really love him and can't live a lie, she does owe him something. If she walked out on him because she realised she didn't love him you're right, it wouldn't be selfish because she'd be saving them both from a lie of a marriage/relationship, but in walking out she would owe him an explanation, an apology. (And I think Amy marrying Rory doesn't necessarily have to mean settling for a life in Leadworth. Obviously their marriage was portrayed as that in 'Amy's Choice', but that was clearly based on Rory's dream. If they got married, they'd hopefully compromise. Move to the city or go travelling or something. I can't see real-life Amy settling happily down in Leadworth, especially not after travelling with the Doctor.)

I am also curious as to where you got the idea that Rory expects something of Amy from his niceness from. (That sounds kind of accusatory which it isn't meant to be, but I'm not sure how else to phrase it. It's a genuine question though, I promise!) Because I don't see that Rory expects anything from Amy but her love, which to me is perfectly understandable because she did tell him she'd marry him. We know she had doubts, but I doubt Rory does.

As for the point about Amy asking the Doctor to take Rory too...I thought the point of Amy going off on the TARDIS is because she was having doubts? She's supposed to be getting married in the morning and she doesn't know if it's what she really wants - she's scared as hell so when someone offers her a way to put it off without hurting Rory, (because once she's taken as much time as she needs, she'll be back before the day and he'll never know,) she takes it. Even if we weren't uncertain of her feelings for Rory, even if we knew she loved him with all her heart, I think it's entirely reasonable to be massively freaked the night before your wedding and so if you can postpone it for a bit to maybe stop massively freaking out, well, that's great.

(And after all, she does invite Rory along a few episodes later, I think when she has started to work out what and who she wants. Something that I would expect from someone in a loving relationship who has needed a little time and space.)

I feel like I've disagreed with you a lot here, when I do actually agree with great tracts of what you said, particularly about Amy.
Edited Date: 2010-06-02 09:21 pm (UTC)

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Date: 2010-06-02 09:16 pm (UTC)
sea_thoughts: (DWOT3 - brontide)
From: [personal profile] sea_thoughts
I agree with what you say about Amy. But I'm going to stick up for Rory because I'm perverse like that. ;)

In "The Eleventh Hour" he says with a note of resentment that Amy "made" him dress up as the Doctor when they were children

It's one thing to dress up as an imaginary character; it's another thing entirely when that imaginary character actually turns out to be a real person. I think that is what Rory's resenting: the Doctor suddenly being real. Whether he was being patronising or not, he did have a point in "The Vampires of Venice": the Doctor does make people want to impress him.

And frankly Amy doesn't owe Rory anything.

"Sorry, I'm not ready to get married yet. I might not ever be." It's not that hard to say, is it? Rory is ready to grow up, settle down, have kids. There's nothing wrong with that. There's nothing wrong with Amy not wanting to do that, either. It is wrong to just disappear without even mentioning this to him. I think Amy and Rory are co-dependent. She isn't willing to admit it because she's so used to having Rory there as a back up and Rory is so used to being needed by her.

Date: 2010-06-02 09:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vinyasparrow.livejournal.com
Well she didn't really disappear without even mentioning, didn't she?
Martha did, if I recall that correctly. Rose, too.

They were gone for several days/weeks.

First thing Amy does is make sure she can be back "tomorrow morning". That's a sure thing for her.
If she is back the next morning, why should she call Rory on his party and tell him "Hey there, it's 3 a.m. in the morning and I'm running off with a time-traveller but I'm back tomorrow morning" ? :)
Despite of bad story-telling that would be, it it is unnecessary in her situation. Basically. I wouldn't call me boyfriend either if a friend came along somewhen at night and we'd spontaneously go out for a few hours.

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Date: 2010-06-02 09:42 pm (UTC)
blue_aeon: (adipose)
From: [personal profile] blue_aeon
I love you for this. This is exactly what I've been thinking about Amy, because I know people who are like her - in fact, my younger sister is one of them! Although she doesn't realise how smart she is and keeps saying she's dumb (believe me, she's one of the smartest people I know. She's just not the expected kind of "smart").

Just to add a point about another criticism of Amy: people have said that her "macguyver-ing" skills are unrealistic. Well, I can tell you that they're actually not, because I can do the same thing - I can be given any piece of tech or software and figure out how it works within half-an-hour, tops (this did end up unnerving one of my classmates once, when I found the file on his hard drive I was looking for before he even had the chance to tell me where it was). This skill goes hand in hand with very high observational skills, so it makes perfect sense to me for Amy to be skilled at both.

Just goes to prove TV Tropes is right with the "Reality is Unrealistic" trope I suppose. I have a feeling fandom's going to do a whole lot more complaining about her after this week's episode, if the preview clips are anything to go by. But that debate's best left until after it airs.

Don't really agree with your thoughts about Rory though, because I really don't see him as someone with an ulterior motive - I've known people who are like Rory and people who expect something in return, and Rory is definitely not the latter. But then I have a different understanding of people than most, so make of that what you will. Still a great post.

Date: 2010-06-02 10:03 pm (UTC)
ext_34962: ("One Centre")
From: [identity profile] penumbra.livejournal.com
Just to add a point about another criticism of Amy: people have said that her "macguyver-ing" skills are unrealistic. Well, I can tell you that they're actually not, because I can do the same thing - I can be given any piece of tech or software and figure out how it works within half-an-hour, tops (this did end up unnerving one of my classmates once, when I found the file on his hard drive I was looking for before he even had the chance to tell me where it was). This skill goes hand in hand with very high observational skills, so it makes perfect sense to me for Amy to be skilled at both.

Yes, exactly — some people are naturally good at things like that, especially if they take a special interest in it (and, come on, it's never 'unrealistic' when the Doctor does it).

Don't really agree with your thoughts about Rory though, because I really don't see him as someone with an ulterior motive - I've known people who are like Rory and people who expect something in return, and Rory is definitely not the latter. But then I have a different understanding of people than most, so make of that what you will. Still a great post.

I think the problem with Rory is that he's waiting for Amy to become someone she might never become — and I don't think that's fair on either of them.

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Date: 2010-06-02 10:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] r0ck3tsci3ntist.livejournal.com
Oh, you know, it's always the same. It's really quite easy to put your finger on why many fangirls (it's often the women) hate characters like Amy/River/Martha. Fandom misogyny. Sorry if I'm bursting anyone's bubble but it's incredibly rampant. Those female characters are too threatening to a lot of other women. They dare to step out of line and be both sexy/beautiful and smart as well as confident and, this is the clincher, outspoken. That's why they are considered "unrealistic", plus they have the misfortune of being uncomfortably close to the main character, in this case the Doctor.

For some reason it seems that just as many women resent outspoken females as men do. Case in point, I was dogpiled recently on another comm for sticking up for a girl (a real person) who had the audacity to claim to be pretty and you should have seen the hate aimed at her - now stick an attractive, confident, outspoken woman like that next to a male character many fangirls would give their eye teeth to be close to... well, you can see the results.

Personally, I love Amy, I can relate to her even though I'm older and I was never so pretty but it's her contradictions make her more real than many other companions, imo. So yeah, it's not too hard to see though a lot of the Amy hate out there.

Now, Rory I do like as well. I do love how his moments of clarity (when he "gets" something right away) really stand out and I wish they would give him more of them (when he comes back because I know he will). I don't think the writers have to worry about him competing with the Doctor so they could make him a little stronger. Anyway, he's grown on me tremendously, just like Amy has. He, the Doctor, and Amy make a great team I think and I really hope they don't turn him into a total bumbler.

I think it can be easy to react to the fact that so many fangirls will forgive Rory and the Doctor their faults while bashing Amy's (no surprises there) by feeling defensive for her - not saying that you are, just that it's easy to fall back on that.

And I actually find Amy's reticence about Rory very honest and interesting. TBH I think most women would react exactly the same way as Amy were they in her shoes. Does her mixed feelings about being tied down in marriage to a man who was her childhood surrogate for the Doctor make Amy all goodness and light? No. But it DOES make her realistic. :D

Is Rory's willingness to BE that surrogate as long as it keeps him close to Amy make him all that noble - not exactly. But I really do believe this will be a coming of age story for both of them. The Dream Lord said it, about children growing up. In a sense, because of the Doctor, Amy and Rory have been kept in a childlike state. I think, I hope, by the end of this season they will mature emotionally. I've been seeing a lot of clues that one of the subplots of the season is their "coming of age."

Date: 2010-06-02 10:58 pm (UTC)
blue_aeon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] blue_aeon
Case in point, I was dogpiled recently on another comm for sticking up for a girl (a real person) who had the audacity to claim to be pretty and you should have seen the hate aimed at her

That wouldn't have been Fandom Secrets, would it? Because I saw a secret where the OP claimed she was pretty, and I found the response both uncalled for and proving the OP's point rather spectacularly (I kinda skim-read the full comment thread, because I was starting to get the urge to punch someone).

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Date: 2010-06-02 10:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] snoopygal327.livejournal.com
Thank you for this. You've nicely summarized my feelings on Amy.

Also, as sort of a random aside:
You can be intelligent without being educated and there are a lot of women with a natural aptitude for reasoning who never formally honed it because girls are discouraged from studying maths and sciences, because sometimes circumstances prohibit people from progressing in their education, because sometimes people are lazy and have other priorities[*] — this doesn't mean they're not smart, this doesn't mean they can't reason things through, this doesn't mean that they're unrealistic. In short, not everyone who is intelligent is educated — and don't assume your kissogram is not smart.

*groans* Don't even get me started on this. Right now I attend one of the top research universities in the US and the prevailing attitude among everyone there is "well if you don't attend such and such prestigious university then you're obviously not very smart". It drives me up the wall!! My parents never attended university and I consider them to be pretty darn intelligent. Okay, rant done. :)

Date: 2010-06-03 12:01 am (UTC)
ext_34962: ("Klosterfriedhof im Schnee")
From: [identity profile] penumbra.livejournal.com
I actually find the assumption that if you're intelligent of course you have been educated and if you haven't been educated then you can't have been that intelligent really classist (multiple types of -ist really).

Date: 2010-06-02 10:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] caffeinefreeddp.livejournal.com
So much this. I was beginning to think I was the only person in fandom that, you know, liked Amy.

And you put my exact feelings about Rory into words. I don't think he's a bad guy, but I'm not buying him as Amy's One True Love (or Amy as his). I think Amy was always the pretty, slightly off girl who was nice to him and he grew up with a crush on her and at least sort of expecting her to marry him because, after all, she's slightly off and he's always put up with it and so she owes him. It's very human but hardly the pure pure pure love I keep seeing it spoken of.

tl;dr, so glad I found this post, good to not feel all alone.

Date: 2010-06-02 10:44 pm (UTC)
ext_34962: ("Isle of the Immortals")
From: [identity profile] penumbra.livejournal.com
That's part of the reason I made this post — I felt like I was the only person who felt this way but I was sure that couldn't actually be the case. :)

Date: 2010-06-02 10:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] coral-amber.livejournal.com
I think my main problem with Amy is not that I don't care for her, it's that I don't care ABOUT her yet. If she were to leave the show for some reason, I don't think I'd miss her at this point. I suppose I don't feel like I know enough about her as a person, which I suppose I can understand, as she's a heavily guarded person underneath all that bravado. I just wish that at this point we had a real glimpse of what was under that guard. I also don't think I like Karen all that much. She's a very...superficial actress to me, she doesn't add anything more to Amy than what the script says. That, and I personally don't think she does comedy very well.

The other stuff though, about how she's unrealistic, is a bit strange to me. I'm not very into the Doctor Who fandom, so I had no idea people were saying that. If I had to say anything about that though, it's that people just don't like that she's very pretty and confident. She never struck me as being particularly brilliant or witty. Idk, she seemed to be on the same level as Rose, Martha, and Donna in those respects. All of them had their moments where they shined. If anything, what I do like about Amy is her sense of adventure and bravery, and how she's willing to question everything. What I REALLY wish they would focus a bit more on is her emotional intelligence, like how she showed in Beast Bellow and Victory of the Daleks.

For the record, I actually really like Rory because he was shaping up to be more than just a Mickey 2.0. As for his relationship with Amy, eh, I feel like they missed a great opportunity for character development there. Part of what makes me want to dislike Amy was how she treated Rory. I feel like her interactions with him highlighted her character flaws. However, I feel like if their relationship was/is handled differently, we would not only know more about the two of them as people, but we would also get a great and complex portrayal of a relationship that didn't involve the Doctor.

Sorry for the freakin' essay, there.

Date: 2010-06-03 12:02 am (UTC)
ext_34962: (Amy Pond (sail on shooting stars))
From: [identity profile] penumbra.livejournal.com
It's OK — thanks for the comment. I personally do care about Amy a great deal at this point but I recognise that it differs by person.

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Date: 2010-06-02 11:00 pm (UTC)
ext_35071: (Default)
From: [identity profile] shardsofblu.livejournal.com
While I admit that I actually have to still finish catching up on the show, I can say without reservations that I love Amy. She's a fun, smart, beautiful young lady, who's also very assertive and attuned to the people and things that happen around her.

With Rory though, I appreciate the very different POV to his character. I like him well enough, and was frustrated when I heard they killed him off and made Amy forget him. But I also hadn't noticed all those other things about him, especially his Nice Guy syndrome.

I'd have to rewatch and catch up on this show soon.

Date: 2010-06-03 12:03 am (UTC)
ext_34962: (Amelia Pond)
From: [identity profile] penumbra.livejournal.com
Yes, I love Amy. :)

Like I said, if Rory or Amy's attitude to Rory had been written slightly better then I would have liked him a lot more.

Date: 2010-06-02 11:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] surliminal.livejournal.com
I don't believe Amy is exceptionally intelligent or perceptive, not because of her absence of apparent formal qualifications, nor her job, but because nothing else in the way she is presented jibes with it. She seems self obsessed (Rory cares or Amy - what does Amy give Rory?) , constantly demanding attention (endlessly calling "Doctor" during the Angels two parter), and devoid of an understanding of consequences and hurting others (agreeing to get married then delaying the wedding as much as poss and trying to have casual sex on the side)- none of them mature or intelligent characteristics. By contrast Donna, who really was accused of being unintelligent for lack of qualifications etc in her very first appearance (I've just rewatched The Runaway Bride oddly enough) immediately impressed as being quick on the uptake and caring about those other than herself. She made the right moral calls re the children of the Racnoss, worrid about thise hurt in the glowing ball attack, and noted the Doctor needed someone to stop him going too far in her first hour with him. Amy, by design or simple bad writing, has simply been shoved at us - tell not show as I keep saying - as having desirable traits like empathy and intelligence. I don't believe it and neither do a lot of others it seems. It doesn't help that we see Amy in almost no context other than Rory and the Docotr. if like Rose or marth she had family or so workers to interact with we might either see more evidence for good qualities or (again as with Domna) excuses for some of her flaws. But Moffat's "fairytale" approach has pretty much denied Amy context(Eeven rory, we have seen, has friends. Has Amy ANY friends other than Rory? We see none and she seems to care not a fig for anyone but her fantasy, the Doctor.)

In short Amy is unlikeable because she has not been sold to us as a real identifiable with rounded character, the kind RTD liked to write with his soaps background - - but as a male fantasy. She is a fairytale princess whose prince turned up, with added sex, basically. Sexy, up for a shag and adventure, not keen on nurturing, commitment or any of that dull clingy stuff. Yes there are women like that but they are not all also 5 feet 11 models with great legs who live in big houses with minimal incomes and have mysteriously agreed to get engaged so they are no threat of attachment to the hero. She strikes me as Moffat's archetypal fantasy rubber doll woman and while that may float a lot of men's boats and perhaps even some women's, it's not going to get overwhelming support from a fandom which I suspect is domainated by older-than-student-age women who don't fit that bill, and don't want to.

Companions have traditionally been the "ordinary" audience viewpoint entry into the series. RTD was very hot on that, especially for attracting the female audience to what had been very much a boy's programme, and I think rightly judged what would make Who into a mainstream hit rather than a cult event. We can't identify with the Doctor, by and large, but we can with the companion. In this series it's far easier to identify with Rory (insecure, slightly hen pecked, wanting a normal marriage and kids) than Amy ("mad, impossible", gorgeous, weird job that involves no normal hours or responsibilities or office boredom) so it's unsurprising that drippy and doormatty as he is (I am no great Rory lover either) he is much better liked. He is also, simply, a better actor and gets more funny lines, which helps.

Date: 2010-06-02 11:51 pm (UTC)
ext_34962: ("La Morfinomane")
From: [identity profile] penumbra.livejournal.com
I don't see how being immature or 'selfish' precludes someone from being intelligent, and I don't recall Amy unreasonably making demands on the Doctor's attention during "The Time of Angels"/"Flesh and Stone" — she asked once, sarcastically, whether anybody needed her but after that she left everybody alone until she needed their help.

I disagree that we were "told not shown" that Amy is empathetic or intelligent. I don't think any character has ever described her as being either of those things, but we were shown her drawing the connection between the Doctor and the star whale in "The Beast Below" and we were shown her empathy for the crying girl at the start of the episode and we were shown that she understood what made people feel human in "The Victory of the Daleks" and we were shown that she wanted to help Isabella in "The Vampires of Venice" and we were shown that she wanted to help the little boy in "Cold Blood", etc. so frankly it's bullshit that the only person she cares about is the Doctor — that statement runs directly counter to what has actually happened onscreen. Where did her indecision come from in "Amy's Choice" if she didn't care about Rory's feelings and only cared about the Doctor? Why did she let Rory come with them instead of dropping him back in Leadworth like he suggested? Why did she try to please him by wearing her engagement ring in "The Hungry Earth"? Please, give me some examples of Amy acting like the only thing she cares about is the Doctor.

Likewise, I don't see how you can think that the 'only' context that we've seen Amy in is with the Doctor and Rory because we've seen her interacting in several worlds and situations with a multitude of one-shot characters (and River, who she had a wonderful rapport with). We may not have seen her interacting with a large extended family but it's possibly for non-family characters to bring out shades of a character's personality and with Amy that's actually the point — she's an orphan who has no ties to home aside from Rory.

Also, you know what? Every one of Russell T Davies' characters was a fantasy for him, and so was the Doctor. Just because a character is a person's 'fantasy' does not automatically mean that they are a poorly-crafted or badly-written character. Wonder Woman started off as a BDSM fantasy and is now considered a feminist icon.

She is a fairytale princess whose prince turned up, with added sex, basically. Sexy, up for a shag and adventure, not keen on nurturing, commitment or any of that dull clingy stuff.

You're the one who's reducing Amy to a female stereotype and a sex object here — because this is not even close to encompassing the character that has been depicted onscreen. I'm not even going to get into the terminology "rubber doll" or the idea that if a female character is sexualised at all then women must automatically hate her.

which I suspect is domainated by older-than-student-age women who don't fit that bill, and don't want to.

Way to speak on behalf of all of those women.

In this series it's far easier to identify with Rory (insecure, slightly hen pecked, wanting a normal marriage and kids) than Amy ("mad, impossible", gorgeous, weird job that involves no normal hours or responsibilities or office boredom)

For some people, maybe, but that's not universally true. Not every person watching the show is someone living what you consider to be an 'ordinary' life — and not every person who is wants to see a mirror of themself when they turn on the television. If you think that only characters living stereotypically mundane lives are identifiable and likeable then I suppose nobody loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer; and I guess Jimmy Olsen is the best-loved character the Superman mythology produced which is why nobody ever talks about that other guy.

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Date: 2010-06-02 11:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] neadods.livejournal.com
I was sent here by [livejournal.com profile] acroyear70, and I'm glad he did - it's a fabulous essay.

I don't agree about Rory - I think there's more to him than you're giving him credit for, especially in Vampires in Venice. What he snapped about the Doctor making people take risks to impress him was true.

But I also think that absolutely everything you say about Amy is true.

Date: 2010-06-03 12:05 am (UTC)
ext_34962: ("Girl Beside a Stream")
From: [identity profile] penumbra.livejournal.com
What he snapped about the Doctor making people take risks to impress him was true.

My issue with it is that he still wasn't allowing Amy ownership over her own decisions, though — it was as if he were accusing the Doctor of having "bewitched" her when actually Amy made her own choice.

But thank you. :)

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Date: 2010-06-03 12:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elvensapphire.livejournal.com
This entire post is brilliant, thank you for writing it. I have a lot more than this that I could reply with, but then my comment would be a novel. :D And, frankly, I'd only be re-iterating everything you've already said.

As for the education thing - I never finished college because I physically was unable to. It doesn't make me any less intelligent. I was always a strong student, and now I simply learn in other ways. The same goes for Amy, or in your case, or in the case of anyone who thirsts for knowledge outside of university halls. Most of the important learning we do in life doesn't come from books.

Rory's all right, but he's not suited to Amy. They'd never work out. He'd tire of her antics or need for adventure, and she'd tire of being shackled to him. Some people get married because they're truly affectionate towards each other and feel the need to settle down and force it to work, and then it nearly never does. It doesn't make those people evil or wrong or purposely malicious; it's just a mistake. One way or another, I believe Amy would eventually want more and would leave him. Because she's meant for a bigger life.

I also don't like how quite a lot of people have attacked her for her sexuality. So she's confident in her sexuality, so what? That's much better than being completely repressed or denying who you are. Confidence in herself does not make her a trampy character. She's not using that sexuality in a cruel or unhealthy way, it's just a part of who she is, along with her emotional expressiveness and her inherent spunk.

I personally love Amy as a character and as a companion/counterpart for the Doctor. Especially this Doctor, who is much more analytical and alien than say, the Tenth, and who needs her emotional resonance and sensibilities to even him out. They seem to share a similar fire within them, but they express and understand that spark differently, and that's good. Yes, she's smart and sexy and sometimes a bit smug, but what's wrong with that? She's strong and awesome and confident as a woman, and that makes her awesome, in my opinion. :)

Date: 2010-06-03 01:32 am (UTC)
ext_34962: (Eleven & Amy (Red))
From: [identity profile] penumbra.livejournal.com
As for the education thing - I never finished college because I physically was unable to. It doesn't make me any less intelligent. I was always a strong student, and now I simply learn in other ways. The same goes for Amy, or in your case, or in the case of anyone who thirsts for knowledge outside of university halls. Most of the important learning we do in life doesn't come from books.

Yes, and actually (and this isn't really relevant to Amy but it's worth pointing out) — if you're smart enough, you can teach yourself anything without having to go to university. Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein both did the majority of their learning outside of the classroom. You can teach yourself about relativity and quantum mechanics without having to go to university to do it — the degree is only the evidence of your intelligence and your understanding. A lot of people can't or don't go to university for whatever reason; it's no reason to assume that they're not smart enough to do it.

It doesn't make those people evil or wrong or purposely malicious; it's just a mistake. One way or another, I believe Amy would eventually want more and would leave him. Because she's meant for a bigger life.

Yes, exactly.

I also don't like how quite a lot of people have attacked her for her sexuality. So she's confident in her sexuality, so what? That's much better than being completely repressed or denying who you are. Confidence in herself does not make her a trampy character. She's not using that sexuality in a cruel or unhealthy way, it's just a part of who she is, along with her emotional expressiveness and her inherent spunk.

Yes. Also, oh my god, is Jack Harkness ever attacked for this on the same scale as Amy?

I personally love Amy as a character and as a companion/counterpart for the Doctor. Especially this Doctor, who is much more analytical and alien than say, the Tenth, and who needs her emotional resonance and sensibilities to even him out. They seem to share a similar fire within them, but they express and understand that spark differently, and that's good. Yes, she's smart and sexy and sometimes a bit smug, but what's wrong with that? She's strong and awesome and confident as a woman, and that makes her awesome, in my opinion. :)

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Date: 2010-06-03 12:58 am (UTC)
promethia_tenk: (protect amy)
From: [personal profile] promethia_tenk
Thank you so much for voicing this. You've really captured a lot of my own feelings about Amy and Rory and the fan response to them.

>>I'm tired of having this discussion with people who seem to think that the only realistic portrayals of women are middle-of-the-bell-curve characters with few — if any — quirks.

I saw this summed up on someone else's journal as (roughly): "how many of the people attacking Amy for not being "real" know what it feels like to have to work to act like a "normal" person?" RTD's companions were all very "down to earth" characters in every way, and while Rose and Donna may have been bored and unfulfilled with their particular circumstances, I don't think they were the sort to feel alien amongst the masses of their fellow humans. Amy, by her very nature, was never going to fit in easily in society, and then she had the added burdens of her parents' deaths, her move to England, and her history with the Doctor.

Accusations that Amy is not a "real" character make me confused and angry--she is, to me, painfully and beautifully real. I gotta break out my River icon to protect her ^^^^

The problem is, if all the things we've been shown about Amy don't cohere in a particular viewer's head into a believable psychology, I'm not sure how much I can do to make them see it. I do my best to lay out her internal logic as it appears to me, but I fear that she may just be the sort of person that many are not going to be able to make the imaginative leap to understand. At any rate, I am grateful to Moffat for creating her for us.

>>Amy is mid-flail in figuring out where she wants to go in life.

Perfectly put.

>>And just as people are sometimes unexpectedly intelligent — and intelligent in unexpected ways — people sometimes have unusual personality types . . . The problem with Amy is that she's too big for Leadworth to contain.

ENFP, at a guess. Same as the Doctor. Yup, pretty darn rare. And expansive--in the best possible way.

>>In fact, there are a lot of things women are only allowed to be when they're not potential sexual conquests.

Very nice insight. Also infuriating.

>>I can't help but feel like if Amy and Rory end up together Doctor Who will be just one more fantasy story where the awesome female protagonist had to give up on a life of adventure and shackle herself to a man who didn't really appreciate her when she was awesome so that she could settle into a life of unremarkableness she never really wanted to begin with.

Bravo to everything you've said about Rory--it's a perspective that's been sorely lacking in the fandom. I like Rory as a character, but the relationship between him and Amy has sat uncomfortably with me from the beginning, and not for the reasons usually brought up (Amy's treatment of him, etc.). I do actually think that she loves him and that he loves her. But I also think that it is possible to genuinely love someone, to respect and admire and value them, to enjoy being around them, and to value a shared history with them, without them being the right person for you to spend the rest of your life with. For me it comes down to this: if Amy stays with Rory, she is going to be bored. Massively bored. And I don't just mean bored with his preferred lifestyle; I mean she will be bored with him. He may be nice and dependable and sensible and all those other things, but there is precious little about him to challenge her or to encourage her to grow in those qualities that are most fundamental to her.

I do appreciate that at the end of "Amy's Choice" Rory was willing to make some compromises and to acknowledge the kind of life that Amy needs and wants, but I'm not sure that can really be enough to sustain them. I'm assuming that Rory's death is going to prove less than permanent, but I hope very much that their growing up is going to lead to them acknowledging that they really need different things and calling off the wedding.

Date: 2010-06-03 01:18 am (UTC)
ext_34962: (down is the new up)
From: [identity profile] penumbra.livejournal.com
I saw this summed up on someone else's journal as (roughly): "how many of the people attacking Amy for not being "real" know what it feels like to have to work to act like a "normal" person?" RTD's companions were all very "down to earth" characters in every way, and while Rose and Donna may have been bored and unfulfilled with their particular circumstances, I don't think they were the sort to feel alien amongst the masses of their fellow humans. Amy, by her very nature, was never going to fit in easily in society, and then she had the added burdens of her parents' deaths, her move to England, and her history with the Doctor.

I agree with all of this. Frankly, I wanted to include the line "Just because you don't identify with Steven Moffat's characters doesn't mean that they are poorly-crafted characters," but I didn't because I wanted the focus to be on Amy. But I see a lot of people criticising Steven Moffat's characterisation when that's what I like about his writing: he has created a broad range of complex and interesting characters that people sadly don't care about because they're not "everyperson" characters — and apparently you're only allowed to deviate from that standard when you're canonically an alien.

Accusations that Amy is not a "real" character make me confused and angry--she is, to me, painfully and beautifully real. I gotta break out my River icon to protect her ^^^^

It's a lovely icon. I really enjoyed Amy and River's relationship. I hope that we see a fair bit of River interacting with Amy in future episodes (I don't think she needs to be a permanent companion, but I really want her to check in from time to time and be awesome).

ENFP, at a guess. Same as the Doctor. Yup, pretty darn rare. And expansive--in the best possible way.

I hadn't thought about it but I really agree — I personally identify with INFP so there's a lot I feel like Amy and I have in common and she really resonates for me emotionally (which is why it's difficult not to take it as a personal insult when people write her off). I think that the Doctor is more of an ENTP, though — at least the Eleventh Doctor is.

I do appreciate that at the end of "Amy's Choice" Rory was willing to make some compromises and to acknowledge the kind of life that Amy needs and wants, but I'm not sure that can really be enough to sustain them. I'm assuming that Rory's death is going to prove less than permanent, but I hope very much that their growing up is going to lead to them acknowledging that they really need different things and calling off the wedding.

This would be ideal for me too. I really don't think that Rory would be happy with Amy in the long term, either.
Edited Date: 2010-06-03 01:19 am (UTC)

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Date: 2010-06-03 01:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] captaindove.livejournal.com
My reply became unreasonably gigantic, and so it is here on my own LJ instead: http://captaindove.livejournal.com/13357.html

Date: 2010-06-03 01:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] anotokino.livejournal.com
I have a lot of problems with the sexism displayed by the people who dislike Amy(stop making my side look bad!), but for me she's just not working out. Well, I don't dislike her per se, it would be much more accurate for me to say that I just don't really care about her. On paper her character's one I should like and identify with, we share many traits and circumstances in common (though she's way more confident than me). Somehow, I don't know if it's the writing, acting, directing or what, she just falls apart for me as a character. This problem isn't limited to Amy for me this season, but she stands out because she was the one I started out loving in TEH and sadly started to care about less and less since then. The only times I've connected with her past the first episode were the scenes with River, with whom I felt she had great chemistry. Other than that I feel she has been very internally inconsistent and given some awful lines. Often I feel like the writers don't really know what to do with her, so she just becomes whatever the plot requires her to be... And I really liked her sexual confidence in the beginning, but the scene in Flesh and Stone squicked me out badly and turned me off that aspect of her personality a bit :( There was never any real follow up to that either...

I've been in a relationship similar to that of her and Rory's, and it ended disastrously. That's why I'm upset that the writing seems to set out to make it seem like she's really in love with him, when I feel that destroys her character. I can deal with her being cruel to a boyfriend she's not in love with because I've been there too, it's not very likeable but it's human. I think part of the problem is that I have zero faith in Moffat's writing since he revealed himself to be so sexist, so I fear that Amy is going to 'grow up' and realise she's in love with Rory(I haven't read any spoilers yet but it seems obvious that he's going to come back somehow since he fell into the plot point/crack), who obviously deserves her simply by the virtue of being nice(ugh). I hope I'm wrong because that would feel so off :/ (Speaking of Moffat, someone pointed out that one the major flaws he ascribes (RL) women is clinginess. It makes sense that his vision of a strong female character then includes the lack of clinginess, maybe that's why he's had Amy say such strange (to me) lines as "I don't need you to die for me Doctor, I'm not that clingy." O_O).

Tl;dr I don't think there's anything wrong with the way she dresses, her intelligence or her confidence, I just don't click with her anymore. Obviously she is working for some people, I hope I can grow to like her again :) But I'm afraid that her arc is going to end with her learning to appreciate Rory or somesuch, which DNW.

Date: 2010-06-03 02:00 am (UTC)
ext_34962: ("Several Circles")
From: [identity profile] penumbra.livejournal.com
Often I feel like the writers don't really know what to do with her, so she just becomes whatever the plot requires her to be...

Can you elaborate on this? — because I don't see that at all.

That's why I'm upset that the writing seems to set out to make it seem like she's really in love with him, when I feel that destroys her character.

Yes — this upsets me.

I think part of the problem is that I have zero faith in Moffat's writing since he revealed himself to be so sexist,

Eh, frankly he's less sexist than most male screenwriters appear to be (and he has far fewer issues than Russell T Davies had). The only real fear I have is with where he's taking Amy and Rory — like I said to another commenter, my only major issue with Steven Moffat's supposed sexism as far as his writing is concerned is the fact that if Amy chooses Rory over her dreams that will be at least the second time he's written that happening on Doctor Who alone.

Fair enough that she doesn't click for you — I'm sorry you feel that way, though.
Edited Date: 2010-06-03 04:08 am (UTC)

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Date: 2010-06-03 03:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] anachronisma.livejournal.com
We all come to Doctor Who from different perspectives. The corner I came from, I saw Amy and immediately identified her as someone very troubled. She seems very psychologically distressed to me, someone who's "acting out" in various ways and full of personal anguish and unresolved issues hiding behind her cocky confidence and her tendency to be a little snarky.

Given that I see her personality and keep measuring it by the standards of someone who has been through extremely distressing life experiences that form a lasting impact, and judge some of her less "ideal" characteristics like her seeming insecurity about her relationship with Rory, her skepticism and lack of faith in people, much of the emotional inhibition she displays about Rory (see: any time she punches Rory's arm and says a put-down, like, "it's you, stupid" or "don't be so clingy"), her immediate tendency to put whatever adventure she was just on behind her and act as if it ended chipper, I all see as signs of deeper issues Amy's got to work out before she can find who she wants to be "when she grows up" and find happiness and some healthiness in her relationships with other people. It's hard to have a good relationship when you're not good to yourself.

Except I feel like the show doesn't really treat with any kind of seriousness the idea that lovely, bright, clever, funny, sexy, mad Amy Pond is all those things and also a wee bit messed up. We are, I think, supposed to take her as well-adjusted? Moved beyond most of the issues that seem to explain some of her 'difficult' character traits like her unkindness to Rory, her doubt of the Doctor ("I'll be back" "people always say that"), her fear of being 'clingy'...but I really think the idea that Amy's got to find her way through her issues to be happy with herself is really an important theme that's being lost.

I am hopeful for the next ep though, the preview clips, aside making me squee because I love Tony Curran, make me wonder if we're going to finally take a look at who Amy is underneath her bravery and her pluck and the face she wears for the world to see that she's got her life together. I think her character would be more interesting exploring the dynamic of a person who has emotional struggles but remains confident and brave and won't let them stop her. That's the kind of character I could really feel an attachment to. Too often in TV and pop culture in general, brave, confident, sexy, sassy women are seen as somehow "faking" if they also have issues. I think Amy's confidence and sass and humor and intelligence is real. I also think that there's real emotional distress in her life that she ought to learn how to address and work through. Why not have emotionally smart Amy, who is brave and resourceful, deal with her own internal angst and fear in a smart and resourceful way?

Not sure if this reply is at all related to yours, and I apologize for rambling.

Date: 2010-06-03 10:06 am (UTC)
ext_34962: (with a parrot)
From: [identity profile] penumbra.livejournal.com
Yes, I agree with all of this.

Date: 2010-06-03 04:26 am (UTC)
ext_22618: (Default)
From: [identity profile] bewarethespork.livejournal.com
I love Rory to bits, so I'm not going to touch on what you've said there, because I'd much rather focus on the epic win that was the "Amy" part of your post. I don't agree with all your points, but I can see where you're coming from on most of them. And this bit especially:

It actually feels like women are only allowed to be as confident and as smug as the Doctor if they're not or can't be treated as a potential sexual conquest: Donna was allowed to be confident and smug, Amelia is allowed to be confident and smug — but these are ruinous character traits in Martha Jones (who also had the word 'unrealistic' flung in her direction despite being university-educated because she was 'only' a medical student rather than a qualified doctor), River Song (who — gasp! — sometimes knows things the Doctor doesn't and is just as self-satisfied about it as he always is when he knows things others don't), and the adult Amy Pond (who's just smarter than a real woman could ever possibly be, you guys). In fact, there are a lot of things women are only allowed to be when they're not potential sexual conquests.

Just...epic win, really. Thanks for posting!

Date: 2010-06-04 09:43 am (UTC)
ext_34962: (Amy Pond (sail on shooting stars))
From: [identity profile] penumbra.livejournal.com
Thank you. I saw that you'd written a post about Amy too, which I'm looking forward to reading.

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Date: 2010-06-03 06:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] curlymynci.livejournal.com
Thanks for this. I'm new to the online fandom and was a bit unprepared for the Amy-hate. The traits that come across to me most strongly are her hunger for adventure, adaptability and self-assurance. I think her sexuality is entirely appropriate for a 22 year old woman and can't really understand why people think that showing off your legs at that age is anything other than standard practice. She's the girl who didn't fit in at school, she's the one who had to be self-sufficient, and yes, she's got a few dysfunctional defence mechanisms but who hasn't?

Date: 2010-06-03 03:11 pm (UTC)
ext_34962: (Default)
From: [identity profile] penumbra.livejournal.com
Yes, I completely agree with you.

Re: Amy and Rory

Date: 2010-06-03 11:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] woogledesigns.livejournal.com
Well it works both ways, if that's their dynamic. Amy has also signed up for a person she get dependence and subservience from in exchange for physical affection. How is that not just as reprehensible?

While it might not be considered selfish to leave a relationship that you can't sustain, I would say it defiantly is selfish to carry one on that you don't think can last rather than be honest and let the other person know what's going on.

Rory's relationship might be read as less passive aggressive that you , very perceptively, notice. He could also be seen as somebody who is genuinely brow beaten but nice. Not a Niceguy(TM) but a decent person with naiive feelings- who lets Amy tease him because he is confident of a deeper affection. Also, in all his exchanges we see that he doesn't just want Amy to be with him- he wants Amy to want to be with him. He is concerned at the notion that a life together isn't her dream as well as his. He clearly thinks that it is- the getting married might have led him to believe that.

There is a slightly more sinister possible interpretation of Rory- that Moffatt is deriving humour from making him the 'woman' of the relationship in spite of his physical masculinity. He nags and worries. He needs emotional reassurance. He longs for the domestic sphere. He is a nurse. He is less sexually aggressive than his partner. He is left at home while Amy gallivants around on adventures. These are characteristics traditionally (and in my opinion unfairly) ascribed to women. Rory is shown to be less competent, courageous and cool headed than Amy or the Doctor. So is this a way of mocking womanhood by the proxy of the feminized man? And then valorizing traditional masculinity by embodying it in the successful characters of Amy and the Doctor, one of whom is always visually available for the pleasure of the male gaze?

Re: Amy and Rory

Date: 2010-06-03 12:03 pm (UTC)
ext_34962: (Thom Yorke (you and whose army?))
From: [identity profile] penumbra.livejournal.com
Well it works both ways, if that's their dynamic. Amy has also signed up for a person she get dependence and subservience from in exchange for physical affection. How is that not just as reprehensible?

Because it's really easy for women just to fall into relationships with men who are always "there for them" and always dropping passive-aggressive hints that they want a relationship (which I don't think is much of a stretch to think Rory capable of considering the way he approached Amy in "Amy's Choice" to try to 'nicely' convince her that really what she wants is to give up the Doctor and adventure and settle down with him in Leadworth). Amy is not the instigator in this — she's not the one pursuing Rory; Rory is the one who puts on the sad face whenever he thinks his relationship with Amy is endangered (multiple times in "The Vampires of Venice") because of what Amy wants. What threatens their relationship isn't death or separation, it's the fact that Amy wants different things from Rory and he knows it as much as she does — but he never brings it up and the one time that he does in "The Vampires of Venice" he lets her deflect and drops the subject.

While it might not be considered selfish to leave a relationship that you can't sustain, I would say it defiantly is selfish to carry one on that you don't think can last rather than be honest and let the other person know what's going on.

Except that Amy doesn't know that. She has doubts about her relationship with Rory but she's afraid to voice them because she doesn't want to hurt him (especially since Rory is the kind of guy — again as evinced in "The Vampires of Venice" — to go "I knew it, I knew you didn't love me, I knew this was going to happen,") and because she doesn't want to destroy their relationship when for all she knows — and remember she's repeatedly been told she's crazy — her fears might be unfounded or a kind of commitment-phobia that she has to work through herself. And, you know what? It is immature. But it doesn't make her a 'reprehensible' person — it's a pretty believable thing which a lot of people go through, especially at Amy's age.

Re: Amy and Rory

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Re: Amy and Rory

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Re: Amy and Rory

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Re: Amy and Rory

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Re: Amy and Rory

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Re: Amy and Rory

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Date: 2010-06-03 11:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dqbunny.livejournal.com
For the most part, [livejournal.com profile] anotokino said what I was thinking. But, I wanted to add this ...

The way that TPTB at the BBC have treated Amy in the media has kind of left a rotten taste in my mouth, because they have gone out of their way to promote Amy as the best companion EVER. There is nothing better in this series than Amy Pond, and you shall be brainwashed into that or else a kitten die - that's the impression I got from the media blitz leading into series 5.

And that's not fair to the previous companions, especially since a lot of the fandom is still pretty pissed by what happened to Donna. I love Rose. And Martha. And Donna. And Jack and Mickey. I love the older companions I've been able to see going all the way back to Susan Foreman, Barbara and Ian. All of the companions of the Doctor have been awesome men and women in their own way, and to try to promote Amy as being better than any of them really does a disservice not only to Amy, but to all of the former companions who are all so completely awesome in their own way. From Rose absorbing the Time Vortex to Martha walking the world, to the DoctorDonna, to Mickey's outstanding growth as a character, how could anything Amy does be better than them? And how could anything that they do be better than Amy? I consider Amy to be an equal, not better.

And frankly Amy doesn't owe Rory anything. If you're in a long-term relationship with someone you can't really see yourself with in ten years ("The Hungry Earth") it's not selfish if you eventually choose to walk out — whether you do it on foot or by Tardis

Wait a minute ... this is exactly what Rose did to Mickey. She left him in "Rose," but he at least knew where she had gone for the missing year. Rose is called selfish for doing this to Mickey and Amy's allowed to get off? Sorry, not cool in any relationship.

Date: 2010-06-03 12:06 pm (UTC)
ext_34962: (Elizabeth X)
From: [identity profile] penumbra.livejournal.com
If you could actually find any mention of Amy being "the best" companion in the promotional material for this series that would be awesome — because not only do I disagree, this is actually the first time that I've even heard this complaint.

Rose is called selfish for doing this to Mickey and Amy's allowed to get off? Sorry, not cool in any relationship.

I didn't say anything about Rose or her relationship with Mickey.

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