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Mr Pond: an unfinished meta

Okay, so this is something I've kind of been thinking about for a while... and let me say upfront that I haven't the faintest notion where I'm going with this. I'm just poking something that looks like it wants to be poked. *big red button* ;-)

It's about Mofftiem on Doctor Who: specifically, about Rory/Amy and gender politics. Waaaay back when I watched "The Eleventh Hour", all the Whovians I knew who were into gender politics were squeeing near the end when the Doctor is changing his clothes because Amy didn't turn round and not look. Defying societal expectations or something of that.

What struck me most about that scene, though, was that Rory did turn round, even though he's male and thus it wasn't socially required of him. (That's where I decided I liked Rory, because he is a polite person, as well as smarter than he looks.)

Okay, now jumping to the end of SFnarg: InfiniteViking, whose journal I've been stalking recently, said this better than I could (and indeed triggered off this meta braindump here), so I'll quote:

"If it had been Plastic Amy settling down to quietly guard Pandorica Rory for two thousand years, would we call it heroically sacrificial love or pathetically needy inability to exist without her man?"

Which caused me to see something about Rory I hadn't consciously seen before. He's... well, I am having a really hard time putting this clearly, but... he sort of seems to subvert gender politics just by being awesome. I am going to cherry-pick some factoids here; consider.

* He turns his back when the Doctor's changing clothes.

* He randomly calls Amy up (from his stag party right before the stripper is supposed to show up, yet) to tell her it's been eight hours since he last told her he loved her "and that is scandalous!"

* He backs Amy up on sneaking into the vampires' castle - okay, he's terrible at it, but he doesn't (try to) forbid her to go or such. After Amy IDed him as her eunuch with the psychic paper.

* He cuts off his ponytail for Amy, and then gets killed protecting her, in the dream world.

* He gets eaten by the crack, thus has only 7 of 13 eps in SFnarg. (Yes, I will have a point to which this is relevant. Eventually.)

* He is able to stay human-ish and not march off with the other plastic soldiers because he loves Amy.

* He spends 1894 years waiting for and protecting Amy.

* She's not Mrs Williams, he's Mr Pond.

Now, all of these things are awesome and Roryriffic, and I am not complaining about any of them. However: try for a moment to imagine if the genders were reversed - I think female!Rory (Rorina?) would be excoriated by all the feminist viewers for being such a "good little housewife" character, for having less screen time, for generally being male!Amy's plus-one.

I'm not saying they'd be wrong. I don't know what I'm saying, except that Rory is awesome, he does these things, and in many cases he shows his awesome by doing these things. There is something to be said about gender equality here, but I'm not quite sure what it is.

I'm just, as I noted, poking something that I think needs to be poked.

Incidentally, I've got no objection to being spoiled for SFnarg+1 in the comments if it makes for a better discussion. Have at it! ;-)

This entry has been crossposted from http://curuchamion.dreamwidth.org/91938.html. You can comment here or there - you can comment anywhere! (sorry *g*)

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
sophia_sol
May. 30th, 2011 07:39 pm (UTC)
Interesting post! I have always waffled on my opinions of the Mr Pond thing. Because first of all it's cute, and I like the acknowledgement that it doesn't always have to be wife-takes-husband's-name-after-marriage. But on the other hand, I think it's touching on something I don't really like. He's called Pond because it's obvious that Amy's the one in charge in their relationship, and taking the spouse's name is usually the female role, so what it's doing is equating being the more submissive partner with being in the woman's role. And I don't like that.

In fact, I think what I'm trying to say is, I want to agree with your thesis but I don't know if I do -- that Rory being awesome and being who he is subverts gender politics. Because he doesn't fall into the normal manly roles in the relationship, which is great, yeah, and that is a subversion of gender politics, but I sometimes get the feeling when watching the show that we're not supposed to find that awesome, we're supposed to find it funny.

Which, idk, I worry that I'm just being overy-sensitive and seeing things that aren't there. But that's what I see, and what I'm desperately hoping I'm wrong about...
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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