"The entire characterisation of Queen Elizabeth I was completely cringe worthy. It was already upsetting that Davies implied that the Doctor and Elizabeth I got it on…"
Upsetting for whom? Sure, there are plenty of old school fans who don’t like the idea of the Doctor as a sexual being. I remember how, back in 1996, when Paul McGann’s Doctor kissed Grace, it upset some LGBTQ* fans who prefered the idea of the Doctor as a non-Romantic hero, back when there were few - if any - depictions of functional LGBTQ* characters in the media, and the Doctor, as a sort of asexual superhero, was the best available role model.
One of the people who really changed that was Russell T. Davies, the very same man who (along with another gay DW fan, Gareth Roberts, who got credit for “The Shakespeare Code”) implied that the Doctor and Elizabeth I “got it on.” Perhaps this is upsetting for asexuals, and yes, being asexual is a thing and they, like all people, deserve respect and representation. But I really don’t get why it’s particularly upsetting that the Doctor and Elizabeth I had a sexual relationship.
"…but the entirety of her character in this episode was completely destroyed."
<sarcasm> You’re totally right. I can never respect Elizabeth I again because - despite her many accomplishments and long and storied reign as the most effective female sovereign of Great Britain - she had fictional sex with a fictional character once. Therefore, she’s tainted. Or something. Sex is bad. </sarcasm>
Seriously, though, she’s portrayed as a strong and brilliant woman who can defend herself against an alien threat without a man’s help. So, you know, there’s that.
"Again, much like Reinette, it turned a powerful historical woman figure into a lovesick woman who did everything for the Doctor."
Within the bounds of this episode? Maybe. I don’t think she needed the Doctor’s help to systematically assassinate the Catholics in her government, although in the movie version, one of them looks a lot like the 9th Doctor. I guess that’s why he never showed up. He was too busy being slaughtered because he belonged to the wrong religion.
Yeah, Elizabeth I’s reputation was completely pure until Moffat screwed it up… (and by the way, it must feel really good to be non-Catholic and be able to see Elizabeth I as beyond reproach. My Irish and French ancestors, however, would like a word with you. Like you say, ”some people shouldn’t be allowed to have their shit left unchallenged.” Just sayin’.)
"The Queen used her marriage-less state as a political tool, not as a blind because she was already married. She may have had internalised misogyny, thanks to the time period and her horrible father, but implying that she was weak*, but so was an alien because it took her body? That was really sexist for a modern show. I’m sure there are other people who know more about Queen Elizabeth I, but this episode really sexualised her and made her into another romantic interest when she wasn’t like that."
Yes, she used her marriage-less state as a political tool, but that doesn’t mean she never had any feelings for anyone. It is entirely possible to be head-over-heels in love and *also* be really, really good at your job.
"There were also some other sexist moments in the episode. Osgood, the scientist, had a lot of potential as a character as well, and I understand that jealousy does fester between siblings, but the Zygon really gave a sexist dig there saying it wish it copied Osgood’s ‘prettier sister’. Also calling Osgood’s asthma a ‘defect’, are we serious? That adds ableism to the list as well."
So, back in 2001 or so, I remember reading a website published by a fundamentalist Christian group that thought Harry Potter was evil Satanic propaganda. One of the quotes they used to prove their point was the one where Voldemort told Harry “There is no good or evil, only power,” because that’s apparently something Satanists believe.
I mean, can you believe those guys, taking something the bad guy said out of context, and making it look like the author actually believed that? Ha ha, those wacky religious fanatics. Glad you folks over at stfu-moffat would never do anything like that, because that would be deceitful and cheap. ::headdesk::
"The whole ‘The Doctor will save me’ with Osgood was also problematic, we went over this with Amy and several other characters - I thought the whole point of Eleven was that he couldn’t always be there and that he couldn’t always be relied on."
That’s true, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Osgood believes that about him. She’s been working for UNIT and has been studying the Doctor for quite some time, and knows that - usually - he saves the day. She hasn’t been close enough to him to know that he isn’t perfect.
"She saved herself the first time and yet still repeated the mantra again during a time of stress. That time which is where Kate Stewart tried to make a difficult decision that several other women in power made (Harriet Jones and Martha Jones for instance) and the Doctor literally manipulated and brainwashed Kate in order to make her stop the countdown, to make her do what he wanted her to do. That was the same thing he did with Donna, but also along the lines of the thing he did with Amy (when he didn’t tell Amy what happened to Rory and he also used Amy for the Pandorica and didn’t tell her about when she was pregnant. There’s a lot of mental and emotional abuse in this)."
<sarcasm> Yeah.. the Doctor should totally have thought “on one hand, I could save millions of lives by erasing everyone’s memories in the room for a few minutes. On the other hand, it might look bad, so I’d better just let London burn.” </sarcasm>
"We also never did find out what happened with the Zygons and what they agreed upon. Not only all of this, but there was the misogynistic line said by the War Doctor at the end of the episode: ‘If I could be half the man you are, Clara Oswald…’ He could’ve easily said ‘person’ and got the line across, but it’s implying that man is greater than woman and that Clara is more of a ‘man’ than the Doctor, which is definitely sexist."
Er… yeah, maybe I kind of agree with this one. Though it’s still kind of annoying when you complain about a female character being praised for being strong and brave, because the words weren’t exactly what you wanted them to be. He did use a sexist turn of phrase, but his intent was the exact opposite of that.
Then there’s another paragraph where you point out how retcon-ish this episode was, and… yeah, you’re probably right about that, too. My biggest problem with Moffat has been his cavalier attitude to emotional continuity (I’d argue that a lot of the supposed incidents of sexism/racism/etc. might be cleared up if Moff cared more about his characters and less about being super-clever all the time, if that makes any sense. River Song’s whole origin story is a case in point - yes, it’s all very clever and timey-wimey, but the fact remains that Amy and Rory never got to be a part of their child’s upbringing, and you’d think that would really have more of an impact on them. A lot of women wind up with their lives entirely defined by The Doctor, but I’d argue that this is more of a by-product of Moffat thinking “wouldn’t it be cool if the Doctor was your imaginary friend as a kid, and then he turned out to be real? Oh, what a clever boy am I…” rather than Moff consciously deciding to write women who define themselves through the Doctor. Still, though, whenever I read accusations of “Moffat thinks all women should just be baby-making factories,” it seems a liiiiittle bit off whenever I think of the scene in Asylum of the Daleks where Rory and Amy get back together, when what really matters to Rory *isn’t” that Amy can’t have kids, it’s that he loves her for who she is, no matter what. Curiously, no one ever mentions that scene on stfu-moffat…)
"*EDIT: I know this is from a quote said by the actual Elizabeth, but the full line was ‘I know I have the body of a weak, feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm; to which rather than any dishonour shall grow by me, I myself will take up arms, I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field.’ which is nothing like ‘I may have the weak and feeble body of a woman, but so did the Zygon!’ The actual quote was saying that she may have been a woman, but she was just as powerful and faithful to her country as any man or any king and she deserved the respect and honour for that. In the second line that was said in the show, it was just ‘the alien was weak too!’ which is what makes that particularly sexist."
Yyyyyyeah… you do realize that, immediately before saying this… ELIZABETH THE FIRST KICKED A ZYGON’S A**? On her own? Without the help of any man? I just want to point that out. At worst, this is accidental sexism - the context of the quote frankly undermines the specific words spoken.