I've been reading a lot of the discussions going on about racism and sexism in New Who, particularly this
post by nostalgia_lj
. And I've been nodding along and agreeing with most of it, (I'm differing on how badly the Doctor treated Martha, and anger at her leaving, when I believe she'll be back as a permanent companion and around for many more seasons, but that's a different discussion and not pertinent to the point...) and learning a lot about my own prejudices in the process.
Only I was thinking, at the moment the dialogue is entirely with fandom at the moment. How do we move the dialogue to the New Who production team? I'm not saying that the discussion has finished in fandom, or has moved anywhere near to completion - there are too many people who are still blind to racism. (I think the racism discussion is the one fandom should be having the loudest with itself because as Nos says "I think the problem is that LJ fandom is mostly white women who are for obvious reasons rather more comfortable talking about gender than about race."
, but the New Who team has both sexism and racism issues that need to be addressed).
As most of you know, I'm pro-breastfeeding, and for a while was pretty heavily involved with the NCT (National Chldbirth Trust). Now a couple of years ago, there was an episode of the Tweenies, (bear with me) where the kids watched a film about babies, and the mother fed the baby from a bottle. Belinda Phipps, the CEO of the NCT, wrote a letter to the production team, asking why the woman wasn't shown breastfeeding, when all the experts agreed that it was the best way to feed your baby. She got a letter back saying that the producers had been unhappy showing a child being breastfeed on children's television as they didn't want to offend anyone. So she wrote back again, explaining that one of the reasons breastfeeding rates are so low in this country, was that too many women feel self-concious breastfeeding in public. That by not showing breastfeeding they were contributing to the idea that breastfeeding was shameful and something best done in private, whereas if they showing breastfeeding it would help normalize it and make it nothing to be remarked upon. (Her letter was a lot more articulate and coherent than summation). She then got a reply which was along the lines of "Wow. Not thought of it like that....um.. You're right. We will rectify our error." Within a couple of weeks the episode had re-aired with a breastfeeding mother included. (And since then I've notice breastfeeding being included in a few more Cbeebies shows).
The thing is I think most of us don't believe the New Who team are being deliberately racist or misogynistic, but I think they will continue to be so until someone calls them on it. It's just a case of working out how to call them on it. (And I don't believe that it will be as straightforward and as simple as the breastfeeding example, but why should that stop us?)
I love Doctor Who. From being five and watching the Fourth Doctor from behind the door, (the sofa was pushed again the wall) to being thirteen and having my walls covered with posters of Ace because I wanted to be her, and spending all my allowance on the Target novelisations, (And someday I'll retrieve the boxes from my parents attic) to being thirty-one and squeeing because my husband bought me a tiny remote control K9, I have always and will always love it. And because I love it I want it to be better, to do better. I'm willing do something to make that happen.
So how do we make our voices heard on this? Write letters? Send books, articles? Kidnap and mind-programming? How should we do this?