I want to tell you a bit about Barbara and Susan, and why I still think they’re two of the best female characters who have ever been on Doctor Who, including NuWho. And yes, both of them, not just Barbara.
Classic Who under Verity Lambert is quite magical in regards to feminism in and of itself. This is the kind of show where you’d expect to go in and see the ladies getting shafted at the beginning of each adventure, told to hide or stay put, or being put in constant peril for the male characters to rescue them.
But astonishingly, that first season is extremely egalitarian toward both women. They share in the adventure, go everywhere that Ian and the Doctor do, and their gender is almost never used to enforce limitations on them.
It’s actually jaw-dropping to watch in an age where we’re conditioned to believe that all media of that time was completely dreadful towards women. However, there’s another element to this that really seals the deal, and it’s something I think a lot of writers fail to realize the impact of.
The thing that really makes both of these characters so beautifully progressive for their time isn’t just because of their own independent characters or the way the narrative treats them, it’s also because they’re on the same show together. Susan and Barbara’s dynamic really shows just why the Smurfette Principle is problematic and how much better your work can be when you have multiple female characters to play off of each other.
On paper, Susan’s character reads like a lot of other, young female characters you might see in media during the 60s. She’s innocent, easily frightened, and has the combined lung capacity of a dozen trained musicians. Now, I’m not at all saying Susan can’t stand on her own as a character. In fact, she has quite a few character traits (her intelligence, her Gallifreyan-codifying eccentricity that occasionally rivals the Doctor’s own) that do set her apart even by herself.
But what really pushes Susan’s character writing over the edge from simply good to utterly fantastic is the other female character she shares her time on the show with, Barbara Wright. It’s really no secret in the classic who fandom that Barbara is awesome. Ian positively looks like a non-action guy next to some of the things that she does. Unlike Susan, Barbara doesn’t even read on paper like her scripts were written with a gender in mind- she’s a good character, plain and simple, and being female is just an incidental trait of her.
So where am I going with this?
By seeing these two very different, but equally wonderful female characters together, we’re persuaded to see these character’s personalities as a part of who they are, rather then a result of their gender. We’re also persuaded to see women as a diverse group of people, and not as singular objects. We no longer see Susan’s skiddish traits as being ‘because she’s a girl’ because Barbara is there and she’s not skiddish. We no longer see Barbara’s neutral writing as just her being a one-note ‘strong female character’ because Susan shows us that while some women are tough, others may not be, and that’s okay. Both are okay. Both are wonderful.
You can be like Barbara; you can be like Susan. But most importantly, you can be like yourself. Don’t let society’s gender limitations define you; you are what you are, and that’s good enough.
For a show from 1963, that’s an incredible message.
So more on Dexter Grif (season 15 episode 6 spoilers)
Remember back in season 10 when Doc was giving his speech on the good stuff that happened to everyone thanks to Project Freelancer and all adventures of the Reds and Blues? The only two people he hadn’t addressed had been Caboose – who lost Church, and Grif. It might have been because Grif got the, well, Grifshot. Or maybe because he never got what he truly wanted and… After now I think about that a lot.
Reasons why Yato is one of my favourite anime/manga protagonists
He is not a stereotypical shounen hero:
• Is not typically stupid like a lot of anime protagonists. Despite being senseless, rude and unhelpful at times he is also clever and practical
• His powers do not increase infinitely when given motivation. He is powerful but his abilities do not increase illogically because he “must help his friends!”
• He has a flawed character. He is not perfect which makes him more interesting and realistic as a character. He is motivated by money and fame to become a major deity rather than really wanting to help the world or having any other good intentions at the start of the novel. He has also done bad things in the past and could potentially do them again (although hopefully not!)
• Although he is a god he has real life issues I.e. Income and a home and these are actually problems to him unlike most fantasy shounen characters
Other reasons to like Yato:
• He’s really really good-looking
a language that is adopted as a common language between speakers whose native languages are different.
i’ve tried to write this like four times but my brain isn’t working so here it is in incoherent and non-sourced form:
so for Viktor, Russian is his primary language, and he’s fluent in English and French as well. For Yuuri, obviously his primary language is Japanese, and he has English in his repertoire (not sure if he’s been shown to know any other languages). For the purpose of Western viewing of the show, It’s the obvious assumption that Viktor and Yuuri communicate mostly in English, a language that is not either of their primary one.
Interesting complications can arise out of this, yes? miscommunication trope i’m looking at you
but there’s another level to it. Viktor has spent his life training with a Russian coach in Russia. Even if he learned English in school, most of his interactions day-to-day will be Russian. Where he likely would speak English would be at competitions and with the press: sporadic, high-pressure events. That leads to more formal use of the language and also using more specialized terms. However fluent Viktor is, he probably didn’t have to function for too long a period in English only.
Then there’s Yuuri - starting off with high-school English, then flinging himself around the world to Detroit to train with an Italian coach in an American rink, taking American classes, making American friends. That would be years of whole-brain immersion in American English, American slang - both in person and in watching tv and using social media (the latter being possibly Phichit-related).
What I’m saying (badly) is that Viktor and Yuuri developed using English as an additional language for different reasons, with different intensities, and likely different levels of fluency. Viktor can talk about anything to do with figure skating or sports training or poodles with extreme fluency, but he probably doesn’t have the wider linguistic or cultural fluency that Yuuri has.
So in addition to the range in their own cultural backgrounds, these two are speaking a second language with differing levels of fluency and different cultural contexts around acquiring that language.
And that’s so interesting to think about how it can impact how they experience their relationship.
Back when Sanji was first introduced, how could anyone have guessed that his disgust for spoiled brats was actually rooted in his family background? Sanji could have hated spoiled customers also because of the number of nasty incidents he had with them and the value system Zeff instilled into him, but I’m ready to bet that every time he encountered customers like Fullbody, he was reminded of his asshole brothers and that’s what pushed his buttons the most.
I know many
find Jack Robinson gorgeous and beautiful, but I’m fairly convinced that isn’t why we
love him so much. There are many beautiful men out there, after all.
Jack so special is something else: how his style is classical, male hero –
complete with jaw, fedora, coat, and a stern look – but he is something completely
different on the inside. He is not a hard, tough guy who treats women as pretty
toys or dangerous cats; he is not cynical or bitter or nonchalant;
he doesn’t see the world as revolving around himself and his ego; and he doesn’t
dismiss people who are not as ‘tough’ as himself. On the contrary, he listens to
other people, and he listens to and respects women. Not only to brilliant Phryne Fisher,
but to many women: he cares about their life experiences and he doesn’t dismiss “women
issues” as relevant leads in his cases. @longlineoftvdetectives pinpointed in an earlier post so well how Nathan
Page is extremely good at listening and reacting to what is said when he acts, and
this must have been a crucial point for the casting of him in this role.
(Jack is also wonderful in the way he is simultaneously a serious man and a very humorous one, and in the way he can give as good as he takes in bantering, and this is important because respecting people is never ever allowed to turn into being boring in this show.)
combination of a very established look and a reimagined inside is absolutely
wonderful, and when you see it, it’s easy to be “ruined for other tv shows”. Because
this becomes so natural and – frankly – so incredibly hot.
Out of all of his siblings, he’s the most protective of their parents. He sees Molly and Arthur as more vulnerable than his siblings tend to, sees their faults and their relative small-ness in a world none of them can control.
Perhaps he should have been in Slytherin, but he asked the Sorting Hat for Gryffindor because he knew George would be Sorted there.
Fred didn’t actually hate Potions, and he would have gotten a NEWT if it hadn’t been for Snape. Unfortunately, taunting the horrible teacher was too much fun to resist, and he never got grades as high as he should have.
He has very expensive taste in clothes and food, taste that was not supported in his childhood, but just barely began to manifest itself once he started living on the profits from the store.
Speaking of the store and money, Fred was the one who secured most of their investors.
He often gets too caught up in things, because he’s hyper-competent and hyper-confident. He doesn’t tend to stop and analyze them or assess their meanings. George does a lot of that kind of stuff, which makes them and excellent team.
Fred’s favorite sibling (after George, of course) is wholeheartedly and unsarcastically, Percy. His pranks are almost always directed toward getting Percy not to take himself too seriously - something he thinks is very important in a Weasley, a Gryffindor, a happy person.
He secretly looked up to Oliver Wood a bit while at Hogwarts, and learned about dedication from him. He would have loved to have gone Pro-Quidditch, but he wasn’t half as good a Beater as only half of a seamless team.
His favorite prank while at Hogwarts including helping Lee Jordan write out some Quidditch commentary in code before a match against Slytherin one year.
He can make Ginny laugh just by looking at her - one of his favorite talents.
Fred thought about death in black and white terms - he told George one night in the store that he would rather die instantly than suffer like the tortured they reported on on Potterwatch. He did imagine it happening during a far-off prank though, rather than in the battle. It would have killed him to know how much suffering he caused his family.
@illuminating-dragons asked about Fred Weasley, and wrote me a beautiful chapter in her Fading Scars series. I can’t wait to link you all to it!