Meta Monday: Rose Tyler Defence
Today’s Meta Monday post is brought to you by the person who left a full-fledged rant against Rose Tyler in a comment on one of my fics. For the record, if you spend 500 words putting down one half of my OTP, you cannot say you respect that I ship Ten/Rose. Also, RUDE.
So, I’m going to break down the comment point by point. This was left on my ficlet about Martha, and about halfway through, it switches to ranting about how Martha was treated by the Doctor. For the sake of length, I’ll cover that part next week. Bullet points in quotes are taken directly from the review.
1) Rose was selfish.
At times, yes. Because Rose was human and humans have flaws. She was a well-written character who didn’t always do the right thing for the right reason.
Can we talk for a minute about why Rose is selfish? She’d recently ended a relationship with someone who took advantage of her. Jimmy Stone took off and left her £800 in debt. When you’re used like that, you learn to look out for yourself first, because no one else will. It’s a habit that takes time to break.
Now, this accusation often includes, “Rose was selfish to leave her family to travel,” and I will argue against that with my dying breath. It is not selfish for a young woman to decide to leave her family and create her own life. That is natural. I know Jackie and Mickey struggled with it, but that’s their thing to deal with. Honestly, them expecting Rose to never change and always be the same Rose they remembered is more selfish than Rose choosing to create her own life.
Don’t we tell girls all the time that they should plan their lives based on what would make them happy, not on what people expect them to do? Isn’t that part of what feminism is? So why do we insist it’s selfish when a young woman is actually bold enough to flout expectations and forge her own path?
2) “She ditched Mickey immediately when she heard the Doctor telling her that Tardis is a time travel machine.”
Why is it so horrible that Rose jumped at an amazing opportunity for a better life? She was obviously bored and dissatisfied before meeting the Doctor. (Look at her face when she’s working at Henrik’s. That is not the face of someone content with their life.)
And let’s get rid of the notion that Mickey was a perfect boyfriend. Do you remember the part in “Rose” where she asks if she can borrow his laptop? And he says yes, but then in a panic tells her not to look at his email? That’s supposed to be a hint that he was cheating on her–another sign that her life was not ideal, meaning she was at a perfect spot for a change.
I understand that it hurts to be the person left behind. I’ll even agree that Rose should have said a bit more of a goodbye to Mickey than she did. (Though since the Doctor had already left once, I don’t blame her if she thought there was a clock ticking.) However, I refuse to blame Rose for wanting a different life. That’s grossly unfair.
Think about this: Donna pitched the keys to the car she shared with her mother in a bin, then took off without saying a word about travelling. And yet, I’ve never heard anyone say anything bad about the way she left her family. Why is what Rose did so much worse?
3) “She also not only made Jackie grieve over her, therefore making her get Mickey go to police 5 times the whole year.”
Oh boy. One of my favourites.
THE MISSING YEAR IS NOT ROSE’S FAULT.
We don’t know how long Rose had been with the Doctor when they landed at the beginning of “Aliens of London.” If we go strictly by time we’ve seen, it’s less than a week. If we believe there are adventures that happen offscreen, then maybe 2-3 weeks.
Not only that, but she had been assured that to her mum, only 12 hours would have passed. She walked into that flat thinking she’d been gone overnight, thinking her phone call from Platform One would have been plenty to ease any worries.
It is not Rose Tyler’s fault that the TARDIS, purposely or not, skipped a full year.
That means none of the things that happened to people on Earth during that time are her fault. It’s not her fault that her mum thought she was dead. It’s not her fault that Mickey was dragged in for questioning. Jackie and Mickey resenting Rose for the missing year does not make it actually Rose’s fault.
4) “She flirted with Adam and Jack and broke up with Mickey, making him feel like crap.”
Right. Mickey who told Rose–in the middle of trying to chat her up–that he was seeing Trisha Delaney? Which he told her purposely to make her angry? Mickey is not superior here, so don’t even try to make it out like Rose is the horrible tramp and Mickey is the long-suffering boyfriend.
And if she’d broken up with Mickey, what does it matter that she flirted with Adam and Jack? This kind of slut-shaming needs to end. Flirting is not a sin.
5) “She ripped Tardis console to become Bad Wolf, despite the fact that Tardis was an sentient being.”
I see this thrown out as a horrible thing all the time. Do you know who did not get angry at Rose for opening the TARDIS? The Doctor. Not once in his explanation to Jack during “Utopia” does he say anything bad about Rose opening the TARDIS. Not once does his voice betray anything but awe at what she became.
No one knows and loves the TARDIS more than the Doctor. If he wasn’t upset with Rose for opening her heart, maybe it wasn’t a bad thing for her to do.
Also, if you’re thinking Bad Wolf was a selfish choice, then you’re purposely reading your opinion that Rose was selfish into the text. Rose knew looking into the heart of the TARDIS could kill her–she’d seen what had happened to Margaret the Slitheen. But she chose to do it anyway, because it was the only way to save the Doctor.
Rose becoming Bad Wolf is not about her pouting because he sent her away. That is the wrongest interpretation of that scene I have ever seen, and it makes me angry every time. In the diner, when she’s trying to explain to Jackie and Mickey why she’s so upset, she starts with, “Two hundred thousand years in the future, he’s dying, and there’s nothing I can do.” And when Bad Wolf explains her choice and her purpose to the Doctor? “I want you safe. My Doctor. Protected from the false god.”
Not to mention her glorious speech in the diner, which is entirely about understanding that life is better when you live it for other people. Bad Wolf is Rose Tyler at her least selfish and she is absolutely brilliant.
6) “Martha actually worked hard to become a doctor, while Rose could not even get herself a job after getting her job blown off.”
Wow. There’s so much classist garbage in here, I don’t even know where to start.
- Yes, Martha worked hard. That doesn’t mean Rose didn’t. Stop putting down one companion to praise another.
- You don’t have to have an upper class job like doctor to be a hard worker. Poor people work their tails off, doing things no one else wants to do. Even Martha complained that she had to work in a shop. (Blink)
- Rose left with the Doctor twenty-four hours after Henrik’s blew up.
- No, she didn’t go out job hunting the day after almost dying.
- Lucky she didn’t, because if she hadn’t spent the day looking up the Doctor, she might not have been there when he faced the Nestene Consciousness. And the Doctor himself admitted that he would have died if it wasn’t for her.
What you’re really saying is that instead of going off to have a fabulous life, Rose should have stayed on the Estate. I’m being kind and not adding, “where she belonged” to the end of that statement, but really–that’s what you’re implying. That as a young woman from the Estate, Rose didn’t deserve the kind of life she found with the Doctor.
Rose Tyler was clever. Practically the first thing the Doctor says to her is a compliment because she’d come up with a logical explanation for the Autons. It was wrong, but he was impressed by her logic.
Rose Tyler was brave. She saved the Doctor that first day, she ran into the TARDIS even though he told her it would be dangerous, she ran after the ghost in “The Unquiet Dead…” Do I need to go on? Rose Tyler shot out the window of the rocket she was on so she could kill Satan. How’s that?
Rose Tyler was compassionate. She objected strenuously to the Doctor asking Gwyneth to channel to Gelth. She saw a little boy calling for his Mummy and tried to help him. She refused to let the Doctor kill a Dalek. She was outraged by the slavery of the Ood.
Rose Tyler stood up for what she believed in, no matter what the cost. She never hesitated to tell the Doctor if she thought what he was doing was wrong, even though she knew he could always take her home if he got annoyed with her. When he was passed out from regeneration sickness, she stood up to the Sycorax in his place. She got in Mr. Connolly’s face in Idiot’s Lantern when he was being a sexist jerk, talking down to his wife.
Rose Tyler was clever, brave, and compassionate. When she was gone, the Doctor missed her ability to spot things he missed. “Rose would know,” was not just a sentimental comment–the solution to their adventures often started with Rose spotting something out of place and pointing it out to the Doctor. (The Unquiet Dead, The Long Game, Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, School Reunion, Idiot’s Lantern and Fear Her, just off the top of my head.)
So no, random reviewer, Rose is not flawless. But she’s also not the selfish girl you insist she is.