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Martha as Mammy and yet more 'ism's in the Whoverse. 
2nd-Jul-2007 07:16 pm
fen of color
I'm noticing a lot of people insisting that the portrayal of Martha as strong and capable automatically negates any accusation of sexism in the latest season of Who. And people demanding step by step proof of the racism, because apparently it's all just the way things are written and we're making too much of it.

And really, were we talking about sexism and its stereotypes as framed for white women they might have a leg to stand on but sexism isn't a one size fits all sort of a category. Portrayals of women (and the attendant sexism) vary greatly depending on the race of the woman. Generally speaking young white women have options in terms of being chaste/being sexy and being heroines or being painted as damsels in distress. That's because the key word there actually isn't the distress part. It's the word damsel. Damsels are always desirable, no matter how much ass they kick (or don't) and nothing they do makes them unworthy of love or protection.

The stereotype start to swing in whole new directions when it comes to other ethnic groups. Latina women (assuming you can find many on TV) are usually either oversexed or completely sexless with a large number of children. If they have Latino boyfriends/husbands the men are usually portrayed as criminals or at best overtly chauvinistic. Mostly though they aren't portrayed at all. There have been some exceptions, but not many and mostly those exceptions are in sitcoms. Asian women get to be sexy or smart, but generally not both and they certainly don't have relationships with Asian men. But hey, Asian men aren't usually portrayed at all or if they are the options are sexless, king fu master, or geek who is obsessed with sex. Doubt me? Find me ten Asian male characters that don't fit any of those molds. Same with Latino men. And just look at Tosh on Torchwood for the Asian woman stereotype that keeps screaming at the top of its lungs. You can also look at Lucy Liu in Ally McBeal.

Now, let's talk about black people. Black women tend to get two choices. Mammy or Jezebel. Occasionally the third option of Sapphire (see nagging shrew constantly emasculating a weak black man) rears its ugly head. But mostly the choices are asexual Mammy or nympho Jezebel. And yes, Martha is smart and she comes from a good family and really it's not like we see her or her family running around as servants complete with little uniforms...oh wait. Let's start with the portrayal of Martha as Mammy (see her taking care of the Doctor repeatedly including being a maid for three months but also working to support him in the 1960's), no agency of her own to speak of when it comes to saving the world (particularly when you note that the grand plan amounts to her telling everyone to clap to save Tinkerbell) and then let's talk about her spending the entire season being made to feel like second best. She even gets the dubious joy of being told directly not to get above herself in Human Nature/Family of Blood. And I suppose the argument could be made that the characterizations were appropriate to the time of 1913.

However that doesn't tidy up the rest of the season where Martha alternates between flirting* with every available white man that crosses her path, pining after the unattainable Doctor and sacrificing her pride to save the Great White Hope. Martha's repeatedly laying it all on the line for a guy that treats her like crap, and I don't mean his lack of interest in a relationship. I mean his telling her (even after it's clear that Saxon is the Master) that she doesn't need to know anything else about him, or the screaming at her (which happens a few times, but most notably in Utopia) and even the point at which she goes out to get them all dinner while he and Jack hide out in the Warehouse in Sound of Drums. Martha isn't being protected, she isn't treated as a damsel. It's the Strong Black Woman/Mammy myth complete with the idea that she is supposed to be willing to sacrifice everything to protect the ones that can actually do some good. Theoretically I suppose the flirting is supposed to ameliorate the Mammy stereotype, but each time the flirtation is almost completely unconvincing (What is it with the guy in 42 flirting back, but then looking utterly shocked when she snogs him?) and there is no hope of the flirtation going anywhere. On an individual level the incidents aren't that bad, and could conceivably be construed as germane to the story.

But that doesn't explain the treatment of Tish and Francine. The portrayal of Francine as the Sapphire stereotype complete with the emasculated husband (who incidentally gets to be portrayed as a janitor) and Tish as a Jezebel that manages to get the hots for a man that was in his 80's a scant ten minutes earlier who has a wife no less is particularly telling. In fact we are told repeatedly that Tish is getting jobs for which she isn't remotely qualified solely as part of Saxon's master plan. He even tells her at one point that her job is to stand around looking pretty, which really made me wonder about sexual harassment laws in the UK. Yet he has no interest in capitalizing on Martha's relationship with her brother or her father until her Dad makes the effort to warn her. And you know, Tish didn't particularly strike me as a stupid girl when she and Martha were helping to stop Lazarus, so why wouldn't she be qualified for the PR job? She certainly seemed to manage to put together a beautiful gala in very short order. Martha's dad manages vaguely to attempt to fight back, but it's clear he isn't actually seen as being anywhere near as much of a threat as Jack. And Leo seemingly disappears completely from every one's mind. No strength or heroism to be found in him at all. And it's not just Martha's family that gets short shrift.

Let's not forget Mickey being portrayed first as ridiculously cowardly (cowering behind Rose's legs and then being called the idiot for most of his appearances) ala a whole host of racist stereotypes including the old favorite of Step and Fetchit. In fact even when Mickey manages to grow a pair and break it off with Rose it's still made very clear that he's useless, and he only manages to gain redemption by abandoning his entire life (which again apparently wasn't worth much anyway) and sidestepping into an alternate universe. One in which apparently he's still content being Rose's tin dog. There are very few character's of color in the Who verse to begin with, and for all of them to fit so neatly into various stereotypes? At some point that's not accidental nor is it germane to the story. Is it meant to be overt racism? No. But it fits the definition of aversive racism very nicely, as does the insistence of much of white fandom that the POC are seeing things that aren't there. Sometimes the people who regularly have to experience racism? Know it when they see it. And when the white fans that also see it say "Oh my yes, it's clearly there?" Then the Emperor is not wearing new clothes and carrying a bouquet, he's naked and carrying a noose.

*I found it quite interesting that she never managed to be attracted to a single man of color, and neither was Tish. The Whoverse is mighty white even in the depths of space. In Gridlock the young couple trying to make a life involves a WOC and a white man. Newsflash, sometime POC date other POC. No really, and we make lovely successful families too. Also shockingly some MOC don't pine after white women.
3rd-Jul-2007 12:24 am (UTC)
*<3s you for all your glorious Mness.*

Just does.
3rd-Jul-2007 12:27 am (UTC)
This post sums up everything I've been thinking throughout the whole season.
3rd-Jul-2007 12:29 am (UTC)
I kept holding out hope that I was wrong, but then Martha walked the entire world and still got no appreciation.
3rd-Jul-2007 12:35 am (UTC)
*I found it quite interesting that she never managed to be attracted to a single man of color, and neither was Tish. The Whoverse is mighty white even in the depths of space. In Gridlock the young couple trying to make a life involves a WOC and a white man. Newsflash, sometime POC date other POC. No really, and we make lovely successful families too. Also shockingly some MOC don't pine after white women.

I imagine RTD thinks himself quite progressive for including interracial couples and doesn't quite realize what he's doing.
3rd-Jul-2007 12:36 am (UTC)
It's a strong argument and a viable one.

But, I do think you need to read it in light of the fact that the Doctor sidelined and belittled his other ex-companion, Jack, just as completely in the last three episodes. I specifically mention those three because of the overt images to Martha's family in servitude as opposed to images in the earlier episodes that show everyone as pretty successful and in relation to the 1913 episodes it really is as much an issue of class as it is of colour. If for those two episodes Martha had ceased to be a POC but had still been in John Smith's employ I am positive he would have treated her in the same way, so I think it's difficult to take a fair reading from those two episodes.

If the Doctor is anything this series I'd say he was speciest. He - to my mind - treated Jack abominably, he saved Lazlo the Pig!Man in the NY Dalek adventures but couldn't reconfigure the tech or reach for any kind of med kit to strip out the mutation and I don't imagine Lazlo survived for long. If there was realism under pinning those episodes I imagine his best bet would be employment in a carnival/freak show... he likes the idea of humanity but he likes them best as that... an idea. When they get too close he doesn't cling to them instead he evicts them and moves on.

In LoTL is biast (understandably) to the last of his species, be he genocidal and homicidal. Funnily enough I read the Doctor's relationship with the Master (especially in LoTL) as parental - with the Master as the terrible teenage son acting out and ripping the envelope. And I read Martha in juxtaposition to this and saw a Martha who has left home and travelled the world and grown up.

I hated the fact that she walks back into the Tardis for that PS because she did come across as a strong, self posessed young woman prior to that moment and I liked the fact that she was walking out on a man who treated her badly. But I don't think he did so because she is a POC. Really I don't. I'd be more willing to buy an argument of the Doctor as bi-polar and speciest than sexist or racist.

But that's just my reading.
3rd-Jul-2007 12:38 am (UTC)
Oh I think he's meant to be speciest, but he doesn't treat Rose or Donna the way he treats Martha which lets the air out of it being aimed at humans. He manages frequently to be quite compassionate with Rose and yet he can't seem to stop kicking Martha
3rd-Jul-2007 12:44 am (UTC)
I kept telling myself this all wasn't the case. That it didn't have to do with her being of colour, but wow..it's hard to deny the anvils eh? I adore you for your eloquence and just sheer bravery for putting this up here. (Backlash in fandom is harsh) So yeah, this is me saying I agree and you rock! =)
3rd-Jul-2007 12:52 am (UTC)
Thank you. Though to be fair, I'm not the sort of person that gives a damn about fandom backlash. I enjoy being mean.
3rd-Jul-2007 12:49 am (UTC)
They had such a perfect opportunity to do right by the first long-term non-white companion, didn't they? Unfortunately, I agree wholeheartedly with you that they completely screwed it up.

And you're right - just because it wasn't "Let's subjugate the black folk on purpose" doesn't mean it's not racist. Racism largely exists in the things we do without thinking. Because they're so ingrained in society that they're perfectly normal things to do and think and say, supposedly. But it still needs to be recognized and confronted.

*sigh* It's all so completely disappointing.
3rd-Jul-2007 01:01 am (UTC)
This was an excellent post, thank you very much for making it.
3rd-Jul-2007 01:06 am (UTC)
It really makes me think of the bit with Cathica (WOC) in The Long Game. Rose wonders why it's so hot, while Cathica doesn't question it, any more than I wonder every day why the water in my hometown doesn't taste that great; it's something you get used to, and it just feels perfectly normal, so why would you question it? But Rose is held up as a shining example of perfection for asking the annoying touristy question, while the dark-skinned woman in a management position is belittled and humiliated for never asking about something she probably ceased to notice years ago. If the Doctor uniformly treated people like crap, it would be one thing, but for Rose to get the star treatment for so little, and then Martha to...agh. She literally has to work twice as hard to be half as good, and it's just a hideous message to send.

And Martha as a maid in 1913 I could have handled if afterwards, the Doctor had expressed anything like the suitable horror at what she had to put up with (was it your fic where he eventually did?). But no, he just said thanks, and then they were off. Rusty doesn't do subtle, and I feel that if he had meant to really condemn racism and sexism, he would have done it.
3rd-Jul-2007 01:08 am (UTC)
She literally has to work twice as hard to be half as good, and it's just a hideous message to send.

Yes. And while Who bills itself as science-fiction, why is this aspect of human relations faithfully inserted into a narrative that's meant to be educational and inspiring?
3rd-Jul-2007 01:15 am (UTC)
I wonder how people-in-general would have reacted if Mickey had been gay, if Martha had been gay, if Martha's family had been gay (go with me here, right) and had been turned into, I don't know, rent boys for the Master, and they were the only major gay characters in the series. It's like--and my brain does this, I'm no exception--because we're meant to be above seeing skin colour now, all this stuff can happen without us realising. Whereas if they'd all been queer, I would've picked up on it way sooner, and made an awful lot more fuss.

Anyway, I'm glad people are actually thinking about it now. Including me.

3rd-Jul-2007 01:20 am (UTC)
You do realise that if the Master had had a troop of sexy twink boys in leather and bondage, chained to the conference table, fandom would have had to change it's undies before screaming sexism or stereotypification.
3rd-Jul-2007 01:21 am (UTC)
Oh, now that is more like it. Thank you, karnythia.
3rd-Jul-2007 01:24 am (UTC)
This is really interesting. I figured that Doctor Who was such a prominant show on tv that this kind of thing wouldn't happen, and when I considered it I pushed it to the back of my mind and thought I was being cynical. You outlined it really well here, and I'm beginning to agree with you.
3rd-Jul-2007 01:32 am (UTC)
You = made of awesome.

At this point I'm just ignoring people who are arguing that this isn't going on, because the sheer amount of wilful blindness makes me angry at people I normally like.
3rd-Jul-2007 01:38 am (UTC)
Thankyou for this. I have been thinking about this for a while, but never felt qualified to express it, so I'm glad that others are starting the long-needed discussion. Cos this is a big deal, a really big fucking deal. Especially when you consider it's a *kid's show*. And underhanded, unspoken racism is the most harmful kind in this setting - the kids who watch Doctor Who are probably sophisticated enough to understand how unacceptable the behaviour by characters towards Martha in 1913 was, but not make the same jump to The Doctor's behaviour. I just want to know what RTD has been thinking.
3rd-Jul-2007 01:41 am (UTC)
It is so difficult for me to critique the characterizations of POC in British television because as an American, I envy its INCLUSION of POC period. You must admit - for better or worse the UK is LIGHT YEARS ahead of the US when it comes to equality among TV characters. Where you point out that "Newsflash, sometime POC date other POC" I am thinking the exact opposite newsflash for America, because you rarely see interracial couples on TV over here.

I'm not saying you are at all wrong, quite the opposite. It just worries me that even the countries portraying more POC STILL can't doing it right.
3rd-Jul-2007 01:50 am (UTC)
See, I think he is doing it right. Because shrewish wife and emasculated husband are not race specific. And the companion being demoted into servitude is not specific to Martha. And Tish being dim and flirty is not a comment on her heritage and more than Jackie Tyler being dim and flirty isn't a comment on the fact she lives at the Powell Estate.

And I'm with you on the interracial couples thing - it's nice to see for a change. I'd say it's what impressed me about Rose/Mickey - at least in the beginning - but my brain doesn't really work that way; I saw them as a happy couple, my first thought wasn't "Yay, thanks for including an interracial couple, Rusty". On retrospect, I am so glad he did. My TV is white enough as it is.
3rd-Jul-2007 01:44 am (UTC)
RTD can't win with logic like this. But, unfortunately, a bigger picture needs to be considered. Rose was seen serving chips in a school cafeteria. Jackie Tyler was a nagging fishwife of a mother. Oh, I suppose this fits in with the complaints about RTD's misogyny... Like I said, he can't win.

If Martha Jones and her family were white people there would be no complaints. It would be disappointing if RTD had cast the Jones family with caucasian actors, but it would at least side step this accusation.

Your problem with POC flirting with or pairing up with White people is troubling because for so long, interacial couples were never seen on television. And they still rarely are. Now that they are, RTD gets accused of some kind of... well, I'm not sure what interracial couples are a symptom of. Open-mindedness? Colour-blind casting?

Martha's predicament in 1913 is clearly time specific. This foreshadows the Jones family predicament in the Last of the Time Lords - underlining what a malicious stereotype it is. It doesn't support the stereotype - it comments on it.

I also think Francine is more complex than you make out, particularly as I don't think her husband is emasculated - given that he no longer lives with Francine at the time when we meet them both.

Martha is a strong, capable black female character on television. But if you want to just focus on the negative parts of a perceived subtext that clearly isn't being written that way, fine - your loss.

I'll take Martha - the strongest Doctor Who companion ever, because she called the Doctor on his shit multiple times and he's now at her beck and call.
3rd-Jul-2007 01:58 am (UTC)
If you're seeing it as a 'Rusty can't win thing' then what is good? This discussion, this community, and the stories we share and dissect, reflect and affect the worlds in which we live, no? On one hand it's 'just television' but on the other, it's a lot more than that! Things do change. The stories we see, the stories we share with our kids, must shine a better light. I don't want little children, or adults for that matter, learning that some people matter less than others. And Rusty may be trying to make a positive change in tv, and if so, he and his crew must do better. And criticism is good feedback if someone, or some organization, is really about long-term, ground-breaking, positive change. It's a good blueprint!


'Rusty can't win'. Hello, could people of color and white folks win together, at least? Great stories that don't reify racism and sexism please? Or, in your view, is that far too much to ask? (That's a rhetorical question btw. Answer at your own risk.)
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3rd-Jul-2007 02:24 am (UTC)
No history of black servants?


Maybe they don't know their history, but there have been black folk in the UK, in enough numbers for at least one edict to be declared to have them forcibly evicted.

While I too chafe under the tyranny imposed by the American hegemony when it comes to discussions of race and ethnicity, I could set my clock by how Europeans and 'other' white folk try to avoid discussing racism with, "That's an American issue. Don't apply to us."
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3rd-Jul-2007 03:17 am (UTC)
I'm so depressed. You're so right. And I really, really resisted coming to this conclusion, trying to give every possible benefit of the doubt. But all kinds of evidence just kept mounting.

There was all the talk about first Mickey, then Martha...and Martha's family...and then I remembered Bellino in RTD's Casanova...and then someone pointed out to me that there was a female POC character in RTD's Queer as Folk (don't remember the name) who is soundly rejected.

And then I was remembering all the stuff about the biblical/gnostic underpinnings of the final story arc (thank you Eido for getting me on that track!). The Doctor is set up in a Christlike role in opposition to the evil pseudo-god that is the Master. And he has an apostle -- Martha preaches his gospel as his Mary Magdalene, who in the gnostic view was Christ's most beloved disciple. Rusty stuck very close to his source material -- except for one thing. In the end, Doctor/Christ lets his Martha/Magadalene walk away. Why?

I still maintain that there's a mix of things contributing to this ending. Race is clearly a factor. (There are just too many examples of stereotyping and rejection of POC in RTD's work.) Gender is also clearly a factor. (Women are emotionally one-dimensional -- even Rose was -- and men are always far more complex and nuanced, like the Master and even Jack, despite his tiny presence in LoftheTL.) And the whole "speciest" aspect, in which mankind is secondary to the bonding of the two Time Lords, is a kind of Nietzschean superman twist on the whole thing.

Is any of this conscious on Rusty's part? Who the hell knows. But I'm done with the benefit of the doubt. It really IS a pattern. I just hope the pattern changes.
3rd-Jul-2007 03:51 am (UTC)
I grew up on WHo and I managed to handwave Mickey's characterization, but now I find myself losing interest in a show I've loved for 25+ years. And if I find these things so alienating then what are new POC fans without the historical attachment feeling?
3rd-Jul-2007 03:28 am (UTC)
I hadn't really given this a huge amount of thought until the post comparing the treatment of Martha and Mickey the other day. If it had only been one or the other, you could almost handwave it, but now the pattern is quite a bit more obvious.

The more I think about it, the more I notice that pretty much all of the characters somehow fit various stereotypes. Someone reassure me that RTD's days are numbered?
3rd-Jul-2007 04:25 am (UTC)
I don't think so. RTD has the ratings. I wish him to improve. I wish him to get some racial representation counseling (and help with plot) so he's not writing things that would horrify him if he were aware of them. I don't think he's doing it on purpose, but he is doing it and it needs to stop for new Who to be a great show.
3rd-Jul-2007 05:32 am (UTC)
Curiosity; what do you think of her moving on to Torchwood? Aside from Torchwood, y'know, sucking and everything.

Being a bit more clued in to gender, I was mostly happy Martha (unlike Rose) chose to move on, though peeved at The Doctor for somehow dodging Rusty's anvils and not "seeing what was right in front of him." I'd thought it kinda cluelessly horrible that the companion to get the "unrequited" arc was non-white, especially after super golden Rose, but didn't go much deeper. You make sense.

Have you complained to the BBC? I want my favourite show to be less thoughtless! (admittedly there's only so far that can go with white people running everything.)
3rd-Jul-2007 07:28 am (UTC)
This post and the comments by folks who know their pooper from a hole in the ground have been enlightening. And depressing. Mostly enlightening! So thanks for writing it.
3rd-Jul-2007 09:29 am (UTC)
I have to say that I disagree with this entire post.

Mickey was my favorite character in Who for the first two seasons, Martha is my favorite in the third.

Sure Mickey got called an idiot and was seen as having a boring life, but it had nothing whatsoever to do with his skincolour.

One of the moments I love most about the first season of Doctor Who, is when Mickey said no to the Doctor when asked to go with him and Rose the first time. Because he wasn't ready for it and didn't think it was the kind of lifestyle he thought he could handle. I felt that was a highly courageous moment and have loved him ever since.

He went through one of the most amazing journey's during his time on Who, becoming a stronger man, someone who got to travel through space and time and decided to choose a responsibility and fight for it. He went from being the tin man to a rebel, a leader and one hell of a guy.

Did he start out as a stereotype? Maybe, but then so did Rose and Jackie and... But they all grew out of it pretty quickly.

Martha working as a servant in 1913 was part of the age. I would have felt it was horribly anachronistic if they hadn't dealt with the inherent racisme of the era. The very fact that they showed this instead of sugarcoating it and made it look as if everything was nice and pc, was a huge part of what I loved about that ep. A clear indictment of racisme.
Yet despite that Martha remained a strong, intelligent and thoughtful character. Who stood up for herself and for the Doctor when he couldn't do so.

Francine and Tish in maid outfits during the last ep was shown as a part of the Master being evil. You know the kind of guy who would do this to a family exactly because it's so not them. And yet despite the threats, they still tried to break free and help the Doctor.

That wasn't a stereotype, quite the opposite. Francine wasn't shown as shrewd or a Saphyre or however you want to call it. She was a caring mother, who made a mistake while trying to protect her daughter. At the same time she was a wife who felt betrayed by her husband and a strong independant woman.
Once again, not a stereotype.
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3rd-Jul-2007 09:45 am (UTC)
Yep, this is exactly what I've found problemmatic about this season. You could argue around it during the season but the finale put the nail in it.

The finale should have been Martha's definitive moment and it wasn't really (it was just made to superficially look that way), it was just her being used as a tool to promote the Doctor. If all the hubristic Doctor and marginalised Martha storylines and themes had actually paid off, Martha's plan would have saved the world - everyone would have been instrumental - and the Doctor would have had no choice (because they seem to have a bizarre problem with being him being effusive only when it's about how great she actually is and what she's achieved, which is again weird when he doesn't seem to think she's due the protectiveness and compassion he freely gave not just other companions, but other passing strangers - I think we only got one ep of that and it was Smith & Jones post-that it went downhill) but to admit it or look what he was: unwilling to give her her due.

And then she could have left and there wouldn't be any doubt in the audience's mind that the Doctor has issues - and most if not all of the other plot points could have been covered.

But no, she leaves, and then they mitigate it by making it all about unrequited desire - which was actually the first thing that it stopped being about. But doing that makes her sacrifices this season seem to have an alterior non-altruistic element, which undermines all the great stuff she did and even the character. Not to mention that it undermines whatever she does next because the idea that she's still not over the Doctor hasn't been definitively removed. So whatever she does now she's damned if she does and damned if she doesn't (one of my pet TV hates being smart, capable characters emotionally undermined by their attachments to narcissitic/self-involved fuckwits - because you can't be intellectually smart without being emotionally retarded in some way).

I mean sure, you can view this season as Martha being a character who wants to fix things and make them write again (underlined by her desire to be a doctor and her place as the family peacemaker) and that the Doctor merely exploited her affections for him, by leading her on, and as a means to give her his responsibilities with none of his benefits, not to mention to galvanise his ego (which actually it was); but the very fact that they sent Martha around the world on foot for a year during the apocalypse to big up the Doctor's rep so he could in effect become Jesus and massage his messianic overtones is bad.

And that then he still can't be assed give her her due or even argue her out of leaving (which equates in viewer text to him not actually being the one to perpetrate the wrong but her being 'the bad one' to accept it what he does - which er, wtf, if he's the more 'intellectually magnificent' lifeform they keep having him say he is why can't he be responsible for his own behaviour?). It does point to no hubristic lesson for the Doctor and implicit in that is that he hasn't done anything wrong. So when the audience wonders why no lessons have been learned this season, they're more likely to point to Martha, than the eponymous lead of the show.

That an entire season has been wasted thus and Martha still doesn't know that the Doctor terminated her cyberised cousin, only seems to point to the fact that they, the writers, don't view the Doctor as the one with the problem. Because he'll probably be just as hubristic next year. In which case, why should viewers who know better actually keep watching?
3rd-Jul-2007 10:14 am (UTC)
* make things right (duh!)
3rd-Jul-2007 09:46 am (UTC)
Thank you very much for this excellent, thorough, and convincing post.


*reads the comments, is even more depressed*

Where was it written that RTD could be either non-racist, non-misogynistic *or* non-homophobic? I didn't see *you* saying that anywhere in this post. I didn't read it on the Sekrit Feminist (or Gay for that matter) Agenda. I'm not cleared for access to the Sekrit POC Agenda, but somehow I doubt it's there either. He could be all three! He could do it right! Why is that too much to ask?
3rd-Jul-2007 12:27 pm (UTC)
I <3 you and will try to make my husband read this post. He's one of the "you're reading too much into this" crowd. Fortunately my stepdaughter seems to see where I am coming from on this though, which to me is much more important.
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