Catfight with Fictional Characters

25 Nov

After streaming the 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who, I texted my brother about it and we proceeded to have a Doctor Who-related text messaging discussion. I simultaneously ended up discussing the topic with a friend. Oddly, the topic was not only about Doctor Who but also about bullies, a topic I bring up frequently because, unfortunately, bullies have been a significant part of my life.

It all began when my brother mentioned that fan girls on Doctor Who forums “hate on” all the female companions in the new Doctor Who, with the one exception of Donna. I was absolutely flabbergasted at this. My brother explained that these fan girls call Rose shallow, Martha too lovesick, Amy mean, and Clara devoid of personality. I find all these descriptions invalid…well, I can see calling Amy mean (taking Rory for granted when he’s actually a really nice guy). Rose isn’t shallow by any means, and Clara has a strong personality and I find her to be a very likeable character.

As for Martha being lovesick…she has unrequited love, which anyone can relate to, and it’s not overdone. Furthermore, unlike Rose, she stands up to the Doctor and asserts herself. She insisted that he give her an explanation because he was being dishonest and evasive about Gallifrey, and he finally explained that he was the last Time Lord. In one of her later episodes, the Doctor is bossing her around and she stands up to him. She ultimately accepts that he’s never going to fall for her, and she moves on.

These critical fan girls have the word “jealousy” written all over them. They wish they were Doctor Who companions and instead of relating to the companions, they attack them! It strikes me as incredibly petty, mean, and immature behavior, and even in my teens and twenties I didn’t relate to such behavior. A friend of mine said she’s even known young women who wanted to steal her boyfriends.

The reason that only Donna is exempt from these attacks is because she’s older (presumably these fan girls are in their twenties) and because she is the only one who makes it quite clear up front that she only wants to be friends with the Doctor.

This situation has reminded me of a book in the In Other Words library called Catfight. I haven’t read it, but it’s about rivalry between women. Far from fostering a “sisterhood is powerful” mentality, they see other females as competition. (I realize that the “sisterhood is powerful” concept is problematic in that it came from middle class white women and is problematic considering the different kinds of feminism and how women of color have quite different perspectives and life experiences from middle class white women. Nonetheless, that’s the first thing I thought of in reaction to this weird treatment of Doctor Who companions.)

I have known bullies who bullied out of jealousy. I remember certain nasty and incredibly immature relatives sneeringly talking about my Aunt Barbara, who had a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University. With one exception, none of these nasty relatives even has an undergraduate degree. In hindsight, based on some of the bully’s behavior, I have reason to believe that one of these relatives was jealous of me if nothing else because unlike her (a sociopath), I’m a good and deep person. If nothing else, she was certainly jealous of me because I’m much younger than she and look younger than I am. No fool like an old fool. I could probably look back and analyze many situations in my past, especially in my teens and twenties, and come to the conclusion that certain bullies were acting out of jealousy.

Like bullies in general, jealous bullies don’t feel good about themselves and attempt to drag down their scapegoats. They are pathetic and absurd.

The point of Doctor Who companions—usually humans from Earth—is to supply regular characters whom the audience relate to, a lens with which to see the world of Doctor Who. Supposedly the Doctor himself is too alien and too intelligent for the average viewer to relate that well. However, I’ve always related more to the Doctor than to his companions. He’s very eccentric. Besides, I’d love to be in control of a TARDIS and live for hundreds of years, traveling in time and space.



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