Anonymous: moffat didnt even write the episode how does that show his view of trans people?

He is the head writer and executive producer. When episodes contain problematic content, even if he didn’t write the episode, it is his responsibility. 

oakenwitch: what do you think of last episode's part about the horse Susan? How The Doctor asks the man to respect HIS (Susan's) life choices? What does it say that genderqueerness is represented through means of a horse? It just left me so confused and angry.

TW: Misgendering TW: Cissexism

He’s called Susan, and he wants you to respect his life choices. 

So we have this horse called Susan, a traditionally female name. After having established the horse prefers to be called Susan, The Doctor continues to refer to it as ‘he’. 

This blatant disregard for the horses gender identity is really awful as it reinforces the idea that it is okay to ignore peoples gender identities and preferred pronouns. It is also problematic that The Doctor refers to it’s gender identity as a ‘life choice’. 

Ultimately, this line added nothing to the episode and was irrelevant to the story. All it did was mock trans* folk. 

Furthermore, the fact that this horse is only the second trans* character in seven series’ of the show, the first being Cassandra, just speaks to the lack of respect the both RTD and Moffat have for trans* folk. 

These are the main points I’ve seen being discussed on my dash, but I’m cis so my understanding of this issue is limited. 

cericneesh: While I recognize that it's still problematic, do you feel that it's better or worse if implied sexual assault is clearly illustrated to be bad (As in the Solomon/Nefertiti incident)? Also, do you feel as though there's a double standard re: female characters, where if they're standard Strong Woman fare they get criticised, but if they're not strong, independent women and are naturally passive, they'd get criticised just as, if not more, heavily?

I think that the sexual assault and rape of women is all too often used a plot device in the media in general. Obviously it’s preferable to have scenes of violence against women explicitly condemned in the narrative, but even in those cases I generally find it problematic. The fact that this trope is so prevalent says to me that female characters being treated decently is less important that furthering the plot of a TV show or film.

There’s actually a great quote from the documentary This Film Is Not Yet Rated:

If I were to create a rating system, I wouldn’t even put murder right at the top of the chief offenses. I would put rape right at the top, and assault against women. Because it’s so…overused and insulting how much it’s overused in movies as a plot device, a woman in peril. That, to me, is offensive, yet that shit skates. 

As far as female characters being strong vs passive, I don’t think there is a double standard as such. The criticisms of Strong Female Character™ and passive female characters come into play when a character has not been well developed. 

Anonymous: With Nefertiti, I mean Solomon was clearly Evil. It bothered me more that nobody (except Nefertiti herself, at the end) called him out on it. Like, everyone just stood there in awkward silence instead of going 'urm what that is a frickin person you're talking about, geez dude'

Yeah, that is a big part of what I found problematic as well. There was a group of five people and not one though to defended her or call Soloman out on talking about Nefertiti like she was a possession or threatening her. It’s just absolutely appalling really.  

Anonymous: Re. Dinosuars on a spaceship, I also thought it was so gross that at one point they were literally discussing Nefertiti's economic worth, considering she is a WoC.

Like I said in my review; “ I really, really hope I don’t need to explain why this is fucked up.” 

I just can’t believe that no one thought that might be problematic when that script was being written. Stuff like this is why it exactly why it is important to have a diverse team of people working behind the scenes, as writers and directors, instead of the parade of white men that currently work on Doctor Who. 

Anonymous: You mentioned how Queen Nefertiti's dress was really low cut, and another thing that worried me was that when Soloman pins her against the wall the camera is looking down from above and we get a huge shot of her cleavage. It just seemed like she was being overly sexualised in a scene where something horrible was being done to her. I don't know, I might be taking it too far.

I know what you mean. The large heaving breaths, dress, and camera angle all made her cleavage a big focus of that shot. 

It is really disturbing how women in the media can be so overly sexualised during scenes which depict horrible scenes of violence and assault. This isn’t an isolated incident either, it’s very common, in adverts for example, to see dead womens bodies made up and in skimpy clothing.

It’s a very troubling trend. 

aceinnatailsuit: Agreed. And showing them together contributed utterly nothing to the plot. -_______-

Exactly. I mean, I might have been slightly more forgiving if the kiss had been biological transfer or something which was there to further the plot, but it was just such obvious baiting. 

cassandrapentaghast: I had interpreted the Rory/Doctor kiss as the Doctor getting so excited he sort of forgot who was there and just grabbed someone. I mean, so far that episode had basically been the best day ever for the him. It doesn't excuse the deed, but I was a bit more lenient with that. It was definitely baiting, though.

It doesn’t matter how excited The Doctor was, in my opinion. It is not okay to force a kiss upon someone. It is sexual assault.

Anonymous: Something that really bothered me about the Queen Nefertiti/Riddell storyline was, first he was verbally abusive and threatening to harm her, and then she went back to Africa with him. It's all kinds of messed up.

I agree, it was very messed up to show them together at the end of the episode. 

Anonymous: The relationship of the people makes a huge difference, though, doesn't it? If rather than being a first kiss, it's someone in an established relationship kissing their partner, I'd view that with more leniency. Obviously a relationship doesn't automatically equate consent in all instances, but what about the sort of implied consent that comes with two people knowing each other's boundaries well?

I think it is important to remember that, like you said, being in a relationship with someone does not equal consent. 

That being said of course the relationship between two people is going to make a difference. Consent isn’t just about vocally saying yes or no. Things like being aware of the other persons body language play a part as well.

There is a big difference between kissing someone who is relaxed and smiling at you, perhaps leaning in slightly and kissing someone who is tensed up. 

It can be a tricky area because, even today, the belief that a women in a relationship or marriage cannot be sexually assaulted or raped by their partner.