This is a really excellent infographic a friend of mine showed me illustrating how female representation on Doctor Who compares between New Who’s two leading men, Russell T. Davis and Steven Moffat. Now it’s no secret that I hate Steven Moffat, I won’t even try to deny it, it’s just true. This graphic represents one area that I find him lacking both as the executive producer tasked with managing the direction and tone of Doctor Who, as a writer for the show, and as a person.
The graphic details some interesting statistics about four of Doctor Who’s leading ladies (as you can see it does’t include the current companion Clara) Rose Tyler, Martha Jones, Donna Noble, and Amy Pond, as well as guest companion River Song. The graphic also incorporates data from other female characters not included in the imagery.
Now I will be the first skeptic to ask what the measures for statistics like this are, so let me explain the Bechdel test for anyone unfamiliar. The Bechdel test was created by cartoonist Alison Bechdel in the 80’s and has three simple criteria:
1) Are there at least two women in the book/movie/show?
2) Do they talk to each other?
3) When they talk is it about something other than a man?
If you answered yes to one, two, or all three of the above congratulations you’ve passed the Bechdel test! And you can learn more about it on the Bechdel test website http://bechdeltest.com/
Now I by no means feel that the Bechdel test is the end all be all measure of whether something is quality. There is a lot of excellent literature and a lot of wonderful films and television shows that do not pass the Bechdel test. I do however feel using the Bechdel test on media is crucial in creating a world of equal representation. When a woman’s value is determine by her relationship with a man it creates a destructive system that hurts EVERYONE, not just women.
That’s all kind of tangential to my main point, which is the issues of sexism on New Who, specifically under the leadership of Moffat. You can also see this poignant tumblr ask from Gaiman that @AgentCory made a card about http://www.vingle.net/posts/528070 but the long and short of it is New Who is having some serious issues with gender equality and representation.