“I like Amy Pond. She’s very funny.”
Yes, seven-year old daughter, she is quite funny and so is her boy Rory. Funny is important when you are seven. Funny gets your audience’s attention and gets them on your side—at least, this is what I teach my Drama students. There are many things about Amy Pond that I have enjoyed over the last two series. I think her love story with Rory is truly beautiful and moving. I love the way themes of waiting are explored throughout her character arc. “The Girl Who Waited” episode utterly broke my heart. My daughters love her. But is Amy Pond worthy of their adoration? Is she a Feminist Fan Girl Icon?
A Feminist Fan Girl Icon must embody a positive body image. Amy Pond possesses a physically imposing physique. She is not a frail little flower; she is a gigantic, ginger glamazon with extra glam. I read an interview with Karen Gillan when she was first cast in which she claimed Amy would be the sexiest Whopanion audiences had ever seen. Who can doubt Miss Gillan’s intentions? Long red talons, long, long red hair, long, long, long red legs (when she’s wearing red tights which I am not sure she ever does).
Sexuality filters through the wardrobe and make-up selections for Amy Pond into her chosen profession. It was a clever trick in The Eleventh Hour episode: present the audience with a Whopanion police officer—a sexy police officer. Oh wait, no…not a sexy police officer—a Cosplay Kissogram. I confess that I giggled.
And flirty—oh my yes! From her first adult meeting with the Doctor, Amy asserts her erotic interest in him. She does not want a meaningful relationship like Rose, she does not want to worship at his genius shrine like Martha—she wants to watch him strip, shove him up against the Tardis and make time stop. Who can forget the “Invasion of the Hot Italians” history essay which you just know includes every spear-related innuendo possible. She even flirts with Vincent Van Gogh! Then there is Rory: the lovely boy wrapped around her little finger who wins her heart after a couple thousand year’s persistence (bless).
Amy is a hottie fully aware of her sexuality and its power, which makes her controversial feminist territory.
Feminists have been historically divided on issues of sexuality, but something we all seem to agree upon is choice and control. Part of the feminist mission must be ownership of our bodies in every respect: legally, spiritually, intellectually, reproductively and sexually. When you compare Amy Pond to Rose, Martha, Donna, Sarah Jane or even the oh so fit and skimpily-clad Leela she is one of the few Whopanions to declare herself visually and textually as an erotic being (unless you count River Song as a companion, but I think she’s in a different category). Amy Pond comes across as a woman in charge of her own sexuality. She decides who, when and how, she takes initiative and seems blissfully ignorant of the patriarchal rules concerning sexual engagement.
That’s all on the Sex-Positive Feminist Good List. On the negative side Amy only follows through on her wedding to Rory under the influence of the Pandorica’s Universal Re-set. For me, this is akin to sex under the influence of drugs. It makes the act suspect whether or not both parties would have agreed freely to it under normal circumstances. Similarly, every aspect of Amy’s pregnancy falls under the control of external forces. Amy Pond might present herself as a modern woman who takes the reins, makes the rules and calls her husband Mr Pond, but she is neither her own Fate Master nor her Soul Captain.
So what impact does all this have on the under-tens?
The question of what do my daughters get out of this is a tricky one when it comes to Amy Pond and the body image she presents. Sexual imagery bombardment begins from birth with pink babygros. This rapidly escalates into a brand of gender indoctrination which seldom treads down a liberal route when it comes to the visual media. The creators of children’s programming do not want our daughter’s exposed to things like sex, birth control, homosexuality but they have no problem drenching them in patriarchal standards of womanhood. Even my beloved Velma slims down to chase Shaggy as a boyfriend in the most recent incarnation of Scooby Doo. So very wrong! Disney Princesses, Barbie and Winx Club (to name some of my daughters’ viewing choices) present impossibly beautiful female characters whose stories invariably end with a boy and a veil.
Just like Amy Pond.
Aside from being more aggressive and taller, is she any better than Snow White or Cinderella? Does the fact that she presents herself as a spunky (pun intended) sex-positive Whopanion have any real bearing on how she will come across to my daughters? Probably not. Amy Pond is seldom valued for her intelligence, she does not save the day and I have no clue what she believes in except for Rory. She had such potential but Amelia Pond goes nowhere as a character that a hundred bird duetting Princesses have not gone before.
She truly is a bit too fairytale.
I find this frustrating as a viewer and a mother. I hoped so much for Ms Pond. I had such high hopes for the man who brought us Sally Sparrow, a Whopanion far more worthy of my daughters. But Steven Moffat has let me down and I am at a loss to understand why. Is he attempting to present a Fairytale arc for Amelia Pond? If so, can someone please give him a copy of Tangled? Fairytale Princesses can save the day, be smart, duet with the animal of their choice, experience romance and even get a trendy new haircut at the end.
Fairytales can mean whatever we want them to. Isn’t that the whole point of speculative programs like Doctor Who? I want a Fairy Princess Companion my daughters can admire for more than her humour.