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Saturday, 4 February 2017

Steven Moffat Hates Women, Part 3: Moffat and his Fans (and his Critics).

Steven Moffat Hates Women
Part 3: Moffat and his Fans.

We've talked a lot about how Moffat treats his female characters, but there's another dimension to Moffat's strange issues: His treatment of his own fans, his critics, and women in the industry. There's less to say on this subject than there is on his treatment of female characters, but then that's largely because the BBC doesn't televise whole television programs about Moffat's attitude towards his critics and his female fans, and we should consider that a blessing.

It's a particularly strange quirk of his, marked by both a total disregard for a major portion of his fanbase (and the fanbase that Sherlock's popularity at least somewhat rests on), and a complete certainty that he can say whatever he likes and still have people tuning in to watch his stuff.

When it comes to how Moffat seems to view his female fans, the same rule of thumb seems to apply as to how he views his female characters: They are all, says Moffat, obsessed with marrying and settling down with men -- usually with his self-insert characters. He's said on more than one occasion that women watch Sherlock entirely because they imagine being "the one" for the titular character, even going so far as to say "our female fan base all believe they'll be the one to melt that glacier. They're wrong -- nothing will melt that glacier."

(Not to mention, of course, that when he talks about how women are "needy" and "out hunting for husbands," he is, of course, referring to real life women, including his fans -- that it informs how he writes women is a function of that view, not the subject of it.)

Nor is it just female fans who get hit with Moffat's particular brand of nonchalant bigotry. When asked about bisexual fans -- and it's worth mentioning again that Moffat has a particular problem with writing bisexual characters well -- he remarked "We don't acknowledge you on television cos [sic] YOU'RE HAVING FAR TOO MUCH FUN. You probably don't even watch cos you're so BUSY!!" The implication, it seems, is busy mimicking a mechanical digger, to utilise one of Moffat's own euphemisms.

Critics, meanwhile, especially critics who point out Moffat's problems with sexism, get hit with an entirely different attitude. Gone is the cheerful remarks about how all women are needy husband-hunters who only watch television to imagine themselves romantically involved with the leads, and out comes an attitude that borders on incoherent rage. When one critic pointed out the many layers of sexism behind Irene Adler's character, Moffat took to interviews to express his ire, accusing it of being "defamation," "amateur psychology," and "beyond the pale." Despite criticism of writers and the things they write being par for the course, Moffat's attitude towards women is apparently beyond reproach.

Critics who aren't professional get off only slightly better: When asked about plot holes in an episode of Sherlock (an episode which, perhaps fittingly, included several caricatures of Moffat's own fanbase), Moffat airily dismissed the criticism as unimportant, saying the story was watertight, while simultaneously snidely implying that maybe the people criticising it just weren't bright enough to understand.

A lot of this nonchalance seems to come down to Moffat's deep misunderstanding of how the world, and gender politics within it, work. According to Moffat, "educated and middle class [men]" are a disadvantaged group, in a state of "permanent, crippled apology." There is, Moffat claims, "an unfortunate lack of respect for anything male." It seems that in Moffat's mind, there's no need to filter his views on women, since as far as he's concerned, he's just a victim of society, bravely speaking out.

(You may roll your eyes at your convenience.)

In more recent years, Moffat seems to have had the BBC insist on a certain amount of PR management, and these remarks have diminished some (albeit not entirely -- every so often, the man does feel the need to remind us all that his views haven't changed), but what he has said paints a colourful picture of his views on women.

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