kaffyr: She's at a typewriter; is she legal? (Are Girls Legal?)
[personal profile] kaffyr
... And I'd Like Something With Which To Scrape It Out


There was really only one thing that really riled me about The Angels Take Manhattan; Moffat’s insistence on having Amy take Rory’s last name at the end.

FFS, do we still need to do that shit, Moff? Why do — I can’t believe I’m actually having to write this in 2012 in the First World in the first place, and this is going to get a trifle incoherent because I feel so strongly about it — but after all the time that he’s known Amy Pond, and made us believe in Amy as her own person, why the hell does he, at the very end,  need to attach her to the Williams surname?

Why on earth are we still clinging to the idea that a woman’s marriage, a woman’s love, a woman’s married worth are real only if she has “property of” identification via the family name of her husband?

I had hoped that the claptrap line Toby Whithouse included in the execrable The God Complex was just that; claptrap. I should have known better.

God, I know I’ll probably piss some very wonderful married folks off, but I have to let this one out or my head’s going to explode. Please, friends, I’m aiming this at Moffat because of who I am, and not aiming it at anyone else, so be patient with me, please.

I am married to the love of my life, the person who is central to my world, and I never felt the need to amend, transmute, change or erase my identity by taking his name or tacking it onto mine.

            The world never expected him to take
my name to prove he loved me. Why on god’s green earth does it expect me to take his? I don’t care about history or habit or tradition. They’re all crap. They’re relics of when I would have been considered my husband’s property. Hey world; I live with him because I love him. Taking his name has nothing to do with it and don’t you dare — don’t you dare — suggest otherwise.

So, to get back to the actual point, for Moffat to give us Amy Pond for two and a half seasons, to give us this wonderful individual —  and then to take it all back at the end of her adventure and say, “Nah, of course Amy Pond is actually Amelia Williams, because that’s what women do,” is, to my mind, an insult to the incredible character he created, a move that’s nothing more than dismissive diminution of Amelia Pond, when we should be remembering her as who she is, not what society expects her to be. In fact, it’s as if he felt he had to do that, because of all the “Rory Pond” references.


Moffat, you brilliant man, you’re a completely oblivious dick about some things, you know?

Personally, my head!canon about this is that Amy was sending him a hint, a clue, with the last name on the gravestone (and in her afterward); a hint to go along with the “you’re not going to be back here for a while.” I think it’s her way of saying “Our fate was different than you thought it would be, and (for some reason) this is the only way to catch your attention. So listen up! You know I’m a Pond, not a Williams. Be smart, start to wonder about this, and then maybe you’ll start to question some of your own assumptions. We’re not where you think we are!” That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

Herewith endeth the rant.

Date: Tuesday, 9 October 2012 11:58 pm (UTC)
st_aurafina: Amy in her police uniform, with swishy hair (DW: Amy Pond)
From: [personal profile] st_aurafina
I don't trust Moffat as far as I can throw him - not on the gender stuff, anyway. But I can totally swing Amy using 'Williams' as a clean break, a way of reminding herself that she's not Amy Pond, Space Traveller any more. It would be hard to hear people calling out 'Pond!' and not look around for the TARDIS.

I'm not saying that's why Moffat made the decision, but my interaction with Doctor Who lately is all about making my head canon comfortable.

Date: Wednesday, 10 October 2012 02:30 am (UTC)
sahiya: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sahiya
Or maybe it's because they ended up in 1938 (or sometime around then) and needed to be considered married by the state. Try explaining to anyone in 1938 that you're married but don't have your husband's last name. Have fun with that. I guess they could've both been Ponds, but they would've both had to be something, and if Rory was there any length of time at all before Amy was, Williams would've been ten times easier.

Sorry. But I've heard this argument already, and I don't buy it.

Date: Wednesday, 10 October 2012 03:27 am (UTC)
sahiya: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sahiya
Well, the fact of the matter is that we don't know when they arrived - it could have been 1938, or it could have been 1960, or it could have been anywhere in between. They might have arrived together or they might have arrived apart (anywhere from a few days to a few years, but if Rory got there first, there's no reason he would've set himself up as Rory Pond). There are any number of practical reasons for her to have made the choice.

And, you know, I know a number of people who have decided, for whatever reason, to take their husband's name - including my sister who got married last summer. Are you telling everyone who chooses to do that nowadays (and there are plenty of women who do) that they're wrong to do so? Because I think that's pretty damn offensive. In my head, Amy took Rory's name for one of two reasons: either it made sense for any number of reasons in the time they landed or she chose to do so. Why? Well, it's hard to say, since we can't very well ask her, but I like the reasons given in the comments in your LJ, that she was making a clean break with her life with the Doctor.

And that, really, is her prerogative, as it was my sister's prerogative to take her husband's last name. I haven't asked her why she did it, so I really don't know - but it's none of my business anyway, in the end. What I don't believe is that Moffat intended it in the way you seem to have taken it, and frankly I think Amy herself would find that interpretation pretty damn offensive.

Date: Wednesday, 10 October 2012 04:05 am (UTC)
sahiya: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sahiya
It just seems like you're setting it up in an awfully black and white way, as though women never have good reasons for taking their husbands' name. You can say that it'd be nice to see more men taking their wives' names, and I'd agree (this whole hyphenated name thing can get a bit cumbersome for the kids - what's the next generation supposed to do when they inherit four last names?). But I assume that if Amelia took Rory's last name, she did it voluntarily and/or for a very good reason - not because her identity was suddenly erased after two and a half seasons of being awesome. I don't think she'd have it any other way.

Date: Wednesday, 10 October 2012 03:16 am (UTC)
cygnia: (uh-uh)
From: [personal profile] cygnia
This is a rant that hits hard for me as I'm currently in a never-ending losing battle with the husband and his friends and family about respecting/acknowledging (and actually USING) my hyphenated name. They'd rather just write me off under his last name than having my own separate identity outside his existence.

Date: Thursday, 11 October 2012 10:35 am (UTC)
owlboy: (Default)
From: [personal profile] owlboy
...If all the gender stuff to criticize in doctor who, i don't get why this is a big deal. At all. It's a name. Taking your husband's name does not mean you are totally oppressed and weak and conformist, and having "Amy Williams" on the gravestone is not a statement about women.

Moffat has discussed on Twitter how he refers to himself as "Steven Vertue" and how he doesn't understand why more men don't take their wive's names at marriage. So... "he's making a sexist statement about Amy!!!" just doesn't hold water.

Date: Wednesday, 10 October 2012 12:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-phoenixdragon.livejournal.com
Well, unfortunately, where they landed (the time that is), this was expected. She will always be a Pond to me (as will Rory, really) - so I think of it more as a product of the time and Amy's way of saying to the Doctor that she grew up and lived her life.


Date: Wednesday, 10 October 2012 02:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] viomisehunt.livejournal.com
If Angel lore is consistant--River and the Doctor known where Amy and Rory lived they could have jogged over to watch them die.... You "die" the day they take you. It would have been eighty plus years before that period which was ten years from whenever he first traveled with Amy and Rory. And even back in the thirties and before, independent women were holding on to their maiden names--or using joint names. It would have been nice to see Williams-Pond or Pond-Williams attached to both of them. I wondered if they had time to call their parents?

Date: Wednesday, 10 October 2012 03:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-phoenixdragon.livejournal.com
I hope they did...though somehow, I don't see the Pond-Williams doing that.


Date: Wednesday, 10 October 2012 03:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-phoenixdragon.livejournal.com
Of course, honey...

*hugs you hard*

Guess I'll always try to see the light side of things, tis a fault. Though, really, I should be more up on this as hubby and I merged out last names to create a whole new one. He didn't want his, I didn't want mine, so we compromised.

Date: Wednesday, 10 October 2012 12:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sarah531.livejournal.com
It annoyed me too at first, but I've come to see it as a symbol of her rejecting the Doctor's not-always-healthy hold over her: he always called her 'Pond'. His last words to her are "Come along, Pond, please," so...I suppose it's like the ultimate rejection of his order.

Plus, she calls herself 'Amelia Pond' in her letter to the Doctor- I think she was most likely both Pond and Williams. And I suppose there were practical considerations regarding the time travel: if Amy planned to be out and about making history (and really, can you see her doing anything else?) she might have thought it best not to call herself Amelia Pond, because her younger self had never noticed a famous figure bearing her own name.

But I do wish he had just followed through on Rory taking Amy's name. He even used to call Rory 'Rory Pond' in interviews.

Date: Wednesday, 10 October 2012 12:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] time-converges.livejournal.com
Ooh, I love that theory, and I shall adopt it as my own head canon.

Date: Wednesday, 10 October 2012 08:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ljgeoff.livejournal.com
Wow, I love that theory. Hmmm.

Also, Women Who Have Kept Their Name support! All of my daughter's in law have changed their names and I'm kinda bummed about that. We WWHKTN types should speak up more.

I would have *really* enjoyed Rory and Amelia Pond on the stone. That would have rocked a bunch of socks, I think.

Date: Wednesday, 10 October 2012 12:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ladymercury-10.livejournal.com
Well, I think she had actually taken his name a long time before that, she was just going by her own. She signs her divorce papers "Amy Williams." It's also, I think, a convenient, if fraught, shorthand to say a couple of things. One, that Amy has grown up after years of protesting the idea (although of course one can grow up without getting married or taking a new name, and if they're saying otherwise they're quite silly). Two, that when Amy blinks, she's essentially letting her "Doctor life" go, and in that sense her life as Amy Pond, girl adventuress to the stars, dies. So the only Amy that's left is Amelia Williams, who can still have adventures, just on earth with Rory, if that's what you like to think she's doing (I do).

And if it's about taking names to prove something, which does seem rather silly, Rory started letting them call him by Amy's name a good long time ago, so maybe it's just evening the bargain between them? She'll write his name on her papers if she can call him Mr. Pond? I dunno. I think they used that as a shorthand, too, both for how Rory was "part of the family" or whatever after having previously been left behind in Leadworth and then abruptly killed off the show. Because they were sort of setting him up to be the side character that got kicked all the time, and then suddenly it was all Ponds. :)

One of my dear old roommates and her husband kept both their names when they married, so they are now the W. B.'s (I don't think there's a hyphen, though). Which is usually my favorite solution, although the math major in me can never work out how you get around the exponential growth aspect--if you have two names, then your grandkids will have four, and the next gen will have 8-piece names, and it gets quite impossible quite fast. :P

Date: Wednesday, 10 October 2012 05:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ladymercury-10.livejournal.com
Well, I just realized my previous comment's second paragraph makes slightly no sense, as I have an extraneous "both" in there left over from a previous thought. Oops.

Using language, plot devices, what-have-you, that are bound to (or may largely tend to) invite negative comment, dismissal, etc., of one's story or one's point, becomes largely counter productive.

I think that's the problem, more so than whether or not the writers actually did a bad thing here. Because even if they intended it in completely reasonable ways--and there's no reason you shouldn't take your partner's name if or when it feels like a thing you'd like to do--it was sort of one of the things you look at a mile off and go, oh, that's going to be trouble, isn't it? I think the trick becomes trying to separate whether they are implying that x choice re: names/marriage/whatever means AMY is working through some issue, or that it means ANYONE who makes that choice is working through some issue, and that's where it all sort of snowballs into the land of arguing at cross purposes. I am inclined to fall on the side of implying towards Amy and to not be offended, but I know not everyone feels that way.

Date: Sunday, 14 October 2012 04:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ladymercury-10.livejournal.com
I am glad to have been of service, then! :) And it's always good when a rant leads to useful discussions, rather than all-out fandom war. That is the thing I have always liked about LJ--how you get to have conversations with your friends instead of just going on a forum and having everything immediately explode. :P

P.S. This is off-topic, but I didn't know where else to put it. I got your review, and then I wrote back to it, and then I remembered that no one ever sees review replies on the Teaspoon because it doesn't send notifications for them. But I wanted to say thank you very much, because it was in fact your story about River that started me thinking about what ended up becoming that fic, and so I am glad you liked it and indebted for the inspiration. :P
Edited Date: Sunday, 14 October 2012 08:17 pm (UTC)

Date: Thursday, 11 October 2012 02:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] penguin2.livejournal.com
Listen to your head canon for once. Just saying. Yes, Amy might well have been a Stoner (note capitalisation), assuming - assuming! - they'd lived after Lucy Stone, cos remember, we have no idea of their when and there were no dates on the headstone; but it's equally reasonable to think that either 1) taking Rory's surname was her own tribute to the Boy Who Waited (and, who quite frankly has proved that his is the greater love and devotion every step of the way), or 2) she did live and die as Amelia Pond, but the monumental masons of whatever era they died in assumed that if the corpse interred in the same grave was Mr Williams' wife then her name must also have been Williams and owt to the contrary was a clerical error.

Also, speaking as someone who has ALWAYS used the marriage-name-change as 1) a useful Sekrit Identity and 2) a useful way to play the system (both social/patriarchal and governmental) and come out on top, I'd like to think that Amy would have been equally clever/sensible/whatever and done that too.

For my own part, I thought it was quite nice to see some believable historical verisimilitude, especially after the utterly offensive negation-of-the-entire-Stonewall-struggle gag at the end of Day of the Moon.
Edited Date: Thursday, 11 October 2012 02:08 am (UTC)

Date: Sunday, 14 October 2012 07:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] penguin2.livejournal.com
If there's a role Mark Shepard can't pull off with aplomb, I want it caught and shot immediately :P

/intertextual reference


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