So this evening I went through the Martha Jones hate tag, and all of the companion hate tags, which I normally avoid like the plague. And I’m no longer in a happy mood (the things I do for you people!). This is a topic that is really deserving of a much longer post which I don’t have time to do right now (and if any of my readers would like to contribute a post on the intersectionality of racism-sexism in the Martha Jones hate until I have time to write one, please do so!), but here are my basic thoughts on the subject.
First, there is a lot of hate towards all of the companions that is really misogynistic and problematic. Oh. My. God. The number of times I saw companions called “Bitch” made me want to run my head into a wall. There’s also a lot of violent thoughts directed towards companions along the lines of “Won’t [insert companion name here] just die already?”
Second, Martha seems to get much more of this hate. “Bitch” is thrown around as an insult much more frequently, there seems to be much more hate directed towards her, and the hate tends to be much more violent. The first post I found in one of the tags I searched said that Martha and her whole family should be killed off.
There are two big things that leapt out at me. First, Martha Jones is often put by fans into the “Angry Black Woman” stereotype. She’s assertive, very intelligent, and openly contradicts the Doctor on several occasions. While such behavior may be celebrated if it comes from other white companions, it is sharply criticized when it comes from Martha. When Rose, Donna, or Amy contradict the Doctor or aggressively criticize him, it’s considered “sassy,” “spunky,” etc. But if it comes from Martha it’s much more likely to be called “bitchy.” And by characterizing her as just another “Angry Black Woman,” her many, MANY legitimate reasons to be angry with/frustrated at the Doctor can be delegitimized and dismissed. So it’s important to remember that even when race is not specifically mentioned, and even if there are no racial insults explicitly used, racial biases and stereotypes still probably influences a lot of the hate against Martha Jones.
Second, Martha Jones’ infatuation with the Doctor and the Doctor’s continued infatuation with Rose influences a lot of the hate as well. Now, I have a lot of problems with the Martha-Doctor-Rose love triangle, mostly because I feel it was overly contrived and that Martha was written to do a lot of out-of-character things in order to further that subplot, but the hate doesn’t seem to stem from that sort of criticism. Rather, it seems to stem from a belief that Martha doesn’t “deserve” the Doctor. Teasing out how much of this hate stems from an obsession with the Rose-Doctor pairing and how much of it stems from an irrational dislike of the Martha-Doctor pairing is a little bit harder from the brief amount of time I researched it this evening, but it is almost certainly in part influenced by a continued bias against interracial relationships. I say this because I don’t ever see quite so much hate for the Doctor kissing Reinette, Joan Redfern, Astrid, or Lady Christina de Souza. I also don’t see a lot of hate for the implied romance between the Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith. And the hate that I do see is considerably less violent and vehement.
If anyone else has been more engaged with the Martha Jones hate here on Tumblr or on other websites, please share your experiences with me. I have to say I’m really disappointed with the type of behavior I’ve seen in the companion-hate tags, and I think I’m going to dedicate this next week towards appreciating Martha Jones here on the blog.
It’s My Birthday. So happy.
Harry is our only hope
He looks rather hot, don’t you agree?
Well, where to begin…?
She was so jealous of Rose:
Hated her in fact
She was completely useless:
Once more: useless
A third time: useless
No interesting personality traits- imagine how awesome it would have been had they made her, for example, a total geek like us: