Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who

VerityExtraFangirls-300With the fandom explosion(s) over the announcement of Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor, it’s time for another Important Conversation on Verity! Join Deb, Erika, Kat, Lynne, and Tansy as we talk (and disagree–surprise, surprise) about what it means to be a Doctor Who fan. We say “boo” to meanness, decry gatekeeping, and debate who gets to define terms like “fangirl”. It’s a great conversation and further proof that it is, in fact, possible to have a reasonable discussion of a difficult topic and still remain calm and friendly.

^E

Supporting links:
The Doubleclicks – “Nothing to Prove”
John Scalzi – A Creator’s Note To “Gatekeepers”
Tumblr reactions: ADORABLE Welcoming Twelve comic, AMAZING fanvid of a 12th Doctor opening, and BadAstronomer pithily putting it into perspective

Download or listen now (runtime 43:04) 

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Comments on: "Verity! Extra! – Fangirls Just Wanna Have Fun" (41)

  1. So…what you’re saying is that even if someone doesn’t love Our Show the way we love Our Show, it’s…okay?

    Hm.

    And…that maybe the new fans who are freaking out because 12 is too old or too ugly or the wrong shade of pink should get reassurance and mentoring-like support rather than snide derision for “doing it wrong”?

    Hm.

    And…that the part of fandom that gets their jollies from tearing the joy away from others falls under the “your kink is not my kink (and that’s ok)” guideline and we shouldn’t label them and stick them on pikes and throw coconuts at them, but rather fall back to the whole reassure/mentor/support thing for those who are susceptible to the killers of joy in the first place to make fandom a better place as a whole without actively excluding anyone?

    Hm.

    The whole thing sounds dangerously radical. I’m not sure that you’re real fans after all.

  2. Excellent topic and discussion!
    I personally have always shied away from labeling myself a fangirl, mostly because in my head I picture fangirls as being younger than myself, but also for fear of being looked down upon by other fans. I am a huge Tennant fan, but I always feel like I have to qualify that by saying that I wasn’t familiar with him pre-Who, or that I’m not “one of those shrieky, shrill Tennant fangirls”. When I say I came to know Doctor Who post-2005 comeback, I always hasten to add that I’m a fan of classic Who as well, lest someone think I don’t TRULY love it. I shouldn’t *have* to do any of that, and neither should anyone else. It’s unnecessary, and quietly promotes the idea that only certain fans are real fans.

    My husband and I went to SDCC last month- my first con ever- and I was a little nervous that someone would “cred check” me on any of my fandoms. No one did, and while it’s nice to know I’m not the only one who thinks/worries about stuff like that, how ridiculous is it that it’s even a THING? The fact that 2 of my fav Doctor Who podcasts (Verity! and 2MTL) have discussed this recently just makes you even more my favorites. 🙂

    I also missed a lot of the drama/complaints about Capaldi until I heard the rebuttals. In my own limited circles, everyone was thrilled. Friends in the US and UK, men and women, kids and adults, were pretty stoked. Then I started seeing little bits here and there sniping at certain groups for not being “real” fans. For all that Doctor Who fans are some of the nicest people ever, holy crap are we mean and judgmental sometimes.

    Maybe the term fangirl (or fanboy!) needs to be reclaimed, like nerd and geek were. I’d even wear a Verity! fangirl shirt myself. 😉

  3. Hi! I’ve been catching up on all your old podcasts after first learning about Verity from Radio Free Skaro, and I’m loving it. It makes me happy that, even when I violently disagree with something, I’m never alone because one of you does too. So thanks 🙂

    Anyway, I got a kick out of the point that Doctor Who as a show often subsists on fan disgruntlement. I’m one of those people who actually enjoys picking apart episodes that I find…less than perfect. I think it’s fun. My personal fandom went through an interminable slump during the love-conquers-all (even bombs and cybermen) storylines from series 6, despite loving Rory and being a ginger twenty-something myself. I admit, I’m one of those people who have never quite come over to Matt Smith’s side. I love MOMENTS of his doctor with giddy glee, but I don’t love HIM in the way that I loved both nine and ten. He can flick a wrist or deliver a line in a way that’s effortlessly dead perfect. But at the moment, I’d even rank him below nearly all of the classic doctors in my personal affections (though that really doesn’t say much, since I put most of them on such an incredibly high pedestal). It’s not that I can’t make the transition from other doctors. I love changing doctors, and as much as I adored him I couldn’t wait for David Tennant to regenerate by the end of his run. I think it ultimately comes down to the writing and themes of the current era. However well Matt Smith may act out the doctor, I just don’t LIKE where the character of eleven has gone.

    But back to the point. After a particularly unloved episode, complaining itself is therapeutic for me–I just have to spew out that disappointment so I can move on. I don’t post it all over the internet, but I do trawl around for people who agree with my niggles. When I find an equally disappointed fan, it’s kind of like finding a tether to fandom that I can hold on to during the ‘dark times.’ As much as it’s terrible to tear down other people’s joy, it’s equally painful to be told that your criticisms are invalid, both inside and outside fandom. You are allowed not to like things! Yay! And to complain! And I guess what I’m saying is that sometimes, just sometimes, those complaints can actually be comforting to fellow fans, if they are delivered without excessive rancor and out of loving wistfulness for what the show can be at its best. Now, on the other hand, when I do love an episode I tend to avoid reviews, because I don’t want anyone interfering with my happy shiny obliviousness.

    **Addendum: I just have to second Jan’s comment above. I love David Tennant, and I was in college when he was on. He was actually the first doctor I saw, since I’d catch the last few minutes of his episodes when Battlestar Galactica came on right afterward. But then I started catching up from the beginning of the new series, so nine is actually MY doctor. And then in the glorious summer of ’07, being a bit obsessive as is my wont, I marathonned every single classic episode from the third doctor onward, and the few second doctor episodes I could find (luckily I had a boring online data entry job, and could have anything playing in the background). Now I’m working my way through the audios. But what Jan said is so true – I feel like I have to preface any avowal of Tennant appreciation with that backstory, to be assured of receiving the proper nerd cred. Yes, Tennant was the first doctor I saw, BUT…there is a but.

    Having said that, sometimes nerd cred is nice. That was a long summer, and I’m darned proud of it. So even if I weren’t afraid of being taken as a ‘mere’ fangirl, I would most likely still want to profess the true depth of my fandom simply because, well, who doesn’t love professing the true depth of their fandom?

  4. Criticisms ARE invalid when they’re based on/informed by ignorance/cluelessness and an all-pervasive paper-thin/extremely “focused” appreciation, I find … There are degrees, variations, divisions (& sub-divisions) of appreciation and not all should be given equal exposure (or “justification”) … No one has the right to admonish but maybe one *should* strive to be well informed if only to enhance one’s enjoyment/pleasure (plus, hey! it makes for richer conversation-ing) … In any case, excellent podcasting, as always …
    Cheerio …!

  5. Hi ‘guys’. Just listened to the latest of what is rapidly becoming my favourite podcast.

    On the fan ownership/labelling/gatekeeping debate….I have a few words.

    So, I am what you would probably called an old school fan. I am male, work in IT, interested in a lot of different genre fiction, tv and films…especially Doctor Who. I have been a fan of the show since the early 1980s (Warriors Gate is I think my first story). I am a Doctor Who Fan!

    However I must confess a few things. When I meet other fans, say at the BFI screening of Remembrance of the Daleks, or the Capaldi unveiling, which I went to…then I have a number of different experiences.

    (Pre apology for any pigeon holing or categorising, which might upset)

    The older, male, die hards…who stereotypically don’t have great dress sense, likely to have OCD tendencies or poor personal hygiene, collect every piece of memorabilia and noodle over tiny plot points and controversies…and probably still live with their mothers (This is the prevailing view of Doctor Who fans in the UK by non-fans).Generally those, these types of fans are quiet and unassuming types who want to socialise and discuss the show, but may not be able to adapt to the ‘new fandom’ that is emerging in the last few years. But by and large I find these fans to be entirely pleasant people with a lot of knowledge and experience of the show to offer.

    I find it really hard to talk to them sometimes, I am almost embarrassed as I see the potential in myself to become like them if I let myself. I had a great time at the BFI, and enjoyed meeting new people and discussing Who with them.

    Not having been to a lot of conventions or other events (cost, work, marriage etc all prevent this most of the time) then 2013 has been a bumper year for me for fan gatherings.

    My experience in the queue at the BBC Elstree studios brought a whole other dimension which I really loved. The wild and exciting cosplay by the young and old alike (Christine (Madame du Pompodour, the sexy TARDIS dresses, and Alan the Wild Eyed Ozzie playing the fourth were a highlight) It was a centre of great camaraderie and joy in that queue, which I won’t forget in a hurry. There was no negativity or ‘fan facism’ that I detected in the crowd. It was beautiful. A whole bunch of us, including Liz Adnitt and Richard Ashton (pro 10th and Rose impersonators) met up for drinks afterwards, and we mulled over the future. It was the best time.

    Now, I am not one of this new breed of creative fan…which I love to see, but not label or control. I love all the cosplay, and the video making, and the knitting and the fanfic. I just chose not to indulge in much of it myself. I buy very little memorabilia, usually I get given it as gifts at Christmas or Birthdays. I don’t encourage people buying me tat either. Id prefer Amazon vouchers, so I can get DVDs or audio books. I watch the show, and occasionally go to events. That is all.

    But now, thanks to RFS and Verity, I am being drawn more and more into the new momentum in pod casting which we seem to have. Again, I love listening and learning, but I have no desire necessarily to make my own. I love to comment politely though. This is my fandom. I have to keep a tight lid on my fandom…due to the nature of my work, its not always a good idea to be making obscure fan references in meetings. I am also married and wish to stay happily so. My wife is not a fan. And whislt she fancies DT, she only tolerates Doctor Who when it is on TV. I try not to ram it down her throat, although she occasionally accuses me of doing so.

    Family and friends will always come first before fandom. (For example, I have to go to a memorial to my wife’s Grandmother on the 23rd November this year). This is a red line I cannot break, so I know that my planned trip to London is now out of the question, and I will have to watch the new anniversary episode on the Sunday night.

    The vitriol and hatred coming from that certain corner of fandom you discussed is not restricted to Doctor Who, as you say. It is not even restricted to fandom in general. Lets take a more human perspective…

    Humans like to compartmentalise, we create groups, clubs, sects, cults, political parties etc etc…within which we place our opinions, view points and prejudices. (EVERYONE has prejudice from the most liberal person to the most right/left wing extremist).

    I personally find Misogyny and Misandry as vile and distasteful as each other…but it does exist and we must challenge it wherever we find it, and in whatever form it comes.

    I’ll give you an example you might not have considered. I am also a sports fan. Particularly what you would call Soccer. (FOOTBALL! damnit! – in Liz’s voice) I support a club called Brighton and Hove Albion, who play in the English Championship, below the Premier League (Manchester Utd etc etc) Now if you thought the rivalry and vitriol in Doctor Who fandom was distasteful, then look at sports fandom. There is rivalry between clubs, clubs fans and within fandom itself.

    I maybe get to go to 3-4 live games a year, due to distance from the stadium, work, life other commitments. Yet other fans (not all, but most) who go week in week out look down on the occasional fans as if we are second class citizens. There are those fans who through abuse and sometimes violence at other fans because they support a certain team, or sing certain songs on the terraces. Now my club has a total zero tolerance approach to this kind of thing, but it still happens. It is a very warm, welcoming and family orientated football club, so is a lot of football these days. But all the rivalry on the pitch, and between fans, sometimes spills out and it is awful. Celtic vs Rangers is as much about religious divides as it is about football rivalries. (Liz as a Scot can attest to this).

    So, if you think Doctor Who fandom has got a nasty element to it, then it is nothing compared to other pastimes or hobbies, or even politics. I am pretty sure we can keep this noisy minority in its place, whilst still continuing to enjoy Doctor Who in our own ways, regardless if we are knitting Dalek hats and making Trock Music or not. 🙂

    PS. I love you guys and want to buy you all dinner if you are ever all in the UK. Same goes for the RFS team. (This could prove expensive) I can’t get to Gallfrey One, as it is too expensive to get to LA.

    • Hi Daniel

      I agree completely with your comparison between football/sports fandom and Doctor Who. I’ve been a Premier League/Arsenal fan for about 5 years now and being in Australia I follow a lot of it largely via podcasts and bloggers. It’s amazing how many elements of fandom I find are remarkably similar – cough, such as fandom expressing entitlement & hatred about the manager/showrunner while preserving a nostalgia about the better times of the past.

      • Tansy,

        An Australian Gooner…well well. I had the pleasure of seeing the Gunners play against Brighton at the Amex, in the FA Cup 4th Round last season, after we had decimated Newcastle in the previous round. Brighton held their own and were level pegging, coming back from a goal down. However Arsenal brought on Theo Walcot in the last 30, and one of his inspired goals took us out of the cup. I felt bad at the time, but they deserved that win and Theo is a great player for Club and Country.

        Do you listen to the Gunners podcast that Boyd Hilton (Editor of Heat magazine, Who fan, regular contributor to BBC Radio 5Live) does? I’ve not heard it myself but I believe it is highly regarded.

        We all look at periods of history in our fandoms and think that was the best bit. Sometimes I wish I was born maybe 10-15 years before I was…that way I could have enjoyed what could be termed the ‘golden age’ of Who when it was first broadcast. But I don’t think it lessens my enjoyment. It would certainly have made me a different kind of fan, maybe I wouldn’t be a fan now if I had been born in the 50s or 60s. I look back remembering my heartbreak when it was taken off air, and all that disillusionment during the 90s. But then I remember how much joy I felt in September 2003 when I saw the news it was returning…and a great writer and actor was going to be working on the show. I had faith and it was being repaid.

      • The awesome thing is that Deb is ALSO a Gooner, quite by chance, and I only found this out in recent weeks via Twitter.

        My Arsenal podcasts of choice are The Tuesday Club (formerly Up For Grabs) with Alan Davies, and the Arsecast.

        Sorry about Theo! He is rather lovely though, isn’t he? One of the few great players we have left these days, sadly. I am very jealous that you have seen them play in real life! Someday that will happen for me, but not any time soon.

        One of the great things about fandom, and one of its strengths, is that it can start at any time. I watch my daughter starting to bond with fannishness, through art and costume and inhaling trivia. And she’s probably never going to know what it’s like to miss an episode and NOT be able to watch it the next day thanks to the wonder of the internet.

        As far as she’s concerned, there have always been at least ten Doctors. I don’t really remember there being less than seven. Funny, that there are only a couple of Doctors between her ‘generation’ of fans and mine.

  6. Brian said:

    Anyone can be a fan in whatever way they want. But if a person going to say you dont like a doctor because he is ugly or old. Then that person should be called out on it. Not because they are not being a “real fan”, but because they are being rude, and nasty.

  7. Lynne’s side point about this being a subset of the fangirls phenomenon in F/SF genre fandom is telling. There are people who seem to want to set them up as gatekeepers for whatever subculture they like.

    I think its a holdover of old persecution complexes, or an institution that was developed in the alien light of that green sun. “They may hate us, but we like SF and Fantasy”. That sort of “build the moat” can be seen, for example, in the controversy over the fan categories in the Hugo awards.

  8. danielbilling above has written something that inadvertently echoes my own thinking after listening to your podcast. It all sounds very much like the internecine rumblings of a cult. Only in this case, it is a cult focused around the consumption of a product rather than of a particular ideational construct.

    Watch now as I label.

    This debate is generally one between ultra-Orthodox, orthodox/conservatives, radicals, reformers, and ecumenicalists. Verity!, by and large, seems to fall under the last category, with a hint of orthodoxy. You are the unitarians of neoliberal consumer cult behaviour!

    Love the show. Keep it up.

  9. “Fangirls” (and associated others) have got a lot of stick for being upset that Matt Smith is leaving and that we will be having a new Doctor. What we have to remember is that for a lot of the people who are upset this is their FIRST Doctor. I know a lot of people who were upset to lose their first Doctor and couldn’t understand how the show would possibly continue without them (whichever Doctor it was). Then they saw the new Doctor. It wasn’t their first Doctor any more but it they knew it was still THE Doctor and it was still the show they loved.

    Those that are wailing and gnashing their teeth at the moment will be perfectly fine by the time we reach the end of the next series. As it ever was, so shall it ever be.

    I come from the odd situation of being a 32 year old guy whose mother was a Whovian. I was brought up from age 0 with VHSs of the 3rd, 4th and 5th Doctors simultaneously and then the 7th on TV. The Doctor had multiple faces and mannerisms for me from before I was old enough to remember. It made it a bit harder to understand the attachment to any singular Doctor (until I became a bit of a Tennant fanboy).

    The BBC archives show that reaction has been mixed right from the very first regeneration:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/changingwho/10307.shtml

    The co-stars even got in on the act as the actors playing Ben and Polly reputedly turned up for the first rehersal wearing T-shirts saying “Come back Bill Hartnell — all is forgiven”!

    I don’t know where all this comes from, whether it’s the older or nerdier fans having a sense of entitlement or that their fandom is “better”, if it’s the newer fans feeling that their voices aren’t being as respected as much so needing to shout out or if it’s something I just don’t understand. Whatever it is it seems like madness to me.

    As I say, I’ve been watching and a fan for 32 years. My mum was a fan for at least a decade before that. My older brother and younger sister have been fans all their lives. We’ve gone from watching classic Who at the height of it’s popularity and power to seeing the decline and it getting great again just in time to be cancelled. We’ve all lived through the wilderness years and come out the other side to a brave new world where the show, MY SHOW, is more popular than I ever thought it could be and in more places than I ever thought it could go.

    There are people who love it in strange and new ways. I find myself regularly confused, disturbed and dumbstruck by the way these new fans think and behave. And. It’s. AWESOME.

    Because with this much love in so many different ways it will never be treated as second rate again. It will never be cast aside to become the laughing stock of television. The people commissioning, making and starring in it will love it just as much as me and it will thrive as much as I’ve always believed it deserved to because of it.

    From being at the nerdy centre I may now be moving to the periphary of fandom but I couldn’t care less because Doctor Who is on the tv and it’s being made so well that I cried with happiness watching Name of the Doctor.

    I may have got emotional and gone on a bit. Sorry.

  10. Elvisomar said:

    Calling yourself a “Doctor Who Fan” means one thing: it means you enjoy something about the media property that is collectively called “Doctor Who” and want for your access to it to continue. The end. It is an inclusive definition.

    What I hear some people arguing about (referring to the twitterverse, et.al.) is how one should answer the FOLLOW-UP question “What do you like most about it?”

    Sorry twitterverse, every individual answer to that question is unique. The world can’t really be illustrated and explained with a single Venn diagram and a couple of spreadsheets.

    Thanks to the women of Verity! for the tasty and intelligent discussion.

  11. Golly! I wish I wasn’t back to working full time again, because we have the bestest listeners and comments. I want you to know that I read each and every comment and appreciate them all! Will try to find time to reply to more in the future, but I’m swamped right now. For the moment, just keep ’em coming.

    And of course, thanks so much for listening!

  12. Thanks for another insightful and thought-provoking podcast!

    I think there’s definitely an element of fandom that hates the mainstream popularity of New Who. I think they’d rather that the show had never been revived, and had remained a dusty old cultural artifact that they could keep locked away in a cupboard. They and ONLY they should be allowed to open the cupboard and play with their special toy. Unfortunately for them, it’s back, it’s out there, it has a life of its own, and everyone gets to play with it.

    Also, an impending regeneration is exciting, but it’s also a scary and uncertain time and that doesn’t always bring out the best in people. It’s disappointing that all fans can’t put aside their differences, stay calm and be nice to each other, but I suppose “fan” is derived from “fanatic” for a reason.

  13. Singlestick said:

    I just finished listening to this great episode of the Verity podcast about the reaction to Capaldi’s casting to be the new Doctor after reading about an even louder over-reaction to the announcement that Ben Affleck would be the next Batman. This underscored the idea for me that while I have no need to gatekeep how someone else can be a fan, I am absolutely free to criticize and even mock extreme over-reaction or the insistence that a person SHOULD NOT be cast in a role because of a fan’s personal preference.

    The notion that the Doctor must be young and hot is just as obnoxious as any insistence that the Doctor must be white and male.

    Also, I would never knock a “fangirl” because of gender. I get more annoyed with older (and often male) fans who insist that Doctor Who should be more like the show that they first fell in love with when they were young, or who secretly or openly hope that Capaldi’s casting is a sign that there will be a return of the Older White Male Omniscient Asexual Authority Figure that they want the Doctor to be. Curiously, while some of these fangeezers go on and on about how much they loved the Doctor when they were kids, they criticize current shows that are too “kid friendly” or not scary enough for them, but that might be too scary for kids. In short, they think that the Doctor should be tailored just for them to the exclusion of anyone else. To my mind, the young child (of any gender) watching and falling in love with the Doctor for the first time is just as vital to the continued existence of the show (maybe even more so) than the grizzled veteran who has memorized every detail of the classic series.

    I don’t much care whether anyone designates a person to be a fanguy or fangirl, any more than I care whether someone is called a Trekkie or Trekker. This is not remotely the same as ethnicity or gender. And public celebration of a TV character means that how other people talk about you is as much fair game as how you define yourself.

    Lastly, I note that I appreciate podcasts like Verity because the hosts enjoy SHARING their knowledge and enjoyment of the Doctor, not because they need to impress listeners with an info-dump of Who minutiae. And while there are many ways to be a fan, I tend to appreciate more those who listen and share than those who think that the intensity of their devotion or their length of service in the cause of fandom gives them special or exclusive claim on the show.

  14. As someone who conducts geographic research about teenage girls, I really appreciate your discussion and insights on who is considered a ‘fangirl.’ For many girls (and women even), social media is one of the few spaces where girls feel they have the freedom to speak openly about their passions and frustrations with their peers. Girls’ voices are among the most marginalized in many communities including SF/F fandom communities which was further evidenced by the negative responses towards girls’ expressions in general but also in regards to the announcement of the 12th Doctor. By silencing girls, only serves to marginalize and disempower them in one of the few spaces where they do feel empowered. I am also deeply troubled by those who use ‘fangirl’ (or ‘girl’ more generally) as a derogatory term. In doing so, devalues girls’ voices and perpetuates fangirl-related and girl gender stereotypes (boy-obsessed, consumer culture obsessed), which denies the more nuances and complexities of fangirl identity. Thank you very for raising such important issue!

    • Also, by no means do I imply that a fangirl is limited to a person who has not yet entered ‘womanhood’ (whatever that means, right?). A fangirl can be any age or be at any life stage. However, I do have a problem when the term is used in a derogatory way to infantilize women (and girls!), which belittles and discredits women’s (and girls’) opinions.

  15. This seems like a good space to share this: my 8 year old expressed interest in the new DWM ‘Companions’ issue advert, because she wanted to know who all the classic the companions were. I pulled a book off the shelf instead – have one that covers everything up to the TV movie.

    She has been reading it OBSESSIVELY since last night. Delighted in bits like ‘the scream factor’ and jokes about Adric as a wall ornament in Castrovalva, and trying to memorise the full Romanadvoratrelundar.

    I sit back, and watch in awe as the fannish gene consumes her. It’s a beautiful thing. I think I might slip my old Doctor Who Programme Guide under her pillow.

  16. Sarah B said:

    (commenting halfway through the podcast because OMGredmistdescending)
    “You’re not fangirls, you’re girls who are fans”.
    As Tansy said, see also “feminist”. Or for another example, I was living in California on a student visa during and after 9/11, when “foreign national” was actually code for “brown foreigner”, but no one wanted to say it. No, all they wanted to say was “Oh, but we/they don’t mean foreigners like YOU”. No, you mean the kind you don’t like. Still makes me cold and angry inside.

    I avoided all of the debate about the new Doctor; I always do after the fact because I feel like the choice is made and I just want to see how he is and grow into it all. It took me a while to adjust to Matt Smith because he was different, and although I felt a twinge at the Doctor being younger than me, it’s hardly relevant to his performance in the end. I am nauseated that anyone still has to put up with that level of “your fandom is not ok”. It drove me away from Doctor Who fandom decades ago.

    Happy note: my two year old is now in love with the theme music. She calls it the bong de bongs, just as my brother and I did. We had to watch it over and over the other night. 🙂

    • Weirdly I’ve found ‘fat’ is one of those terms as well. It’s amazing how people will actually disagree with you for identifying as fat (for some of us seriously, it’s not in question) because they like you, or they think you look nice – as if only people they don’t like or that they find unattractive are ‘fat’ and everyone else is, I don’t know, differently thin. Bodaciously curvaceous, maybe?

      “I use that word as an insult therefore it doesn’t apply to people I like and would never want to insult” is totally not the defence that so many seem to think that it is.

      I love the term ‘bong de bongs’ that’s brilliant! You know how they say what you listen to most in the womb is your ‘comfort’ music through childhood? Thanks to the ABC in Australia repeating Classic Who daily through my first pregnancy, my now 8 year old’s womb music was totally the Delia Derbyshire arrangement. She can now play it herself on keyboard.

      • “Differently thin” – ha!

        Does anyone know…is gatekeeping in Doctor Who fandom more prevalent among the Americans? I was wondering if perhaps the nature of how the show was presented to us in the old days (PBS stations trickling it out in weird time slots, sometimes not in any order to the episodes, sometimes just the same ones over and over again, etc.) made loving the show seem more cult-ish and underground-y special than in the UK. And as a result, do US old-school fans now to some extent resent the open-access commercialized nature of the show because ANYONE can watch it, they don’t have to be dedicated or determined or huddle around a 13 inch TV at 1am to catch an episode the way that they did back in the day?

        Kids these days. You got it EASY. EASY, I tell ya. Get off my red-grassed lawn!

      • I think gatekeeping is a phenomenon of all fandom experience everywhere. Australian fans also got the ‘often repeated’ experience of Doctor Who but if anything that made it more mainstream (it was to be fair on our national broadcaster but like PBS there is a substantial percentage of the population who would never watch that channel).

        In the UK, the fact that it was never repeated may in itself have added to the cult appeal – fans being fans DESPITE not getting to see episodes again for years or decades. As with science fiction stuff generally, many associated the show with being bullied as kids for liking the show (how horrible is that).

        You have a point I think about a bit of a resentment about the open-access nature of the show now, and how extremely popular it is – even that people can call themselves fans when they’re still on their first or second Doctor – but I don’t think there’s a geographic element to that at all. UK fans can be plenty gatekeepy, and if anything there is a greater gender inclusivity & balance generally in US Doctor Who fandom compared to other countries. From what I hear that is especially true in convention-running. But it’s all anecdata to me…

      • Sarah B said:

        “Wagnerian wet dream” is a phrase some friends of mine use, but that may well be a very specific subset of the world. Have you read Kerry Greenwood’s Corinna Chapman novels? She identifies herself in those as ‘fat’ over and over, and though I found the first instance a bit odd, it makes perfect sense and becomes less strange the more it’s used. Much like any of these “insults” I guess.

        I used to sing Dana to sleep with the theme music, so it does makes sense that she’d like it!

  17. I am really enjoying the Verity podcast. I enjoy the differing opinions and the heated debate that ensues, and I relish hearing women discussing this show and the fandom that I love.

    First of all, I want to comment on something I’ve been hearing a great deal since Capaldi’s announcement: “at last this will mean the end of romance in Doctor Who!” I don’t care whether fans do or do not like romance–that’s their personal choice. I just resent the implication that romance will not show up because the current actor is over 50. I sincerely hope that romance will not end when I hit 50, and I resent the implication that Mr. Capaldi’s character won’t be capable of it. Since the Doctor himself is over 1000 years old, the outward agewise appearance of his latest regeneration shouldn’t affect his ability to engage or not engage in romantic endeavors. Again, I’m not expressing a personal desire to see or not see romance, I’m just annoyed that an “older” actor would change the prospects so dramatically.

    Secondly, some things Tansy said this episode really resonated with me. I really appreciated the comparison with “fangirl” as an insult and “feminist” as an insult, and how truly insulting it is to hear “yes, but I like you, so you’re not one of those dreadful beasts with this label that I’ve defined as insulting.” I also appreciated the observation that plenty of fans have engaged in complaining over the years, and why are The Outraged choosing specifically to pick on people who are largely young and female? It seems very consistent with other situations I’ve observed, where The Disgruntled selects what they perceive to be the most vulnerable person/population and aims their dissatisfaction there. So thanks, Tansy, for clearly articulating some reasons why the fangirl backlash is so troubling.

    Thanks to all the participants for a lively and enjoyable discussion every episode!

    • +20 to this! Of course he can be romantic. I do agree that this should be an end to flirtations between the Doctor and Clara but they were a minor element of their relationship anyway – yes he’s over 900 and there’s nothing technically creepier about the age difference between the Doctor and Clara than there was with the Doctor and Rose or even the Doctor and River, but I think it would make everyone VERY uncomfortable.

      Capaldi and Alex Kingston, though, would be marvellous! And it would be nice to have a Doctor having the occasional flirt with older actors. Hell, a bit of Capaldi/Barrowman would be rather lovely.

      This of course is a good time to point out that the only overt romantic interaction the Doctor ever had in his first 7 incarnations (unless you count the 4/Romana ship which… good point) was when William Hartnell accidentally got betrothed to a nice Aztec lady, Cameca, by sharing a cup of cocoa with her. It was adorable.

      • “Capaldi and Alex Kingston, though, would be marvellous! And it would be nice to have a Doctor having the occasional flirt with older actors. Hell, a bit of Capaldi/Barrowman would be rather lovely.”

        Oh man, how much would I LOVE to see a 12/River thing going on? So much. So, so much. 12/Jack? That would be a fun ride!

        I chalk up the “he’s too old! he’s too ugly!” thing to the inexperience of youth. Some day, children, if you are very lucky, you too may yet live to see the incredibly advanced age of *gasp* FIFTY-FIVE! Seriously, we all thought that thirty was fogey-ville at some point, I can shrug it off because they’ll grow out of it.

    • Yeah, I went on a rant on a recent episode of my podcast about the ‘Well, OF COURSE they’ll be no more romance in Doctor Who now since Capaldi has been cast’ thing I keep hearing around fandom. It makes me sad. I mean, I’m not necessarily looking for romance in Doctor Who, but the idea that romance stops at, say, your thirties, tops, makes me sad. 😦

  18. Debbie said:

    Most of what I was going to say has been covered already – damn you all and your insightfulness. However the gender thing still really bothers me. Fan*boy* is (nowadays) assumed to mean trendy and passionate, fan*girl* is code for overwrought and pathetic. I roll my eyes at 1D fans because I recognise an embarrassing part of my youth but I hate their portrayal as girls to be mocked. Its a very snobbish attitude (and one I am probably guilty of from time to time!)

  19. Fantastic podcast, and lots of insightful comments.

    I am SO glad that my first steps into online fandom have been via listening to Verity, Splendid Chaps (motto: there is no wrong way to be a Doctor Who fan!), and the Oodcast – all so inclusive of the many types of Doctor Who fan. I loved the show in my childhood & I adore the new version. At present, “all” I do is: I watch the show and I love it, and I listen to the Who-themed podcasts. AND I’m proud to call myself a fan!

    To find out that there are people out there who would question my fan credentials not only on the basis that I don’t “know” enough, or I don’t go to conventions, or don’t write fanfic, etc., but also potentially on the basis of my gender… Whoah. I’m not sure I like fandom any more!

    I would TOTALLY buy and wear a Verity fangirl shirt. The fangirl/feminist comparison Tansy made is really interesting. I was flummoxed recently when someone (a FEMALE! and OLDER than me, not younger – I’m in my late 30s) asked me why I didn’t change my surname when I got married, with the comment “are you some kind of feminist?” in a tone that suggested that was less than ideal. My response: “YES! I am!” I hadn’t quite realised that feminist had become such a dirty word… Clearly I move in sheltered circles 🙂

  20. I also think that sometimes people use “fanboy” in a similar way. By implying that a person is a comic book guy stereotypical nerd. Which makes anything they say not worth listening to.

  21. The world needs the opinion of another straight white dude like it needs another… something bad… but I’m deluded about notion that I have a few pertinent points to add.

    One of the things I’ve been irritated/enjoyed thinking about because of Verity!, is the notion of fandom as this thing that one joins and participates in.. I’ve never contextualized being into what I’m into in the context of other people because other people are probably going to do it wrong*. Clearly, I am possessed of a gatekeeper’s perspective.

    So, speaking as a gatekeeper, I think it’s a selfish, wrong-headed, protectionist profession. It’s the equivalent to (prepare for anecdotes), the folk music nerd declaring that rap isn’t music, the sports fan asserting that NASCAR isn’t a sport, the D&D player the turns up their nose at LARP. It’s the act of someone that says “My motivations are pure and true, and don’t ruin my awesome thing by association with your dumb thing.” It’s not a particularly healthy response, particularly in the context of the new series fangirl debate, which has the sadly usual and disturbing associations with casual misogyny. I wish no one saw any illusory value in comparing those kinds of fan experiences. Just let people like the thing that they like. We don’t all have to be on the same team. You don’t have to let people onto your team, but you can’t stop them from playing the same sport, and you are an idiot and a jerk for trying, Theoretical Fan Person.

    (Full disclosure, I tend to roll my eyes superhard when I perceive that people value the 10th & Rose above and beyond everything else, and the words Tennant Fangirl have escaped my lips. I too am a jerk.)

    That feel like it should tie into my thoughts about fans who like to ruin things for other people (It’s fun, but we should try to use our powers for good and not be bullies), but I can’t seem to organize my thoughts about that.

    QUICKLY: I’m all for people re-claiming and reappropriating names/labels, but I’ve long considered fanboy a pejorative, so fangirl is merely the other gendered form. The use of fangirl in the recent hubbub is problematic to me because the emphasis has seemed to be focused on the last 4/7ths of that word.

    *partial sarcasm.

    • Daniel Billing said:

      Being straight, white and a ‘dude’ doesn’t mean I don’t have anything interesting and valid to say though.

      And NASCAR isn’t sport. It’s just going round a big circle very fast. Now F1. That’s proper sport 😉

  22. Elvisomar said:

    Since there isn’t a way to start a new thread, I’ll post in this one.

    Congratulations to the fabulous Verity fangirls! Tansy and Lynne are each recipients of a 2013 HUGO AWARD! Tansy Raynor Roberts was honored as Best Fan Writer, and Lynne M. Thomas was honored as a Best Fancast presenter for SF Squeecast!

    I wish all four of you had won, but that doesn’t diminish my joy or congratulations for the two of you that did! To Deb and Liz: If it helps at all, this boy digs Chicks Dig Time Lords.

    • MayorOfUlthar said:

      Mik: about “gatekeeping” in the US. I wish I could answer: come to think of it, I run into so many New Who fans here, but none of the classic series. Most seem to be under 30, which places a severe limit on how much of a Classic Who fan they ever could have been. I am sure there are some disgruntled long-term classic Who fans somewhere. In the US… I am a new fan of all eras of the show, myself. (The only things close to this that I was a fan of along long ago are Quatermass and Hitchhikers… from that side of the pond, anyway…and now I wish I had been watching a certain other show on PBS in the 70s and 80s).

    • Elvisomar said:

      Um… I’m an idiot. In my comment above I got your book title wrong, sorry Deb and Liz. The book I read and enjoyed, and for which you were Hugo nominated, was titled Chicks Unravel Time.

  23. This was an excellent discussion about a subject that has no solution! But I loved it. I can easily come down on just about every side of the debate. I’m still pissed Jon Pertwee isn’t the Doctor so I can understand not letting go. At the same time, once in the 70s some Hippie told me I was “too nice” to be a punk & I almost kicked her for it. Indeed, who has a right to define someone else? (I’m in on those Fangirl t-shirts so long as they’re black and kind of punky.) On the other hand, some grumpy old men I know are saying they’ve been kicked off of sites for making comments about Fangirl angst (and if it’s anything like the comments I’ve heard them make they were kind of funny). Is kicking someone off a site the answer or is engagement and the kind of discussion this podcast represented a better one? If we’re worried about our young daughters or sisters getting hurt on the Internet maybe it’s time to sit them down and have “that discussion” with them: that there are mean people out there. Just while crossing the street to go to Whole Foods tonight someone yelled at me “Get out of the way, fuckface!” What am I going to do about that? Ban them from the corner of Bay and 23rd? Eh. Let’s keep talking! It’s fun!!!

  24. […] Tansy recommends Extra! – Fangirls Just Wanna Have Fun – “It was a really meaty conversation about fandom, being fannish while female, and has its own (borrowed) theme song from the Doubleclicks.” If you are a fan–of anything–this is for you. […]

  25. Hello fabulous ladies! I just listened to this based on Tansy’s recommendation. What a fantastic conversation to have. I have found myself getting irritated with people who watch the show for the attractiveness of the actors, because I feel like they’re missing the point; but that’s my opinion, and their prerogative to watch the show however they like. I have been reading up on fandom in the last few years (since I became a fan myself – an overwhelming experience!) and enjoyed learning that DW fans have ALWAYS disagreed and expressed their feelings vehemently. I know too that they are not the only ones.

    The biggest thing I learned is that different people get value from a show (or other thing) in different ways. I don’t personally like the romance angle, but for some maybe that was their way ‘in’, and they would never have discovered the show otherwise. Many people (apparently) despise Rose Tyler for a bimbo and a tease; I however have never identified so completely and powerfully with a fictional character, especially one with whom I otherwise have so little in common. We don’t know what will speak to people, what will inspire them, what will make them the creative passionate brilliant people they were born to be. Insulting anyone for their version of the spark is just a terrible thing to do.

    I (at nearly 40) was thrilled when Capaldi was announced. I never saw the rumored tearing of fangirl hair over his age; I only saw the backlash. I honestly wondered how much of it was manufactured. Either way, the Doctor is the Doctor, the fans are the fans, and nothing will stop me loving this show for all its faults and all its fans’ cacophony.

    • So glad you enjoyed it! This was an important conversation to have for sure! And I think we keep needing to have it. I look forward to the day (if there ever is such a thing) when we don’t need to anymore. 🙂

    • Glad you liked it! The important thing I think is to allow everyone to experience the show their own way. I for instance only started watching Fringe entirely because of Joshua Jackson. Then it paid off by developing into a brilliant show (which it really wasn’t in season 1).

      I think a lot of the anti-Rose sentiment comes from what happened after Billie Piper left, and the way that the show itself (and some of the fans, though like the Capaldi wailers I suspect a very small minority blown out of proportion) had trouble moving on from her. But I agree she was an amazing companion, and a massive part of what made the show compelling in the early years. Donna is the companion of my heart, but Rose was fantastic. Like you, I didn’t especially identify with her and yet was completely invested in her as a person.

      One of my favourite things about the 50th anniversary story was that Billie Piper got to show us that in fact, Rose is not her and vice versa – she’s a very accomplished actress, and can do MANY different kinds of characters.

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