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Favourite Feminist Moments in Doctor Who#1 Martha’s Departure

At the end of series three, after having saved the world, Martha Jones leaves the TARDIS and returns to her life on earth. There are so many wonderful things about this scene.

Firstly, Martha chooses to leave. The Doctor making important choices for his companions, rather than letting them make decisions for themselves, is something which happens all to often in Doctor Who. Yet here we have Martha, making the decision to leave The Doctor, on her own terms. Not only that, but she also gives The Doctor a right, good telling off.

Throughout her time travelling in the TARDIS, The Doctor continually under appreciates her. He refuses to recognise her as his companion, undermines her, subjects her to racism, sexism and real hardship. 

The Doctor also never really acknowledges how amazing she is, during the time they travel together. Martha is selfless, putting her life on the line to help others without a second thought. She saves The Doctor’s life several times. She single handedly saves the world, for heavens sake. 

Martha knows that The Doctor hasn’t appreciated her and so she tells him. That moment when she says “I spent a lot of time with you thinking I was second best, but you know what? I am good” is so powerful. 

That is why this will forever remain one of my favourite moments of television, ever. 

Wait, what?  When does the Doctor subject her to Racism and Sexism?

Most notably during the three months she they spend, hiding from the Family of Blood, during Human Nature/The Family of Blood. Martha spends three months working as a maid in 1913. 

We see her being discriminated against several times throughout the two episodes which only show a few days of the months she spent living in these conditions. The school boys are openly racist towards her (x), she experiences the sexism when she is not aloud to sit inside the pub (x), people constantly talk about her needing to “learn her place” and at one point John Smith is told her must control her (x), all of this whilst being completely isolated with no one to talk to. 

(There is another post on the blog about this here)

The Doctor subjected her to this. We learn at the end of the second episode that he was completely able to defeat The Family but choose not to. He choose to allow his friend to suffer rather than having to defeat the family. 

“It was a better life. And I don’t mean all the travelling and seeing aliens and spaceships and things, that don’t matter. The Doctor showed me a better way of living your life. You know, he showed you too. That you don’t just give up, you don’t just let things happen, you…make a stand, you say no! You have the guts to do what’s right when everyone else just runs away.”

(Source: dinklage)