Thank you for waiting anon you’re a gem and so is this question. Please drop me a line and let you know if you saw this because I know it’s been a few days.
To begin I’d like to point you towards sarah531‘s amazing gifset regarding Amy Pond and symptoms of PTSD, not only because it’s flawless but because it’s very relevant to what you’re talking about here. You guys know that I’ll scream until tumblr deactivates me (and probably after to anyone who’ll listen) that Amy Pond is mentally ill in some respect, whether you subscribe to the abandonment issues theory, depression theory, PTSD theory, or other theories.
Sarah did an awesome job of citing evidence for each of these characteristics, so I’m definitely going to build on that (hope you don’t mind) to answer this question. If you’ll notice, many of the characteristics pertain to what you’re talking about: suicidal impulses, inappropriate sexual conduct, reckless behavior, difficulty working through conflict, difficulty expressing emotions, aggressive behavior, and thoughts of revenge on perpetrator. I’m going to go through each of these and hopefully by the end we’ll have an answer to your question.
Suicidal Impulses/Reckless Behavior
I felt like these two went hand in hand as they tend to have the same source in my opinion. I’ve spoken at length on this here, here, here, and here, also tillthenexttimedoctor talked about this recently here and with me on my blog here, so basically there’s a ton of reading you can do about Amy and this specific kind of mental illness in case this was something you’re interested in. Some of these metas overlap into “difficulty expressing emotions” as well.
As Julia pointed out in one or more of the links above, Amy’s suicidal impulses often make her more likely to put herself in life-threatening situations, which often result in violence. Her pushing and shoving the Doctor at the end of Cold Blood, her crashing the car in Amy’s Choice, on the surface these look violent but if you delve more into it you see the underlying pain that Amy’s going through that drives these impulses. Since I and others have already written so much on this I’m going to let those metas speak for themselves and move on.
Difficulty Working Through Conflict/Expressing Emotions
Some of the metas linked above overlap in this, but I’d like to point out that this is one of Amy’s most consistent and interesting flaws, in my opinion. While people often write off Amy’s inability to express herself and solve conflict as a sign of her being uncaring or rude, I’d argue quite the opposite: she cares too much. Amy puts on a hard, uncaring exterior because she’s afraid people are going to abandon her. She pushes Rory away because she thinks he’ll leave her, she’s afraid to let the Doctor in because he’s left her in the past. Everyone she’s ever cared for: the Doctor when she was little, her parents, even her aunt later, all leave her. Of course she’s not going to be emotionally vulnerable when people are constantly hurting her, and this results in her lashing out. I don’t think that’s violence, I think that’s a natural response to past trauma.
Amy’s frequently seen slapping, hitting, or lashing out in some way (mostly against Rory, which isn’t a coincidence). Some of them are playful punches on the arm, but sometimes they’re not. I feel like this goes hand-in-hand with Amy’s inability to work through conflict. She doesn’t know how to express her emotions or talk about how she’s feeling, so she reacts physically. This isn’t good, it’s definitely a character flaw, but it’s part of who she is. She’s not violent for the sake of being violent. I think that’s where the fundamental misunderstanding comes in. What Amy’s doing shouldn’t be condoned, but people often call her violent as if it’s just there, instead of thinking about why she’s acting and reacting this way. She’s doing it for control, to try to feel like she’s not drowning, and she’s doing it in an attempt to express how she’s feeling. That doesn’t mean it’s okay, but that also doesn’t mean her violence is baseless and should be treated as such.
Inappropriate Sexual Conduct
This is, as you aptly pointed out, the one that Amy gets so much criticism for. I think the fact that it’s on the list of symptoms for PTSD speaks volumes already, but let’s dive deeper into this. Firstly, from a feminist standpoint, there’s literally nothing wrong with being open and confident in your sexuality as long as everything’s consensual. Usually this isn’t a problem for Amy as most of her sexual interactions are with Rory, who accepts and even encourages them. Amy’s flirtatious nature on the surface isn’t really an issue either, because as far as we see she doesn’t actually cause discomfort to anyone besides the Doctor. This is what I want to talk about. The scene at the end of Flesh and Stone draws both shippers and criticism alike.
I have to agree with Sarah who said “this is wrong, icky behavior” on Amy’s part. There’s no way to spin this to say that this is okay: Amy forced herself on the Doctor. She’s flawed, and she made a bad choice and now she needs to own it, period. I wish we’d seen a bit more of her owning that, but we do see her work out her issues with Rory and grow as a person. I’d like to point out that not only did this occur at the beginning of Amy’s run, but also occurred at a time of anxiety for her. This explains, but doesn’t excuse, her behavior. Just like above, Amy’s not sexually aggressive for the sake of fan service or just because, she’s sexually aggressive due to some underlying issues related to her character. That doesn’t make it okay, but it’s part of the picture that needs to be addressed.
I point all of this out because as Amy evolves through three seasons of the show, by series 7 you’d never see her do anything like this. She’s much more grown up, much more in control of her emotions, and much better at dealing with her anxiety surrounding stressful or uncomfortable situations. She doesn’t feel the need to be so sexually aggressive because it’s not a coping tactic or a way for her to feel in control. Amy made a mistake and learned from it, and I think the show did at least an okay job of pointing out that this wasn’t okay.
Thoughts of Revenge on the Perpetrator
This is the one that I honestly don’t understand why people get so angry. I’ve talked before about how Amy’s actions towards Madame Kovarian could be considered an act of love, but even if you don’t subscribe to that concept, I want you to honestly tell me that, if you were a parent, you wouldn’t try to take revenge on the person who not only kidnapped your child, but preformed mental and medical abuse on her. People have justified parents left and right for killing or being otherwise violent towards the people who want to or do cause harm towards their children. Why is Amy any different?
People tend to either forget that Amy’s a mother or get angry at Moffat for bringing it up too much or “not developing it well enough” or something in that vein. Regardless of your feelings on who River Song turned out to be, a mother’s love is a concept we as a society push and push, and now people turn around and use it against Amy? Shows a lot of unfair bias to me.
To conclude, I think that labeling Amy as violent and sexually aggressive is only partially true. I think to blanketly label her those things ignores a lot of depth of character. Yes, Amy lashes out, and yes, she owns her sexuality. Yes, sometimes she takes it too far in both respects, but those are character flaws. You’re right in your assessment that Doctor Who often showcases a lot of violence and some sexual aggression in other characters. I think it’s more pronounced in Amy because it’s part of her character, but we’re not supposed to condemn her for it, we’re supposed to look at it in conjunction with who she really is.
People love to ignore the good parts of Amy to slap labels on her. I’ve talked about this more in depth over here (which I also linked above for another reason), as well. It’s the classic strawman tactic to try and take down Moffat, or something of that nature. But we, dear anon, know better, and I hope in some way that’s a comfort.