It’s 2017, y’all. Why is it still so difficult for badass ladies to get starring roles in film or television without thousands of fragile masculine egos leaking hate all over every corner of the internet?
Gender swapping in pop culture is not a new thing, especially today. There are now female Ghostbusters, Jedis and superheroes in leading roles, and even a female 007 in the new film Atomic Blonde. It’s even gone the other way in the case of Stephenie Meyer’s Life and Death, which she wrote as a way to combat the critiques against Twilight for perpetuating gender roles.
We’re also critiquing creators for imagining strong women in leading roles?
The latest controversy seems to be over the introduction of the first ever female Doctor as the lead character in Doctor Who.
Casting Jodie Whittaker as the next regeneration of the Doctor is not even a “gender swap” by definition. The Doctor is an alien Time Lord with two hearts from the planet Gallifrey who is neither male nor female, nor even human at all. Gender is a meaningless human construct to the Doctor. Fifty-one percent of the population is female, so it was only a matter of time before the character portrayed as a female.
“We’re the most civilized civilization in the universe. We’re billions of years beyond your petty human obsession with gender and its associated stereotypes.” —“World Enough and Time” (2017)
Twitter exploded with the hashtag #NotMyDoctor after the news broke on Sunday, and it’s as disheartening as you’d expect from the cesspool of the interwebs.
Political correctness? There are two human genders Time Lords could easily be portrayed by. It is highly unlikely for a Gallifreyan to only regenerate as a male forever, so can someone please explain to me how something that is completely canon to the series could possibly have been done just for the sake of political correctness? Are women not human too?
Anyone boycotting the show due to the genitals of the new lead must never have been real Whovians to begin with.
The show runners have obviously been toying with the idea of a female Doctor for some time now, as the Doctor’s Gallifreyan nemesis regenerated from the Master to Missy three seasons ago. Even before that, 2008 saw a female artificially created from the Tenth Doctor’s DNA, as well as companion Donna Noble as “The Doctor Donna,” a half-Doctor half-Donna Time Lord-human hybrid.
As for those claiming to not be sexist in their hatred, anyone truly concerned over Jodie Whittaker’s acting ability can rest assured that this is not her first leading role. She starred in BBC’s drama Broadchurch for three seasons and she’s been nominated for the British Independent Film Award and Satellite Award for her 2006 film Venus. She’ll fill the Doctor’s shoes just fine, as every previous regeneration has.
I for one, am extremely stoked to finally see a woman play the Doctor. Just imagine the possibilities. Could we see the return of the bisexual Captain Jack Harkness, or the Doctor’s wife River Song? Her relationship with either character would be beyond entertaining. Maybe we’ll see her struggle with human men and their distrust of her, despite the countless times she’s already saved the universe. Or maybe we’ll get the reverse of that, and see a male companion trying his best to keep up with her.
I’m also excited for the sheer reason of finally having a badass lady fill a role I’ve loved but never quite fully connected with until now.
The best complaint I’ve seen about the casting choice is that little boys won’t have a male role model to look up to now. As if all the leading male characters in every other film and television franchise aren’t enough, in addition to the twelve previous male Doctors.
Maybe it’s time for little girls to finally have someone to look up to in the Whoniverse aside from the sidekicks. Haven’t we waited long enough?
The Master: “Is the future going to be all girl?”
The Doctor: “We can only hope.” —“The Doctor Falls” (2017)
The only complaint I have is that there still hasn’t been a ginger Doctor. Maybe 14 will change that, but I can’t wait to see Jodie Whittaker have a few good seasons of her own first.
Photo credit: BBC