Doctor Whos, they’re all different aren’t they? Christopher Ecclestone’s one was Northern and angry. David Tennant’s one wasn’t Scottish. Matt Smith’s one didn’t like women very much but married one from inside a giant robot of himself.
It’s the beauty of the show. Change.
All of time and space, plus the Doctor regenerates and can become someone else. The only limits are human imagination and, of course, patriarchy. Because when Matt Smith announced he would only be playing The Doctor for a finite amount of time and not, as we had all assumed, literally forever, the conversation (i.e. twitter) went like this.
PERSON ONE: Someone else will be The Doctor now, I wonder who?
PERSON TWO: Maybe some white guy I fancy like Ben Wishaw.
ALL LADIES EVERYWHERE: *Hormonal frenzy*.
PERSON THREE: Hey, how about not a white guy. How about Chiwetel Ejiofor.
ALL LADIES EVERYWHERE: *Repeat Hormonal frenzy*.
PERSON FIVE: Or a lady?
THE NERDY DUDEBROS OF THE INTERNET: Okay girls, shut that down now. Not the Chiwetel thing, which is fine, as I’m not a racist, but the lady thing stops now. You understand me? Doctor Who belongs to men – so stop pretending you like it or watch it – we will not allow you to menstruate all over the TARDIS literally ruining everything I like with your icky lady business. For the love of god, won’t you stop bleeding on everything I love?
And about now, online, the convo is mainly guys who don’t want a lady Doctor Who explaining how that is not because of sexism that they don’t want one. It’s just because women are horrible. No, no, it’s because The Doctor’s character traits are ones only men have.
Really, they said that:
“Even though you can pretty much reset anything in the Whoniverse, so much of the Doctor’s character, his strengths and his weaknesses are, to me, fundamentally male. He is impatient and petulant and always thinks he’s right”
Yeah, that’s pretty much what you’d call non-sexism.
“The pairing of an ancient male Time Lord with a youngish Earth girl works for a reason and it’s not a dynamic that should be messed with for the sake of it.”
Obviously no need to say what that reason is. (Clue: it’s sexism.)
It’s great telly, isn’t it? With its brilliant pairings of 900 year old men and young women. Like on Doctor Who and Strictly Come Dancing. I imagine anyone of any gender considers that best of all. Because everyone loves the implication that men are better, smarter (and totally and consistently different from) women, who look nice and are spunky. This is just nature.
There are no objections to a female Doctor Who that aren’t gender essentialist sexist bollocks. It’s all sexist claims about innate male character traits or weird thigh-rubbing demands that the TARDIS must be only filled by and old man and young woman. Sorry but this is all of time and space, not a wedding on Game of Thrones.
If your argument depends on saying ‘Innate character traits’ go home now. Christ. Because what patriarchy does, how it works, is it pretends that the things it uses to perpetuate itself are some kind of unassailable fact of the freaking universe. Oh, it’s not sexist. This is just how things are. The Doctor is a man. You might not like it but it’s stupid to argue against things that are unchangable fucking FACTS of nature. Even if that nature is made up and in a story.
Men are like dogs and women are like cats and Time Lords are the same, obviously.
But why do feminists care about this? What about fighting the Taliban? Good question. Feminists sure are stupid not to know the Taliban exists. Because nothing would be worse that waking up on the morning we solve patriarchy to discover we solved the things in the wrong order. Oh god NO. We did it wrong. We fixed Doctor Who before the Taliban. Okay reinstall patriarchy we’re going to have to take it apart all over again. And this time, ladies, lets get it right. Maybe we should ask men to help us this time.
BUT “What if the doctor got married and then regenerated into a different sex?” Good point. If only it wasn’t not even a thing. Yeah, because it’s not like the fact someone was an entire different PERSON would be fine, to Mrs Doctor Who, but if they were the wrong gender it would suck. Also, people who are married do change sex. Sometimes it’s fine sometimes it’s not. Like other things that happen in marriages. Or relationships.
(And if you’re REALLY worried about stuff like that, watch out because it’s a slippery fucking slope and soon you’ll be worried about getting married to your own son. (Although, in this case, you signed your right to complain about that away on the time travel release form: grandfather paradox clause, see.))
Genderflipping is also useful, refreshing and cool. It works. It gives you more options not less. Asking for a female Doctor isn’t taking things away, it’s putting more in. More options, dynamics, potential actors to speculate about (Sue Perkins to mistake for someone who an act.)
Facts are these: A female Time Lord would be properly amazing and fun. Look how much we like Madame Vastra, or the early non-“focussing-on-a-dress-size” River Song? Look at Captain Janeway. Look at Lucy Liu’s Watson in Elementary. Look at Starbuck in Battlestar Galatica. Look at Ripley.
And more than that, because we’re not talking about one character. It’s hard to compare the idea of a female Doctor Who to any other character being made female. Because Doctor Who is one character AND eleven characters. There’s The Doctor and there’s The Doctors. It might be odd to have a woman be The Doctor, (though, not that odd), but it’s less odd to say, can a woman be allowed to join that Doctor club? Then, it’s ridiculous to say no. What, this group is all white dudes? Yeah, we have a name for those kind of exclusive clubs these days. Sexist crap. What, you want The Doctors to be like a golf club or the Saudi Olympic team or Mock the Week. That’s the kind of cool stuff you want your cool stuff to be like? The fucking Cabinet is cooler and more modern than the heart of your SF show. You happy with that?
And if you still think, but it just can’t. But it just wouldn’t be the same. He’s a man. Ask yourself really? Why? Why can this group of people only be male people?
Listen, Nerdy Dudebros of the internet: The fact you can’t see the Doctor as a woman shows you think of women as a different species. It is the issue at the heart of all gender prejudice. If a woman Doctor is so very different to you than the difference between, say, Tom Baker and Peter Davidson or Paul McGann and Christopher Ecclestone, it’s because you see women as hopelessly and irredeemably ‘other’ and different.
You need to get over this. Maybe a Doctor could help.
(It’s not ‘Doctor Who’ it’s ‘The Doctor’. I know, I did that on purpose to annoy you because women ruin everything.)