In Gaming, TV & Film, Lifestyle

A Female Doctor Who & Its Masogynistic Implications

This week…

“spoilers!”

… Jodie Whittaker was announced as the 13th (and first female) Doctor, something which I personally am delighted about!  But, unfortunately, this sentiment isn’t felt throughout the whole Doctor Who fandom. Some say that a Time Lord can’t change from a man to a woman in their regenerations, which is why the Doctor has only ever been male before – and why River Song was always a female as the Doctor’s wife. This, however, can’t be the case as I distinctly remember Matt Smith making an often missed joke about a fellow Time Lord being both male and female through their regenerations and subtly hinting that they may have had a relationship when she was a woman in ‘The Doctor’s Wife’ episode – the Time Lord with the snake tattoo! Also, does noone remember Missy from Series 8, who says to the Doctor, “I couldn’t very well keep calling myself the Master”?

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So, what is it? Is it that the Doctor is always a man and always has a companion of the opposite sex? It can’t be this either, as Captain Jack Harkness was one a companion of the Doctor – although this isn’t made clear what gender the Doctor was at the time. Although, logically if the theory stands that the Doctors gender and that of his companion are opposites, then the Doctor must have been a woman at some point.

So is this another case of feminist having to rise up and quash the male ego that the Doctor should always be a man as the ‘protector’ figure? Well… surprisingly, no. A lot of the quotes, posts and tweets going around actually come from women angry that the Doctor is now going to be a female – but why?

“Misogynistic”… please…. That’s like saying that someone rejecting the idea of Miss Marple changing to Mr Marple is sexist against men. There is a clear divide between the sexes and the Doctor is a distinctly male character. Making him female would undermine the character for many people.
– Richard Connor Johnson, Cinema Blend

The Doctor, in our perceptions of him has always been male from what we have been exposed to on TV. And, I think at the crux of it that this is what the problem is for most people. The Doctor has been established in our minds as a male character, and while he has the ability to regenerate and change gender, doesn’t necessarily mean that he should. Even though the Doctors face changes over the series, there is still the underlying male gender-isation that connects us psychologically to the character – and I’m not convinced that we will get the same connection to a female character.

And not because a female can’t be the Doctor, but because psychologically it doesn’t create a continuous flow of the programme for viewers. Don’t get me wrong, I think Jodie Whittaker will be a fantastic Doctor and continue to bring something fresh to the role – and not just her gender – for series to come. But when you ask anyone who the Doctor is, they will always describe him as male – and this isn’t easy for the human brain to get over – however misogynistic society may think it is to think that.

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The idea of having a female Doctor also raises other questions – like why has the Doctor always been Caucasian?

A female Doctor, sure…but how about a Black Doctor or an Arab Doctor…why not?
– Kimberley, Cinema Blend

There seems to be more questions than answer right now… Personally, I see no problem from a societal point of view with their being a female Doctor – a female Doctor has no less ability to fix the TARDIS, save an alien race, or make everyone feel awkward and insulted at the same time as a male Doctor – but I do think that psychologically it will have a negative effect on the show. Until viewers get used to a female Doctor of course! I felt the complete same when Matt Smith took over from David Tennant – I even stopped watching the show until a year later when I made the effort to give Matt Smith a chance – and he ended up being my favourite Doctor of them all!

So who is to say that Jodie Whittaker won’t have the same impact in the long run? What do you think about a female Doctor?

Featured image via http://www.tvandmovienews.com/2017/02/doctor-who-should-the-thirteenth-doctor-be-female/

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Rachael

Author and owner of Geek & Gloss

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