First up, before I start in on this – Doctor Who is one of my all-time FAVORITE shows. I haven’t been a fan as long as some people (the show’s been around for 54 years, after all). But over the past several years, I’ve pretty much immersed myself in the show and the lore and the backstory of the character. And not just the televised show – but the books and the audios and the comics. And, yes, I’ve made and worn costumes of various characters – including the Doctor – to conventions.
Yes. I’m a fan. Just a wee bit.
If you don’t know the premise of the show, basically what you need to know is the Doctor is a time-and-space traveling alien who can “regenerate” – that is, he dies and is reborn as a brand new person. This has allowed the show to go on for over 50 years. When one actor wants to retire from the role, they can cast someone completely new to take his place. They also rotate through people playing the Doctor’s traveling companions, as well as showrunners and writers and other behind-the-scenes folks. It’s all built into the show and keeps it new and fresh and exciting. It’s one of the biggest appeals about the franchise.
Yesterday, you might have heard, the BBC announced the newest person who will play the Doctor. And after twelve (give or take) actors have played the Doctor since 1963, they have announced that an actress named Jodie Whittaker will take over after Peter Capaldi’s last episode airs at Christmas –
As with any change to the lead role, everyone has an opinion. But unlike most reactions to this kind of news, everyone seems to have to rush out to proclaim that they’re TOTALLY NOT SEXIST and that this is the greatest casting choice in the history of FOREVER! And anyone who is skeptical of the move must hate women and is a total misogynist and doesn’t deserve to call themselves a fan of the show!
If you’re just catching up with the internet today here is what you need to know pic.twitter.com/JkPoRiIFoe
— TechnicallyRon (@TechnicallyRon) July 16, 2017
It’s hilarious watching people on twitter try and come up with reasons a fictional shape shifting alien can’t be played by a woman #doctor13
— Ed Poole (@edwardpoole1975) July 16, 2017
— Shell (@shells_twits) July 16, 2017
To misogynists moaning about #Doctor13: You’re not the target audience. It’s aimed at children w/ grown-up minds, not the other way around.
— Richard Littler (@richard_littler) July 16, 2017
Yes. Because we have gatekeepers administering purity tests to anyone who shows any interest in watching the show. You have a give a blood sample and make sure you love all eras of the show EXACTLY THE SAME as fandom-at-large has decreed you must. And if you don’t, off to the Death Zone with you!
(I’m not saying that there aren’t people upset that they cast a woman to play the Doctor. People whine about the dumbest crap. I’m saying that they’re probably not as prevalent as the Cult of Social Justice wants to believe.)
Actually, the overwhelming reaction I’ve been seeing (other than the people who are rushing to shame the imaginary misogynists) has been more along these lines –
— Mike Partyka (@MichaelJPartyka) July 16, 2017
You mean that people generally want to wait and see how things go? That they’re not immediately declaring the show ruined because a woman is playing the Doctor? GASP! What will we do with Constant Outrage now??
(I may be a fan of Doctor Who, but it’s other fans that make me want to punch something. With few exceptions, you will hard-pressed to find a bigger group of sanctimonious, whiny, self-righteous, virtue-signaling crybabies on the planet.)
For my part, I have the same attitude that I had with the last big casting change-over: I want to see what Jodie Whittaker does with the role before I decide if I like her or not. I also want to see how the writing goes and if it improves with the new showrunner and production team. The last season kind of felt old and stagnant and they really need to go in a different direction.
Fair opinion to express, don’t you think? Given that I don’t know much about Whittaker, I want to give her a chance to either impress or disappoint me before I make any judgements.
Though this line from this interview with her made me raise an eyebrow at the stupid (emphasis added) –
I want to tell the fans not to be scared by my gender. Because this is a really exciting time, and Doctor Who represents everything that’s exciting about change. The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one.
Oh yes, because longtime fans are soooooo scared of a woman. Good grief. Give people a little credit for a change.
And there’s this completely moronic headline too: New Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker shouldn’t have to defend herself for being a woman.
This does not bode well for my hopes that the next season won’t be one huge feminist conga line of “LOOK AT ME! I’M A WOMAN NOW! I’M SOOOOO PROGRESSIVE AND JUNK!” If that’s what we end up with, I’m out.
However, even though it’s too early to say for sure, I don’t think that’s where they’re going to go with this. And I’ll explain why: Unlike crap like Ghostbusters where the beat-you-over-the-head feminist message was a huge turn-off to audiences, the Doctor Who writers have actually taken steps to make this a possibility in-universe. And it’s not so much a feminist thing, as it is adding a new dimension to how the Time Lords work (which is what the Doctor’s alien race is called). There was some actual care and time spent to make this kind of change make sense.
Shoot, they even introduced a female Master (that’s one of the Doctor’s oldest adversaries who happens to be a fellow Time Lord) and she was AMAZING. Missy ended up being one of my favorite characters from the past few years and I was genuinely sorry to see her time on the show end.
So, I think we’re still going to have the same type of fun adventure stories of time-and-space travel. Just with an alien who is a chick rather than a dude. And in-universe, it works.
True, that’s not going to keep the rabid feminists from crowing about it. I’ve already seen feminists beat their chests about how this means SO MUCH to little girls who’ve never been able to see themselves in the Doctor and now their self-worth is suddenly justified because someone with boobs is in the lead role. Which is the biggest load of crap ever. If your sense of self-worth as a female human being is dependent on whether a woman is playing a particular fictional character on TV, you need more help than a goofy sci-fi television show is able to provide.
It’s kind of like how feminists proclaimed that Wonder Woman struck a blow against the evil patriarchy and how men were suddenly put in their place because a woman-led superhero movie was successful. Except, there were TONS of men who loved the movie and were glad to see a DC superhero movie done right.
So much for drinking “male tears.”
I know – if I’m waiting for fans to exhibit a reasonable response to something like this, I’m going to be waiting a really long time. Doesn’t mean I can’t call everyone out on their stupidity and emotional pants-wetting. Like I said, I really like Doctor Who. It’s the fans that drive me crazy most of the time.
And whether or not you’re ever going to watch an episode of Doctor Who – this kind of cultural stuff MATTERS. The feminist browbeating that proclaims “You have to like this choice or else you’re a terrible human being!” – that affects people. That’s how you end up with all of these mindless Women’s Marchers in p*ssyhats demanding free abortion and birth control because the cultural feminists told them that’s how they’re supposed to be, without thinking about the consequences of it.
So, yes. I’m going to talk about it.