You’re Just Making Me Want to See a Woman Doctor


Doctor Who has been on for fifty-two years, with the whimsical, heroic Time Lord portrayed by fourteen men. The storytelling device used to allow producers to switch from one performer to the next, regeneration, has allowed the creators to explore the nature of identity and has always caused alternately excited and panicked expectation whenever a new Doctor is announced. Some folks pose the question “if they ever regenerate the Doctor as a woman, who should portray her?” This, of course, is met with the predictable response from reactionary men.

“The Doctor has always been a man!” they cry with a sort of wounded outrage that somehow making a character something other than like themselves is somehow stealing from them. They approach the question with every lame excuse imaginable. We are told he has always been a man, and that it would ruin canon, canon I would add that has now included the idea that the Doctor’s people can indeed switch genders during regeneration.

These are the same people who freaked out over a black man playing a Norse god because it “wasn’t realistic” as if there is anything realistic about super heroes or time traveling aliens who periodically switch their bodies. They will cite continuity with serious and stern faces while ignoring the wholesale retcon on a film by film, season by season basis in any of these franchises. Meanwhile, when people of color are routinely white washed, we are told to not take ourselves so seriously.

I realize, of course, all of the above will invite accusations of a double standard on my part. Why is it OK to change the race of a white character, or gender of a male one then why is the reverse acceptable. Any such arguments dismiss the importance of representation. Men and in particular white men are over represented in lead roles in entertainment. Anything that alters that improves the outlook for underrepresented groups, something sorely needed. We know that young people are affected by not seeing people like them in movies and television, so if we can fix that by giving young woman a Doctor they can identify with, then I am all for it.

All this caterwauling by the same crowd that at least props up so-called “men’s rights advocates” (or as I like to call them, “male supremacists”) is just making me want to see it more. It has made me more excited to see a woman take on the role (my vote is for Helen Mirren) not just because it will tick them off, though that is a real nice bonus, but because it would be awesome. It would be awesome as a woman to see a woman play my favorite time traveler. It would also be awesome as a trans woman to see a race of people for whom gender is so fluid, who could be a direct challenge to the importance the patriarchy puts on gender, take center stage. For me it is a win-win-win.

Of course it could be for you too, if  you let it. Sci-fi has always been a genre with a proud tradition of making us think about complex issues in a fun way. Pushing back against a woman Doctor is very much not in keeping with that tradition. So if you want to show your geek, or nerd, or whatever bona fides, you would think you would embrace the idea. Just a little food for thought.


4 thoughts on “You’re Just Making Me Want to See a Woman Doctor

  1. I’m pretty convinced that the reason the Master was brought back in female form was purely as a way of easing the ‘doubting fans’ into there being a future female Doctor.

    Colin Baker has said he would like to see the Doctor portrayed as a woman, but feels the BBC are scared that the ratings would drop. Sadly, I think he is right.

    However, that said, Michelle Gomez is bloody fantastic as the Mistress. My only complaint is I hate that she is called ‘Missy’. It just reminds me of the mom from Bill and Ted.

    I believe a female Doctor will happen, and soon. What I doubt though, is that the part will be played by a young actress. Not for a good few years after, at least.
    And, if I’m honest, I wouldn’t want a young female Doctor. I think it would work best to have a more (dare I say) mature, wiser, matriarchal female doctor.

    No disrespect to yourself, but Helen Mirren’s name is always the first to pop up. This seems to be due to her being vocal about a woman playing the part. However, I don’t think she would be so good at it. A great actress, but just doesn’t seem alien enough. If that makes sense.

    Personally, I would love Helen McRory to take on the role (Draco’s mom in Harry Potter).
    If you get chance, check her out in a show called Peaky Blinders. She plays an authoritive Aunty who keeps her family, a 1920’s criminal gang, in check. She plays it brilliantly and it shows how she could easily take on the role of Doctor. She has the portential to play the character as someone who would get the job done, and not take any crap from a scheming race of aliens hell-bent on galactic domination.


What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s