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A Female Doctor: My Opinion on Why It’s Perfectly Okay

This is who I am, right here, right now, all right? All that counts is here and now, and this is me!”

– the 9th Doctor 

 

Once upon a time, there was a riddle…

 

For those of you who don’t know the answer, I will share it at the end of this post.

 

I saw this riddle on a rerun of an 80’s television show. To an extent, it is understandable why many people struggled with the answer. After all, that was thirty years ago. However, based on many of the reactions to the recent announcement from the BBC that the 13th Doctor has been cast as a woman, it is clear we have not come as far as many would like to think. I was actually very shocked that there were as many negative reactions as there were. Every list of possible castings I saw included multiple mentions of various women, as well as both men and women of color. Additionally, the show itself, via the 12th Doctor, has made it clear that Time Lords are, “…the most civilized civilizations in the universe,” and are, “billions of years beyond [humans’] petty obsession with gender and it’s associated stereotypes.”

 

That statement in itself should remind us that The Doctor is an alien not of our world, and thus, should not be held to our preconceived notions about what the Doctor should look like. Remember when Matt Smith was criticized for being too young? Peter Capaldi for being too old? I think ultimately, it is impossible to please an entire fandom. With that being said, here are my reasons as to why a female Doctor is perfectly okay.

 

From the Very Beginning 

Sydney Newman, a Canadian TV producer credited with the central premise of the show and The Doctor character, was in favor of The Doctor becoming female. In fact, the concept was pushed for until the show was cancelled in the 1980s. In fact, in 1986 the following suggestion was penned and sent to the head of the BBC:

 

“At a later stage Doctor Who should be metamorphosed into a woman. Don’t you agree that this is considerably more worthy of the BBC than Doctor Who’s presently largely socially valueless, escapist schlock? … This requires some considerable thought – mainly because I want to avoid a flashy, Hollywood Wonder Woman, because this kind of heroine with no flaws is a bore.”

 

All in the Family 

From the very first incarnation of The Doctor, we have known that a female Time Lord (or Time Lady if you prefer) is possible. This of course was The Doctor’s granddaughter Susan. Then, with the 10th Doctor, we meet The Doctor’s daughter Jenny. Being that she is a clone of The Doctor, essentially we have had a female “Doctor” for years now.

 

Other Female Time Ladies 

More recently, we have been introduced to more and more females of Galifrey origin. The infamous Master regenerated into Missy. The General on Galifrey (“Hell Bent”) regenerated into a woman. Also, while not a true “Time Lord,” River Song clearly has regenerating abilities as a child of the TARDIS.

 

Doctor Who: Pioneering for Diversity 

Any fan of Doctor Who, particularly New Who, should be aware of the many ways Doctor Who has been a champion for diversity. Captain Jack Harness anyone? Madame Vastra and Jenny? Alonzo?  Bill Potts? Even going back to Classic Who, companion Chris Cwej had a relationship with another man because, as he explains, a person’s sexuality is irrelevant in the future. Why is it so hard to believe that the future is now for The Doctor?

 

In the end, for regular watchers of the show, and those who truly believe in the messaging of Doctor Who, this casting should not come with shock or disappointment. It should, if not celebrated, be at least accepted. After all, with the recent news of the gender pay gap at the BBC, aren’t there more important real world issues that should be concerning us- more so than the gender of a fictitious character?

 

For those who where wondering, the answer to the riddle was that the doctor is the boy’s mother.
A woman. 
 
 

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