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Posts Tagged ‘Jodie Whittaker’

jodie-whittaker-doctor-who-reveal-portrait-300x450The announcement of the new Doctor being a woman has understandably ruffled a few feathers, and there have been a plethora of articles about it. Most of these seem to run along the lines of:

“LOL! CRY HARDER MANBABIES!” and various accusations of misogyny directed towards anyone who regards this decision as anything less than ‘stunning and brave’ or expresses even the slightest misapprehension as to the motivations and effect of changing the show in such a fundamental way.

It seems like nobody is going to write the article we should be seeing, so I guess I’m going to have to do it. I’ve tried, already, in comments etc, to stem the tide of “LOL! FRAGILE MASCULINITY!” but even belabouring the point to excess doesn’t seem to get the point across, so let’s try something else…

Dr Bewb

So by now, you’ve all had a few days to absorb that the next actor to play the role of The Doctor is going to be a woman. This shouldn’t really be a surprise, NuWho has been hinting at this – initially jokily – since 2011 or so. Moffat wasn’t keen and said it wasn’t going to happen on his watch, but he’s leaving and the new guy – Chibnall – is coming in with a new broom to sweep through. Maybe this is a good thing, maybe it’s bad. RTD was getting pretty tiresome towards the end of his run, Moffat had some good stories in him but seems to have run out of steam, a new guy might reinvigorate things, or not.

Similarly, a female Doctor could be a kill or cure moment for the series.

I don’t think you’re misogynists for being antsy, in fact, many of you are women. Many of you who are women have had nerd crushes on the various Doctors. That has certainly been a part of NuWho that people into the original series never really expected to happen, even with the relatively young and pretty ‘New Romantic’ run of Peter Davison (weren’t those costumes great?).

NuWho has already made a bunch of changes, some to the good, some to the bad. Resurrecting the series seemed to require a bunch of changes, changing to a breakneck-speed episodic format rather than a serial format for a start – something I very much bemoan. The scientific and educational aspect has also taken a hit, in exchange for more ‘pure’ entertainment, but it seems to have paid off. Dr Who finally ‘broke’ America. bringing romantic plotlines, especially ones including The Doctor was controversial, and something I – didn’t like, but we coped with that.

If there’s anything this change is similar to it’s when Matt Smith took over. He was too young, way too young. His publicity shots looked like an otter that listened to Green Day. Every time there’s a regeneration people are in an uproar and this is no different. People’s concerns about Smith were justified and he overcame them. People’s concerns about Whittaker are similarly justified. She doesn’t have a penis though, so your concerns and worries aren’t just dismissed as ‘nerdy’ or unreasonable any more. They’re being called ‘misogynistic’.

That’s not fair, is it?

I mean, you love Doctor Who. You want it to succeed and you want it to continue. This is a big change and a risky one that tinkers with the whole story dynamic of the series. So you’re worried. That makes sense, it doesn’t mean you hate women, does it?

This is also happening against a background of other things going on. The BBC has quotas for staffing and on comedy panels. It is discriminating in its hiring and has fired ‘cishetwhitemen’ from positions and shows. Doctor Who has been painfully PC for some time now, to the point of revising history to make it more palatable in recent episodes. In that context, the change to a female Doctor can’t help but look political and seem to be part of a trend. It needn’ be, but it’s understandable that it can look like that. I might just be that Chibnall wants to bring a familiar face with him. It might.

It might.

Being worried about that doesn’t make you reactionary or conservative. You probably just want people to succeed on their own merits and don’t want things to be mucked about with for no reason. You probably think these kinds of policies are sexist/racist or whatever else. You’re not wrong, but we don’t know if that’s what’s going on here.

Maybe you’re worried about the stories. That’s understandable too. Such a shift to the whole story dynamic could change everything. Could be for the worse, could be for the better. There’s no real way of knowing how that’s going to work out until we see it. It’s a risk, but so was a shift to a younger Doctor, and it did change the dynamic and feel, but it worked. This might, it might not.

Your concerns are legitimate. There’s a lot to be worried about. Merchandise sales are down, viewership is down. This is a big risk to take in that relatively fragile situation. People are playing around with something you love and their motivations might be political, the people giving you a hard time and crowing about ‘male tears’ certainly are being political.

Fuck those people. You’re not bigots. You know it, I know it, anyone worth talking to knows it.

But we won’t know if the fears are justified until a few episodes into the new series, and because it’s a woman people are reacting differently to you saying exactly the same things you said about Matt Smith. So have your concerns, but how about we all just wait and see if it’s as bad as it can seem. The whole NuWho project has been one long set of risks, fucking with something beloved and cared about – and its great that people care. Let’s just give it a shot.

And if people could lay off screaming misogynist at you guys too, that’d be great.

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