The Doctor is now a woman. Here are the things the BBC needs to get right.
So, the tennis (finally) finished and the announcement has been made. The thirteenth Doctor is to be played by Jodie Whitaker, who, the observant may have spotted, is a woman. Already the broflakes are crying in their basements, two hearts and time travel are fine, but vagina’s a step to far. (Write your own jokes about lack of familiarity with the latter). Gender changing regenerations are cannon, they are mentioned in Old Who and of course Nu Who has Master/Missy. Any objections are based on misogyny, or the strange belief that if a hero does not look like a white, cis middle class male, they can not be a hero. As such they are bollocks (technical term there)
This is a huge opportunity, look how Captain Janeaway took the Star Trek role, and reinvented it, becoming in the views of many, the best Captain. There is however a huge capacity for screwing this up, so 10 things the BBC needs to get right.
- Please, no hormones complaints, “ohh I have tits,” “this is strange” gags. This really jarred with Missy. It assumes the male form as the default, and the female as a deviation from it. It should be no more odd to a Time lord to have breasts than to have balls, since no Doctor ever commented on those, there should be no surprise at their new gender.
- The Doctors lack of understanding of human emotions is established. Clara even made them crib cards for goodness sake. Just because they are a woman now, don’t make them all touchy feely. The Doctor not getting us is part of the whole point.The Doctor isn’t warm, regardless of gender.
- NO ROMANCE! Women can exist without a partner, without falling in love, and without romance. It is pretty clear the doctor is somewhere on the Ace (asexual) scale and possibly aromantic too, although obviously Rose existed, as did at some point a grandchild (susan) which suggests some previous sexual activity. However, both sex and romance are clearly rare events for the Doctor, and should remain that way, regardless of gender.
- They are still one of the most intelligent beings in the universe, please let that remain the case
- Avoid rape as a plot device (Should I even need to write that, sadly I think I do)
- Allow her to be wrong, weak, angry, mistaken as often as any other Doctor.
- Please for the love of God no broodiness. If 12 did not want children, 13 can be written without them too, even if all the Doctors have a soft spot for younglings
- Let her flirt, its always been a part of the Doctors personality, ace or demi does not mean no flirting
- Forensically examine every script for mansplaining, the Doctor usually explains the plot, let that still be the case.
- Lastly, allow her female companions, Moffat’s obsession with romance between the Doctor and companion almost killed the show, it wasn’t necessary. Two women can occupy the same space without being either rivals or lovers, make sure it happens here.
Representation matters, who we see as our heroes and role models can affect us as we grow from childhood into adulthood. Just as Rey has not only inspired girls, but taught a generation of boys that women can be amazing, so a female doctor can inspire a whole generation, regardless of gender. With great power comes great responsibility BBC, don’t cock this one up.