In Defense of the First Female Doctor
Hey —yeah you, lot. Shut up. It’s about damn time, whether you like it or not.
“You can’t be Luke Skywalker, he’s a boy! You can be Princess Leia, though— stay over there and I’ll come rescue you.”
Growing up, on the playground at recess, I was always restricted to being the princess. I was a tomboy, and so I was surrounded in a sea of masculinity; boys who could never stop pretending to be rough, tuff, and telling girls what to do. I wanted to be a part of the action. I wanted to roll around in the sand and play fight because it looked fun. I wanted to pretend to be Indiana Jones, Luke Skywalker, and even the Doctor because there was really no female equivalent to look up to at the time. Or at least, no female equivalent who also kicked as much ass as the boys and wasn’t made fun of. Sometimes I would make up my own female characters to justify why I’d be fighting the other boys, but my ideas were always dismissed.
As a little girl, do you know how much it would’ve meant to have followed a female Doctor around on adventures throughout time and space? Do you know how meaningful it would’ve been to see a woman driving the T.A.R.D.I.S. and telling others what to do? Do you know how powerful it would’ve been as a 9-year-old girl to see a woman at the forefront of all the action and adventure and not as one of the companions; the companions who seemed to get themselves in trouble every episode making stupid decisions, who were restricted to what they could/couldn’t do, and who always had to be rescued by the Doctor? Do you know how great it would’ve been to have told one of those boys, “No — Alex. I’m going to be the Doctor. You were the 11th Doctor yesterday, it’s my turn. I’ll be rescuing you today.”
In case you didn’t know, the Doctor is a fictional character. The Doctor is also over 2,000 years old and an alien, with two hearts; who regenerates into different characters and personalities throughout the course of the show (now 50+ years old). The Doctor travels throughout time and space, interacting with copious amounts of species in the universe. It doesn’t matter what sex the character regenerates into, they will always be THE DOCTOR. The Doctor could’ve accidentally regenerated into Caesar from Planet of the Apes and it would’ve made sense (maybe) or at least it wouldn’t have made so many babies cry out in despair when the new Doctor was announced today. “At least the ape is a dude...”
Despite what others think, there are no rules when it comes to storytelling. There are no set guidelines to follow in order to tackle telling certain stories within a fandom. There may be dated preconceptions that have been followed for years because people were afraid of change — but nothing was set in stone. The last time I checked, the creators of Doctor Who didn’t write 10 commandments for the series when they first started and they probably didn’t think it would still be going today; there’s most certainly no, “THOU SHALT NOT CAST A FEMALE AS THE DOCTOR” tablet floating around the BBC.
The whole point of Doctor Who is to embrace change; to embrace the fact you could be who you want to be, and do what your heart(s) desires in this universe. And I’m pretty sure, if you know the character at all, after being a man for 2,000+ years, the Doctor is probably really glad to have FINALLY regenerated into a woman.
So — it’s really not about you or me. It’s about all the children growing up today; boys and girls alike, who are not going to be restricted by their genders, who are going to have a fresh perspective on the world , who are not going to be afraid to do something different, and, most importantly; who are going to have more freedom as to what characters they can be on the playground.