Theatrical Tuesday – Doctor Who’s Recent Casting Choice


TuesdayA lot of people are divided about the latest regeneration on Doctor Who. Some would have you believe that it’s nothing more than males being stupid, but I think jumping to that conclusion is wrong and it’s harmful to what the feminist movement was supposed to be about. I, like Camille Paglia, believe this male bashing crap has to stop. Feminism was supposed to be about equal treatment and rights like being able to vote and work in traditionally male jobs. It wasn’t about tearing men down, feminizing them, or declaring female superiority.

The Doctor shouldn’t be female just because ‘it’s time’. The Doctor should only be female if the actress blew them away at auditions. It should be about selecting the best candidate by demonstrated ability regardless of sex, race, or sexuality. The BBC has said they have done this.

I’m a fan of the show. My first Doctor was Tom Baker, though I was quite young and don’t remember those episodes clearly. I’ve seen many other arguments in many comments sections against the selection that have nothing to do with sexism. Many have been from women as well. Here are a couple of points:

1. Out of Character

For 50 years The Doctor has regenerated as male. One might assume the being has a preference and to suddenly change genders is out of character after 50 years. The fact that Missy was a thing doesn’t matter. The Master has always operated differently and assumes whatever form best fits whatever devious plans its brewing. Not so with The Doctor. He is also shown as male as a child, which could suggest that’s his natural state since birth.

2. Tradition

Some people balk at the idea of tradition, but others love it. Tradition has been broken and for some it might feel like the first Christmas after their father has died. But The Doctor has already been female. Given that was a comedy special, maybe it’s not really part of the canon?

3. Acting Ability

Several have suggested she is out of her league in this role. I haven’t seen her act, so I don’t know if this is accurate. Again, the BBC said she did an amazing job at the audition.

4. Loss of a Male Role Model

People really like to laugh at this one, but The Doctor is an important one since so many leading males in programs are rather brutish dicks. The Doctor shows males it’s cool to care about people and have feelings.

I don’t feel like I need The Doctor to change genders. There are plenty of other shows with strong female leads. And this move isn’t revolutionary. I watched Night of the Living Dead, which is quite old and the leads were a black male and a white woman. Mad Max Fury Road has another strong woman. Orphan Black, Star Wars, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica and more all have strong female leads. Game of Thrones is chock full of strong females. Maybe I’d care more if I lived in Britain, but it’s not like it was stopping women and girls from cosplaying as The Doctor.

Yes, there is lore and history of other Time Lords switching things up. That’s one of the main arguments that it should have happened by now. Perhaps that is  one thing that gives more weight to that argument. In all of the posts I’ve read, I found this one to be the best on why we needed a female doctor. I’ve been that female subject matter expert in the room with all males who’d prefer me act as a secretary while they talk about the important things that are too complex for my tiny female brain to possibly understand.

A small group of people think it should have been a black transgender female. To which many have suggested to write a pilot for a Sci-Fi show with a black transgender female if you feel it’s important. That’s not really a far fetched idea. Hell, you could even take a page from BET and make your own television network. You could crowdfund it too.

On the change of race element, there are white Klingons if you want to look at other TV shows. I don’t know about the history of Gallifreyans having other races. So far they have only been depicted as white as I’ve seen. I’m not sure if there is canon somewhere to change that. But I suppose the writers decide what is canon and if they write it, it will become canon.

People love to highlight the “outrageous” comments by men, but I’ve seen plenty from men who have said they care far less about what genitals The Doctor has and far more about the acting ability and the writing on the show. They’ve said its purpose is entertainment, so it better continue to be entertaining. They were white males too.

To some degree, I don’t enjoy that The Doctor changes at all. Theoretically it’s awesome, but it took me about half a season to accept that David Tennant was gone. I still miss him. I liked Capaldi until the most recent season. Perhaps it’s the companion, Bill Potts. I mean, she could except that he has a time travel machine that is bigger on the inside and that he’s an alien, but couldn’t believe he has two hearts? Really?

Anyway, it will take a couple of episodes before I can tell if Jodie has potential and likely a few more for me to like her. People have been saying that if you can’t accept this change, you aren’t a true Whovian. Bullshit. True Whovians nearly always hate the new doctor until something awesome happens that convinces them the new actor is, “THE BEST DOCTOR EVER!”

And there are a bunch of people saying it really doesn’t matter since it’s a TV show. Entertainment can have wide impact on people though. If that wasn’t true, people wouldn’t still be mourning Alan Rickman or Robin Williams or Kurt Cobain, Elvis, and many more.

Also, for thousands of years change meant death. That instinct is still in humans just like the instinct for cats to eat their dead owners. You might not like it and think it’s silly, but it’s part of who we are as a species. It’s why LEAN practitioners know to make very small changes in office environments.

There are a bunch of women against this change too. Yes, there are a ton of jerk males as well, but they aren’t the only people upset by the change. I even saw some LGBTQ+ folks saying the change was the wrong call to make. The world is a mosaic of views and when you decide to look at an issue like this and ignore all but one demographic that fits the crap you want to write about, you become part of the problem.

Did you know male suicide rates are higher than female rates? That was in Canada. The same is true in the US. The UK. Australia. Much of the rest of the world shows a similar 3.5 to 1 ratio, though some places have little to no suicide at all. Those are older stats, but interesting nonetheless.

If you don’t care about that fact, perhaps you need to work on your humanity.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that people are going to disagree on this thing and jumping to name calling won’t make anything better. Assuming one element tells the whole story is willful ignorance. Trying to see beyond the knee-jerk reaction and understand where others are coming from is what makes things better.

Get out into the world and interact with real people. Especially those that have differing view points. Echo chambers are sick places to live in. If you have to put others down for you to “progress”, maybe you’re not really as progressive as you think you are.

And no, I haven’t been brainwashed by the patriarchy. Most men simply aren’t evil. And a lot of them died so you could live to call them all assholes today.

The Doctor will be played by a woman for at least this season. We might not be sure of the choice yet, but many of us will come to love her anyway.

Guid cheerio the nou,
R~

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