The 13th Doctor. It's About Time.
I think we all knew it was coming. It’s been in the atmosphere for a while, the idea of the Doctor regenerating into a woman. Frankly, I’m surprised it’s taken this long, and yet I’m not surprised at all. But the inroads were being laid as far back as the Neil Gaiman penned episode “The Doctor’s Wife”. You may recall that as the Doctor was making his gruesome discovery of what happened to all the previous Time Lords that heeded the distress call of House, he remarked about one particular Time Lord, the Corsair, that had been both a Time Lord and a Time Lady. That made it canon that it was possible for Time Lords to be either gender.
Then came Missy, (played brilliantly by Michelle Gomez). The delightfully fiendish latest (but not last, in my opinion) incarnation of the Doctor’s long time nemesis (and best friend).
And then the final episodes of this season. The Doctor made several offhand comments and quips that led me to finally believe all the speculation wasn’t just for fun, or as a wink, wink at the female fans, but something that might actually happen. So when I was able to get the BBC One feed of the post-Wimbledon coverage, (congrats Federer), and I saw the Doctor as she, and as soon as I saw her feet I knew, walked through a forest towards her TARDIS, I was both awed and satisfied. I may have actually giggled. A bubble of joy that I’d been pushing down for the past few months was finally able to be set free.
In recent years, I’ve noticed as more female characters being introduced into stories normally featuring or dominated by men. Jane as the new Thor. Laura Kinney taking over as Wolverine. Kiki as the new Iron Man. The Ghostbusters reboot. Finally getting a Wonder Woman movie. SyFy Friday's are all female led shows, (that succeed to varying degrees), Wynonna Earp, Killjoys, and Dark Matter. And now this.
BBC announcing the new Doctor will be played by Jodie Whittaker. Americans, like me, might recognize her as the grieving mother on BBC’s Broadchurch. (It was later adapted for the US but I didn’t bother with it.) Nothing else is known about her version of the Doctor. The wardrobe is always a highly anticipated reveal. Nor have companions been announced. I pretty much don’t care about any of that. Maybe another change is that finally, we’ll get a Doctor that doesn’t dress in a costume, and they are costumes, most of the time and instead she’ll just wear clothes. Novel idea!
Yes, there have been many other female-led works in the past. Alien gave us Ripely. Buffy the Vampire Slayer leading the charge against the undead for one movie, and seven seasons on TV. But there are still inequities to overcome and this is just another step on that ladder towards a level horizon.
The fact there is already a #NotMyDoctor hashtag floating on twitter, and the preemptive uproar of the new Ghostbusters before the movie even came out are just examples of this really weird idea only men should get to do things. This is the first time a regenerating alien went from male to female, something logically the Doctor should have been able to do all along with zero reasons not too. And it took over 50 years and 13 other male actors playing the part, (I’m including the War Doctor), in order for it to happen. That’s nuts, guys. Just nuts it’s an issue. Not just in a world of fiction. I mean in general. It’s baffling to me that one segment of a varied population gets to be the star as if it should be automatic. That any story being told that features a male character is the norm, but any time the role is given to a woman, it's seen as politics, feminism ruining everything, or the casting is just a ploy. Why? Women exist. Get over it.