Here at The Time Ladies, we LOVE a bit of debating and swapping opinions. Opening each others eyes to new sides and ideas and hearing what each of us loved and hated is all apart of being a fan of Doctor Who. And so ‘Time Ladies Debate’ is born; A brand new feature in which we pick a topic and discuss either side of the argument! This weeks theme is the recent news of The Doctor becoming a woman. Guest contributor Jenny Lippmann discusses why she was against the idea, and how she’s slowly coming around to it….
I think, if people had seen my reaction to Jodie Whittaker, and I’d been a man, they would have laughed at me.
As a woman, I’m expected to be delighted with the news. One unnamed tweeter said women who don’t like it are ‘the worst ones’. I’ve come to terms with lots of things since the announcement, and one is that I shouldn’t be ashamed for how I feel.
I don’t think you have to be delighted by the announcement of a female Doctor (though obviously, it’s wonderful that so many people are!) I don’t think you have to accept it right now. It’s a big change. People are excited and scared and even Jodie knows that and that is all just fine.
This post isn’t about hating on a female Doctor. I want to focus on how I felt before the casting, immediately after, and how I’ve grown in my views.
People have asked me why I’ve never wanted a female in the role. In those moments, I’ve yammered about ‘strong, passive male role models’ – something I have since realised is a rather silly excuse, and I expressed apprehension about the handling of female characters as a whole (there are exceptions, but we are still learning). I think I was searching for something that sounded more impressive than this: I am very, very attached to the mad man in a box. It’s simple, it’s boring, it’s stubborn. That’s that.
Since the announcement, I’ve been quietly coming to terms with ‘the big change’ and becoming more and more okay with it as time passes. I drew fanart, I imagined what Thirteen would wear, I thought of Jodie delivering a rollicking ‘I am the Doctor’ speech, and yes, it started to fall into place in my head.
It’s been a long time coming, really.
The moment I started to question my reasoning behind not wanting this was at a Doctor Who finale party I attended, with Time Ladies Beth and Kezia in situ. We got into the discussion on a potential lady casting, and they all listened very carefully as I explained why I didn’t want a female Doctor (reasons I have since realised make no sense)…. Then, after my mini rant, Kezia very gently said to me, something along the lines of: “well, we’ve had over fifty years of that, it’s time a woman did it now”.
And that really made me think. And it really changed my view.
Because why can’t a woman do it?
Let’s flashback to the announcement of an all-female Ghostbusters team. I was mortified. “NO BILL MURRAY?” I shrieked, waving my fist at my laptop screen, then later cringing at the first image of the four of them by the new Ecto-1. “HOW DARE THEY.”
Then they released the trailer, which I watched… and for me, without question, those four women were the Ghostbusters. The trailer had everything that Ghostbusters is to me, right there, and that wasn’t changed by the fact we had women in the roles. Not in the slightest. Later, I came out of the cinema wanting to punch a new crater in the moon: I can be a Ghostbuster too!
So, I asked myself, after having a little (or big, shhh) pathetic cry over Jodie’s casting, why the hell is this any different?
Answer: it’s not. Not really. I always loved the idea of being the Doctor’s companion, but being the Doctor? The thought amazes me. Maybe I could punch a real crater in the moon that way.
As for bad female characters… The Doctor is not a male character, I’ve finally acknowledged. The Doctor is not a female character, either. The Doctor is the Doctor. Jodie must have been the Doctor when she walked in that audition, and I am sure Mr Chibnall will write… you guessed it, the Doctor.
Whether chuffed about a female Doctor or scared, like me, it is all a big shock. Remember that’s okay! The Doctor has been a bloke for over fifty years!
You know what’s not okay, though? Not giving Thirteen a chance.
What is not okay, is being nasty about Jodie, about women.
Be apprehensive, sure, be shocked and alarmed that things are changing… change is tough. But if you love the Doctor that much, you’ve got to stick with him, or her, because ultimately, the Doctor is the Doctor.
And that’s the jumbled conclusion I’ve come to.
That’s the crux.
Lady bits or no, the Doctor will always be my hero. How great to have a female role model in the Doctor!
Come at me Thirteen. I’m nervous, but if you’ll have me in the TARDIS, doing things wrong and probably getting into a lot of trouble, I’d love to join you.