Just What Would It Mean to Have a Female Doctor Who?

July 28, 2015

In a diverse collection of discussions, this week’s podKast swings from Ripper Street series 3 to Colin Baker’s apparent fall out with Doctor Who Magazine, and largely concludes – thanks to recent comments by Sylvester McCoy – with some in-depth thoughts about what introducing a female Doctor Who would mean to the show and what it might reflect in society.

No, really.

Christian Cawley and Brian A Terranova are your hosts, with tardy boy McLean rolling in late. Students, eh?

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110 comments on “Just What Would It Mean to Have a Female Doctor Who?

  1. IndyfromAZ Jul 28, 2015

    Political Correctness, that’s what it would mean.

    • James McLean Jul 30, 2015

      What if it was simply a great actress? Why would that be politically correct? As soon as it was written in the Doctor could change race/sex/species even (there is a suggestion that the Half Human 8th was a regeneration species shift), is it political correctness? Or just exploring new ground?

      • kwijino Jul 30, 2015

        Why would it suddenly be written that way other than for PC reasons though? There’s no other logic for it.

        • James Lomond Jul 31, 2015

          But kwijino, James provided you with another logic – he suggested it could simply be a great actress i.e. that would be the motivation.

          • kwijino Jul 31, 2015

            Coherent reason?

            Just came across one, actually.. from a militant, atheist lesbian, in fact. Camille Paglia, to be precise, and she calls herself those labels.

            http://www.salon.com/2015/07/28/camille_paglia_how_bill_clinton_is_like_bill_cosby/

            “Currently, feminists lack sympathy and compassion for men and for the
            difficulties that men face in the formation of their identities. I’m not
            talking in terms of the men’s rights movement, which got infected by
            p.c. The heterosexual professional woman, emerging with her shiny Ivy
            League degree, wants to communicate with her husband exactly the way she
            communicates with her friends–as in “Sex and the City.” That show
            really caught the animated way that women actually talk with each other.
            But that’s not a style that straight men can do! Gay men can do it,
            sure–but not straight men! Guess what–women are different than men!
            When will feminism wake up to this basic reality? Women relate
            differently to each other than they do to men. And straight men do not
            have the same communication skills or values as women–their brains are
            different!”

            She also affirms that some women would like to be women, and that traditional femininity has all sorts of strengths. Her take on what feminism should be happens to be the one I have: Women should be allowed to take whatever path in life they want. If it’s the one where they stay at home and have kids, there is nothing wrong with that!

            And to emphasize: “Straight men do not
            have the same communication skills or values as women–their brains are
            different!” You would be asking me to accept a complete re-wiring of the Doctor’s brain in order for him to become a her. I don’t think Moffat succeeded in that with Missy so far, I would not believe he could pull it off with the Doctor. Or any other writer, for that matter.

            It’s not a matter of skill, since I think Moffat can write cracking scripts from time to time, but of the subject. And nope, I don’t care if they got Helen Mirren, Judi Dench or a younger counterpart to them with equal talent. It would be a hard sell, and a step too far, IMO of course.

          • James Lomond Aug 1, 2015

            Thanks for that very thoughtful reply, kwijino.

            I’ll reply in more detail when I’ve got more time but briefly:-

            Wasn’t familiar with Pagila before now. She’s clearly smart (from reading more of that article – not impressed by the Sex in the City stuff) though she’s the last person to be giving an opinion on how anyone’s brain is “wired” – and the point you’re making via her article is about the legitimacy of you perceiving a fundamental difference between male and female brains and relying on some unexplained *fact* of biology. And that *fact* about how brains are wired is hinted at by someone with a background in social sciences, arts and psychodynamic theory. There’s no coherent argument in there – when she says “they’re wired differently” she’s using it for emphasis rather than saying anything that makes sense/ introduced actual information.

            The fact is every individual’s brain is wired differently – how can the Doctor move from one male body to another male body and still be the same character? Yet you accept it. This then must be about how you feel about the divide between men and women in terms of their minds and behaviours. Respectfully I’m suggesting this is socially constructed – it exists as tendencies due to social pressures and it exists as a corresponding expectation in your mind for how people in the “male” club and the “female” club should think/ behave. I’m suggesting it’s no more fundamental or than differences between individuals of the same gender though much of our culture is devoted to convincing us that it is.

            I agree it would be a hard sell – but so was regeneration the first time it ever happened. And if it’s not a “step too far” because of how brains are wired, why is it a step too far?

            Also: “Straight men do not have the same communication skills or values as women-their brains are different!” is your b—s–t detector not going ping?

          • kwijino Aug 1, 2015

            No, because it gels with everything I know on this point. Men are not women. Any given woman could do better than a given man in any subject. It’s not a matter of superiority. But, it’s not the same. Never was.

            Camille didn’t declare men over women in that statement, or vice versa. That’s why I liked the statement. She said they aren’t the same. I agree with that.

            The reason I am conservative is the same reason I enjoy time travel stories. I hold a degree in English Literature from UCLA. I haven’t read every word in the 66 books of the Bible, but most of them. I have read the Mabinogion, Faulkner, Shakespeare, Pratchett, Chaucer, Tolkien, the Odyssey and the Iliad. I’ve translated poems from Middle English and done a full line-by-line deconstruction of Paradise Lost. I haven’t read much classical Asian literature, but I am very familiar with anime, from Lupin the 3rd and Slayers though Death Note and Fullmetal Alchemist. I could give a mangled idea of Romance of the Three Kingdoms, but at least I know it’s place in Asian culture.

            I am telling you that no matter the time period, no matter the place, people are the same. Men are men, women are women. Gender roles are more or less the same in any culture. Women carers, men hunters.

            There is no psychological construct, there are just people. We worry about our place in society, if our parents like us, if people like us. We want to know where we fit in in the world, and our relationship to the universe and our Creator. What Camille said, it gels with reality as I know it.

            Could some men figure out how to live and communicate as women? Sure. But most of us can’t. Smartest man I ever knew, my grandfather, was married to the same woman for 65 years. He never claimed to understand woman, and I sure as hell don’t. And the Doctor, if his problems with Clara are anything to go by, he doesn’t get them either. So I have a hard time believing he could ever be one in a meaningful way. There’s a lot more to it than just the plumbing.

          • Facinating and refreshing Kwijino.
            I agree that BRAINS are wired differently, just as retinas are: women generally have more cones/better colour-perception than men who have more rods/better B/W movement perception. BUT it is also the case that some women have ‘male-type’ brains, and can’t multi-task/buzz conversation etc, and some men have ‘female-type’ brains and don’t focus/hunt/decide in the same way most men do, but are better at social and caring functions.
            Look at Rory, an unusual Moffat male character. How come he can do subtlety and difference in men but not a clue about women? Maybe the same as you say about your grandpa!

            Problem is I believe women AND MEN should be allowed to develop their own gender traits and career choices and sexuality as they wish as long as it doesn’t harm others. Developing the Doctor’s outside to match his unusual mind is quite a challenge to a society that prefers to polarise, and treat him as a heterosexual male, rather than a ??? person.

          • Castellan Spandrel Aug 1, 2015

            “Look at Rory, an unusual Moffat male character. How come he can do subtlety and difference in men but not a clue about women?”

            -Indeed, and it’ll be interesting to see how the first female writer in 8 years for the series will handle the characters in her forthcoming story.

          • kwijino Aug 1, 2015

            And for 2,000 years, the Doctor has developed as a straight white male from a very specific region of Earth. It is his choice and comfort zone, and I see no reason he would suddenly renounce that and be something different.

            Also, and the thing that needs repeating, there’s nothing wrong with being a straight white male! The proponents of the change make it sound like there is! I said an individual man _could_ learn the female way of communication, but yeah, it’s highly unlikely for most of us.

            To jump over a Canadian show, The Red Green Show, I offer the man’s prayer:

            “I’m a man, but I can change, if I have to, I guess.”

            The woman’s prayer, from that show? “I am woman, hear me roar. I’m in charge, get over it.”

            Or, in the recent feminist complaint that there are no female minions, Pierre Coffin answered back, “Seeing how dumb and stupid they often are, I just couldn’t imagine Minions being girls.” Women are unlikely to invent Matt Smith’s drunken giraffe dance, for example. Some women could, sure, but not the majority.

            This is just flying in the face of reality to make a PC point.

          • James Lomond Aug 2, 2015

            Hey kwijino – thanks again for a detailed reply. Have a lot of respect for your scholarship and breadth of reading – my academic credentials are of a similarly dedicated nature but less literary and cross arts / sciences (hence my leaping on “brain wiring” 😉 ) I won’t list them in case someone accuses us of a particularly “male” comparison activity! Though I may have overdone the response…

            For me it’s well established that neither men nor women are superior to the other. I don’t really see it as part of the issue here – like I say above my main question is about an hypothetical situation where there is no PC agenda or even suspicion of a PC agenda. I also agree that equality doesn’t mean “the same”.

            I think you’re saying you are conservative because your experience of engaging with cultures across time and places is that they share key features with yours and those are things you value and would like to *conserve * as it were. Seeing similarity in other cultures justifies or suggests a fundamental underlying cause for those aspects of your own culture?… If not I’m flummoxed as to how Shakespeare, Homer and Anime has made you conservative!

            Your post made me think about stuff like Reader-Response Theory or even the Theory Ladenness of Data. That when you engage with any text you read with a set of theories, beliefs and values that direct your attention and influence your interpretation. Can’t recall specific references but a quick bit of illustrative Googling:

            “…different readers, sometimes called “interpretive communities,” make meaning out of both purely personal reactions and inherited or culturally conditioned ways of reading.” http://www.poetryfoundation.org/learning/glossary-term/reader-response%20theory

            And https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/722/06/

            The corollary would be that you already had something conservative in you and the way you engaged with those texts enacted a cultural confirmation bias of sorts. Who knows.

            Either way I don’t agree – those works are highly selected in that 1) they were available to a Western scholar in the C20th/21st and 2) they’re produced by cultures with some form of written communication.

            People whose job it is to investigate this tend to disagree with you regarding gender roles across cultures. In fact historians and philosphers of science have argued that Anthropologists working a century ago were imposing their categories and understanding of their own culture onto those other cultures they were studying and made huge mistakes in interpreting them. Again it’s a long time since I read a specific paper on this but a bit of Googling:

            http://www.discoveranthropology.org.uk/about-anthropology/specialist-areas/anthropology-of-gender.html

            And: “Social scientists introduced the term gender as a way of talking about all those expectations and beliefs we load onto people with certain physical characteristics. And we could do a tour through history and different cultures to find out how very different those expectations and beliefs can be, which is why we say they are “socially constructed.” However, that does not mean there is no biological variation, nor does it mean those beliefs and expectations don’t have very real effects, nor does it mean a particular individual can “generate their own truth” about gender.”

            It goes on to talk about “Two-spirit Peoples”, third and even fourth gender roles in different societies.

            So I don’t agree that no matter the time or place that “men
            are men, women are women.” My concern about that kind of belief is that it has been used to oppress and control people in terrible ways in the past – not that I am saying you have any such agenda (you’re very clear that you don’t) but regardless I don’t think they’re true – I think they were born of convenience. There are clear individual as well as cultural examples that don’t fit that model and suggest to me, at least, that this is culturally learned and enforced behaviour rather than being a real barrier to identities.

            I’d also find a female Doctor uncomfortable (at least at first) but I’d be game to try. And my suspicion is that I’d feel uncomfortable because I’ve similarly a product of a gendered society that enforces these perceived divisions.

            One thing I’m sure of, women are not hard to understand – though you might think they are if you’ve been systematically indoctrinated to see them as different. If you took a group of men, isolated them and treated them like women from birth then other men brought up in mainstream society might find those guys hard to understand. But they’re not if you consider the experiences they’d have had.

            What do you think?

          • kwijino Aug 2, 2015

            Let’s start with Ecclesiastes 1:9: “The thing that has been, it is that which shall be; and that which is
            done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the
            sun.”

            There have always been strong women. There have always been weak men. There have been gays and lesbians since the beginning of time. However, the men of Sodom only wanted sex. They did not demand everyone bake them a cake or celebrate their relationships or be driven out of business.

            The point of right and wrong are largely the same, no matter the place or the time. That was my point. And the Bible is pretty clear on the point of rejecting the current wisdom of the world vs. accepting universal wisdom as given us by the Creator.

            Cross gender? Native American tribes (whatever on the name, I am legally Iroquois (1/8) so I will stick with that) have those, but even they have them live outside the tribe. Are they dangerous? Are they just weird? Dunno. Just know that again, seems to me, what makes society tick stays the same.

            Right and wrong can be defined, and I don’t think rewriting it because we are so clever is a great idea. I also take offense at saying Judeo/Christian Law is discriminatory. I do not accept that gender and sexuality are races, or as mutable as you keep saying, which is part of my rejection of the female Doctor idea.

            You can do anything you want. God never turns His back on you, and loves you more than you can possibly imagine. You can turn your back on Him in a heartbeat, even without meaning to. This is Christian Doctrine of Free Will. If one is an adult and tells me this is their choice, okay. You life, your decision. I can respect that. But to tell me it’s all a matter of identity politics, and gays are all a bunch of victims of an uncaring an ununderstanding society, then you get my back up for reasons explained elsewhere on the page. We all have our problems, and at some point you just live with them, not try to make the entire world bend to your will.

          • James Lomond Aug 2, 2015

            Hey.

            I guess you mean the part where you talked about being a white Southern male? I wrote a response to that but deleted it as I think it’s too sensitive a topic to talk publicly about with someone you don’t know. Suffice to say I’m very sorry you were ever made to feel that way – certainly liberal vitriol is as unpleasant as any vitriol, but even when misdirected, that doesn’t mean there isn’t something important to be said.

            We do all have our problems but there are some things that are worth fighting including things that have “made society tick” at various places and times. No need to go into examples.

            Though I do find it gets my back up when people talk about sexuality and choice. I didn’t chose my sexuality any more than you chose yours. But people have chosen to police and denigrate sexualities.

            As you might have guessed I’m not Christian – though I have a lot of respect for most of Christian ethics. But as regards the Bible I kinda feel there’s no point discussing it – if, for you, it’s the word of God and God is automatically right, there’s nothing to say. :/

            But have enjoyed this discussion, and again thanks for the thought and taking the time.

          • kwijino Aug 2, 2015

            I do think God is right. Doesn’t mean I am all the time. I sin and get things wrong all the time. It’s part of being human. At the end, I pointed out, I will allow others to live as they want, and I have no desire to shame others. I agree with you that vitriol is bad, no matter who it’s aimed at or why.

            Beyond that, yeah, it’s probably a good breaking point. I also thank you for the conversation, and want good things for you.

          • James Lomond Aug 3, 2015

            Good vibes heading your way too. 🙂

      • IndyfromAZ Jul 31, 2015

        Because that would not be why the PC crowd would do it for any other reason and PC is all the rage today.

      • IndyfromAZ Aug 11, 2015

        So you’ve exhausted every single male actor in Britain then? Or have you just done something “daring” and “exploring” (aka Politically correct).

      • IndyfromAZ Aug 18, 2015

        It would still be done for Political Correctness.

  2. Doctor Moo Jul 28, 2015

    It would mean a generation is emasculated as boys are taught that men are somehow inferior to women rather than equal. It would mean that people see a false view that there is no difference between the genders. It would mean that political correctness has gone mad.
    The Doctor is the ONLY male role model who doesn’t go round being a violent womaniser. Do not ever let anyone take that away from us. Please.

    • James McLean Jul 30, 2015

      So is there a difference between a young Doctor (5th) and an old one (1st)? Do we look at age in those circumstances or do we accept they are the same person. Is gender REALLY that big a deal? Is the problem (and a concern if this ever happened) that gender is MADE a deal by the way television is written? I think that’s concern you really highlight – and a valid one, as women leads on television are often rather appallingly written (often because they are written by men). That I think is a legitmate cause for concern, but hypothetically, given we can’t say who would be cast and who would write, the notion… is there a reason beyond current concerns, and the fact, that many of us simply don’t like the idea? Is that really the answer?

    • Castellan Spandrel Jul 30, 2015

      “It would mean a generation is emasculated as boys are taught that men are somehow inferior to women rather than equal. It would mean that people see a false view that there is no difference between the genders. ”

      – I’m not convinced about that, Moo.

      I think us (alleged) grown-ups have more problems with such concepts than children do. They’re smarter, more accepting of ‘new’ things and yet often shrewder than we give them credit for.

      I remember watching Eldrad changing from a woman into a man in Hand of Fear, when I was 7 years old, and not batting an eyelid. (OK, changing Eldrad’s gender isn’t exactly the same as changing the Doctor’s – the central character’s – gender, and it was female to male rather than the reverse, but you get my general drift).

      • Female Eldrad was gorgeous (even to a hetero woman) and chosen to lull them into a false sense of security, male Eldrad was The Baddie. And I believe the first was a fake rather than a genuine representation of something fundamental to the ‘real’ character of Eldrad.
        So the question then becomes, is the Doctor’s fundamental character as well expressed by a gorgeous young woman as by a grumpy older man? And you know what? after reading all these thoughtful comments carefully, I have to say ‘probably.’

        • ThePurpleFrockCoat Aug 9, 2015

          The female Eldrad also based itself on Sarah Jane’s form the first human who touch its fossilized hand but yeah it did use that disguise to everyone into a false sense of security. She was gorgeous.

    • kwijino Jul 30, 2015

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10608739/Boys-being-left-behind-as-university-gender-gap-widens.html

      http://www.topmastersineducation.com/boys/

      http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/02/the-boys-at-the-back/?_r=0

      I can show you a strong body of scholarship that demonstrates that the notion that men have an advantage in life that needs redress is dated. Women live longer than men, they decide where couples live, boys are less likely to go to school than girls, but we are constantly only being told about all those poor women in the world.

      Robert Lynn Asprin once wrote something to the effect that is doesn’t matter. Can’t you see most people get the short end of the stick?

      It’s more about income inequality than every other thing. The governments have been trying for sixty years to make people of different groups get along. Some bits have worked, but the overall effect is to enshrine differences and old prejudices rather than let them go.

      To offer some Terry Practhett, who explained my aversion to liberalism better than I could in the book Night Watch:
      “There were plotters, there was no doubt about it. Some had been
      ordinary people who’d had enough. Some were young people with no money
      who objected to the fact that the world was run by old people who were
      rich. Some were in it to get girls. And some had been idiots as mad as
      Swing, with a view of the world just as rigid and unreal, who were on
      the side of what they called ‘the people’. Vimes had spent his life on
      the streets, and had met decent men and fools and people who’d steal a
      penny from a blind beggar and people who performed silent miracles or
      desperate crimes every day behind the grubby windows of little houses,
      but he’d never met The People.

      People on the side of The People
      always ended up disappointed, in any case. They found that The People
      tended not to be grateful or appreciative or forward-thinking or
      obedient. The People tended to be small-minded and conservative and not
      very clever and were even distrustful of cleverness. And so the children
      of the revolution were faced with the age-old problem: it wasn’t that
      you had the wrong kind of government, which was obvious, but that you
      had the wrong kind of people.

      As soon as you saw people as things to
      be measured, they didn’t measure up.” And that’s when you invent New Speak like micro-aggressions, pro-choice as opposed to pro-abortion, homophobia, Islamophobia, and so on. Because people won’t accept the arguments at face value, so you keep changing language till you force The People to use your words.

      Make all the changes you want, it won’t fix The People. Please quit telling me “If you allow/permit/change [insert today’s demand here]” the world will be perfect. It won’t be. We live in a fallen world. It ain’t perfect, and this one will never be.

      • Doctor Moo Jul 30, 2015

        You don’t need to be a genius to see there’s something not right with the world today, just look at some news headlines and you’ll see that. Changing Y into X (see what I did there? think genetics) just because we can will not help anything, it will only create a whole load of new ones.

        • kwijino Jul 30, 2015

          Thanks.. oh, but the character Harry Potter was not a violent womanizer. Luke Skywalker, nope. Mr. Spock, nope. 🙂

        • Castellan Spandrel Jul 30, 2015

          Of all the things not right with the world, I’d put things like murder, war, damaged economies, being shortchanged by governments and a lot of non-governing parties (literally and metaphorically) …

          And you’re worried about someone having a sex change?

        • James Lomond Jul 31, 2015

          But Moo, in reply to what you said above, “It would mean a generation is emasculated as boys are taught that men
          are somehow inferior to women rather than equal. It would mean that
          people see a false view that there is no difference between the genders.”I’ve got a few questions…

          Why would that emasculate boys?

          How would having a couple of female incarnations of the Doctor that teach anyone that men are inferior to women? (???)

          And what differences between the genders are you worried about use losing? If they’re biological, how would one character on TV switching cause problems for children? They already see men and women cross-dressing for comedy reasons all over popular culture. And if it’s to do with behaviour – what behaviours are there that you think *should* be enforced in young children? I’m sure (or I hope) you’re not saying that little girls *should* all play with dolls and little boys *should* all play with cars and trucks but what difference between the genders is it that you mean?

          :/

      • Castellan Spandrel Jul 30, 2015

        “Please quit telling me “If you allow/permit/change [insert today’s demand here]” the world will be perfect. ”
        – I don’t think I’ve told you or anyone else anything of the sort, Kwijino; though perhaps that part isn’t addressed at me specifically but to the generic ‘you’?

        I don’t welcome the Doctor regenerating into female form, but nor am I that bothered, to tell you the truth. I’d still watch the programme, unless the storytelling and characterisation were so consistently poor and annoying that I just couldn’t stand it any longer. I seem to be in the unusual position re: this topic of being on the fence.

        (I’m sceptical about the likelihood of a ‘regenderation’ happening anyway, though the topic never goes away on here; it seems to crop up weekly, and neither side are likely to ever change their minds on it).

        Actually, my reply to Moo wasn’t an endorsement of ‘feminisation’ or otherwise’; it was simply a counter to the ‘But think of the children!’ argument that is often posited with regard to this issue.

        I agree with some of the points you make, particularly this: “The governments have been trying for sixty years to make people of different groups get along. Some bits have worked, but the overall effect is to enshrine differences and old prejudices rather than let them go.” Nonetheless, it does not follow that it’s therefore undesirable for people to try to get along and to at least *try* to understand some of their differences. The train of thought that goes, “Those people want something; I don’t understand why they want it, because I don’t want it, so they must be wrong and I must be right” is pretty lazy (and that goes for left vs right, right vs left, liberal vs anti-liberal ….etc.)

        As the man said: “The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don’t alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit their views. Which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.” – Imagine being a fact that needs altering! Not a great position to be in, eh?

        • kwijino Jul 30, 2015

          On the Doctor, it’s cool that you agree with me.

          The goal of having people get along is fine, I’m good with that. It’s the top down approach I have problems with. I am of the school that says if you treat everyone nice, it would be for the best. Jesus said in Matthew 25:40, ““The king will answer them, ‘I can guarantee this truth: Whatever you did for one of my brothers or sisters, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did for me.’

          However, my entire life, as a straight white Southern male, I _have_ been declared as a fact that needs altering. A life time of hearing about grievances from before I was born (late 1960s) tends to make me a bit defensive on the subject of social change. I never owned slaves, and Jim Crow laws were rightly consigned to the dust heap of history before I showed up. But my answer would be, we can’t relive the past to the point of keeping it alive.

          My frustration in that last sentence wasn’t about you. The flap about the Doctor’s gender follows from the flap of “Jenny and Vastra, neat, huh?” and before that, Captain Jack, particularly on Torchwood. On those, and not here, but other places, I have been told to accept those things with a smile or give up being a fan.

          I don’t care what other people do, and I try to not shame others. That’s as much as I can do. But as stated before, the media has a constant drumbeat of “Accept [x] or be an ist of some kind.” No, I can disagree with [x]. No matter what, not everyone will like me. And it would be unrealistic to think they should. Flip that back to the progressives, and you have the point I am trying to make.

          As you said upthread, there are bigger things to deal with. But if the topic comes up and I am asked to give my opinion, well, there ya have it.

          • Castellan Spandrel Jul 30, 2015

            Thanks for such a thoughtful and articulate reply (as is the case with most posters on here, regardless of their views).

            “However, my entire life, as a straight white Southern male, I _have_ been declared as a fact that needs altering.” – I completely get where you’re coming from.

            The concept of PC-ness has been pushed to breaking point by some if its proponents on certain issues ( some on the left are as fascistic as can be), while it’s still a worthy concept in other areas.

          • Castellan Spandrel Jul 30, 2015

            “On the Doctor, it’s cool that you agree with me.”

            -The Doctor is unique among other role models/popular characters in that his biology – apparently, if the Master and Corsair are anything to go by, without knowing the circumstances behind their gender changes – enables him to change sex.

            I doubt we’d have this debate regularly on the K if he were a Marvel/DC superhero or the Bionic Man (though it’s perhaps telling that they were given female equivalents, possibly to attract the girls who found the boys’ versions too geeky. And look which of those are the ones everyone remembers. She-Hulk, anyone?)

            In short, while I’m not 100% averse to Mrs Doctor Who, I’d ask fans who strongly feel it ‘must’ or ‘should’ happen: What attracted you to the series and the character in the first place? Was it the notion “Maybe one day this guy could be a woman”, or “I love this character!”

          • kwijino Jul 30, 2015

            And I would answer that before Steven Moffat, that was not the case. No other showrunner came up with this, so it’s one of those media drumbeats I was speaking of.

            I am perfectly okay with Romana showing up and having a series, or Jenny. But as the old Leeney Tunes cartoon said, “Where men are real men, and women are real women. A Darned good arrangement.”

            I dunno, there’s plenty of debate about declaring the god of thunder a mantle a woman can pick up, which is another one of them drumbeats, IMO.

          • Castellan Spandrel Jul 30, 2015

            And I would answer that before Steven Moffat, that was not the case. No other showrunner came up with this, so it’s one of those media drumbeats I was speaking of.

            – It’s an indicator of social changes over the past 35 years that the idea was first mooted – * as a joke* – in 1980 by John Nathan-Turner and Tom Baker just before the latter’s press conference to announce his departure.

            It was even a joke of sorts in the late 90s, in Curse of Fatal Death.

            Now it comes up all the time as a serious question.

          • kwijino Jul 30, 2015

            I will amend my statement to “No other showrunner put this on-screen before.” And actually, who wrote The Curse of the Fatal Death? :whistles innocently:

          • Castellan Spandrel Jul 30, 2015

            Tee hee!

            But he did also ask, in response to whether the new Doctor would be a woman( before the Capaldi casting announcement), if the Queen could become a man – or something like that.

            He likes to create a stir for publicity purposes.

          • Castellan Spandrel Jul 30, 2015

            ” But as stated before, the media has a constant drumbeat of “Accept [x] or be an ist of some kind.” No, I can disagree with [x]. No matter what, not everyone will like me. And it would be unrealistic to think they should. Flip that back to the progressives, and you have the point I am trying to make.”

            -Absolutely. Some people just don’t like some others, and never will.

            Like it or not, the world turns on conflict and tensions between them.

            If I may quote the lyrics to the theme song of Diff’rent Strokes:

            “The world don’t move/to the beat of just one drum

            What might be right for you/ May not be right for some

            It takes diff’rent strokes

            It takes diff’rent strokes

            It takes diff’rent strokes to rule the worrrrrrrld!”

            (I prefer this to John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’; ‘And the world will live as one’ – boring!)

            The above is meant to be serious, BTW, just not necessarily in the way I did it.

          • kwijino Jul 30, 2015

            If you can get that message to both sides, cool. =)

          • James Lomond Aug 1, 2015

            So no one should make you feel like you have something to answer for because of your identity – and if I’ve understood what your saying properly, I think this is akin to White Privilege being used as a way of scoring points off white people rather than a way of highlighting how racism is normalised in majority white cultures… i.e. it’s a concept intended to educate/ enlighten rather than provoke but is sometimes used unconstructively for the latter.

            But the problem is that the negativity you’re exposed to/ you end up feeling makes you say things that sound like you think television is for you and not for lesbians and they shouldn’t expect to be represented in media. :/

  3. Namnoot Jul 29, 2015

    Ironic you’d choose a photo of Romana to illustrate this article as the first thing that would happen is it would destroy her decades-old place as a female role model. Because any future Romana would either have to be portrayed by a man, or it will at the very least be implied that at some point the beloved character played by Mary Tamm, Lalla Ward and most recently Juliet Landau would regenerate as a male. The Rani, too. No more of this bit about “(Insert strong female character here) is really the Rani.” Although it’s now a running joke it also illustrates how iconic The Rani is as a strong female character. No more. Now it’ll be “Is Rory the Rani?” “Is Man With Chips (remember him?) the Rani?” To hell with Carole Ann Ford getting her wish to come back as Susan one last time before she shuffles off this mortal coil. Let’s cast Noel Edmunds. Who else – oh, yeah. River Song. We don’t know for certain that we have a complete accounting of her regenerations. So she could have been a bloke at some point. One more female role model destroyed.

    Leave it be. The Master never played by the rules (the Eighth Doctor says so in the TV movie), so let him/her break them. Or embrace The Master/Missy and The Corsair and any new characters that come to mind as representatives of LGBTQ*, something people have been pushing for more of in this series since the Dalek zapped Captain Jack. Not every person in real life is transgender (though some people seem to think we should believe so), so why not have a few interesting transgender Gallifreyans and make them into role models? Sure, Missy is “bananas” but that doesn’t mean anything, and also this being Doctor Who there’s probably a light of redemption down the line; in fact we sort of saw that at the end of The End of Time.

    What amazes me is everyone is harping and humming about wanting a female Doctor that they’ve chosen to ignore a glass ceiling that deserves to be broken and is overdue to be broken and probably would have been broken if Capaldi had said no (that’s not a diss – glad to have him) and that’s the colour barrier. I would much rather the powers that be concentrate on casting a non-Caucasian actor as the Doctor next time around. Break that barrier by all means.

    • James McLean Jul 30, 2015

      But if its okay to consider skin, why is gender an issue? What is it about gender that changes things so much if we ignore sexuality – and the Doctor, even Tennant’s more romantic character, wasn’t overtly sexual anyhow. If they did it right, why not? What makes a female and a male so different to an alien character beyond sexual organs? I’m not sure its about being femminist at all – its just a question as to why we as fans (and I include myself) are uncomfortable with the idea of a woman – what truly is the issue here?

      • James Lomond Jul 31, 2015

        I wonder whether it’s about how firmly gender is linked to identity in many people’s minds such that it’s hard for much of an audience to believe that a character or their identity can survive crossing that divide. I.e. “men” and “women” are seen or understood to be such different *kinds* of things that one could never possibly be the other.

        If that’s the case it seems very socially constructed (have been dying to get that one out) and something I’d love to see challenged – though I don’t think we’re anywhere near ready as an audience. And again I would find it difficult or at least I think I would at first.

  4. Wayne Robert Smith Jul 29, 2015

    Posted at Peter Capaldi fan club. http://www.facebook.com/PeterCapaldi

    • Doctor Moo Jul 29, 2015

      No-one cares where you’ve posted this. Try to have a thought sometime that isn’t just a Facebook link.

  5. Lynda Jul 29, 2015

    Let’s call a spade a spade. There are basically some out there who seemingly won’t rest until every male action hero, super hero or any other kind of character, is played by a woman. Why? Who knows. But what I can say is that they know if someone says it’s a bad idea, they can always play the card, “You must be a woman hating misogynist pig to say that…”, when the reality is usually anything but that, but who cares when you have such a devastating comeback in your arsenal? Personally, I think the best way to show strong, empowered women — who are as capable as men — is to invent strong female characters that people want to see in their own right. Not, “This is the female Thor…” and not, “This is the female Doctor Who…” and trying to trade off existing male characters. After all, isn’t it admitting a kind of defeat if these female characters have to be based off men in the first place? And anyway, where’s the “equality” going to be once we change all these characters into women? I think that shows that some women are less interested in equality and more interested in… something else. I’m not sure what to call it. But what I can say is that making all these characters into women and making everything in pop culture about “the fangirl” and how important females are… it’s not leading to balance in my view.

    • Castellan Spandrel Jul 29, 2015

      ‘they can always play the card, “You must be a woman hating misogynist pig to say that…”‘, – Yes, and those with opposing views aren’t shy of dishing out the usual trite, binary Daily Mailisms: loony left, PC Brigade, etc.

      Tit for tat; works both ways and helps no one.

      “After all, isn’t it admitting a kind of defeat if these female characters have to be based off men in the first place?” – This, I agree with.

    • FrancoPabloDiablo Jul 29, 2015

      Bloody well said Lynda!!!

      • Lynda Jul 29, 2015

        Thanks!

        • Ranger Jul 31, 2015

          Brilliant, Lynda! Exactly how I feel as a woman, but have struggled to articulate.

          Some women and, unfortunately some men as well, have swallowed the lie that men are the enemy and that every strong male symbol must be subverted into a female symbol. It does not lead to a healthier society, it just produces more discrimination and anger.

          • Lynda Jul 31, 2015

            Precisely. Some sisters have yet to twig onto the fact that most men really like women. They’re happy to see great female characters, as much as they’re happy to see great male characters. What they’re less happy to see is this campaign to turn every other male character into a woman, and the constant elevation of how important being a woman in fandom is. Equality is about just that… equality. Not constantly banging on about how special/important women are, to the extent that men are being left behind. I don’t like seeing that at all, yet it’s getting worse.

          • Castellan Spandrel Aug 1, 2015

            “Some women and, unfortunately some men as well, have swallowed the lie that men are the enemy and that every strong male symbol must be subverted into a female symbol. It does not lead to a healthier society, it just produces more discrimination and anger.”

            Yes, but I’m not sure that would be the motive behind changing the male Doctor into a female one.

            It’d arguably be for novelty purposes – which in itself is probably not a good enough reason to make the change.

            He (Steven Moffat) claims it was done in the Master’s case to provide a story twist, to make it harder for the audience to guess Missy was the Master (personally, I thought it was a no-brainer who the character was once I twigged Missy was short for Mistress, but there you go.).

            He’s never stated it was because of a need to subvert the character into a female symbol. Whether everyone believes his explanation as above is another matter.

            But changing the Doctor’s gender is not the same as changing the Master’s gender, of course.

    • James Lomond Jul 29, 2015

      But where are all these people who won’t rest until every male character is male? Hiding out with Nazis on the dark side of the moon??

      I’m with Podkast James on this. I think it’s more complicated. If this was being suggested, in a hypothetical world where we had gender equality and there was no PC motivation of any kind, would you still be opposed to a woman being cast in the role and if so, why? That’s the only interesting part of the debate that I can see.

      • Lynda Jul 29, 2015

        The dark side of the moon? Hardly. Spend any amount of time on something like Twitter in Doctor Who fandom or Marvel fandom or any other major IP and a good percentage of the overall talk is about making female versions of characters.

        Again, I think it’s admitting a kind of defeat if these female characters have to be based off men in the first place, rather than good female characters being created from the ground up. It does seem to be a short cut for writers (and fans too), to just steal existing and popular characters, hoping to have instantly popular female characters. I find it lame in the extreme actually, but that’s just me.

        Anyway, to answer your other question — highly hypothetical, given such a scenario would never exist to everyone’s satisfaction — I’d prefer the Doctor remains male. The same as I’d prefer James Bond and Spiderman remain male, as much as I prefer Hermoine Grainger, Lara Croft and Wonder Woman to remain female. Surely it’s not a weird desire?!?

        • James Lomond Jul 30, 2015

          No I don’t think it’s weird at all. And like I’ve said elsewhere I basically agree that I don’t particularly want the Doctor to change gender, but I’d be game to give the show a try if an amazing actress was cast…

          Yeah, I meant it as a a thought experiment – not supposed to be realistic (can you imagine us *ever* really achieving gender equality??) I just think it’s an interesting question to ask and not as part of some specific fandom desire for loads of women versions of different characters (they sound pretty intense – they still *could* be based on the Moon…) – given that THIS character can alter their entire body and mind with a casting change and that it’s part of the world the character lives in (unlike James Bond), if it were done purely out of interest and to cast a super-amazing female actor, is that something we could get on board with – just for one incarnation or even just one story? And if not, why not?

          So far no one has really been able to give an actual reason other than one chap who talked about it being more difficult to relate to a female character as he was a man.

          • Lynda Jul 30, 2015

            Really? No one, except one guy, can give a reason? I can give you one off the top of my head — it would look tokenistic. Because you can be sure if a woman was ever cast that she wouldn’t be followed by another woman and, suddenly, you have 13 or 14 blokes in the role… then a woman… then back to the blokes. It would look appalling. And people would point and say it was just to pander to a certain demographic who have been banging on about it since Tom Baker first suggested it — as a joke, mind you — when he was resigning the role in the early 1980s. It has so much baggage, for so little gain, in a situation where change isn’t actually needed (no matter what anyone says), and which would fragment fandom to boot. No… I just don’t see it.

          • James McLean Jul 30, 2015

            Point is you could argue that if they had a black actor, or an American one (or Scottish, prior to the new series). Tokienistic can be applied where it suits. The point is, as a concept, in a show that is enabled to allow the character to switch gender (certainly since last year), what are the arguments against it bar “I don’t want it?” Personally, I don’t want it, but is that really a good argument? If it was a great bit of casting, would it matter? This is where the debate is interesting; it challenges us to ask why do we not want it – few shows can do that because they don’t have an inbuilt ability to swap genders in their characters.

          • Lynda Jul 30, 2015

            Of course the term, ‘tokenistic’ can be applied when it suits… but that doesn’t stop something looking tokenistic. Because even when something *isn’t* tokenistic, if it can be still called that, then it’s damaging. This is what I was getting at, ie: having over a dozen guys in the role, until we get around to a women Doctor, then back to the guys… not only will it fragment fandom (as a surprisingly large section of it doesn’t want a female Doctor), it will also provide fodder to be called tokenistic, no matter how pure the showrunner’s intentions and no matter how great the Doctor’s acting. It would be forever coloured by that. In the end, the Doctor is a type. He’s male. He’s white. He’s been that way for over 50 years. To start to deviate in the future will invite all kinds of warranted and unwarranted abuse. It’s best left as the status quo; it really, really is.

          • James Lomond Jul 31, 2015

            I think there’s something *really* concerning about leaving the status quo or *anything* alone because a change may be open to unwarranted abuse. You could say that about including gay characters/ non-straight characters in Doctor Who or about having a non-white companion. But that would look pretty creepy. In fact you could say it about any positive change to society that’s ever been made 🙁

            Your argument about it looking tokenistic is valid insofar as one might want to worry about audience responses and viewing figures etc. It would be fodder to attack the motives behind the change. Fine. But that doesn’t answer the hypothetical scenario I put to you where there is no gender inequality and would be no perceived PC motive for changing the gender. Would you still be opposed to it and if so, why? The one actual reason that someone put forward (as opposed to things that reduce to “I wouldn’t like it”) was that they would genuinely find it more difficult as a man, to relate to or identify with a female actor. I think that sounds like an honest reason and also a real shame – it *might* also suggest a whole host of interesting things about how we perceive and feel about gender boundaries.

            Lynda, you COULD, for example, be someone who was all for a change of gender and thought it might be really interesting, but were worried about the possibility of it looking tokenistic and being lambasted for a lack of imagination and serving a social agenda rather than the story etc. and so say you think it shouldn’t happen. You can argue tokenism is a reason not to do it but still LIKE the idea. So if you don’t like the idea – if you’re opposed to it – why is that? Very few people seem to be able to say. :/

          • Lynda Jul 31, 2015

            I think you’re twisting my comment a bit there. The status quo comment referred to the character of the Doctor, specifically, not the show overall. I think the central character should remain the same in order to maintain a sense of who the character is but, outside of that, of course we should have gay characters and/or companions! And we’ve already had a non-white companion in the form of Martha. I thought that was wonderful. So let’s be on the same page here — I embrace change in general. I just feel the Doctor has been cast in such a way for over 50 years that to change it now will have more negatives than positives. Because, yes, there are positives… only a dullard would claim there wouldn’t be… but they don’t outweigh the negatives by a long-shot. Thus, it would be a very, very silly thing for the production team to attempt.

          • James Lomond Jul 31, 2015

            Thanks for the reply- think I’m getting you.

            So by “sense of who the character is” do you mean that it would feel like too much of a change to be able to really believe that it was the *same* character with the same identity? Cuz I’ve sort of suspected that might be it for a lot of people and think that might be the reason I would feel a bit uncomfortable about it.

            The really big question for me though (and again this is brushing aside all the pragmatic concerns about being perceived as tokenism) is whether or not that’s the whole story of whether there is a hint of something sexist in there – given that we’re all human and are pretty much all brought up in overtly or subtly sexist societies. Also I think that’s just a really interesting observation – if it’s true – that the boundary between what we perceive as “male” and “female” is one that many people don’t feel character or identity can cross. …that identity is very closely linked to gender in the minds of many in the Western anglophonic world. At least that’s what I think this might point to.

            Though I’m running away with the amateur intellectualising a bit (!)

          • Lynda Jul 31, 2015

            I mean it in a very simple way; that we know this male character as the Doctor. Or we know this female character as Romana. Or we know yet another female character as the Rani. And so on. It’s at the core of what they are. “Romana is a good, strong, female role model…” someone might say. All well and good… until she becomes a guy. Is s/he still a good female role model then? Which is half the reason it shouldn’t be done right there… these characters establish themselves as male or female and are best left that way. The elephant in the room is the Master, but as people have said, the Master doesn’t play by the rules. In that sense, I can actually live with a female Master, believing it to be the exception with Time Lords, not the rule.

          • James Lomond Aug 1, 2015

            But in that entire paragraph you don’t give any reasons.

            You say is “is s/he still a good female role model then?”… well obviously not as the character is no longer female. But so what – what point are you making? If it’s a deficit of other good female role models that could be solved by increasing the number of characters that fill that criteria in other tv shows/ parts of the media. “Is s/he still a good female role model then?” seems simply to be a statement that you’d find it. There’s no *reason* in there but you straight away leap into “which is half the reason it shouldn’t be done.” Come again?? It’s like you’re saying “cats be friends with dogs? Outrageous!”

            When you talk about things being the exception rather than the rule it sounds a bit like you’d worry about every Time Lord changing gender every time they regenerated and that being difficult to keep track of or, again, feeling weird and unusual? But still can’t see any reasons in there.

            Also in what sense is their gender the “core of what they are”? Isn’t that a really limiting reading of any character? You could equally say “we know this young character as the Doctor” [e.g. 11th] “…until he becomes old. Is he still a good youth role model then?” And how is someone’s gender the core of what they are? We wouldn’t accept that about sexuality or race or an interest in tennis or train-spotting. What is this gendered *core* that seems so important? Why couldn’t a brilliant actress read the lines written for Capaldi and deliver an exciting, dynamic version of the character that is just as aloof and guarded?

            Anyway, it’s been said before that young girls can enjoy and identify with male role models and vice versa (and by some members on this forum who have said that was their own experience let alone all of the female Doctor cosplayers etc). If they can’t then I imagine that’s got something to do with how they’re being taught to view men and women.

          • Lynda Aug 1, 2015

            You ask for reasons… I give you reasons… you choose not to see my reasons as reasons… this is going nowhere, isn’t it? Good talking to you but, clearly, you are as set in your ways as I am in mine and we’re just wasting each other’s time at this point. All the best.

          • James Lomond Aug 1, 2015

            Good talking to you too – and I’m genuinely not trying to wind you up, but I cannot work out what your reasons are, and I don’t think you’ve wasted my time.

            Literally I don’t get what you mean when you say “is s/he still a good female role model?” Are you saying that 1) people cannot identify with role models that are not the same gender as them and 2) if you change the gender, you’ve either robbed half the audience of a role model or confused all the audience?

          • James McLean Aug 1, 2015

            Doctor Who is all about deviation. Tokenistic is a retrospective function rather than a progressive one; you can’t decide whether something feels “inserted” for any non-organic reason until afterwards. Davison was met with due concern for being young – the Doctor was old. Had he been the only under 30s Doctor would he be tolkenistic? The problem with such rhetoric is it is ultimately subjective to the values placed on it; how big a deal it is to the individual.
            Fragmented fandoms don’t really bother me, they’re always fragmented, and quite frankly, are a very small section of the audience that keeps Doctor Who profitable. Would audiences like it? I don’t know, I really don’t. I could see them balking at first, as some younger fans did when they saw Peter Capaldi (for them, a Doctor being so “old” was a horror if Youtube is anything to go by). People adapt. Fans even adapt. If you’d told fans a year before series 8 the Master would be a woman, there would have been much screaming for a year.
            My only personal issue is one of execution. I think a woman Doctor would be hard, not impossible, because television is heavily gendered when it doesn’t need to be. Writing a character shouldn’t be so focused on what makes a man a man and a woman a woman. There are differences, but far more I think on television than real life. As such, women often feel subjugated to a reactionary male need to make them more exciting, more sexual and often, more like a male character. Moffat does this a lot.
            As I’ve said in this thread, the Doctor should be easy to write, you write the Doctor then get a great female actress to read the lines. You shouldn’t really be able to tell from the dialogue whether the Doctor is man or woman really. I think that’s the crux. Question is, would writers manage that and would audiences swallow it?

          • Lynda Aug 1, 2015

            Here’s the thing… it’s harder to call casting Davison tokenistic because, at the time (or even since then), there hasn’t been a push in fandom or wider pop culture that, “leading men should be young” or “leading men should be blonde” or whatever you’d consider token about Davison. Because it wasn’t a reaction to anything, save from attempting to be different casting to the previous Doctor — but that’s a staple of Doctor Who in general. Meanwhile, when there are pushes in the fan base or the wider community for ‘x’ and suddenly the show is delivering ‘x’ it’s a *lot* easier to point to it as pandering and tokenistic to those people. And at present, it’s undeniable there is a near-fanaticism out there, with regards to, “we need to turn some of these male pop culture characters into women” and things of that nature. So if a character who’s been a guy for over 50 years is suddenly made female — in this current climate — I think it’s going to get smashed for being pandering and tokenistic even if, as I said earlier, the showrunner’s intentions were pure and the actress in question put in a great performance. It would basically end up being the most divisive thing ever and when people can so easily call it out for pandering to the fanbase, and even pop culture in general (people who don’t even watch the series), and it would be a disaster.

          • TheLazyWomble Jul 30, 2015

            “Scottish, prior to the new series”- Doctor 7 anyone?

          • kwijino Jul 30, 2015

            Sylvester McCoy, with his rolling Rs, might question you on the point of Scottish Doctors. What are the points for other than “I want it”? The character has been a male for 2,000 years plus. There’s never been any indication he’s unhappy with his gender choice, so why can’t he stay as a man?

          • James Lomond Jul 31, 2015

            He can stay as a man. Why can’t anyone give a coherent answer to why they WANT him to stay as a man?

            The Scottishness was one of a number of examples James could’ve gone for and the principle still stands.

          • James Lomond Jul 31, 2015

            Exactly!

          • James McLean Jul 31, 2015

            Thanks James for not bandwagoning on a specific and ignoring the message.

            🙂 At one point the Doctor was always English, then he was Scottish (doesn’t matter when). At one point he was not romantic, then he “could be-sort-of” and hell, at one point he was Doctor Who who couldn’t regenerate, then he could.

            The debate is interesting because whether we like it or not, it is currently an established possibility that the Doctor’s gender is NOT fixed, ergo, a change in gender is neither politically correctness or against the grain, which is why Doctor Who really is challenging our assumptions and beliefs on gender in a way no other show is.

  6. Gary Murden Jul 29, 2015

    http://www.bigfinish.com/releases/v/exile-367

    Personally I can’t see why there is a need to change the Doctor’s or anyone’s gender.

    With the likes of Sarah Jane, Sara Kingdom and Ace etc, Doctor Who has some great female characters and will continue to do so.

    If they go with a female Doctor then please get Eddie Robson to write it.

    His work on Bernice Summerfield is fantastic and he clearly knows the history and value of the show.

    Moffat is the Vince Russo of Doctor Who.

    After Missy Poppins and the like of depth in Clara for the majority of her run, I don’t have faith in him writing a complying female lead.

    These are just my opinions.

    • James McLean Jul 30, 2015

      I think they’re sound reasons. I must admit, I shudder at the thought of a Moffat female Doctor. I don’t like how he writes women and the over-focus on sexuality from a male perspective. IMO. It’s a fascinating debate for me, because I don’t want a female Doctor but I do wonder if that’s simply my fear of how badly they could screw it up by either trying to hard. I would think a female Doctor would be easy to write: you just write The Doctor and give the lines to a woman. In reality, I wonder if that would happen. 🙂

    • beskar Jul 30, 2015

      One other thing to consider is if the Doctor was female, the majority of companions would undoubtedly become male… so we’d actually have more male stars cycling through the show than we currently do. So if people want more men on Doctor Who, rather than women, by all means push for a female Doctor.

      • Gary Murden Jul 31, 2015

        The majority of companions are female, but I think I am right in saying that the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 9th 10th and 11th doctors travelled with male companions on tv.

        The 3rd had the UNIT squad and the 8th might have had Sam travel with him, I honestly can’t remember.

        Like the female characters some male companionswere more memorable than others, with Jamie and Captain Jack being as popular among some fans as the Doctor.

        Just like with the Doctor the only thing that truly matters is the quality of the writing, freshness of character and of course, the right casting.

        That said, I think you would be right and they would have male companions.

        • TheLazyWomble Aug 1, 2015

          In the BBC books, the 8th Doctor had a companion called Sam. Sam was female. That said, I agree with the point you make that it is the quality of the writing, freshness of character and casting that are important: more so than gender.

          • Gary Murden Aug 1, 2015

            Thank you for the reply.

            I honestly think this where bigfinish have been clever in doing their runs of three stories with the same doctor and companion and then switching it up.

            Hex really freshened Ace’s role up and fingers crossed, the same will happen to Clara.

            The outrage of a female Doctor that is badly written would damage the show.

            Then again, I remember the fallout of the Twin Dilemma, and Trial of the Timelord.

            The newspapers were full of pictures of the Doctor strangling Peri and preparing to torture her.

            The story arc explained why these happened but a lot of complaints came from people who didn’t see the show.

            Compared to that a female Doctor is a PR Dream.

            That is from a fan of old Sixie, who loves the work that he has done on bigfinish.

  7. Castellan Spandrel Jul 29, 2015

    One good thing if the Doctor turns female: the character might stop getting slapped in the face by his/her companion.

    • Lynda Jul 29, 2015

      Ha, yes. I’d wonder how long getting slapped in the face would last if the Doctor was female and the companion was a guy. Would that be OK? And if people think it wouldn’t be OK, why is it OK for Clara to do it to 12? A bizarre situation.

      • Castellan Spandrel Jul 30, 2015

        I think we’re meant to find it funny or to think “Good for you, Clara – he deserved that.” It demeans both characters.

        It’s token ‘feistiness’ written into the female part. ‘Feisty’ is one of my bugbears – it’s a lazy word for writers struggling to inject depth into female characterisation.

        • beskar Jul 30, 2015

          Adding my 2c and reiterating something I said in another branch of this conversation (above), why is the hero of his own show getting slapped? Why is violence OK? What if he slapped her back, instead? I’m sure it would be on the TV news in an instant and domestic violence campaigners would be all over it like a fat kid on cake. Yet when she does it to him, it’s perfectly OK and perhaps even a role model for young girls. So many questions.

          • Castellan Spandrel Jul 31, 2015

            Quite.

            I’m an old school fan of 43 years’ standing, and try as I might, I can’t imagine Jo slapping the Third Doctor or Sarah-Jane the Fourth – nor Leela doing it, come to that, who’s a more violent character than Clara.

          • ThePurpleFrockCoat Aug 9, 2015

            I can’t imagine Jo slapping the Third Doctor. How about Liz Shaw?

      • We’ve had looooong discussions on this topic here Lynda (with a y!) and I believe Ranger even wrote to the BBC. Doubt she got much of a reply, as I gather the mood that it’s ok for Clara to use physical violence still stands in S9.
        If they can’t treat men and women equally they shouldn’t pretend turning the Doctor female won’t make any difference!

        • James Lomond Jul 31, 2015

          But I don’t think the production crew are pretending that turning the Doctor female won’t make a difference are they?

          Surely the important thing here is that we believe men and women shouldn’t behave differently in this respect i.e. we don’t think that showing Clara hit the Doctor is somehow normal or expected is a good thing?

          So in an ideal world this particular aspect *wouldn’t* change if the Doctor were to change gender.

        • Ranger Jul 31, 2015

          Didn’t get a reply at all in fact, Bar. I meant to write again, but got caught up in real life. I took the charitable view that my letter just went astray and not that they couldn’t be bothered to reply. I think I will write again.

  8. It would mean, in a few years’ time, people saying either ‘there’s no decent role model left for boys, or probably ‘Yes, the Doctor’s a great role model, but only because she used to be / is really a man.’

    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If society is broke and needs nudging, don’t break Who by asking it to do more than it can.

    • James McLean Jul 30, 2015

      Doctor Who has already changed the role model. From being sexually neutral, which I think would have made a great role model for gay teens in the 70s, he’s now very much a heterosexual character model. The model has changed, and few have really noted how that may have took from one audience to give to a more popular one.
      Personally speaking, I’d like to see sexuality stripped back from the Doctor and thus whether he was played by a male or female, it would be “the Doctor” without that constant fixation on sexuality defining gender. Didn’t define the 2nd Doctor, why should it define a male/female Doctor as it often does now?

      • hi James, I think it’s important to keep genetic sex, sexuality and gender separate: the Doctor has always been male but not heterosexual or even, as far as we know, concerned about sexuality at all. I love the fourth Doctor’s line to the exquisite Catherine Schell: ‘You’re a very beautiful women. Probably.’ Says it all.
        And that’s why I disliked all the Ten and Rose stuff and rejoiced at the ‘I am not your boyfriend/ I never said it was your mistake’ stuff in S8. Loads and loads of people noticed, and complained, and have been listened to!

        The programme has always championed Gay artists and culture, and been ahead of its time on most minority representation. Its first producer was a woman, its first director asian… Yet society is still a long way from allowing people, whatever sex their birth certificate says, to develop their own gender identity as they feel appropriate. Let alone explore or express a sexuality different from traditional polarities.

        If you want the Doctor to be part of the movement for change, I’m with you; provided that it doesn’t risk being dismissed as a PC stunt. Then rejected as a cult rather than loved as a family flagship show. You say it was taken from one audience to appeal to a popluar one, but its message reaches more people if it’s popular, even if it has to go a bit slower with the change agenda.

        • James McLean Jul 31, 2015

          I think the concerns as to how it would be implemented, promoted and recieved are good reasons to be concerned. I think they deviate away from whether the Doctor could/should be a woman at some time, but I think to dismiss them would be daft, especially if the concerns in this forum reflect in anyway the general masses.

  9. Doct-Her Who Jul 30, 2015

    These commenters who oppose it are not true fans and are only sexist misognustmysoginist pigs who need to turn off their broken record. Get Capaldi out (he’s worse than Smith and I though that impossible), then fire Moffat and regenerate the Doctor into a woman ASAP in order to save the show while we still can.

    OPPOSE FASCIST SEXISM AND REGENDERATE THE DOCTOR!

    • Doctor Moo Jul 30, 2015

      *yawn*

      Wrong on every possible count. At least TRY to tell us why you think that. And while you’re at it please check your spelling.

      • Doct-Her Who Jul 30, 2015

        YOU ARE A VILE SEXIST PIG AND NEED TO STOP TROLLING ME!!! I’M RIGHT YOURE WEING AND SO SHJT IP AND F–K OFF!!! THIS SOTE IS FOR MYSOGINISTS AND SHOULD BE BANNEF FOREBVRR!!!

        • Doctor Moo Jul 30, 2015

          My dear Doct-Her Who, could you please not resort to swearing at me? It doesn’t help you or anyone and your opinions are not supported but undermined by that behaviour/attitude. It’s exactly that which has lead to you being banned so many times over and over, I have flagged your second comment as well.

          • Doct-Her Who Jul 30, 2015

            LOOK AND SEE HOW THE COMMENTERS OF THE SITE SUPPORT AND UPHOLD THE SOTE IN ITS FASCIST REGIME OG CENSORSHIL! RISE UP FELLOE SUPPORTERS OF FREE SOEECH AMD FIGHT THE CENSORSHIP!

            #FightTheSite #WomanForNextDoc #CapaldiOutNow

          • Doctor Moo Jul 30, 2015

            Suddenly I’ve seen the light! You have convinced me that the next Doctor should be a woman because of reasons and that the incumbent Peter Capaldi is terrible. You’ve totally made me change my perspective of the show. As for kasterborous.com suffice to say I won’t come back here again because it’s clearly got a fascist agenda of mysogony and censorship to push.

            (that was sarcasm btw)

          • James Lomond Jul 30, 2015

            (Wasn’t Doct-Her Who saying all of that for comic effect?)

          • Doctor Moo Jul 30, 2015

            (If only, but history tells us otherwise.)

          • James Lomond Jul 30, 2015

            Yikes.

          • TheLazyWomble Jul 30, 2015

            Sarcasm? No! Really?

  10. itsonlythesoaps Jul 30, 2015

    I think part of why some people are against it has nothing to do with sexism, but simple cognitive dissonance. You see a character as one gender, so having them change to another is surprising. In the real world, gender identity is a big deal. If DW just had the Doctor change gender and it was two seconds of story I’d be horrified. Most humans would want an explanation. Not just hello, I’m the Doctor and CISgender female. We’re not yet in a gender blind society, so it is understandable why it would be an issue for some.

    • James McLean Jul 30, 2015

      I really like your point. I wonder whether it is actually an argument for such a change; to challenge our perceptions of what we consider makes gender important. That said, I know I’m not sure I’d be thrilled, and I’m still not sure why. Is it the gender, or a dislike to who women are conventionally written on television and feeling they would ruin the character by implentation? Or is the latter an excuse for the former? I’m really not sure.

  11. Fascinating discussion. I am not convinced by any of the arguments why the doctor shouldn’t be a woman (the Peter Parker one is close though), but I feel uncomfortable with the doctor becoming a woman. Missy does work for me though. It’s very confusing.

  12. The Fantastic Four casting does feel rather like tokenism though, probably because he is one of four, so it reinforces a minority, more than if they had just left it alone. Mind you, it might be just because Chris Evans was so hot…

  13. I would be the first person to welcome a strong female lead in a show, I adore series like Orange is the New Black, Orphan Black and Lost Girl, where women lead the show rather than being part of the ensemble. I was a child of the 70’s and it didn’t matter to me that Wonder Woman’s alter ego was effectively the sexy secretary, when she was Wonder Woman she kicked ass!

    I don’t need however the Doctor to be female, as others have said, it’s a token gesture and not one I’m comfortable with. Yes, he’s an alien with the ability to be any species, colour or gender. However, It’s been long established that he prefers to regenerate into a male form and I know it’s the writing that has dictated that but I don’t care. The Doctor is male.

    What I’d like to see is a modern day Romana or other such TimeLady, maybe Jenny the Doctors Daughter, a fully formed rounded character as clever as the Doctor and give him a run for his money, I’d think it would be hilarious to see his ego taken down a peg or two as he blunders in to save the day and someone has already sorted it out without him. It would take clever balanced writing though and I don’t think Moffat is the person to do that at the moment. Maybe I’m wrong, we’ve no idea what the role Maisie Williams is playing, she looks significant but whether she’s that significant, we’ll have to wait and see.

    • TheLazyWomble Jul 30, 2015

      Well said, AmethystDragon 🙂

    • beskar Jul 30, 2015

      I can get behind much of that, however, I don’t know why we keep needing the Doctor to be bumbling, or the least effective character on his own show. It’s a very Nu Who thing to make it “all about the companion” I suppose. When we had Romana the first time around, she was a strong, smart character and that was fantastic but we didn’t need to make Tom Baker’s Doctor a bumbling fool to show that, if you see what I mean? Someone raised the Doctor getting slapped earlier and that sort of falls into the same category. Why is the hero of his own show getting slapped? Why is violence OK? What if he slapped her back, instead? I’m sure it would be on the TV news in an instant and domestic violence campaigners would be all over it like a fat kid on cake. Yet when she does it to him, it’s perfectly OK and perhaps even a role model for young girls. So many questions.

    • ThePurpleFrockCoat Aug 9, 2015

      Well said. Personally I don’t think The Doctor is really the right candidate for a gender change especially if the character will be continued written the same way: a fallible being. Not exactly a role model for women and the stereotyping will come out something Peter Davison recently said. I’d rather they create a female character with her own sense of self which is a bigger statement.

  14. Pantz Aug 2, 2015

    You’re not alone Christian, I don’t look upon Missy as the Master either. To me, she’s just another Moffat Mary Sue who just happens to have the Master’s memories in her head. I think Bertie Carvel would make an excellent Master. Also, Eccleston’s lines about potentially getting two heads in his next life was a joke, right? That’s how I took it.

  15. Semi-Evil Semi-Genius Aug 14, 2015

    This topic has been debated to death, just look at the number of comments on this article as opposed to any other. So, my contribution will just be: why is this seen such as a necessary change? If you think the Doctor would work as a female, that’s fine. But if you think the Doctor HAS to be female, then that’s just crazy.

    I would prefer the Doctor to remain a male. But if the Doctor was female, then I’d keep watching. Ultimately, if the stories are interesting and the acting is well done, I would be happy. I’ll always find a nitpick because I am a hypercritical, obsessive nerd. But I can’t see the point to the change. Give me sensible stories that with a clear reasoning; let’s put our attention on that.

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