Why You’re Wrong About a Female Doctor

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Guest contributor Dan Roth addresses the more common arguments against the idea.


Pic: Ch4rms

This goes out to nearly 90% of you (according to the recent poll).

Matt Smith will be out of the TARDIS come the end of 2013, and while that’s incredibly sad, it’s also very exciting because, at its heart, Doctor Who is about change.

And yet there seems to be one change in particular that readers of this site seem dead set against – a female Doctor.


Let’s look at some of the most popular arguments and why they make no sense whatsoever.

The Doctor has never been female before

So what? I’ve never gone skydiving before, but there’s a first time for everything. We know there’s precedent. The Doctor specifically mentions that the Corsair has swapped genders in The Doctor’s Wife. Do you remember the Doctor seeming terribly flummoxed about that notion? Me neither. Because he wasn’t. At all. Which brings us to the next point.

The Doctor would struggle with being female because that’s never happened before

Would he? Let’s run through the things the Doctor’s managed to deal with thus far – live for over one thousand years, save countless worlds, commit the genocide of his own race, and eat fish fingers with custard. Being a lady, though? Heaven’s above, it’d be too much!

I’m sorry, but no.

In eleven incarnations of the Doctor we’ve been reminded again and again that he is very alien. For every human-like trait, there are countless other moments where the Doctor betrays his inhumanness. That’s part of why we have companions. They ask the questions the Doctor won’t and they react the way the Doctor can’t. A companion being confused about the Doctor regenerating into a woman makes sense. But the Doctor is an alien, so she’d be confused for a moment at best before immediately blundering off into danger like usual.

But the children watching the show will be confused!

Will they, though? Personally, I grew up on shows where cars turned into alien robots, turtles could mutate into teenaged ninjas, a duck could be a vegetarian vampire, and a bloke with a blue box that’s bigger on the inside can travel through space and time. I don’t recall batting an eye about any of those things, do you? Let’s give the children of today a bit more credit, shall we?

And while we’re on the subject of children – how about the 50% of them who are girls? Isn’t it about time they had the chance to play Doctor around the schoolyard and know that, really really, they could grow up to be the Doctor and not just the Doctor’s assistant? The boys already have 50 years worth of Doctors they can pretend to be and, believe it or not, some of them will enjoy pretending to be the 12th Doctor even if she’s a she!

A female Doctor will have to deal with sexism when traveling to the past

If sexism is the one challenge the Doctor isn’t strong enough to face, I’ll eat my fez. Dalek fleet? Sorted. Cyber Legion? Sorted! Someone saying what a woman can and cannot do? Not sorted? Seems a tad unlikely. Besides, companions have been pushing passed sexist stereotyping from the start, so I can’t imagine the Doctor would have much trouble doing it now.

I personally will stop watching the programme

Will you, though? Because I bet a tenner you won’t, my love. Oh you’ll fuss over the Doctor being a woman, but you’ll still tune in because, if you’ve been around long enough, you’ve watched years of the show despite not liking previous Doctors or companions before. Maybe you were around for Dimensions in Time and, bless, if a Whovian can survive that…

I hosted a panel at the start of the year with a number of internet personalities where Doctor Who was analyzed near to death. After over an hour of discussing all the very many things these online critics didn’t like about Doctor Who, I asked – “So why do you still watch it?” And the answer, uniformly, is that Doctor Who’s concept is too charming, too infinite in its possibilities not to watch.

Having a woman play the Doctor wouldn’t change that, so I would submit that you, despite all your mouth frothing gnashing of teeth, will still tune in every week. And bless your heart, so you should. It’s Doctor bloody Who! No other show like it.

Doctor Who will be canceled if there’s a female Doctor

If that’s true, then we’ve got a lot more to worry about than the fate of a television show, don’t you think?