To paraphrase a line from another fandom, I felt a great disturbance in the TARDIS, as if millions of fans suddenly cried out in terror and were silenced as they blogged in anger. For the first time in Doctor Who history, a woman, Jodie Whittaker, will be portraying the Doctor, and the fan base exploded with reactions. Some were positive, some were negative, and still others were apoplectic.
In the interest of full disclosure, I am a Doctor Who fan from way back, and I can see why some fans are upset. The Doctor has been male up until Ms. Whittaker’s casting, so there’s naturally going to be some pushback. However, there has been pushback with most of the previous Doctors, although not along gender lines. We are in uncharted territory right now, and some fans aren’t even trying to put on their big boy pants and give Ms. Whittaker a chance.
One of the stated fears has its genesis in real world situations, that being what is seen as the creeping influence of social justice in geekdom. For those of you with lives, pop culture has experienced a boom in recent years, and as a result, Leftists have decided to be the death of the party in it. Whether it’s video games, comic books, cartoons, science fiction, or anything else that will guarantee its fandom that dating will most likely be out of the question, Leftists are finding ways to exert force to create their fantasy out of the fantasy genre.
Having seen this play out in real time, I can say this is a legitimate concern, but there is a caveat. I need to see how and if Doctor Who’s acting and writing changes to incorporate more Leftist ideology before I lament the show’s demise. Until then, I will withhold judgment on whether Doctor Who has gone full Social Justice Warrior. I will also ask my fellow Whovians to do the same. Some of you have invested over 50 years in the show, and to throw that time and enjoyment away over something that is in canon and entirely possible within a show where there are Daleks and Cybermen is silly at best.
And speaking of silly, that brings us to the Queen Bee of the SJW crowd, Anita Sarkeesian. After Ms. Whittaker was cast, Sarkeesian went onto the Twitter account for her “non-profit organization” and complained the Doctor…wasn’t trans and/or a person of color. (I told you she was silly.) As expected, many people reading her tweet reminded her of characters who weren’t “predominantly white” as Sarkeesian claimed the show to be, which took all of, oh, 3 seconds to research. And as far as trans is concerned, a Time Lord is the ultimate trans person because he can change into anyone upon regeneration. Any race, any gender, any sexual orientation. An…ny…one.
Pro tip for you, Anita. Before you get upset at a particular fandom, do at least some research on it so you don’t look like a total moron. Then again, if you did that, most of your content wouldn’t exist, but you do you, ma’am!
What we’re seeing from both sides of the female Doctor controversy is gender politics. Both the Whovian purists and the SJWs see the Doctor as solely male, but the former sees it as positive while the latter sees it as negative. And both are wrong-headed in their approaches in spite of having valid concerns. I certainly don’t want the Doctor to turn into an SJW, but I don’t want the series to remain stagnant, either. There is a happy medium to be found, and I hope Ms. Whittaker and the writers find it.
To both sides upset over the new direction, you need to find a happy medium, too. For the Left, this is going to be a lot harder, but at least try, okay? Just because the Doctor is going to be female doesn’t mean the whole series is going to suck. Leave the sucking to “CSI: Boise”. And just because the Doctor is white doesn’t mean the series is whiter than Edgar Winter in the middle of a blizzard at Ice Station Zebra. Give the show a chance and then complain if it’s not up to snuff. You might find a white female Doctor is your cup of Earl Grey after all.
And if you’re still upset after hearing my suggestion, go ahead and complain. Rage quit your fandom. It will make for better viewing because we won’t have to deal with your butthurt.