Kyle Rath looks at Jodie Whittaker’s imminent arrival as the 13th Doctor, against the cultural backdrop of recent trends of toxic masculinity.
I’m just a Boy, standing in front of a Girl, who was nice enough to proofread this for me.
Thirteen is falling from her TARDIS, and I’m starting to detect a pattern.
Doctor Who will be returning to the airwaves this fall, and the newly regenerated Doctor will be played by Jodie Whittaker.
Or should I say “re-gender-ated”, amirite?
My question is this: As a lifelong fan of the show and its associated media, will I still be able to look to The Doctor as one of my heroes, even though I won’t be able to see myself through Her eyes anymore?
I mean, how can I? I’m not a woman!
You see, The Doctor began as a man, and has always been a man, and that was perfectly fine, right up until it wasn’t. Suddenly. Now, after some 2000 years (or billions, depending upon your personal interpretation of Heaven Sent), this individual has “decided” to be female.
It’s an affront to the history of the character, and my sensitive male ego.
Ok, not really. Not me, at any rate. But that statement may be true for a great many (former?) Doctor Who fans, who just can’t come to terms with the true definition of evolution.
Throughout the 20th – 21st Century, little boys have grown up with the idea that they needed to become Men. This was accomplished by dominating the world in a variety of ways, and reminding the Women they surrounded themselves with that this was “Truth”. Men dominated in business, politics, the arts. Everywhere it mattered, Men ruled. And so it continued, so on and so forth, as it had always been.
And these Men continued to see themselves celebrated, championed even, on TV screens and in movie theatres, reminding them and assuring them that they would always be Men, and in charge.
Unfortunately, this paradigm created a reality where Men awarded themselves too much importance, and a false sense of superiority above other men and all women. As a result, we now live in a time where the buffoonery and pageantry of these Men is what passes for power and so called capability, and it just may lead us down a destructive path. I hope not. There’s still time.
The Hearts of the Matter
But how does this all relate to The Doctor, you might be asking?
Well I asked a question way up near the beginning. It’s a question everyone who was not born male has been asking themselves, either consciously or unconsciously, about all of their favourite characters, for a very long time.
Representation is important to a culture. Feeling like we belong, and that our belonging is important to that culture, gives us Validation; Empowerment; Confidence. It gives us motivation to try, to reach, and maybe succeed where previously we’d been too afraid to go. Or perhaps more simply, to break free of constraints that no longer apply or hold sway over us.
Representation is how we evolve.
The recent trends of toxic masculinity are not indicative of the whole. They do not represent how we all feel. It is but a small, frightened group; a group who are unwilling and unable to evolve beyond their original programming. To not only be better, but to Be Best.
Thirteen is still falling from her TARDIS. Will she be a Good Woman? The kind that a guy like me can aspire to be, or at the very least, try to emulate, as an example to my growing children?
You bet your ass She will be. She’s The Doctor.