Forget tradition, Dr Who needs a female star

TV is short on fierce female lead characters; this chance should not be passed up

Share
Related Topics

The word ‘tradition’ brings about warm
feelings. It represents the constant factors in life, things that don’t change
and are always there for some comfort and security.

But lately the word hasn’t been employed in that way; mostly, in fact, it has been used to defend prejudice, to argue against progress and change.

In a recent debate about who is to play the Doctor in the hit BBC series Doctor Who the word ‘tradition’ – and/or variations of it – has been thrown around to determine that the Doctor could never, ever be played by a woman. The character, after all, is traditionally played by a man, so a woman could never do it justice, apparently. It wouldn’t work because she would be doing a man’s job.

Creator of the series Steven Moffat has already said a female Doctor is a possibility. And according to the show’s plot, the Doctor can transform into anything or anyone he wants. So why not? To have a female main character in one of the most watched British-produced shows in the world would be a strike against inequality.

But The Daily Mail was quick to criticize Moffat’s pro-female Doctor statement by running a story written by TV critic Christopher Stevens claiming that the new Doctor should “be ANYONE but a woman!” Stevens argues that the Doctor must be a man, never a woman, so that little boys have someone to look up to. He completely fails to observe that boys can also look up to women, just as little girls have looked up to men for centuries because there weren’t enough fierce, strong women in the public eye.

There are still not enough female CEOs and world leaders to make up for this– not to mention most female characters on TV and in movies have the same ditzy, pathetic, plain, uncomplicated personalities. Either that or they are sidekicks to men. So if little boys would be losing a role model, where’s the compensation for little girls who had no one of their own gender to look up to?

Similarly, Louise Mensch wrote in her blog Unfashionista that the Doctor should always be played by an ‘alpha male’, and never an ‘alpha female’. She seems to forget, however, that a person’s gender is not an indication of their capability to perform a job. Challenging gender roles to expose the idea that men and women are both capable of performing the same tasks definitely goes against tradition.

But The Daily Mail and Mensch don’t want to step one toe out of the comfort zone.

In both articles, the authors are repeating one of the most common beliefs about gender: that men are more competent than women. Although Mensch recognizes that ‘alpha females’ exist, the tone of praise for ‘alpha males’ seems to suggest male leaders are somehow more qualified than female leaders.

And tradition is carrying all of these arguments on its back.

Breaking tradition to bring about change can only be done by taking people out of their comfort zone. The progress of women’s rights has in large part been achieved by challenging traditional gender roles and forcing men out of their privileged bubble.

Tradition is tired, it needs a rest. Leave all preconceptions about gender behind and embrace new ideas. It’s time for a female Doctor, if just for the sake of shaking things up a little bit.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Associate Recrutiment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

PMLD Teacher

Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Political Editor: Cameron's unexpected tax pledges give the Tories home advantage

Andrew Grice
President Barack Obama walks with U.S. Secret Service agents to Air Force One at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, Calif., May 8, 2014.  

Obama's Secret Service has become sloppy with its delusions of Hollywood grandeur

David Usborne
Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence