by Dinah Aguilar ’19
The new female Doctor in the enduring “Doctor Who” franchise adds to the new era of women empowerment in sci-fi. After characters like Rey from “Star Wars” and Wonder Woman that have become role models and symbols of progress in representation, the “Doctor Who” franchise debuted their thirteenth Doctor and after 55 years she is a woman. Unlike the usual roles of sexy lady, or romantic interest, “Doctor Who” is providing a female main character hat is rarely seen.
When the newest season “The Woman Who Fell to Earth,” announced the new regeneration of the Doctor, a process of rebirth into a new body to be a woman, played by British actor Jodie Whittaker, fans got mad. Many closed-minded and sexist fans believed that the classic Doctor personality of confidence and courage would change with a woman lead, with one twitter user saying “It’s gonna be s**t I’m officially done by Doctor Who.” Such a mentality long has kept the science fiction universe male-dominated.
Whittaker responded to the hate saying, “I want to tell the fans not to be scared by my gender. Because this is a really exciting time, and Doctor Who represents everything that’s exciting about change. The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one.” This is important to remember as a fan of “Doctor Who.” The Doctor is always evolving and changing, with every regeneration getting a new body and personality. What Whittaker has succeeded in portraying is the courage and stubbornness each Doctor has in completing his and (now) her mission. Though their gender has changed, the tradition of a new appearance and determination remains the same.
Unlike the criticisms in mean tweets, the ratings for the show are high with every episode averaging 7 million viewers and the “BBC” previous revealing that it was the most viewed “Doctor Who” launch since the revival in 2005 with 10.6 million viewers. The new Doctor is reaching more people now than ever as a movement is rising to change sci-fi culture and create equality in the fictional space.