Since December 23rd, 1963, fans behind the sensational show Doctor Who have rallied behind the male-dominated role. They have found themselves standing beside the Doctor as he moved through the galaxy, stopping with his companions to meet new alien races, take in the sights, and even hang for a bit to enjoy some fish fingers and custard.
For 54 years we've seen a wide and unique ensemble of cast members join Doctor Who. We've seen a Doctor who was silly, goofy, and taught us valuable lessons of friendship and honesty through Tom Baker. We saw the serious, but endearing side of the Doctor through curiosity and his whimsical charm in Jon Pertwee. We even saw the meaning of the willingness to explore the unknown and take risks to see what you may never have seen had you not with Chris Eccleston.
While Matt Smith's Doctor taught us lessons on love and family, the bigger picture is painted all over the universe thanks to each iteration of the Doctor. There's one lesson that they all teach through the narrative: The show (and the fandom) is about acceptance, diversity and uniqueness; something that Peter Capaldi's Doctor stated more than once in his short tenure as the Twelfth Doctor.
With Jodie Whittaker preparing to take over the role during the 2017 Christmas Special, fans have already begun reacting over the reveal. However, many reactions show that it was time for a change to a female Doctor and why the show — now more than ever — needs to remain focused on diversity and acceptance.
#NotMyDoctor Is A Real Deal And It Sucks
Fans have been on the edge of nerve-racking anxiety as the announcement for the Thirteenth Doctor reveal drew near. Many were rallying behind actors such as Hugh Laurie (House) and Rupert Grint (Harry Potter franchise). Those accepting of a gender change even proposed Game of Thrones' very own Emilia Clarke and Agent Carter actress Hayley Atwell to take on the role.
However, there's a problem: sexism. Many of the tweets and posts on social media are about the Doctor's gender. There are those who don't want to see the Doctor as a female. One Twitter user even came out to point out the obvious, citing Peter Capaldi's Doctor:
Sadly, not all users remembered what the Doctor himself said.
Do fans really want to see the Doctor gone after just one season? People said the same thing about Capaldi and many of them learned to enjoy his wacky, off-the-wall antics.
It's worth noting that people seem to have forgotten that the Doctor isn't bound by the same laws we are: they do not have a gender.
It seems, just in these short few tweets, that people have forgotten about what #DoctorWho stands for, not just as a show, but as a fandom. It's always been about steering into the unknown whether we are ready or not.
Is Sexism Really A Problem Already?
We live in a world where women have to fight for equality. Whether it's cosplayers gender-bending their favorite characters, actors portraying a character of a different skin color, or the sexist slamming of films such as the all-female cast of Ghostbusters.
This issue has now arisen within the Doctor Who fandom. There's a lot of passion within the community, but they seem to forget what the Doctor would want were he or she real. The Doctor would want equality, acceptance, love and understanding.
It's no doubt frustrating to fans when change happens so rapidly, but the change is necessary for the show, not just the Thirteenth Doctor being played by Jodie Whittaker, but also by Michelle Gomez who took the role of Master after John Simm stepped down from the role.
The battle now? For sexism to stop, whether it's within the Doctor Who fanbase or beyond. It's a very real problem and this most recent issue proves that the world needs both a female Doctor Who as well as acceptance and diversity.
Are you ready for the Thirteenth Doctor? Sound off what you hope to see Jodie Whittaker accomplish in the show.