I know I just finished talking about Doctor Who Season 10 a couple weeks ago, but this week the Internet exploded with the news of who’s playing the next Doctor. There was then a second explosion: the debate over whether the Doctor should be played by a woman.
When Tilda Swinton played the Ancient One in Dr. Strange, the main problem was with her skin tone, not her gender. But it matters to people that the Doctor is supposed to be a dude. What’s the difference here?
As far as I can tell, it was okay for the Ancient One to be a girl because even when he was a guy he didn’t have a romance with anyone. The Doctor has only had romance in recent years; he behaved as aromantic and asexual for at least 33 years. Based on the majority of the evidence, then, the Doctor’s gender shouldn’t enter into the equation.
In-universe, the show has been building up to this for a while. The Master turned female. The Time Lord General on Gallifrey went “back to normal” by turning female. The Doctor even mentioned once or twice that turning female wouldn’t be so bad.
But here’s the big one. People think the show is making the Doctor female just to pander to the “feminists” and anyone who writes fanfiction about a female Doctor. I honestly can’t disagree with this point. Whether the writers will admit it or not, being “inclusive” for the sake of being inclusive is a driving force behind almost every piece of modern media that’s not headed by a staunch Christian.
On the other hand… one second (quick IMDB search).
Chris Chibnall will be the show’s head honcho after Moffat is gone. Chibnall also wrote “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” and “The Power of Three.” Those episodes introduced us to Queen Nefertiti and UNIT Director Kate Stewart. They’re not terrible female characters, compared to the women that Moffat’s been writing about (River Flipping Song, for example). It makes me think this female Doctor will be a good character, is what I’m saying.
I’ve seen Jodie Whitaker (that’s the actress, spoilers) in one other thing that I can think of, and I can’t complain about her acting. So even if it’s pandering, it will be quality pandering, I guess.
In summary: cautiously optimistic, but haters gonna hate.