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Why the Next Few Doctor Who Characters Need to Be Women

December 18, 2017

In the spirit of the Doctor's upcoming regeneration to a woman, I'm posting some thoughts in relation to this sci-fi event because it seems to hearken a new beginning for all of us in gender relations, perhaps the long-needed soul food required for our spiritual regeneration in the 21st century.

 

Last year, I took a long belated but satisfying binge watch of the Doctor Who franchise from 2005 to present, including all the Christmas features, anniversary specials, and prequel shorts describing backstory.

 

In the U.S., the 20th century featured Star Trek - Next Generation, a science fiction television adventure that focused on diplomacy and intellect over violence, along with adherence to the Prime Directive, which advised against interfering with the internal development of alien nations, especially ones not equal technically, scientifically, and culturally. 

 

The technical, scientific, cultural, and political messages in Doctor Who have been ones that defer to the same axiom: reason before action, evaluate situations from multiple perspectives, think way out of the box, be diplomatic. But one thing distinguishes the show from U.S television - the characterization of women as strong individuals without the compulsive urge to have a downplayed or emasculated male counterpart. Giving in to this urge is completely offensive and sexist since it influences generations of male and female viewers to surmise the woman was strong because the man was weak. Someone had to be "the man."

 

But Doctor Who has messaged a completely different directive the past 12 years and has shown us how that looks, without fail, every episode: women and men are equal in their humanity with strengths and weaknesses.

 

So in answer to last year's anticipated question, "Will the next Doctor be a woman?" I would argue that since 2005, the series has been preparing us for that very fact.

 

And for those who think there will be a single "one off" female Time Lord character and that will be the end of it, should ask themselves how long will it take to learn the next lesson about equality - that women in leadership are not going to be warmongers, sex fiends, or pushovers, basically due to some sort of male fantasy, fear or stereotype. (Or the "cold bitch" as we saw Hillary Clinton portrayed last year during the presidential election.)

 

This year has shone a light on how far we have not come in this country as women so I hope there will be a string of female Time Lords and other strong characters that continue to illustrate how women in leadership, like men, will be themselves, humans with strengths and weaknesses.

 

Of course, the show has been illustrating this with the many women in leadership roles in U.N.I.T., government and fabulous, intelligent companions. But it is Doctor Who, in cases of planetwide emergency, who is in charge of well, the Earth. The Doctor's regeneration into a woman will be the first time that "glass," er Tardis "ceiling" is broken.

 

The new show-runner and writers of this tremendous British series have been given a heavy torch to bear by their predecessors since 2005 - one that attempts to move male and female humans into greater social equality in terms of not only seeing women as equals but women in leadership as equals.

 

"Hollywood" and entertainment in general, are the influencers of generations. Politicians wield the power but when people are influenced to have a different, more egalitarian perspective of one another, polarizing politicians are rendered powerless. (One reason conservative disinformation news agency Sinclair is trying to buy up all the U.S. local news stations as we speak. Influence.)

 

I believe that in order to drive home how it looks to be an extraordinary woman in both the ordinary and extraordinary adventure we call life on planet Earth, there will have to be more than one female Doctor.

 

It is not news that female humans have been on planet Earth a long time. We are the human bearers of life after all. Perhaps It's time to take another listen, familiarize oneself with all the different nuances of who we are. We have something to say and many, many thoughts and ideas about preserving humanity and all its inhabitants. 

 

Now, "I want some new boots, some toys, 3D printer, and a pony," said Missy, a very apt Time Lord and villain. 

 

I believe Missy was our biggest foreshadow. A complicated woman with a deep intellect, she represented the ambiguity and complexity and unpredictability of humanity quite well. As humans, we all need to view the darkness we wrestle with daily and see ways out of that void so we can begin to choose love, kindness, and peace over indifference, cruelty, and war. To bring this home, Missy expressed to the Doctor during their reconciliation process that, "I need you to know we're not so different." 

 

So please, new show-runner and writers, a string of female Doctors, plenty of female Time Lord villainesses, and lots of wonderful female companions to model how we are to progress as we move deeper into the 21st century - as regenerated global citizens participating in equal partnerships to bring us to the next evolution in our humanity.

 

 

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