On Traditions, Role Models, and Moving Forward

So Doctor Who is going to be a woman. I’m sure everyone’s heard already, and if you didn’t you’re clearly very good at hiding under your rock!

Of course, as is the norm when something suddenly becomes more female-friendly, some people were incredibly pissed off. Now, I’m not one to fight people in comment threads on this (though if you said it to my face I’d have a few words to say), but in this case the particular comments got me thinking about why this sort of thing bothers some people so much.

I’m going to cover some of my thoughts in points below. I’m paraphrasing and amalgamating various comments I’ve seen so if you haven’t seen this exact wording that would be why.


1 – “Where are all the role models for men/boys going?”

Because women getting role models automatically means men have to give up some of theirs? With how much media and people’s online lives are expanding, there’s so much more room out there in films and comic books and novels for representation of all kinds. I never want men to have to give up the wonderful variety and strength in the male role models they have growing up, I just want to give women the same thing. A Wonder Woman film having huge numbers of badass Amazonian women doesn’t negate the numerous male superheroes and supporting cast that we can also see.

And this doesn’t just stop with women, there should be more representation for everyone, of all races, sexualities, genders. Why put a limit on how much there is, and then hoard it for men only?


2 – “But it’s a tradition for the Doctor to be male!”

Okay… but why? I get that traditions are great sometimes, especially when they’re good ones. Christmas traditions about what you eat during the holidays or where you go on your summer holidays are great examples.

But we need to keep re-examining traditions. Ask why it’s still a tradition? Is it important that it doesn’t change? Is this an inherently discriminatory tradition?

Many bad things were traditional at one time of another. Women not owning property, being married off to much older men at a young age, you could even make an argument that slavery was a tradition. Just because something has been done, even if it was for a long time, that doesn’t mean it should keep being done. Positive change is much better than hoarding traditions in my opinion. And at the end of the day, why does The Doctor need to be a man? Is it really such an important part of who they are? The Master changed, why not The Doctor also?



3 – “It’s unrealistic!”

Seriously?? It’s a show about aliens, time travel, and the main character has two hearts. The epitome of realism right there.


I suppose in the end it’s just about thinking about whether the change is for the best, and if we can let go of our prejudices long enough to actually examine the changes we need to make and see if we can let go of our damaging traditions.

I hope we can, and I hope that little girls watching this show will be inspired to take charge and be confident themselves in the future. And I hope that people can look past the trolls on the internet and see the positives out there that come when we include more representation in our media. I also hope to see much more of this expansion of representation in the future.

Finally, good luck to Jodie Whittaker.