I’m sure Jodie Whittaker will be great as The Doctor, but this was still quite the lost opportunity for some much-needed color representation in a franchise that has only recently been diversifying its main actors. They did it.
After approximately 500 million years of Doctor Who
’s time traveling, two-hearted, shapeshifting Time Lord, the 13th iteration will appear in the form of a woman. Hooray! The gender wall in one of Earth’s most beloved characters has been broken. The casting announcement of Broadchurch
’s Jodie Whittaker as the new Doctor broke to the sound of men’s rights activists and internet trolls shitting themselves over this most inhumane of travesties, while feminists cheered at the smashing of this one particular glass ceiling. On the one hand this is a great step forward and a huge accomplishment for women’s representation in visual media–but here’s the thing: even with the gender flip, casting a blonde, cisgender white woman isn’t really all that progressive anymore. As someone who grew up in post-colonial societies during the 80s and 90s where British television was some of the few readily available visual media, I was raised with the older iterations of The Doctor, his Tardis, and magical screwdriver. For someone who could change his face (sort of) at will and whose gender identity and sexuality was always questionable based on The Doctor’s behavior and antics, it always seemed odd that he continued to be played by an older white dude. When the series picked back up in 2005 and featured younger actors playing The Doctor, it did bring an edge to the series that it didn’t have before, but still it was curious that he’d always reincarnate into a similar-looking person.