Doctor Who

Five Tips for Surviving a Female Doctor Who

Jodie Whittaker in 2011 sci-fi/action thriller Attack the Block
Jodie Whittaker in 2011 sci-fi/action thriller Attack the Block Screenshot/YouTube
The utterly unthinkable has happened. They took The Doctor and made him…made him… into a WOMS! After the Wimbledon Men’s final (cruel irony, why are you such a petty god!?), Jodie Whittaker was announced to be taking over the TARDIS when Peter Capaldi regenerates this Christmas, the first canonical and third non-canonical woman to assume the role. I have been repeatedly assured in various comments sections over the years that this will be the end of Doctor Who as we know it.

It’s okay, though. I have been preparing for this dark day for many moons. We can totally get through this identity-politics apocalypse the PC left is forcing down our throats. Curl up into a little ball and remember…

5. At Least She’s Still White
I mean, God forbid she had been both a woman and a person of color, right? How else would we continue to portray the lingering vestiges of British colonialism and a constant white-savior complex? As long as The Doctor stays a nice, shiny alabaster, a very large set of entrenched supremacies remains comfortably in place. After all, she’s president of Earth, and if there is anything I think we can all agree on, it’s that if the planet got together and decided who should be handed unilateral power, it would definitely be a white person who appears British.

So, buck up. A show that is literally dependent on change managed to barely change at all so as not to frighten off too many bigots. It’ll be at least three more years before you have to worry about being nudged a bit into a more diverse world.

Pictured: the next three years or so
I don't know who made this, but a million people sent it to me on Facebook and it was glorious.
4. We Can Blame All the Show’s Problems on Her
Doctor Who always has a bit of hang-up where anything that goes wrong rests on the shoulders of the main actor, but this one will be a doozy. Badly written episode? All because a female Doctor doesn’t work. Major change to the established canon? Just more radical stunt production to justify this change in gender. Every complaint and vague anxiety can be safely waved away thanks to the discomfort Whittaker’s casting has unleashed. It will be the perfect excuse for any hiccup during her entire time on the show. Won’t that be nice? Literally no critical examination will ever be necessary.

3. You Can Masturbate to Her
Congratulations! You now get to join the legion of David Tennant fangirls in sexually objectifying our favorite Time Lord. Think of all the Rule 34 porn that is coming down the pike, the fan art, the slash fic, the creative uses of Dalek plungers! Nothing cures the threat to fragile masculinity Whittaker represents quite like having someone Photoshop her getting gangbanged by Sontarans. I’m sure someone is hard at work on the task as we speak, his reptile brain busy hissing meanness and spite to cover the drumbeat in his head that says, “Women are marginally closer to you in power than they were before.”

2. You Can Practice Refined Misogyny
A lot of misogynists are fine with the old “make me a sandwich” style of hateful expression, but there are also those who fancy themselves to be intellectuals. They aren’t, of course. Most of them don’t have the brains God gave a lamprey, but they do like to hear themselves talk.

As I said in Number 4 above, all the problems that arise on the show for the next several years can be waved away, but the fun for the refined misogynist will be how he can endlessly pontificate over every single aspect of the show until he drains all the joy from it for everyone else. Like all sexist backlashes, it will be a deep “well, actually” of micro-criticisms used to shield the big picture. This will be a perfect opportunity to practice derailing, deflection, arguing in bad faith, plausible deniability, gaslighting, and all the other tactics that the man-o-sphere are using to try to drag us back into the sea.

1. You Can Not Watch
If all else fails, have you considered just not watching the show for a bit? I’ve got a ton of friends who have quit and returned for various reasons over the years. No one makes you participate in this, and no one owes you your own personal vision of Doctor Who. I know a lot of fans have a problem with this concept, but we don’t actually own this. Even the showrunners don’t own it.

Doctor Who is massive. It’s so massive I am willing to bet no one has experienced it all. If you’re that bloody angry about the Thirteenth Doctor, go stream the first 26 seasons on BritBox instead. Or get into the Big Finish radio plays. There’s like more than 200 of them. There are comics, books, you name it, 99.99999999 percent of which stars a male Doctor.

This seems like the easiest way to deal with mindless bro-rage, but the problem has never really been that they don’t have enough toys of their own. It’s the maddening idea that someone somewhere is enjoying a thing in a way they don’t like. It’s the fandom equivalent of licking food so other people can’t eat it. This is what happens when you let what you consume become who you are.

Eventually, you’re going to wake up and find that it simply isn’t true, and then you’ll go spend hours on Reddit screaming about social-justice warriors instead of doing something productive.
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Jef Rouner is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner