The Doctor? A woman? Perish the thought!


The 12th Doctor is Peter Capaldi.

I haven't seen much of his acting, but the people who have are really excited, so it seems like he's a good choice. A fairly predictable and traditional choice, but a good one.

But after yesterday's special, I may actually be done with Doctor Who.

They cast a white, male actor as the Doctor, as they have done twelve times, ever since the 60s. And everyone involved knew that. It was their expected default move. Yet they spent an LOT of time hyping up how this Doctor is going to be unexpected, a change in direction, something that might take people out of their comfort zone. They made sure that their press release, and any mention of the actor before the reveal, explicitly said "the man or woman," "he or she." And a lot of time was dedicated to the discussion of whether they would cast a female Doctor. 

They hadn't, of course. The big "shock" with this Doctor was that he was an older white male than usual. But they still pushed the idea, over and over again, that there would be change. That a female Doctor would be a possibility.

In other words, they were using the very real issue of media representation as a PR device. They used it to build up hype, without actually having to do anything hype-worthy.

As I've said before, I'm pretty glad that Steven Moffat isn't responsible for a female Doctor. That would be a mess of sexist stereotypes just waiting to happen. But it's frustrating and disappointing that they used the idea as part of their promotion, especially when Moffat made it explicitly clear that he would never, never never never, consider casting a woman for the part.

As he said on TV last night:

I like that Helen Mirren has been saying the next doctor should be a woman. I would like to go on record and say that the Queen should be played by a man.

This is not a paraphrase. He actually said that on live TV. Apart from confirming that Moffat is completely oblivious about his sexism, I think this statement shows two things:

1. Moffat sees the Doctor as a 100% male character. The idea of casting a woman to play him is as preposterous as casting a man to play Queen Elizabeth II.

2. He truly doesn't understand the issue, or any of the criticisms of the sexism of the show. At all. He thinks that casting a woman to playing a traditionally male part is the same as casting a man to play a female part, despite the fact that male protagonists are the norm in science fiction and that there's a dearth of good female roles and role models for viewers. Add in the preposterous fact that Queen Elizabeth's role has actually been played by both real men and male actors throughout history (they're called kings, Moffat. We had a lot of them), and that last year was literally the first time it was possible for a woman to become ruler over younger male siblings, and you have to wonder what planet he lives on. One where men and women are completely equal and have been throughout history, but where women are still "different" and somehow less capable, apparently.

And I'm not sure I want to watch a show run by somebody so stuck in his own privileged ignorance any more. Especially when that show uses the idea of progress and equality and change as a promotional tool rather than something that deserves serious consideration.