It has been long awaited, and keenly anticipated, it always is, but the announcement that Jodie Whittaker will be the new Dr Who has caused quite a stir. Some have received the news gladly others are voicing complaint, how can a woman be a Time Lord? In these days when we no longer ( on the whole) add the once obligatory *ess to a job description to denote her gender I wonder why people are so shocked! On the other hand I am not shocked because for all of our protestations about equality, inequality lurks very much below the surface for most women, and now and then raises its ugly head above ground to remind us that it is still alive and well.
In these days of women Bishops, and when the Methodist Church the denomination I belong to has here in Great Britain at least had several women Presidents and many women leaders, I still come across people who from time to time refuse to accept my ministry because I am a woman, or worse people who pretend to accept it but are condescending and patronising in their acceptance.
In these days when women’s rights still need to be fought for, and when recent legislation in some US States has diminished them, when we are still called by some the weaker sex ( which just shows you that men have not tried childbirth!), and when our emotions and minds are questioned or ridiculed, we need strong role models who will stand up and speak out.
Of course Dr Who is a fantasy/ Si-Fi TV show, but it is a long running one, and the changes of Dr are somewhat bizarrely the cause for great announcements and considered newsworthy, so does it matter that the new Dr is a woman? Well I for one am glad, though I rarely watch it these days, because it will allow for a development of the role and perhaps a new direction for the Dr, and while it can be argued that every Dr brings something new, I hope that Jodie Whittaker will bring something more, Chris Chibnall the head writer and casting director certainly thinks so;
“I always knew I wanted the Thirteenth Doctor to be a woman and we’re thrilled to have secured our number one choice,” he said. “Her audition for The Doctor simply blew us all away. Jodie is an in-demand, funny, inspiring, super-smart force of nature and will bring loads of wit, strength and warmth to the role. The Thirteenth Doctor is on her way.”
I suspect that the fuss will die down eventually, one or two will stop watching the programme, remaining outraged that the Dr is a woman, and one or two, possibly including me, will watch the Christmas episode out of curiosity. I may not be a fan, certainly not of the can’t miss an episode variety, but I am glad that the new Dr is to be a woman if only because it shows that we do still inhabit a patriarchal society, as much as we like to say we don’t, for if we didn’t then it would be Jodie’s acting abilities that were being discussed not her gender but she is a mould breaker, the first, and firsts are always noteworthy, and in a world where the dystopian drama of the Handmaid’s Tale seems possible, we need to welcome her. She can be the Dr!