Two Sundays ago it was announced who the thirteenth Doctor would be. I was happy to see that it was a woman, but I couldn’t exactly leap for joy since I found out the news literally because I was about to set foot into church. I knew many things would happen with this news; there would be happy fans, and there would be pissed off fans.
I will admit I was a little disappointed because based on photos on the set of the 2017 Christmas special fans had been under the impression that Kris Marshall would be the next Doctor (my dad and I are very fond of the show Death in Paradise). But I was happy with the news based off the actress’ work on Broadchurch (makes sense for the writers of Broadchurch to bring in an actor they were familiar with and knew what her capabilities were).
I spent a good three hours celebrating, talking with friends about it, joking around about shoes, and wondering if I’m actually being serious if I will cosplay as the Thirteenth Doctor (I probably will). As expected there was backlash from fans that weren’t happy about the gender switch and even a magazine service (I don’t know what The Sun actually does since I don’t live in England) publishing nude photos of Jodie Whittaker from her previous work.
I ignored most of this because I knew that some people wouldn’t be happy, then previous Doctor Peter Davidson said something that caught me attention. “Now that the Doctor is a woman, boys no longer have a good male role model,” (okay I paraphrased that), I scoffed at it at first, but then reading a few facebook comments did make me realize, he is partially right.
The Doctor is a unique role model; he rarely resorts to violence and killing as a solution to his problem, he is never getting into brawls and throwing fists at opponents, he isn’t off chasing after ladies or grabbing ass (he IS very guilty of being able to impress a girl though), his spaceship, the T.A.R.D.I.S., has no offensive capabilities (unless she’s particularly pissed at you) and is in the shape of a Police Call Box and she will drag the Doctor to any place where he is needed to aid people in need.
I’m still gathering thoughts on this, but I do agree there aren’t many male role models who are like the Doctor. You have the choice of being an action hero, or the main protagonist who whines and has a form of angst (either wizard angst of man angst), sometimes you get both (looking at you Barry Allen and Oliver Queen).
Right now the two male role models that do come to mind that are similar to the Doctor are Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek the Next Generation and Newt Scamander of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Picard would resort to diplomacy most of the time (I’m still watching Star Trek the Next Generation) unless the Borg was involved (and even then his first solution was diplomacy). Newt is quiet, not the most social person in a crowd, but when he does make a friend he is very deeply attached and in compromise for his meek ways Newt has a deep love for magical creatures and shines brightly when sharing his knowledge of them.
The obvious solution to the problem to some people would be to just have a male companion; makes sense since initially there were male companions who filled the heroic role in the show since the Doctor wasn’t always a heroic character (thank you fifty years of character development!) Time till tell if this is the needed solution, or if a female companion with a female Doctor will continue.
In my opinion it shouldn’t really matter, but time will tell.