The Good Doctor: Four Arguments For Why "Doctor Who" Should Get a Female Doctor

Doctor Who's Romana and a robot dog

Yes, robot dogs make perfect sense, but Romana as the Doctor would be too crazy.

Recently, rumors rippled across the Internet that actor Matt Smith, who plays the eleventh Doctor on the long-running BBC series Doctor Who, would be leaving the show. Nothing has been confirmed, but when stories like this pop up on blogs, there's a flurry in the comments sections about what actor would be the best next Doctor in the beloved series. Rupert Grint, Benedict Cumberbatch, or Andrew Garfield? Meh. Idris Elba? Yes, please! Helen Mirren or Tilda Swinton? That would be incredible!

But while many Doctor Who fans agree that it's about time for a woman Doctor, some do not. When Mirren and Swinton's names are mentioned, a series of comments appear, with a tone of exasperation—"As a big Doctor Who fan, I am highly resistant to anyone other than a male from the UK playing the Doctor because of history and tradition.   Change for the sake of change is not always the way to go."

A brief rundown for those unacquainted with the series: The Doctor is an alien, the last living Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey. He travels through space and time in the Tardis, a vessel that looks like a blue police box, usually with a woman companion. A British or Scottish white man has always played the Doctor. Another thing to know about the story is that when the Doctor is fatally injured, he can regenerate into a new body. The original series ran from 1963 to 1989, and during that time, there were eight Doctors. The new iteration started in 2005, and there have been three Doctors - Christopher Eccleston (my fave), David Tennant, and Matt Smith.

Yes, the show sounds nerdy but fans—myself included—are devoted to the series. We know its history and we care about how it's done. We're a bit of a community. But the argument over a hypothetical woman Doctor Who is divisive. As a fan, I'd like to dissect the reasons given against a woman Doctor Who and how it doesn't reflect any internal logic inherent to the show.

1.  "It doesn't fit the logic of the series to have a woman Doctor."

And logic matters all of a sudden? Look, the Doctor is a Time Lord who can control space and time. An acceptance of cognitive leaps is necessary to enjoy this show in the first place. The Doctor's severed hand regenerates into a second Doctor Who. There are reptilian people living at the center of the earth. Earth is moved to a different galaxy and then returned, with humans worldwide clutching their furniture to steady themselves for the ride.

And amid all this, we can't handle how unbelievable it would be to have a female Doctor? The Doctor an alien on a sci-fi series. He can be whatever the writers decide he can be.

2. "But he always has been played by a white British/Scottish actor, so he always will be."

Except the Doctor has never been black, yet when Idris Elba is mentioned in these online debates no one bats an eye. That's because he's a great actor who could pull off the role. Why then are Helen Mirren and Tilda Swinton - two also great actors who could pull off the role - so controversial? It's interesting that in this case gender is more important than race or age. Matt Smith is by far the youngest Doctor, but this doesn't bother too many folks. What about the Doctor is inherently male?

When fans cite this argument, there is a bit of nostalgia in their tone, like the fact that the Doctor has always been, always will be is comforting. Because questioning white and male as The Norm causes us to question how we conceive of reality in an incredibly personal way. Many people want their entertainment to be unchallenging. But think of the leap women and people of color have to make all of the time in identifying with and loving characters that don't look like them. It's time to allow for new representations and share the burden of identification with unlike.

3. "As long as Steven Moffat is the Executive Producer, the Doctor will never be a woman."

On this point I agree. Steven Moffat doesn't have a wonderful track record when it comes to writing women. The Doctor's female companions written during Russell T. Davies' tenure (he was the head writer before Moffat) are badass. Rose Tyler, Martha Jones, and Donna Noble all have their flaws, but they're tough, smart, and nuanced. They save the Doctor as often as the Doctor saves them. Can we really say the same about Amy Pond or Clara Oswin Oswald, the companions penned by Moffat? Yes, River Song is tough, but she flits in and out of storylines too much to be considered one of the Doctor's main companions.

Here's the thing about the relationship between writers and fans in the Internet age: they listen to our comments. A Veronica Mars film is being funded through Kickstarter. They resurrected Futurama. Let's dare Moffat to change his ways.

4. "He's the constant while everything around him changes."

This isn't true, though. It was hard for me to get used to David Tennant, because I loved the chemistry between Christopher Eccleston and Rose Tyler, played by Billie Piper. But I adapted. There is a certain amount of heartbreak in change, in watching the characters you love evolve. But Doctor Who is a strong enough franchise to weather the shock of a woman Doctor.

• • •

Shows reflect the era they're made in as well as the level of bravery and vision of their creators, and sexism and misogyny are not new to the world of Doctor Who. In the 1978-79 series, Time Lady Romana is supposed to take over for the Doctor but this never happens. The actor who played her, Mary Tamm, left the show because of the subordinate position her character was written to have to the Doctor, and Romana I is replaced by the younger, blonder, less sassy Romana II

Importantly, casting a female Doctor isn't just "change for the sake of change"—it could make the show a better, more interesting show. The 2007 series was made far more complex and riveting because the show dug into race issues, casting Martha Jones, a Black woman. Imagine the storylines that could be possible with a Doctor who looked like a woman? What if the Doctor was essentially the same heterosexual, white male only this time in Helen Mirren's body? Dare to tell me that she couldn't that off!

Through the layers of star fleets, zombies, and aliens, sci-fi is powerful in the way that it is a mirror to our society, what it is and what it could be. The Enterprise had a desegregated crew before most American workplaces did. Night of the Living Dead used zombies and its star Duane Jones to dissect racism. The genre allows us to bravely envision a new world but also new ways of constructing identity. What the argument against a female Doctor Who proves to me is that as a society, again, we still think of white and male as the norm. The question is: are we brave enough yet to rethink that? 

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Comments

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Not to be pedantic, but I'm about to

There were seven Doctors in the original series; the eighth Doctor was from a made-for-TV movie (and possible backdoor pilot) from the 90s.

You're totally right

From the 1996 TV movie. Thanks for the correction!

You lost me at "The 2007

You lost me at "The 2007 series was made far more complex and riveting because the show dug into race issues, casting Martha Jones, a Black woman." I personally loved Martha but she was one of the less interesting companions, and to the best of my knowledge they NEVER dealt with any "race issues", but it's a UK based show so obviously that makes sense.
Yes, the Doctor regenerates into a new body every time he is near death, but he's still the same person, so it makes sense each subsequent body would be somewhat similar to what he had before, and most certainly would be the same gender. It might be interesting to do an episode where he regenerates into a female body, but clearly if you'd spent 1200 years as a man, suddenly finding yourself in a female body might be a little hard to get used to. But it would make for a funny episode, sure!
Look, I'm all for more well-written females in lead roles, but trying to cram a long standing great male lead character into female body just seems like a half-assed attempt at gender equitability.

The two episode arc "Human

The two episode arc "Human Nature" and "The Family Blood" explore prejudice, race, and class primarily through Martha Jones. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Nature_%28Doctor_Who_episode%29

Well said! And poor Susan (if

Well said!

And poor Susan (if she had survived the Time War). Hey, your grandfather is a woman now!

I think the folks who want a female Doctor should rest easy with their five minutes of Joanna Lumley.

which was written by one

which was written by one Steven Moffat as well.

I don't see why he couldn't

I don't see why he couldn't regenerate into a female Time lord. There is this one episode, The Doctor's Wife, I guess, that he mentions another time lord who would, sometimes, regenerate into a female body. I see no point why the Doctor couldn't do the same. It's not like he can choose his next body.

He's been male for eleven

He's been male for eleven regenerations already.

Yawn...

And? So what if he's been male for all those regenerations already? There's been different companions of different races and genders so why can't the Doctor be different this time? He even said it himself he can't choose who he regenerates into. To me, if an actress can actually act like the doctor but BE a different Doctor all the same then I'd say a job well done.
Him being male for all those regenerations is such a stupid counter-argument I don't know where to begin. It's called change for a reason. And I would welcome it just to see how many people would be bothered by it because "Oh NOES doctor is a woman!! Show isn't the same anymore!!!"

So you don't give a toss

So you don't give a toss about the show you just want to see how many people will get pissed off if they change the Doctors gender. If they changed the doctors gender then the whole show would change it would be like having a female James bond, a male xena, a male lara croft, and a female spiderman. There's changing how a character looks, then there's completely changing the character. Doctor who is a british/scottish MAN who travels in a tardis with his female companion,and saves the world. And that's the way it should stay. He's only got 1or 2 (i think) regenerations left anyway So it wouldn't make much sense to drastically change his character when his past regenerations where male.

Why not just make a similar sci fi show with a female lead instead of alienating a good portion of doctor who viewers, Or how about give a reason why the Doctor shouldn't be a man? other than; change for the sake of change or cause you think it'll bring new better ideas to the show, which is a completely bogus answer as you have no idea how the show will be with a woman Doctor.

Two things: 1. There have

Two things:
1. There have definitely been male companions.
2. It wouldn't make sense to drastically change his character? Each regen is a pretty drastic change. Also, I don't think it "doesn't make sense." It's Doctor Who, that's the point...change and surprise and not exactly always making sense.

I think that if everything stays the same, it will become boring, And it's just a body. He (she) would still be "The Doctor," no matter the body.

I find it rather amusing that

I find it rather amusing that you think having a female Doctor would "alienate" the audience. What, because suddenly the Doctor isn't instantly relatable for white male viewers? The more one has to stretch to relate to him already, the less I think they'll care if he's a different gender because they've learned to relate to characters that are unlike them.

I totally agree we need some

I totally agree we need some better female leads on the show, ones that are less dependent on the Doctor. But casting the Doctor as a woman is just a whole new deal.
And you can't lump race and gender together like that. It'd be great to have the Doctor be of color, but the difference is that it is just a PHYSICAL change. To have 'him' turn into a 'her' is more than just physical. Gender is the first thing decided in our DNA, it is literally the most basic definition of a person.

In the episode, 'The Doctors

In the episode, 'The Doctors Wife', the Doctor clearly talks about a friend who regenerated and became a female after being a male. So in the world of Doctors and Time Lords, a sex change is possible at that level.

Why then for the first 8

Why then for the first 8 incarnations did he never mention this? I don't accept hastily thrown in lines for the sake of being "wibbly wobbly" to be canon for the series. There was zero thought put into that line.

Limited understanding of gender

Dr. Who isn't human. The Doctor loves them and wishes to protect them, but is constantly shaking his head at the weird constructs humans put to certain topics, for example, Humans referring to time linearly. However, even the concepts of linear time and gendered spaces are fairly contemporary social constructs (and Western as well). These concepts are not universal to all humans and to all cultures. So why would The Doctor who travels through space and time, who has two hearts, and isn't even from this planet be limited to one human gender? For that matter, why should the Doctor be limited to two genders? Food for thought.

Look its probably not going

Look its probably not going to be female but worse than not having a female doxctor (a race that can be any species or gender is always white male either old or with dark hair) would be using a female doctor as a joke. Oh haha how funny

I Agree Completely

Martha was a great companion, but it had nothing to do with her being black. She was great because she was smart; she was studying to become a doctor. Compare that to Rose, Donna, and Amy - they were good companions too, but they weren't particularly smart (not dumb, just not smart).

I disagree with the Doctor becoming female because it would change one's personality. Race is a bit different from gender because it is mainly an aesthetic feature (yeah, it does impact some genetic traits), but it doesn't impact personality. Those that say otherwise would argue that race does affect personality are confusing race and culture. On Earth, certain races evolved in certain regions and nations, that formed cultures. Those cultures influence personalities, and those cultures are based in certain locales, that are populated by a majority of one race.

But the Doctor is an alien, and his skin color wouldn't be related to that and wouldn't change him much. But it would definitely change the interactions he had with people on past Earth. If they make a black Doctor (btw, why do people consider 'black' the only alternative to 'white'? Why not Asian, Latino, or someone else?), and he goes into the 1400s, we should expect some racist people. Portraying people not so is insensitive because it's basically the same as not acknowledging the problems of the past.

But gender impacts personality quite a bit. I'm not saying all men or all women should/do act the same. But it does affect sexual orientation. It affects familial structure. The Doctor has fathered children (I wish they would delve into this more in the modern series, rather than an odd passing remark to it). He is also heterosexual (although, I wish they cut down on the companion-Doctor relationships - HE'S AN ALIEN!). The show can and should have homosexual or bisexual characters, like the awesome Jack Harkness (Torchwood did suck ass though).

We should have more female characters (especially ones that are written better), more racial diversity (more than black and white), and more sexual orientation (without it being there just to be there like in Torchwood) in fiction. But changing existing characters to provide more equality is just weak.

I wouldn't protest a female Doctor, but if I was a writer I wouldn't regenerate the Doctor into a female either. It feels like a gimmick. Sure, many great actresses could carry and even elevate the role. But so could many male actors. Being a female Doctor wouldn't bring anything new to the series except gimmicky stories about the Doctor adjusting to breasts, or being confused about his/her sexual orientation. It would be awkward comedy that would dip into slandering transsexuals or homosexuals. The usual stories wouldn't be changed by the change of gender, so why do it? What if in Sophie's Choice, suddenly Sophie was a man for 5 scenes? Surely, a male actor could convey the same emotions, and go through the same journey. But why do it?

Donna Noble temporarily

Donna Noble temporarily became the Doctor as predicted by the Ood. From what I've heard Idris Elba is in line to be the first black Bond rather than the first black Doctor. How about a black woman as the Doctor,that'd really knock things on their head.

Yes to bringing back Doctor

Yes to bringing back Doctor Donna! :)

Lady Who

If Freema Agyeman hadn't already been a Companion, she would make a great Doctor! A female "matt smith" doctor might be too Manic Pixie Dreamgirl but I'm willing to risk it. :-) I'm rooting for Imogen Stubbs (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0835916/?ref_=sr_2).

Rose is already the MPDG of

Rose is already the MPDG of Doctor Who

I think the Doctor is the

I think the Doctor is the MPDG of Doctor Who... I've been really intrigued by the discussion of a female Doctor. I like the idea, but am pretty close to neutral. But it's interesting to see the responses to the idea. No one can really say why gender is any more fundamental than race or age. The mythology has certainly left room for it.

I'm for change

I'd be perfectly happy with a female Doctor, although, I have to admit it's because I don't buy Matt Smith as a 1200 year old time lord. He bugs me, and I want change!

In terms of tradition, I just couldn't handle a non-British Doctor, that's my deal-breaker.

David tennant wasn't british

David tennant wasn't british he's scottish

Scotland is part of Britain.

Scotland is part of Britain. Just as England is part of Britain. As is Wales. The three of them make up the British Isles.

But...

Yes, that was infuriating me. "British/Scottish" is like "US/Texan". But you got it wrong too. Those three nations make up Britain. You need to include Ireland, the Isle of Man and arguably the Channel Islands to get to the British Isles.

On Point

This whole article was so on point, I may have wept while reading it!

I'm so glad you pointed out that the race angle was explored through Martha Jones in "Human Nature" and "The Family Blood", the latter being one of the best, most bone chilling episodes of Doctor Who in the whole series. I think what made Martha Jones stand out more than anything, was she was an actual Doctor, and that title alone put her on somewhat equal footing with the Time Lord. Martha certainly didn't have the comedy of Donna or the daddy issues of Rose (who is still my favorite companion of the re-boot), but just the fact that her education meant she could often finish the Doctor's sentences made her interesting. Plus, she like, saved the world.

I am surprised TPTB have not at least explored the "Lady Who" idea in a one off episode. The Tardis claimed human form in one episode ("The Doctor's Wife") with truly brilliant results. And, they are obviously wonderful at casting; so many guest characters would have made excellent companions (i.e., Sally Sparrow, RIta Connolly). Is seems odd that they haven't taken an episode to explore a female Doctor yet. Or at least the Doctor in a female body.

What was the point again?

I'm sorry, I didn't get the point of this article, can you tell me what you think the point of this article was? I was mislead by the title.

Just to mention that 'British

Just to mention that 'British or Scottish' doesn't make sense: Scottish people are British. English, Welsh, Manx and Scottish people are all British. The latter four might prefer to refer to themselves by their regional rather than national identity, but as the kingdom is named 'The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland' then anyone who is a citizen of that kingdom and isn't Northern Irish is 'British'.

british

Just to complicate matters - you could argue that British could be defined how you have, but also that it could mean anyone from the British Isles (which includes the island of Ireland), a geographical description, rather than political!

Haha, you describe an Irish

Haha, you describe an Irish person as "British" and see how far it gets you.....

romana

I thought the first Romana left because she and Tom Baker had a disastrous affair...

No, that was the second

No, that was the second Romana.

More dream casting

If she hadn't already appeared, I think Christina Cole would make an excellent Doctor, so would Ruth Negga; but I would absolutely love to see Dawn French or Miranda Hart in the role.

Just because someone has

Just because someone has already appeared on the show shouldn't be an obstacle - a bit of handwaving and voilà... Just look at Gwen from Torchwood and of course Martha Jones. Like, during regeneration he accidentally touches something containing that person's DNA or whatever. :)

Colin Baker (who was the 6th

Colin Baker (who was the 6th Doctor) played Commander Maxil in Arc of Infinity, which was a storyline from the classic series of Doctor Who in which Peter Davison played the Doctor. I don't know if there are any other examples as far as the actors who played the Doctor but someone having appeared on the show then later becoming the actor who played Doctor has happened at least once.

The "logic of the series"

The "logic of the series" argument doesn't even make sense. In New Who (haven't seen much of the older series) the Doctor has mentioned other Time Lords changing genders as they regenerate and Eleven briefly thought he WAS a girl until he checked his adam's apple. It's a thing. Their personalities and appearances change too. Sure, a complete sex/gender switch might be a huge adjustment for a human, but for someone like the Doctor can't you just see them rolling with it? Eleven in particular has never seemed that fussed. Though I would love to seem him getting surprised and frustrated when people start condescending to them about science-y and fight-y type stuff.

I'd be shocked if the BBC actually went through with it, but in a good way.

Exactly. I mean, the doctor

Exactly.

I mean, the doctor was even a beast for a while!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ms05La1pDIU

(Sorry, I couldn't help it. This was on the other day, and it occurred to me that Beast's transformation totally resembles a Doctor Who regen. I've been telling everyone who will listen that the Beast is a Time Lord. I do not mean to detract from your completely valid points, and I agree completely. Although in a lot of ways it would change the dynamic of the show, especially if the doctor regen doesn't correspond with a new companion. And I don't know how it would be handled, but with some good writers, I'd love to see that.)

A female Doctor would ROCK

Most of my thoughts on the issue have already been mentioned (Eleven thinking he's a girl, the passing remark in "The Doctor's Wife", etc.), and as for the Doctor being a "white heterosexual male" - we've seen so little of his sexuality (mostly in recent years, which was one of the reasons I adored the Donna/Doctor dynamic), he could be poly/omni/bi or whatever (Nine certainly didn't flinch when Jack Harkness kissed him). However, I'm even less optimistic because of the Moff being show runner.

I mean, I liked Amy (especially when Rory came aboard) and Clara seems interesting, but they're both pretty white girls from our time (what happened to alien / non-contemporary companions anyway?) who turn out to be this giant riddle for the Doctor to solve. You mention River Song - and oh, I love me some River Song! That is, until Steven Moffat managed to screw up even his one brillliant female character by making her life All About The Doctor ("Why do you want to study here?" - "Honestly, I'm looking for a good man..." *handwaving* forever!). I loved it when she flitted in and out of his life, obviously having her own things going on aside from her relationship with him.

So yeah, while I do hope we'll get a female Doctor, I'm pretty sure it won't be soon. Actually, I hope it won't happen with Moffat still in charge - he'd probably screw her up horribly!

/rant

I totally agree! Moffatt does

I totally agree! Moffatt does NOT write female characters as well as Davies did. I would love to see a female Doctor, but probably not until Moffatt is gone

Another pedantic note...

These aren't four arguments for a female Doctor - they're four counterpoints to four arguments about why the Doctor needs to stay the same. And yes, it's good to reveal the glaring idiocy of these arguments, but I feel that we (ie. those of us massively in favour of a female Doctor) need to highlight the case for rather than reacting to a case against. You touch on this briefly - 'it could make the show a better, more interesting show' - and to me this is the key point. In fact I'd argue that unless something along the lines of a female Doctor comes around, the show is going to grow stale very fast, as the writers are clearly struggling to do anything new or interesting with the Doctor/Companion dynamic - bearing in mind that they know they *must* have a lead female character, and at the moment she will necessarily be the Companion.

This is a great comment!

This is a great comment! Let's get off the defensive. The doctor should be a woman because that's what's next! Because it would breathe new life into a show that's definitely been fading for the last couple of seasons. Because it would open up to a whole range of awesome actors who could bring something amazing and new to the role. Because It would be great!

Yes, you're right. I didn't

Yes, you're right. I didn't pick the title. :)

Yes, you're right. I didn't

Yes, you're right. I didn't pick the title. :)

If the show has grown old and

If the show has grown old and stagnant, then the series should be discontinued. Replacing a male lead with a female one will not solve anything. If there are no more stories to tell, then it's all over, regardless of who you cast. Your comment implies that male characters cannot be interesting, only female ones can. That is a sexist comment. In the end, there is only one reason to make the Doctor female -- to placate the PC crowd.

Those of use who want the Doctor to remain male have no problem with a strong female lead. In fact, it's high-time we had more of those. But making the Doctor female would fundamentally change the nature of the character -- much more so than the typical regeneration scenario. The Doctor, as a character, would cease to exist in the minds of many fans. It would essentially mean the end of the show for those people.

However, were you to create a new character, or dust off an old favorite like Romana, we would be delighted and totally on board with it. Personally, I'd LOVE a spin-off about Romana. It would be lots of fun and potentially long-lasting (like the Doctor, Romana can regenerate, so we could have a new actress every few years).

I honestly don't understand why people feel the need to reinvent certain things to the point that they lose their original identity. What's the point? If something is no longer interesting, just make something new.

This may be bad news

The final incarnation of the Doctor has already been revealed in The Trial of a Time Lord. He is called the Valeyard and he's eeeevil.
Now as to whether the show's producers even know about that... The bigger issue is why isn't the Doctor trying to save Gallifrey? It never evens comes up in conversation. That would open up stories of lady Time Lords, including the Doctor's presumed mother we saw a few seasons back.

Even if the Valeyard does

Even if the Valeyard does happen, which I'm sure they could find some timey-wimey way around, there's one more regeneration between that one and the current one. And they've been pretty insistent that Gallifrey is gone, baby, gone.

valeyard and gallifrey

I was confused by Ron's comment - I thought the Valeyard was a distillation of the bad side of all the incarnations of the Doctor - i.e. not an regeneration himself...
And yes, there's nothing left of Gallifrey left to save (plus, we still don't know who that woman was - it could be the Doctor's mother, or any other female Timelord companion he's had, including Susan).

You're right. Ron's wrong.

You're right. Ron's wrong. It's a too common error. Thank you for actually knowing it.

Wrong. The Valeyard appears

Wrong. The Valeyard appears between the Doctor's Twelfth and final regenerations.

As awesome as the existence

As awesome as the existence of a Time Lady would be, I do not want THE Doctor regenerating into a female (at least not permanently. a gender-swap episode would be really interesting). I'm sorry, but I'm accustomed to the Doctor being male. Despite the fact that he regenerates into new bodies, there are still constants-- such as his personality, his quirks, his interesting features, his maleness-- and those constants are what enables me to keep watching DW after particularly difficult/tragic regenerations. If the Doctor were to regenerate into a female he wouldn't be the Doctor as I know him. The differences would be too great.

Another thing: I LOVE the fact that the Doctor is male, and I'm not ashamed (or sexist, as some people like to believe) to admit that. I love falling in love with him over and over again (the crushing is one of the best parts about watching DW because the Doctor is just that crush-worthy). If he were to regenerate into a woman I'd lose that, and I'm not keen on the idea of that.

So I do very much hope the Doctor continues to be male until the end of its run.

Every time there's a new

Every time there's a new Doctor some people say he's just not the same, he's not the one they know and love, oh how will they ever get used to this? And then most of them do, only for the whole process to be repeated a few years later. No, she wouldn't be the exact same Doctor, but she would still have all those personality quirks you mention, and the Doctor is never exactly the same. New teeth, among other things. If he was it would defeat the purpose and we'd miss out on getting to know a new version of the time lord we adore, which personally I really enjoy. I'm sure you could adjust, just the way we all adjusted to David Tennant's hair and the bowties. The fact that you're used to things being a certain way is not a good enough reason for them not to change, not when there are compelling arguments for doing something different. Also, as a lesbian, I would appreciate getting a turn to crush on the Doctor, and I'm sure there are a lot of straight boys who would too.

Sorry mate but the Doctor

Sorry mate but the Doctor should never and will never be played by a woman unless the BBC wants to lost half its audience and destroy its most popular franchise.

And also when you said "The Doctor’s severed hand regenerates into a second Doctor Who" any good whovian knows better than to call him Doctor Who his name is The Doctor

The Doctor has been referred

The Doctor has been referred to as "Doctor Who" within the show itself more than once over the years (The War Machines, The Highlanders, The Underwater Menace, Doctor Who and the Silurians...), so using such a specious argument to try to somehow claim some kind of "good Whovian" superiority over the OP just makes you look petty and foolish.

"you're being petty and

"you're being petty and foolish" says an adult who's online arguing about a fictional character's gender

"Sorry, [gender-specific term

"Sorry, [gender-specific term used on someone whose gender doesn't match it], I'm a huge misogynist and also a rigid child who can't bear to see even a fictional fantasy world budge one centimeter from the way I want it, and I believe that at least 50% of Doctor Who viewers are too, are stunted and sexist and lazy and ferociously clinging to every single iota of white male privilege like I am."

Also, seriously, starting comments with "Sorry, [synonym for friend]" when you are not sorry and that person is not your friend is a hallmark of trolling bigots. So... yeah, way to indicate from the outset exactly what you are.

Calm down and use your brain.

Yo, you're being really hostile. Also you didn't say anything about his point, you just called the other user names. That's pretty childish, but only if the child is very hostile and mean to others, and if their anger is caused by their disagreement with what they said, and that child didn't want to use any relevant thinking.

I've nothing against it///

It has been established that Time Lords can regenerate as male or female, this is evidenced in The Doctors references to the The Corsair. I know the rumors a year or so back were touting Lara Pulver (Irene Adler from Sherlock) for the role. There is nothing in lore stopping it the only problem is will the BBC see it as commercially viable?
If the rumors following the season finale are true and that John Hurt is going to play a forgotten 9th doctor then that would actually make Matt Smiths Doctor the 12th which means the next regeneration will be the intermediate regeneration that produces The Valeyard unless they completely decide to re-write lore. The issue is here that unless they go with the Sarah Jane ret-con that the doctor now has 504 regeneration's then that would leave one more incarnation of The Doctor following The Valeyard, unless again they decide to ignore whats been established previously.

All this talk about how it's

All this talk about how it's misogynistic to refuse to have a female Doctor, isn't it also misandric to want him to be a woman? Can't boys have a strong male role model on TV anymore? Most male characters on TV these days are portrayed as either abusive, drug-addicted, absentee fathers, or just plain selfish bastards if they're not fathers, or, at best, they are well-meaning, but bumbling idiots who are bossed around by their wives. You all complain about the chauvinism of society (which I don't deny is a real problem) but ignore all the male hating that goes on. With all the messages being sent to young boys and men that they are worthless, stupid scumbags who are good for nothing but abusing women, can't boys have one male character on TV that is strong, intelligent, funny, compassionate and brave for them to look up to and emulate? Instead of stealing what few decent, moral male characters we have, we should instead focus on creating new female characters that are as worthy of praise as the Doctor. For everyone who says that it doesn't matter what sex the character is, then how about we take one of the strongest and most admirable female characters on TV who is an inspiration to women everywhere and turn her into a man, and then say it doesn't matter. It does matter that the Doctor is male. Women are not the only people who suffer from sexist media portrayals and are not the only ones in need of strong role models. What would changing the Doctor into a woman say to all male fans? 'This character's too awesome to be a man, so we're going to take him, one of the few morally decent male characters on TV, and make him a women, so you can all realise how worthless you are'. Turning the Doctor into a woman is not about equality, it's about spite.

I agree with you 100%.

I agree with you 100%.

Your comment summed up...

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE MENS.

Ummm... James Bond. Harry Potter. Both from the UK. Both dudes for young boys to look up to. Sherlock as well. Seriously, weak argument.

Now imagine what you said - "can't boys have one male character on TV that is strong, intelligent, funny, compassionate and brave for them to look up to and emulate?"

But replace boys with "girls" and you'll see what we're asking for, a few female MAIN characters who AREN'T the sidekick, AREN'T the damsel in distress, NOT the shrewish bitch, just a strong. Female character.

The doctor has had ELEVEN regeneration, I'm pretty sure the boys can a. look up to past regeneration, or b. LOOK UP TO THE FEMALE REGENERATION CAUSE OMG, PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE. Seriously. You sound like the ignorant sort who hangs out with the rest of the MRAs.

NO. WIDESPREAD, INSTITUTIONAL

NO. WIDESPREAD, INSTITUTIONAL MISANDRY IS NOT A THING. It does not exist. Please take your fedora and go back to Reddit.

"If the Doctor is a woman, we would still only have MOST of the superhero-like starring roles. WE WANT THEM ALL. A MAJORITY IS NOT ENOUGH."

Watch this video. Imagine each scoop of ice cream is instead a kick-ass acting role. You are the one wailing because a woman got ONE. http://vimeo.com/64941331

Bro.

Calm yourself. Have you not noticed that most if not all if the Doctor's companions were kick-ass acting roles? And that most of them were female? Did you even WATCH any episodes with Rose Tyler as companion? I'm pretty certain she was female. Hers was a kick-ass acting role. What bait Donna Noble? The whole of reality was saved by her. The Doctor isn't the only kickass acting role. There are several within the series, and many are female.

This is A+ satire.

I REFUSE TO BELIEVE THE OP IS SINCERE, AND YOU CAN'T MAKE ME.

This comment.

Oh my lord. I LOVE YOU.

On a different note, this article... I can't. I just can't. Do you realize how rant-like this article sounds? For your first point you ridiculed that people thought it illogical to have a female Doctor. While I don't entirely agree with that, I also don't really agree with all of a sudden having a female Doctor. The Doctor is THE DOCTOR. And the Doctor has consistently been male for eleven (possibly twelve, if the rumors about John Hurt being a forgotten incarnation are true) incarnations. Yes, Time Lords can gender-swap, but after over 90% of his life being male, does it really make sense for him so suddenly become female? I'm not saying that it shouldn't happen, I'm actually wondering what it would be like to watch a Time Lady take out a dalek or two.
Another thing about your first point, is that you said that logic isn't the point of the series. While I think that crazy stuff really does happen, like brains being taken out of people and being put into metal suits of armor, I don't think it's fair to say that logic doesn't matter in the show. If this were true, then the show probably wouldn't have survived for fifty years. People love the show because its intriguing and has you guessing at everything. People KEEP watching it because it always provides a logical explanation for why these events are occurring. Why the Doctor's hand regenerates into another Doctor? He poured regeneration energy into it, which Donna activated. Why Earth was moved to a different place in the universe? It was required, along with 26 other planets, for the daleks' reality bomb. Don't say that logic doesn't matter in the show.

Now your second statement. You completely got off topic with that one, I don't even know where to begin. The argument you were going to counter was that "he has always been played by a British/Scottish actor, so he always will". While I don't agree with this either, HOW THE HELL IS THAT A REASON THE NEXT DOCTOR SHOULD BE FEMALE?! You are a disgrace to journalism. Then you strayed from the topic of the statement AGAIN when you said "but what about the Doctor is inherently male?" I'd say its that he's been male on the show for 50 years. It might just be that. You just messed up that statement.

Oh mylanta. Your third point. "As long as Steven Moffat is Executive Producer, the Doctor will never be a woman". So this means the Doctor should be a woman? Well it's obvious logic doesn't matter to you now, as you've stated in your first counter argument. And also, I'm not entirely sure that its fair to say that, because even though I agree moffat doesn't write women well, I don't think it's fair to say that he'll never make a female Doctor. At least he even writes women! He tries, okay?

And now your fourth point, "he's constant, while everything around him changes". I think that this one you randomly threw in because you wanted to be more persuasive with this article. I say this, because this statement could be argued either way. If he's so constant, that's a major element of the series, and he shouldn't drastically change by becoming female. But on the other hand, this could mean that the show needs a fresh idea, and the idea of a female Doctor is about as fresh as it gets. But really it's a stupid thing to put in your article, because really he isn't constant. He has had eleven different faces. Almost 50 companions. Even the interior of his time machine changes. He isn't constant. Calling him constant is like calling a dalek "misunderstood".

Really this article is a piece of crap with more crap on top. I get that you're a feminist and that everything is so sexist, but this very article is sexist. Are you not happy with the Doctor's gender? Does it matter that much to you that his possible LAST incarnation is the opposite of what the Doctor has been for his entire life? If you're saying this because you think that having a male Doctor is sexist, you should throw yourself at Skaro.

I think you misunderstood the

I think you misunderstood the post. As mentioned in the body of the article, the bolded, in-quote sentences are reasons I've read other fans write for why the Doctor can't be a woman. I am responding to reasons I've heard given for why there should never be a woman Doctor.

On the logic point, of course I think there is an internal logic to the show. I wouldn't like it if it didn't. My point is that it is the writers who determine the logic, and they make leaps all of the time but figure out a way to explain it. I'm simply questioning why they're unable to come up with a creative explanation for why a regenerating alien is now female if they wanted to.

Yes, I am a feminist, but I don't think everything is sexist. I don't think it's sexist to have a male Doctor. I like the show. I like many of the Doctors. I like the choice of Peter Capabaldi: http://www.buzzfeed.com/ailbhemalone/reasons-to-love-peter-capaldi. I was simply questioning why some fans get so enraged by the idea of a woman Doctor. I think the anger that this idea provokes is what is sexist.

I think the confusion you have comes in large part from the title of the post, which was chosen after the article was written and not by me. in retrospect, it is unfortunate, and I should have fought to change it. But my main intention was to write something fun that sparked debate. I just never expected it would include personal attacks, but I'm truly happy to see all of these comments and am glad that people are talking to each other about this issue, whether we agree or not.

To be fair...

The character of the Doctor has always been anachronistic and the one thing that united the first seven doctors (and the last two modern ones) was the way their characters and dress played on the 'eccentric British chap' trope. While I think a woman doctor would be great, it would be good if they also lived up to this eccentricity and perhaps played with the 'matron' trope.

In fact, the doctor should be played by a person of age next, given how the last few doctors have been getting younger and younger. Someone like Zoe Wanamaker or Frances de la Tour would be awesome.

?_?

You misspelled your title "4 things in bold: 2 are Counter-arguments against why the doctor shouldn't be female, 1 is non-sequitor, and then me talking about my own experience.".

I'm not against having the next doctor be a woman, but I'm not convinced by this article, nor do I believe this article delivered what it promised. Here are the actual arguments you've listed for "Why "Doctor Who" should get a female doctor:"

"There is a certain amount of heartbreak in change, in watching the characters you love evolve. But Doctor Who is a strong enough franchise to weather the shock of a woman Doctor."

Because it can doesn't mean it should. You can eat a spoon for instance, but I would never suggest that you do that.

Importantly, casting a female Doctor isn’t just "change for the sake of change"—it could make the show a better, more interesting show. The 2007 series was made far more complex and riveting because the show dug into race issues, casting Martha Jones, a Black woman. Imagine the storylines that could be possible with a Doctor who looked like a woman?

This is a good point. Except:
1. You say that this isn't change just for the sake of change, and then say that it's change for the sake of new possibilities for storylines. This sounds to me like a change in character for the sake of change in the story lines. Now these are definitely two different types of changes, so that's not my issue there, I get what you're saying; However you are also clearly saying that storylines focusing on topics only really accessible with a female protagonist would be a boon to Doctor Who. I think that that's a difficult case to make, but it would be good for someone to argue.
2. People may not want to have emphasis on these themes on the show. I watch Game of Thrones for instance to see magic, medieval shit, and watch compelling story arcs unfold. I do not go to Game of Thrones for progressive situations casting females.

Your article is asking for a recipe change. A very good recipe, like chocolate cake, except a failed recipe for Doctor Who might have some pretty big consequences, so we shouldn't just experiment silly-nilly without having good reasons to do so. Hence I'd love to hear any good reasons that people have thought of, because I didn't get a strong one from this article.

Also, wtf is this?

"4. “He’s the constant while everything around him changes.”

This isn’t true, though."

Cmooon... Cmmmmmmooooooooooooooooon!

Just so we're clear...

I'd call them counterarguments like some previous comments, but I'll cut to the quick and say, "Whatever the writers decide, I will live with it and learn to love it. Because THAT is tradition."

After all, we can all point to change and tradition til we're blue in the face, but why don't I point out the elephant in the room here: Regardless of female, male, neither, both, what have you, I can guarantee that all sides from the doom, gloom, and apocalypse calling side to the woohoo, yay, awesome yelling side will all eventually calm down and just watch the show, ever eager for more of the Doctor.

It would be awkward for me though if the next Doctor was a she with the added trait of being absurdly exceptionally attractive at the same time... hmm...

As I've mentioned before, I

As I've mentioned before, I didn't pick the title. :)

But you're right. I'll probably watch the show "regardless of female, male, neither, both, what have you". I just hope that this conversation is making people think about why they feel the way they feel, which can never be a bad thing, right?

Even though you didn't pick

Even though you didn't pick the title, you could've at least followed it a little.

The article came first, the

The article came first, the title second, but whatever. It's a small point.

You know, there are a couple

You know, there are a couple of other really good arguments in favor of a female Doctor that weren't mentioned in the article. For instance:

1. Sydney Newman, the show's creator, wanted the Seventh Doctor to be a woman.
2. In Destiny of the Daleks, Romana regenerates temporarily into a blue alien creature. If she can become another species entirely, why can't the Doctor become a woman?
3. It would prove to people that there's nothing that a man can be that a woman can't. That women can be scientists, brave, heroic, selfless, noble, charismatic, and eccentric, just like the Doctor's always been. And it'll prove that to the little girls and boys who watch the show.
4. People who say that the dynamic of the show would change because the male Doctor/female companion paradigm would be undermined seem not to realize that in the classic series, we had the Doctor traveling with male companions (Five/Turlough, Four/Adric). Nobody screamed about the different dynamic then. Why now when it might be two women?
5. Arguing that the Doctor should always be a man because he always has been just completely fails to take into account the structural inequalities that led the Doctor to be a white, upper class, British man in the first place. The racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia of British society back then. And just blindly perpetuates all of them.

Hope for Moffatt

I would LOVE to see a woman doctor but would be utterly amazed if it happened, as I can't see the-powers-that-be being brave enough to mess with the formula when the show's popularity is so high (and it has finally taken off in the US).

That being said, one reason for hope is that Stephen Moffatt at least used to write some excellent, complex and interesting female characters (I haven't really caught much of his era of Doctor Who so can't comment on that) - specifically Lynda (and Sarah, and Sam, and others) in his 1980s comedy/drama TV series Press Gang.

If they don't cast a woman this time around, I strongly recommend getting your hands on the Press Gang box set and watching that instead...

Thank you! Those are all

Thank you! Those are all great arguments.

"Rose Tyler, Martha Jones,

"Rose Tyler, Martha Jones, and Donna Noble all have their flaws, but they’re tough, smart, and nuanced. They save the Doctor as often as the Doctor saves them. Can we really say the same about Amy Pond or Clara Oswin Oswald, the companions penned by Moffat?"

Yup.

I hadn't thought of Tilda

I hadn't thought of Tilda Swinton before! She would be awesome as The Doctor.

I was a little hesitant about

I was a little hesitant about a female Doctor, but after reading many articles, have warmed up to the idea. Here are some possible candidates http://www.modestbombast.com/2013/06/in-search-of-doctor-female-doctor.html

Mistakes

Come on. You could've at least tried to make this a good article. First of all, there were SEVEN incarnations of the Doctor during the classic series from 1963-1989, then a TV movie in 1996. You failed to mention the TARDIS is bigger on the inside. You also separated Scotland from Great Britain. Scotland is part of Britain. You could've said Scottish or English, and that would e made more sense. You also said the Doctor "controls" time and space. Hell no. He travels on time and space, he doesn't control it. He isn't God. He's a Time Lord.
You also said that we still think of white male as the norm and the question was if we're brave enough to rethink that. Um, excuse me, but I could've sworn that the title of the article was "four arguments why "Doctor Who" should get a female Doctor", not if white male was still the norm and if we're brave enough to rethink that.

My Two Cents

I'm a dude, but also a "person of color" (where I live though, we don't call ourselves that... we just call ourselves people) so I suppose I can pitch in my two cents from my point a view, and something that got me thinking.

But think of the leap women and people of color have to make all of the time in identifying with and loving characters that don’t look like them.

I've never ever once had to make any kind of leap to identify and love a character that wasn't the same skin color as me. I've watched movies from China with an all-Chinese cast (go Jet Li), or India with an all-Indian cast (go Shah Rukh Khan), or Hollywood or BBC where protagonists are mainly white. I don't stop and think "I wish those people were the same ethnicity as me". I just enjoy the story for what it is. I guess this is an issue in America, where people still get hung up about skin color. The next Doctor could look like a brown dude (like me!) and I don't think I'll be thinking "oh this show is so much better now that he's brown just like me". I mean, go ahead and do it if you can get a good actor for a part, I just wonder why people make such a big fuss about race representation in a goofy television show.

And that's exactly the point.

And that's exactly the point. Women and People of Color make that cognitive leap of identification so often that it's second nature to us, and we're not even conscious that we're doing it most of the time. I completely believe you when you say you don't stop and think "I wish those people were the same ethnicity as me", because most of the time, I don't either. But the anger some folks feel when even the idea of a woman Doctor is mentioned (and some people actually get angry) illustrates exactly why having a woman Doctor matters. You're right, it shouldn't matter. It should just be a goofy television show. But as long as people actually get angry at the thought of woman Doctor, imo, we have a problem.

the whole argument is silly

It's been established that Time Lords can change race or gender, so anything goes! Sorry, but that is a bad argument and I'll tell you why. The only reason that was written in was to make it possible to have a black or female Doctor. But that's not the point. You can write anything you like into the continuity of a science-fiction show. Suppose I'm the show-runner of Doctor Who and I decide to write it in that a Time Lord can also switch species (which has technically already happened -- see Romana's regeneration in Destiny of the Daleks). I have now made it possible to have a non-human Doctor. If I like, I can have the Doctor regenerate into an Ice Warrior or an Ogron or an Ood. Now I'll write it in that the Doctor does not even have to be organic. The Doctor can now be a robot or a car or... I dunno, a pack of matches. Of course, none of these are good ideas.

There are times when you can get away with such a change. In the novel of Jurassic Park, John Arnold was described as a white man, but in the movie he was played by Samuel L. Jackson. This is fine because John Arnold is not an iconic character and there are no attached expectations. His race was a throwaway element, not essential to the character or the story and not part of a long-running cultural institution. But if John Arnold had gone on to appear in numerous stories where his race and gender remained consistent, that would be a different story. If a character has been around forever in a particular form, things get a bit dicey. It would be hard to get away with a black Superman or a male Uhura. They're expected to look a certain way and if you change that, it somehow robs them of their identity.

One could argue that race is a less important element than gender, and they would be correct. There is a whole slew of sexual identity issues that come into the mix once you decide to change a character's gender. As with the Jurassic Park example above, it can be done, provided sexual identity is not an important part of the character. If a character's role reads the same whether the person is male or female, as with Ripley in the first Alien film, it is very easy to turn a blind eye to the casting decision. But if we are consistently depicting a character as relating to the opposite sex in a certain way, then we are more-or-less obliged to stick with that choice. Race, however, is just skin-deep, and can very easily be dismissed in favor of something else. But should it?

It is very easy to say that in a predominantly white culture it can become tiresome, particularly for non-whites, to always see white people in films and on TV, and this is a valid complaint. But is it really necessary to take an established character -- even one who has been established as having the ability to change his or her form -- and suddenly take things in a new visual direction? All other things being the same, suppose things were slightly different. Suppose the Doctor had been a daring example of brave casting on the part of the BBC. Suppose they had cast a black person in the role of the Doctor. And for 50 years, each subsequent regeneration had been a black man. Physically, he might change just as much as he did in reality -- different height, different weight, etc. -- but always a black man. Now, on the 50th anniversary, someone suddenly suggests overturning that. We're tired of a black Doctor, people say! We want something new! Let's have an Asian or a Native American! How would the black community react? Would they want that to change? Some would probably be outraged, others more open to the idea. I, for one, would be slapping my forehead and saying "No! The Doctor is black! Keep it that way!"

It is true that we are lacking in female leads. It is even more true that we are lacking black leads. But the solution is not to arbitrarily swap the genders or races of established characters. Rather, the solution is to create new, memorable, lasting characters and to make them females and non-whites. Once those characters are established, I will defend against any attempt to change them because that's who they are -- that's their identity. And it should stay that way. If we decide we need something else, instead of re-inventing those characters until they're no longer recognizable, let's just move forward with something else, having been influenced by what came before as we create something entirely new. After all, creating a new character will add even more to the richness and diversity of our culture than tampering with something that's already around would.