Apparently, I’m Making Peter Capaldi Sad: Doctor Who and Exclusion

[Content note: misogyny, racism, whitewashing, transmisogyny, heterosexism, bad faith, flashing GIFS)] 

Okay. Let’s talk about Doctor Who, shall we?

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Doctor Who 12th Doctor

Doctor Who 12th Doctor

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(artist/writer: ponyscribbles on tumblr)

A month ago, the BBC announced that Peter Capaldi will play the Doctor in Doctor Who after Matt Smith steps down. He’ll be the twelfth regeneration of the doctor. And the twelfth white man to play the role.

I think most fans were pleased. Peter Capaldi apparently has quite a following in Great Britain (as an American, of course, the only time I’ve seen him was in the Doctor Who episode “The Fires of Pompeii”). He seems like a great actor, and a lovely person.

A large group of fans, however, were quite disappointed. I was among them. We’d hoped – against all odds – that this would be the regeneration where the Doctor was finally played by a POC and/or a woman. This was our chance. We’d been discussing it for years, but now – maybe now – it could finally happen. The BBC even put up a poll asking whether the 12th Doctor would be a man or a woman, thus acknowledging the possibility of a female Doctor.

[note: I use "we" a lot in this post. I use "we" not because we all share the same oppressions and marginalizations, but because we've all been erased by, and ignored by, Doctor Who (and other media). But I don't mean to conflate my identity with those of other marginalized people: as a white cisgendered woman, I'm relatively privileged, even when it comes to media representation]

We knew there wasn’t much of a chance.

But we hoped.

So yeah, a lot of us were majorly disappointed when it was another white guy.

And then, in the midst of my frustration, I saw the above comic. And lo, I saw the error of my ways, and stopped complaining about Peter Capaldi’s casting.

Cat and bath

Ahem.

Sorry about that. No, this is not going to be a post about how I finally learned to stop complaining and love oppression. And my sarcasm is probably also making poor Peter Capaldi cry. Sorry, Mr. Capaldi. You actually do seem lovely.

This comic isn’t some giant exception to the rule. Everywhere on the internet, you’ll find this idea that we’re being mean or unfair to Peter Capaldi by criticizing his casting.

So let’s talk about it, okay? *Really* talk about it.

Kangaroo, Ball, Gif,

I’m going to establish a few things upfront: I think I will really enjoy Peter Capaldi as the Doctor. I’m betting he will be a great Doctor. He seems, from everything I’ve seen of him on the interwebs in the past two weeks, to be a great actor. I’m also glad an older actor is playing the Doctor – it will make a nice change from Matt Smith and David Tennant.

I also love Doctor Who. I think it’s a great, beautiful, ridiculous, wonderful show. I would not bother to argue about it as much as I do  if I did not love it. I would not keep watching it if I did not truly believe in its promise and its potential. I would not be a fan if I did not believe it had a place for people like me.

We’ve gotten those things clear? Good.

Here’s the rub, my friendly readers: I’m also disappointed as fuck in Capaldi’s casting. I know! It’s so shocking. But it is, in fact, possible for me to feel more than one emotion about an event. I am a human being, and I can grasp complexity. I can be excited and disappointed at the same time.

Confused cat

SHOCKING!

Yes, I wanted the Doctor not to be a white man.

One of the most wonderful things about the Doctor is his (1) capacity for change. He constantly regenerates into completely different bodies. He is never static, never singular, always chaotic. He is simultaneously one and many. Everything about him is changeable, and changing.

So can you blame fans who want the Doctor’s various incarnations to reflect of the diversity of the world around him? To change races, genders, gender identities, ages, shapes, ability levels, sexualities, etc? In fact, it doesn’t make any sense for the Doctor to *not* change things like race and gender. To convince yourself that the Doctor should *always* be a white man, you’re ignoring the central tenant of his identity: nothing about him is unchangeable.

Except that some things are.

We’ve now had twelve doctors – with a recently revealed thirteenth (John Hurt) (2)- and they’ve all been white cisgendered men. Everything about the Doctor can change, apparently, except his race, gender and gender identity.

I cannot stress how incredibly depressing it is for people who are already erased, ignored and marginalized by the media to see a show like Doctor Who – which has a built-in excuse for being as diverse and inclusive as possible in their casting – just keep  casting white men. It’s almost deliberately cruel. “We could include you, but we choose not to. Let them eat the kyriarchy!”

So yeah, I’m pissed that Peter Capaldi was cast as the twelfth Doctor.

I’m pissed because there is absolutely zero evidence that showrunner Steven Moffat even considered casting anyone but a white man. Because, as Moffat put it, he had a shortlist of one: Peter Capaldi.

To everyone who has said: “Well, Capaldi was probably just the best actor for the part.” Really? How would Moffat even know that if he never bothered to audition anyone else? I mean, this isn’t a case of a white male actor legitimately beating out a bunch of actors of color and/or female actors through a stringent audition process. This is a case of a white man just being chosen, without anyone else getting a shot.

(If nothing else, it shows a shocking lack of imagination from Stephen Moffat. “I could only think of one person! So I cast him!”)

I’m pissed because Moffat has had three chances to cast a Doctor – Matt Smith, John Hurt and Peter Capaldi – and *all* of them have been thin white men. All of them. I have given up any notion that he gives a shit about inclusion. He’s had more chances than any modern Doctor Who showrunner to make the show more diverse, and he’s refused all of those chances.

I’m pissed because Moffat denigrated the very idea of a female Doctor. When asked about Helen Mirren’s call for a female Doctor, Moffat joked that the Queen should be played by a man next time.

Ellen Degeneres That's Gross GIF

Ellen Degeneres You Are Disgusting GIF

Which… wow. This simultaneously brings in transmisogyny (because there’s nothing more hilarious than drag queens and men who dress up as women, am I right?), a false equivalence, and stunning amount of bad faith. Having a woman play a traditionally male role is not the same as having a man playing a traditionally female role. Women are underrepresented in the media, so giving a woman a traditionally male role is being inclusive. Men are *already* well-represented in the media, so giving a man a traditionally female role only exacerbates the lack of inclusion.

And also:  bad faith. Queen Elizabeth should be played by a woman because the Queen is an actual historical figure who is female. The Doctor is not an actual historical figure. Moreover, the Doctor is a person whose identity constantly changes. Are you actually saying that being male is a constant part of the Doctor’s identity? That he can be anything – except that he must always be a man?

I’m pissed because of the message Moffat sends – and the show sends – by constantly casting white men. I’m pissed, because it it implies that gender and race are so *essential* to a person’s identity that they are the one thing an ever-changing alien can never change. It implies that those two things are so fucking fundamental that changing them would ruin the character.

Which is not at all a racist or sexist notion, no. Gender and racial essentialism, everyone!

I’m pissed because this casting is part of a long trend of the showrunners being oppressive and awful.  Doctor Who hasn’t had a female writer in three seasons. It hasn’t had a female director in two. It hasn’t had a writer or director of color in at least three seasons (3). It’s female characters get the wonderful privilege of participating in misogynistic storylines, including the mystical pregnancy trope, the “mothers are the most powerful people in the world because uteruses” trope, the “stalking is super romantic” trope and the “silly women and their obsession with their looks” trope. I’d be upset over the storylines surrounding major POC characters, but the truth is… there really haven’t been a lot of major characters of color in the past three years. And the ones I remember all die (like Rita in “The God Complex”). Moffat himself explains that he doesn’t bother with bisexual representation on Doctor Who because bisexuals are having “FAR TOO MUCH FUN. You probably don’t even watch because you’re so busy.” Asexual representation? Don’t even think about it – Moffat thinks asexuality is boring. 

I’m pissed because I see no signs that this is going to change anytime soon.

I’m pissed because whenever we bring this up, we’re being mean.

We’re being mean. We’ve been systematically ignored and erased on the show. People like us are denied representation, made fun of and stereotyped. We’ve gone through thirteen Doctors with no sign that we’re ever going to get representation – even though the show’s own rules mean it makes *no sense* for the Doctor to keep being white and male. We don’t have  representation in the writer’s room or the director’s chair.

Peter Capaldi and Stephen Moffat are powerful people. They have nice big salaries. They’re media creators. One of them is the head of one of the most successful franchises in the world, the other is about to be one of the most famous actors on the planet.

But we’re making them feel bad.

Nicole Beharie, Sleepy Hollow, Abbie, Slavery, You're offended,

… somehow, I kind of doubt it.

Comics like the one above are a silencing mechanism. They’re meant to make us feel bad for voicing our reality. For talking about the very real misogyny, heterosexism,  transmisogyny and racism displayed by Doctor Who and its showrunners. They’re meant to make it seem like *we’re* the ones who haven’t been inclusive, even though we’re the ones who have been systematically marginalized by the show and the showrunners. But we’re not inclusive. Because inclusive means no one ever feels bad. Especially not the poor, powerful white men who keep getting roles and jobs and representation.

Steve Colbert Oppressed White Male Alert GIF

Comics like the one above rewrite the narrative of Doctor Who. They rewrite our very real grievances, transforming marginalized people into a bunch of complainers who are trying to make Peter Capaldi and the Doctor feel bad.

Why isn’t our sadness ever depicted? Why is it always about the feelings of the most powerful people in the Doctor Who world? Why isn’t it ever about our feelings of exclusion, our feelings of marginalization, our anger at being erased and ignored? Why – even in a comic that is supposed to be about *us* complaining – why is it about Peter Capaldi?
Why aren’t we ever the protagonists of these stories?

***

… you know, on one level, this cartoon perfectly encapsulates the problem. Powerful white men in the Doctor Who world give other white men influence – as writers, directors and actors – while systematically ignoring the criticisms of those who feel excluded from the show. White men keep all the power for themselves, while making the people they’ve marginalized feel bad for complaining about it.  White men take the issue of system oppression and make it all about them.

Stephen Moffat hands the screwdriver over to Peter Capaldi, and then, when people point out they’ve never had a chance at that screwdriver, he berates them for making the new Doctor feel bad.

Frankly, everyone, I appreciate your concern for the Doctor, but seriously: the Doctor is a fictional character, and I can’t make him feel bad. So I’m not terribly worried about it. I’m not even worried about making Peter Capaldi feel bad: he’s got the job now, and he’s probably surrounded by wonderful people cheering his casting. And good for him! I don’t *want* him to feel bad. I don’t want him to feel bad, because it’s not his fault. He’s just the manifestation of a larger phenomenon.

The truth is, I don’t even think the comic writer above – and all the fans and creators who are trying to shut down complaints – care that much about Peter Capaldi’s feelings.

I think they want us to stop hurting *their* feelings. I think they want fans with legitimate grievances with the show to shut up.

Shut up, and let us enjoy Capaldi’s casting. Shut up and let us enjoy the show. Shut up and don’t remind us that some of this stuff is problematic. Shut up – I don’t want to feel guilty for enjoying the party. Shut up – I don’t want to think about the racism and the sexism while I’m watching my favorite show.
Please stop hurting my feelings. I don’t want to know about your problems.
I just want to enjoy the party. Why can’t you let me enjoy the party?

And I’m sorry to those people. I’m sorry that we’re making it harder for you to enjoy the Doctor Who party. But we’ve been left out of the party entirely, and we’d really like to come in. I’m sorry that when we press our noses up against the windows of the Doctor Who party, you feel bad. I’m sorry that we’re taking away from the glamour and excitement of the occasion, all bedraggled and locked-out as we are. But no one seems to be coming towards the door to let us in. And we’d really like to come in.

It’s not just that we’ve been locked out. We’re supposed to shut up about it. We’re simultaneously supposed to accept our outsider position – the constant attacks on our right to be fans of the show, and our right to see people like us represented in the show – while never complaining about it. The show can lock us out, and we should never ever complain about it. Because we’re the problem. The walls and the lock and the people who hold the key aren’t the problem. We’re the problem.

We’re always the problem.

I love the show. I’d love to come into the party and enjoy it with you. But I can’t.

It’s adorable that you think people like me have the power to bar Peter Capaldi from the party. But while he’s inside enjoying the celebration, most of us are still waiting for our invite.

I don't see how that's a party

It’s great if you can unreservedly enjoy the entrance of Capaldi into the canon. Hey – it’s also great if you’re part of a marginalized group and you can *still* enjoy the entrance of Capaldi without reservation.

But stop telling those of us who see it as the shutting of another door, the turning of another lock, the erection of a new barrier that we don’t get to talk about it. Remember that you can be a fan of problematic things. That liking something problematic doesn’t make you a bad person – but pretending something *isn’t* problematic does. Don’t silence the people who want an oppressive show to change. Don’t silence us.

Anita Sarkeesian, Feminist Frequency, Problematic Media,

Don’t watch the show bar the doors on its marginalized fans, and then accuse those same fans of not being inclusive enough.

Don’t lock us out of the party and then get angry when we make noise about it.

And maybe – just maybe – consider letting us in to party with you.

***

(1) I’m using male gender pronouns to refer to the Doctor because he’s only ever presented as male, and his latest incarnation is male

(2) It is unclear where John Hurt figures in continuity, or even whether he’s the Doctor. All we know is that he’s one of the Doctor’s regenerations.

(3) I went through each director and writer for the past three seasons and checked their race and gender. Obviously, this is a subjective process, since I’m one person, and there aren’t a billion pictures of all the writers. But I’m 95% sure that there have been no directors or writers of color in the past three seasons.

***

Commenting Policy: I’m going to make this explicit: this is a space to discuss the feelings and needs of marginalized fans of Doctor Who. It’s not a space for privileged fans to come in and say “well, this is what *I* want” or “I’m white and male, and I’m okay with the Doctor always being a white man!” That is welcome in almost every discussion on the internet. Not here.
Furthermore, if you want to argue that the Doctor should stay a white man, you’d better have a better argument than “because I like him that way.”
Because when the argument is “The Doctor’s static race and gender contributes to oppression and actively hurts already-marginalized people”
and your counterargument is “But I like him being a man!”
You sound like a fucking douchecanoe.

Again: This is a space to discuss the feelings and needs of marginalized fans of Doctor Who. Talking about the ways Doctor Who is oppressive is fine! Talking about general issues of oppression is fine! Talking about liking the show despite its problems is also okay! But this is a space that centers the needs of marginalized fans. Not privileged ones.


51 Comments on “Apparently, I’m Making Peter Capaldi Sad: Doctor Who and Exclusion”

  1. dawnofthenerds says:

    The only other POC character with an integral storyline that I can think of is Liz X.

    Honestly, I was hoping that Moffat wouldn’t cast a woman, because he’s proven time and time again that he cannot write women well. I was hoping for a man of colour. Now I’m just hoping that Moffat is gone as head writer as quickly as possible. Like, maybe they’ll announce it after the anniversary or Christmas special that they have someone new to do series 8. Stagger the announcements of people leaving. That would be great.

    • C.D. says:

      Yeah, I totally get that concern – I just feel like Moffat worships the Doctor so much that he’d HAVE to write him well – or, at least, not as shittily as he writes other women. Plus, there are other writers.

      A+ to Moffat leaving. Best idea. He should do it now. There’s a rush. NOW, if not sooner.

      • dawnofthenerds says:

        I’ve heard internet rumours that the ratings for the latter half of series 7 were abysmal, and that the producers were furious that the lead up to the 50th anniversary special was fizzling, and that heads would roll for that. My theory is that’s part of why matt smith left, but they couldn’t let all the big names go at once, or people woild realize something was wrong, so moffat is waiting til later to make his announcement. *fingers and all other available apendages crossed*

    • C.D. says:

      Liz X is pretty great. But yeah, she was in *one* episode.
      And, I mean, River Song was a WOC in one of her reincarnations. And of course, it was the bad girl, law-breaking reincarnation (or the delinquent reincarnation).
      Oh, Moffat.

      • CaitieCat says:

        Liz X had a small part in a second episode, whose name escapes me right now, but it’s the one with the van Gogh painting that River fetches from the Royal Collection, where Liz X catches her doing so.

        Which is sucktacular, because both character and actor were terrific! I would watch the hell out of more Liz X episodes.

  2. […] Apparently, I’m Making Peter Capaldi Sad: Doctor Who and Exclusion (culturallydisoriented.wordpress.com) […]

  3. Rocky says:

    So. These are just some thoughts, sorry for the length. Please try not to judge me. I’m a white male, so maybe society has brainwashed me into thinking these things but…

    I, like most people watching the show, have only been watching since the reboot series started. I liked the young, quirky, smart-ass doctor who galavanted about saving the world. I’ve seen a few of the episodes prior to the reboot of the series, and I can hardly stand them. In large part it’s due to the age of the character. My image of the doctor is a brown haired, white male, who is practically a-sexual. I realize that Matt Smith, David Tennant, and the 9th doctor all have somewhat different personalities. But, honestly, they seem to me to be more alike than different. They are energetic, lively, witty, chivalrous, and good natured individuals. And personally, I’m not thrilled that the new doctor is old, but if he is young spirited, chivalrous and energetic, I’m sure I will still enjoy watching. I like the flirtatious tension between the doctor and his companion, and I would be outraged if anything more than that actually happened. It would fundamentally alter the show from a quirky, good natured thriller, to something different.

    I have hated the Steven Moffat episodes. They have often destroyed the excitement of saving the world, and introduced a confusing plot line that I don’t care about. I watch the show because I want to see a repetitive, familiar thriller, and if the doctor has a pretty companion, then that’s all the more reason to watch (girls think Thor, that’s why my girlfriend and mom watched it). If the doctor were suddenly a red head lesbian, I doubt I’d watch the show anymore. Just as I would have stopped watching pipi longstocking as a kid had she suddenly lost her freckles, dyed her hair black and stopped being a tom-boy.

    Doctor who is not a drama, with a story line. It has no beginning nor end. There is no character development, and no one watches the show for those things. They watch Breaking Bad, Lost or Torchwood if they are doctor who fans and that is what they truly want. Is it wrong for me to see the doctor as a chivalrous hero saving the world? For a white male, is the doctor truly not a good role model? I feel that the doctor has a unique place in modern pop-culture because he embodies the qualities that a respectable white man should have: He makes no inappropriate advances on his companions; true, they may all be women, but had he been a misogynist, I doubt he would have deemed them worthy of his trust to travel about the universe with him, and what guy wouldn’t prefer traveling with a woman? I really wouldn’t enjoy an all bro show. It’d just be drinking beer and dumb jokes.

    Furthermore, what message would it actually send to viewers if the doctor could change his sexuality. Doesn’t that somewhat send the message that sexuality can change? I thought the whole reason everyone is so outraged that religious groups try to convert gay people to straight people is that no one actually believes it can be changed. If sexuality is not innate, then why shouldn’t a very religious individual seek to change what she/he sees as a sin? Personally, I don’t care if sexuality is a choice. Anyone should be able to love another however they’d like. But either way, the show isn’t about that. The doctor has never, (except for that one awkward time with Rose), been attached in that way to anyone else. He has good friends, but not love interests.

    The doctor is no James Bond. He is no womanizer. He preserves a certain spirit of chivalry that might otherwise be lost today. Sure you can argue that it’s a bad terrible quality and that all men should treat women exactly the way the treat other men, but honestly, I think most women would be sorely disappointed. They’d find their male friends cold, heartless and very competitive. Instead of changing the show so much that it is hardly recognizable as Doctor Who, maybe it would just be better for NEW shows to incorporate the realities of today’s much more tolerant world.

    • C.D. says:

      I’m sending a white cis man to answer this comment. Just for you.

    • Gametime says:

      HOO BOY, DO WE HAVE A LOT TO UNPACK HERE! Settle in, folks, this is a long ‘un.

      I realize that Matt Smith, David Tennant, and the 9th doctor all have somewhat different personalities.

      Seriously, you couldn’t even bother to look up Eccleston’s name? Minor sin, but c’mon.

      I watch the show because I want to see a repetitive, familiar thriller, and if the doctor has a pretty companion, then that’s all the more reason to watch (girls think Thor, that’s why my girlfriend and mom watched it).

      I’m pretty sure women don’t need you to explain the concept of sexual attraction to them, dingus. Also, I’m pretty sure there are women who find the DW companions attractive. And men who find Chris Hemsworth attractive! Maybe be a little less heteronormative when you comment in an explicitly-queer-friendly space!

      If the doctor were suddenly a red head lesbian, I doubt I’d watch the show anymore. Just as I would have stopped watching pipi longstocking as a kid had she suddenly lost her freckles, dyed her hair black and stopped being a tom-boy.

      Good. Stop watching. Nothing of value will be lost.

      There is no character development, and no one watches the show for those things.

      I… WHAT? No character development? Are we even watching the same show?

      You’re seriously arguing there was no character development in Dalek? In The Doctor Dances? The Parting of the Ways? Family of Blood? The Impossible Planet? Last of the Time Lords? Planet of the Ood? Journey’s End? Friggin’ TURN LEFT? NONE of those had character development?

      For a white male, is the doctor truly not a good role model? I feel that the doctor has a unique place in modern pop-culture because he embodies the qualities that a respectable white man should have: He makes no inappropriate advances on his companions; true, they may all be women, but had he been a misogynist, I doubt he would have deemed them worthy of his trust to travel about the universe with him, and what guy wouldn’t prefer traveling with a woman?

      Jesus Christ. “How can he be a misogynist? He invites attractive young women to travel with him!” I don’t think the Doctor is necessarily a misogynist – although 11 has been sexist a whole bunch of times – but if you can’t see the flaw in this reasoning, I don’t know what to say to you.

      (Also, “what guy wouldn’t prefer traveling with a woman?” Man, for someone who claims to view the Doctor as totally asexual, you have some weird fucking ideas about how sexual attraction informs friendship. And about how all men are apparently straight. See above, re: not being a heteronormative dingaloid.)

      Furthermore, what message would it actually send to viewers if the doctor could change his sexuality. Doesn’t that somewhat send the message that sexuality can change?

      BUT WHAT MESSAGE DOES IT SEND TO VIEWERS THAT THE DOCTOR CHANGES HIS FACE DOESN’T THAT SEND THE MESSAGE THAT FACES CAN CHANGE???

      ^ literally what you sound like

      Sure you can argue that it’s a bad terrible quality and that all men should treat women exactly the way the treat other men, but honestly, I think most women would be sorely disappointed. They’d find their male friends cold, heartless and very competitive.

      Jesus Christ, why are you cold and heartless towards your male friends? You sound like a terrible person. Have you tried NOT being a dick to ANY of your friends?

      Instead of changing the show so much that it is hardly recognizable as Doctor Who

      Because as long as it’s a white man, I can recognize the show, but cast a WOMAN? Or a MAN OF COLOUR? Heavens to Betsy, HOW WOULD YOU EVER COPE?

      • je2mots says:

        I am very disappointed that what seems to be a well-thought-out and well articulated argument made by a person who does not share the perspective of people on this site elicited this response. The ad-hominem attacks and deliberate misreading of his arguments undermine the legitimate points that can be made about the weaknesses of Rocky’s response.

        The magic of Dr. Who, and what has drawn all of us to this site as fans, is that he is more than just the actor who plays him. By seeking to discredit rather than engage Rocky’s view, you are undermining and preventing open dialogue about what different viewers expect from the Doctor.

      • C.D. says:

        Here’s the thing, Je2mots.

        This blog is not a place for “open dialogue about what different viewers expect from the Doctor.” This article is specifically about highlighting the needs and desires of *marginalized* fans of Doctor Who. Not all viewers. And certainly not *white male* viewers who want to tell me that it’s more important for them to feel good than it is for the rest of us to get fair representation.

        I’m not interested in open dialogue or free speech. I’m not the government. I don’t owe you – or Rocky – free speech. I’m interested in having a safe space where the perspectives of marginalized fans of Doctor Who can be highlighted.

        Also, if you thought Rocky’s response was “well articulated and well thought out,” you should definitely check out bell hooks. I guarantee you’ll be FLOORED by her articulateness.

        Finally: I currently don’t disallow ad-hominem attacks on this site – particularly against people who are engaging in oppressive behaviors, which Rocky was *explicitly* doing – as long as those attacks don’t engage in oppressive behaviors themselves. Gametime’s response did not contain a single oppressive insult.
        It was also an adept deconstruction of an extremely problematic argument. I asked Gametime to comment on Rocky’s piece specifically because I was *so triggered* by his reply that I could not do it myself. So you may think Rocky’s reply was totally fine and articulate and everything. But even if it wasn’t explicitly insulting, it was pretty damn hurtful to the people I’m specifically trying to help. Including myself.

        But that’s okay, right? Because it’s open dialogue!

      • habibilamour says:

        So a man is thinking that he knows what women think? I don’t like male friends acting sexually towards me and I am more comfortable being treated like his other friends.
        I agree with Culturally Disoriented’s article, because I am happy that someone is saying what I have been thinking.

  4. Rocky says:

    Ok.

    I re-read the article, unfortunately after I posted. A few additions…

    1. Appearance does change the character. As unfortunate as that is, it’s the truth. Maybe it shouldn’t be that way, but it is.

    2. I completely agree. Make it so the writers and directors are 50-50 male-female.

    3. I am not trying to say you are whiners. I think you have every right to be outraged, and should continue writing things such as this. But, complain about the story line, complain about the representation of women, complain about anything, but please don’t try to change the main character. I agree that there are far too many male main characters in books, TV shows, and movies, but it also doesn’t mean that someone should stop enjoying these stories just because the main character is a man. It doesn’t mean we should make Peter Pan, Harry Potter, and Bilbo a woman. Maybe when we remake these shows we should instead make tinker bell and hermione the main characters. That is not a joke. I’m completely serious. Make new shows that have female protagonists, and a balanced group of writers. But I like characters I grew up watching, reading about, etc.. and I really don’t want them to change.

    • C.D. says:

      I’m basically approving you so that I (and other regulars) can totally destroy you. Fair warning.

    • Gametime says:

      complain about the representation of women

      but please don’t try to change the main character

      Do you see where you went wrong here? “Lobby to get more women in the show, sure, but not in the IMPORTANT roles! Let’s not go overboard, here!”

      but it also doesn’t mean that someone should stop enjoying these stories just because the main character is a man.

      Nobody said you had to stop enjoying it, duder. I’m pretty sure FB specifically indicated she really likes the show and intends to keep watching it! It’s almost as though you aren’t actually responding to the criticisms being made!

      But I like characters I grew up watching, reading about, etc.. and I really don’t want them to change.

      The characters you grew up watching STILL EXIST. No amount of recasting them as women is going to un-make the media that already features them!

      Think about what you are saying, here. You are so opposed to casting the Doctor as a woman because it would somehow sully what’s already HAPPENED? Would you feel this way if the show was to be cancelled? Somehow, I doubt you’d have the same reaction, and if I’m correct in assuming that, that would indicate that you are MORE OPPOSED to the Doctor being a WOMAN than to the Doctor not having new adventures at all.

      Is that how you feel? Because that is fucked up.

      • SunlessNick says:

        And the idea of racial/gender consistency has been drop-kicked in canon: in an episode of the Sarah Jane Adventures, the Doctor specifically said that his race (in human terms) could change. In the Doctor’s Wife, he refers to a Time Lord who changed gender, possibly more than once. When regenerating into Matt Smith, he was in doubt as to his gender for a moment. River Song, while human, regenerated in the manner of a Time Lord and changed race while she was at it.

        If it was canon that sex and race were constant for a specific Time Lord, then that would be something. But it’s canon, most of which was introduced during Moffat’s run, that it isn’t. Why raise the idea and then never explore it?

        (Personally, I’d like to see Parminder Nagra).

      • C.D. says:

        Oh, man, the things I would do to see Parminder Nagra as the Doctor…
        (I also think Archie Panjabi would be fantastic, although she’s currently employed by The Good Wife)

    • C.D. says:

      I think CatieCat and Gametime have covered your comments. But I just want to highlight this point:

      “But, complain about the story line, complain about the representation of women, complain about anything, but please don’t try to change the main character. I agree that there are far too many male main characters in books, TV shows, and movies, but it also doesn’t mean that someone should stop enjoying these stories just because the main character is a man. It doesn’t mean we should make Peter Pan, Harry Potter, and Bilbo a woman [...] But I like characters I grew up watching, reading about, etc.. and I really don’t want them to change.”

      So, there are a couple of massive problems with this paragraph, so I’m going to take them one at a time.

      “Complain about the storyline [...] but please don’t try to change the main characters.”

      Here’s the thing. You don’t get to tell marginalized people what they should fight for. You – a white man – do not get to tell POC or women how *equal* they should try to be. You don’t get to say “oh, well, sure, you’re marginalized, but please don’t touch this thing, I LIKE IT.”

      You do not get to decide! In all other spaces, your white male voice is the most important voice. In all other spaces, what you want is the most important thing. In social justice spaces? YOU NEVER EVER DICTATE. You *never* get to tell marginalized people what they should be fighting for. Unless you yourself are marginalized along the same axis, you NEVER get a say.

      Because white men telling us what to do?
      White men telling us what we should fight for? White men telling us what is acceptable and what is not?

      That’s the PROBLEM with society. And I’m not eager to replicate it within this blog space.

      “It doesn’t mean we should change Peter Pan, Harry Potter and Bilbo a woman”

      Two things.
      One: do you know the difference between Peter Pan, Harry Potter, Bilbo and the Doctor?

      The Doctor is a body-morphing alien whose very nature is change.
      Peter Pan, Harry Potter and Bilbo are not.
      This is why you don’t see people actually running around and saying “Harry potter should be a woman!’
      Because it doesn’t make *sense,* canonically.

      It DOES make sense with the Doctor, because his body ALWAYS changes. And unless you think there’s something so fundamental about gender that it just *cannot* be changed – which is a pretty sexist notion – there’s no good reason why a body-morphing alien wouldn’t become a woman, occasionally. DOn’t worry! He’ll become a man again! That’s the point. he’s not static. He always changes. THAT’S THE POINT.

      So acting like *I’m* also asking Harry potter and Peter Pan to change into women is a strawman argument. I’m not. Because that doesn’t make sense within their storyline. I’m asking that a character whose very essence is change BE ALLOWED TO CHANGE.

      The Doctor is the *one character* in pop culture where changing race and gender makes perfect sense. So he should change genders and races. Because it makes perfect sense! You have to twist yourself into logical knots to justify him *not* changing genders occasionally.

      Again: I’m talking *specifically* about the Doctor. Which I did in the post – and I also addressed why the Doctor is an exceptional character in-post. You might want to check your reading comprehension.

      TWO:
      See that list? That “Bilbo, PEter Pan, Harry Potter” etc. list?
      See it?
      My point.
      If the Doctor becomes a woman, you know what? You have SO MUCH GODDAMN POP CULTURE you can turn to to find other white men. If you *cannot* handle watching a show about anything other than a white man, you can read Harry potter! or Bilbo! Or Peter Pan! Or whatever! Because you are a white man, and you have *millions* of media options.
      Do you know how many fewer options women and POC have? To see non-sexist, non-racist representations of themselves? They’re not *everywhere*.

      There are more white men than any other group on TV
      in young adult literature
      in literature
      in movies
      and
      in comic books

      YOU HAVE OPTIONS. Media is BUILT around you. So no, I don’t give a shit about your feelings of sadness about possibly *temporarily* losing *one* character. I do not care. you have options. Marginalized people do not have the same options. I will *always* prioritize ending oppression over white male feelings.

      (on another note, you guys get that if the Doctor becomes a woman and/or a POC, it’s temporary, right? You understand the *concept* of regeneration? They won’t *stay* female forever).

      But I like characters I grew up watching, reading about, etc.. and I really don’t want them to change.”

      I feel like this is the essence of the debate right here.

      You: I like these characters and it would make me sad if they changed!
      Us: “We’d like equal representation.”

      So you basically would like us to stop fighting oppression – you’d like us to just accept our own marginalization in the media – because otherwise, you might be sad.

      Okay.
      Right.

      I’ll take that into consideration.

      (I won’t)

  5. Rocky says:

    Ok. believe it or not. I was really just trying to express what I though was an honest opinion. I’m no troll.

    Thank you for letting the post go up. While we clearly disagree on a few things, and yes this is a queer-friendly space and I didn’t mean to intrude on it, or offend anyone, I just was hoping to play devil’s advocate. I thought I had presented a well thought out counter argument that I thought probably represented many people’s views. You can make of them as you will.

    I won’t intrude again.

    • CaitieCat says:

      While you’re heading out, take a moment and consider – just, think about it a little – consider why it is that you thought a devil’s advocate was needed? Are white men so marginalized now that they need a white knight to ride in when they’re even slightly nudged on the throne, let alone actually asked to step aside? Really?

      You’re dismissing your enthusiastic responses as “just being a devil’s advocate”, but you don’t ever seem to have considered the possibility that the devil, being a guy who’s pretty much on top of society in this case (i.e., Moffat or Capaldi), needs a self-appointed advocate, or whether perhaps it’d be better to put your efforts in advocating for the devil when the devil is a marginalized person?

      Because when you’re “just a devil’s advocate” for the status quo of “misogyny unless we’ve got a point to make”, you’re defending “misogyny unless we’ve got a point to make”. Is that who you want to be in your life?

      Just consider. Hope you enjoy the new season – sincerely. I love the show. I just want it to be more open to all of us. That someone other than a white cis het man should get to be the Big Damn Hero, just once.

    • C.D. says:

      Devil’s advocates are not welcome on this blog. Ever.
      Because what is an “interesting intellectual argument” to you are serious, life-impacting issues to others. You don’t get to have fun debates about oppression and marginalization. Because they actually fucking impact people.

    • I commend to your attention this article on How to be a Responsible Devil’s Advocate. I note in particular these two points:

      if you have now decided that you’re going to play devil’s advocate, tell the person what you’re doing. Be open. Get consent.

      remember that when it comes to social justice issues, the devil already has plenty of genuine advocates.

      But do read the whole thing, it’s really very well worth it.

      • C.D. says:

        I love that article (and that blog). Very worth reading.
        (Not just because if people started taking that advice, I wouldn’t make so many rage-motions)
        (but also because it’ll stop me making rage-motions)

  6. Abnoba says:

    I don’t want the Doctor to be a woman and I’d like more male companions. Please, Don’t kill me :)
    OK, if the next Doctor is a woman I won’t stop watching the show and won’t burn my TV shouting RUINED!FOREVER! I’ll probably watch it and just say “OK, let’s see what they do with this”. It’s just that I don’t need a female Doctor and I don’t think that a male Doctor is sexist or essentialist.Of course, I have been wrong before. (I still haven’t watched the last season. I want to, but the plot about River’s life and Amy’s baby was disappointing. River was more interesting when not everything in her life was about the Doctor. And what Moffat made to Irene Adler in Sherlock doesn’t encourage me to watch any other show that Moffat writes.)
    I have no problem with the Doctor as a POC, races are more labels to certain external physical characteristics that something with a biological basis anyway. And yes, I know that a lot of characteristics associated with a genre are social constructs, but gender is more than biological characteristics or physical appearance for a lot of people. For some people, gender is fluid, but there are other people, including some transgenders, that identify completely as a man or a woman. Some people with sex reasignement as babies, educated as the gender asigned to them by doctors, have still identified themselves as a different gender (I’m not intersex or transgender and I’m not talking in their name, and I hope I’m not saying something very stupid) What I mean is that if I could change and be a man for a day or a week, and changing again without consequences, I’ll do it without doubts. That would be a really interesting experience. But I wouldn’t like to be trapped as a man for a year, or a century. Or if I was almost inmortal, as the Doctor is, maybe for several centuries. If the Time Lords come back, I’d love to see Time Lords that change between genders, and Time Lords that change to no gender at all, or several other posibilities. But I don’t think that all the Time Lords must change between gender. If the time Lords could change when they want, and not only when they are killed, then it would make more sense to me ( Like Xavin did for Karolina n The Runaways http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xavin)

    • C.D. says:

      “I know that a lot of characteristics associated with a genre are social constructs, but gender is more than biological characteristics or physical appearance for a lot of people. For some people, gender is fluid, but there are other people, including some transgenders, that identify completely as a man or a woman. Some people with sex reasignement as babies, educated as the gender asigned to them by doctors, have still identified themselves as a different gender (I’m not intersex or transgender and I’m not talking in their name, and I hope I’m not saying something very stupid)”

      Okay, see where you went wrong here? I highlighted it for you.

      “People.”

      The Doctor is not a person. He’s an alien. He does not function according to our rules of gender and race. They do not mean the same thing to him (unless they do, which would be hideously boring). I’m going to say this again: The Doctor is an ALIEN. You can’t really evaluate his psychological attachment to *anything* based on human characteristics. Moreover, he’s an alien who *constantly* changes. And we know that he in no way *controls* the way he changes. He doesn’t get to decide anything. So even if he had an attachment to his gender, regeneration does not give a shit about the way he feels. Regenerations just changes his body! To whatever! It does not care if the Doctor wants to stay a man, or white, or whatever.

      He is a fucking alien, and we can’t evaluate him according to human standards. That’s the *point* of the Doctor’s character, and a big part of why he’s an exceptional figure in pop culture.

      Also, just so you know: it’s pretty not-okay to call trans* people “transgenders”. That’s referring to a person by a characteristic, which is generally a bad idea (like calling black people “blacks”. Not okay! Don’t do it!). Apart from that ickiness, trans* people do not want to be called “transgenders.” They prefer “transgender people” OR, EVEN BETTER “trans* people.”

      It’s already canon that Time Lords can change between genders, so that point is moot.

      Finally: like Rocky, your point boils down to: “Well, I don’t *want* the Doctor to be female.”

      Which… so, I just wrote this long post where I explained how keeping the Doctor a white man is actually harmful to marginalized people – like women and POC. And your counterargument is “but I want the Doctor to be a man.”
      That’s a little bit like if two people needed to use a taxi, and one of them is bleeding to death and needs to go to the hospital, and the other one is like “but I WANT this taxi.”

      I think it’s really telling that the general response to “Keeping the Doctor white and male contributes to oppression and is actually harmful to marginalized fans”
      is
      “But I like the Doctor to be male!”

      Okay, player. I’m glad that our marginalization means so little to you!

      • Abnoba says:

        Also, just so you know: it’s pretty not-okay to call trans* people “transgenders”. That’s referring to a person by a characteristic, which is generally a bad idea (like calling black people “blacks”. Not okay! Don’t do it!). Apart from that ickiness, trans* people do not want to be called “transgenders.” They prefer “transgender people” OR, EVEN BETTER “trans* people.”
        I’m very, very sorry. I think that is obvious, but English is not my first language, if that can be a excuse. I didn’t want to be offensive, It won’t happen again.
        “Okay, player. I’m glad that our marginalization means so little to you!”
        Just so you know, I’m a woman, so I’d like to have a voice about how I feel about my own marginalization, thank you very much. Oh, well, now I can say that in the same month I have been accused of being a “feminazi” (well, hembrista, a spanish that is almost the same) and not caring about marginalization of women enough. That’s an interesting experience.
        And I care about marginalization of women in fiction. I know the studies of the Geena Davis Institute. I have a niece, and I recently tried to find a book for her with a female protagonist, and in a collection of 30 books for her age, there was none with only a female protagonist, and only one with a male and a female. And when I tried to ask for suitable comics for her in a forum, a lot of the recomendations had a lot of fanservice. For a 8 years old! It’s so pervasive in comics that people can’t even see that no, that shouldn’t be the norm. Hell, I care about me, I’m frustrated with women being a category and not people, not only in fiction, in real life.
        I wasn’t arguing about marginalization of women in fiction, of how harmful it was. I have argued about it with other people again and again: in videogames, in roleplaying games, in comics, in fantasy fiction… I know how harmful it is. I was arguing if in this specific story and with this specific character, that change made sense inside the story, if it made sense with what we know about the Time Lords and the “rules” of their regeneration.

  7. CaitieCat says:

    And, yeah – great post. I was hugely disappointed when the rumours about Paterson Joseph weren’t fulfilled when 11 was cast, and am just as disappointed that Peter Capaldi has, and that Moffat was such a complete arsehole about it.

    That’s despite the fact that I’m also squeeful about Capaldi, because I’ve loved his acting forever. He played a trans woman in the second Prime Suspect series, and i’d bet that he’d support the casting of Helen Mirren (with whom he acted up a storm). Capaldi will be a wonderful Doctor, despite Moffat’s writing and Gary Stu and mouth-needles fetish and weird thing about moms and the endless series of head-spinning robots with polite but lethal catchphrases.

    But while enjoying his casting in itself, I can also mourn yet another occasion on which, as you say, we’ve been shut out. Again. And derided into the bargain, because Moffat can’t let a chance to piss all over everything to make sure no girl- or brown-skin-cooties get on it.

    Great post.

    • Willemina says:

      This sums up my feeling as well. I had great hopes as Gaiman re-established the canon of gender changes with regeneration in “The Doctor’s Wife,” and some resumed Patterson Joseph buzz. The ageists and navel-gazing ginger complaints can stuff it though. With Moffat’s inability to get past his weaker and weaker schoolgirl crush romancey plots I hope an older Doctor forces him to wise up. Otherwise things are going to get super extra creepy.

      • C.D. says:

        You know, I hadn’t considered how creep-tastic it could get if Moffat keeps on with the crush-type episodes, but now that you mention it… *shudder*

        Also, yeah, ageists can stuff it. (One of my fantasy castings was Helen Mirren as the Doctor, and Judi Dench as her primarily companion. Because they would be great)

  8. Gametime says:

    (I’m not sure whether there’s a limit to how many comments can get nested or what, but I can’t reply to je2mots’ comment directly. So! I’m doing it here.)

    I am very disappointed that what seems to be a well-thought-out and well articulated argument made by a person who does not share the perspective of people on this site elicited this response. The ad-hominem attacks and deliberate misreading of his arguments undermine the legitimate points that can be made about the weaknesses of Rocky’s response.

    Jesus Christ, am I ever tired of having to educate people about what an ad hominem fallacy is. Look, the key point of a fallacious argument is that the argument you are making relies on fallacious reasoning. When I say “John Boehner is wrong about food stamps because he’s an asshole,” that’s fallacious! Boehner being wrong does not follow from him being an asshole! That is an ad hominem.

    When I say “John Boehner is wrong about food stamps and that makes him an asshole,” that is not fallacious because the conclusion I’m drawing – that Boehner is wrong about food stamps – does not rely on the aspersions I’m casting on his character. (In fact, I’m not really making an argument at all there, just an observation, which makes the inevitable whining about alleged ad hominem attacks even more tiresome.)

    If I say “You’re throwing around fallacy names to try to score a rhetorical point without even looking up what those fallacies entail and that makes you an asshole,” that’s not ad hominem. It’s an observation, followed by an insult. You know how someone being a dick doesn’t make them wrong? You know, the whole point of why ad hominem is a fallacy? It works both ways. I’m not wrong just because I’m rude.

    (By the way, I love how you criticize us for ignoring the “legitimate points” that can be made but don’t bother to bring them up yourself. Why engage in discussion when you can just scold everyone else for not meeting your rigorous-yet-nebulously-defined standards!)

    The magic of Dr. Who, and what has drawn all of us to this site as fans, is that he is more than just the actor who plays him. By seeking to discredit rather than engage Rocky’s view, you are undermining and preventing open dialogue about what different viewers expect from the Doctor.

    If the Doctor is more than the actor who plays him, why would you ever make a big deal about the Doctor being cast more diversely?

    Oh shit, it’s almost as though this nonsense about the Doctor “transcending” petty issues like equitable representation and media marginalization is just a weak-ass smokescreen to distract people from your vest interest in maintaining the status quo!

    And if you don’t have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo, I want you to think long and hard about why you felt it was necessary to chastise people on a post calling for more representation in a show that canonically calls for it.

  9. macavitykitsune says:

    I hate that I’m going to say this, but…I really don’t want 11 to regenerate into a woman or a POC. And it has everything to do with the fact that the last three seasons have been misogynistic as fuck. And let’s not even get into the race dynamics; let’s just seriously not even. I had to stop mid-season 7 (and honestly I was rage-watching it by mid-season 6) because it was just that horrible and sitting around yelling at the screen was not what I wanted from my Saturday TV.

    I do not want Moffat getting what someone on tumblr called “his grimy little hand stubs” on a female Doctor. Or a Doctor of colour. I just really don’t. I’d love to see a female or POC Doctor – hell, you know what, I’d love to see a trans WOC Doctor! – but gods, not right now. That would be a nightmare.

    Also, I guess, 11 (and 10) were privileged, high-handed fuckwits. And that seemed pretty integral to their personalities to me. So I guess I’m happy that Moffat’s high-handed privileged Doctor isn’t regenerating into someone who’d have to, like, understand that people have problems and systemic oppressions. So. Yeah.

    • C.D. says:

      I have to admit, this is the only reason that I agree with re: not having a female or POC Doctor. I just don’t… trust Moffat to not screw it up. The last three seasons have been so horrifying – my boyfriend and I watch together, and it had gotten to the point where we were pausing *EVERY MINUTE* to yell at the screen. I just… I want Moffat to go away. Far, far away, to a place where he’ll never get near my TV again.

      The misogyny and the racism and the queerphobia – both in the show, and from Moffat himself – makes it very, very hard for me to stay invested.

      • Willemina says:

        I’ve worn circles in the carpet with rage spirals. I feel awful saying that actually. If I didn’t have some great childhood memories of taped episodes and my Mom’s reminiscing about Tom Baker on PBS I’d have quit long ago.

      • This. All of it.

        (Apologies for way-past-sell-by-date reply; the reorganization of gmail, without telling me, was shoving all my comment-at-blog notifications into a hidden folder. Garrgh. Caitie Hate Change in Working Programs!)

      • C.D. says:

        I belong to the “I hate you so much right now gmail” club, so I feel your pain!

      • LOL, yeah, it seems to be going round. I’m just glad I don’t have problems with shaky hands, because the whole ‘hover here for 2 seconds to open this thing, then hover in that precise spot for 2 more seconds to open the next thing’ sequence for so many websites today is really, really unfriendly to that.

        Also, if you’re the CD I think you are (can’t remember), would you mind e-mailing me, or commenting at fullmetalfeminist with a contactable address? I’d like to do a little brain-picking on community theatre and disability, as I’ve decided to offer a short training night on it to the incoming board.

        If you’re not, then, y’know, no worries. I’ll find her. :)

      • C.D. says:

        Oh, hey, hi! Sorry, I totally missed this comment. I will email you posthaste!

    • Abnoba says:

      I have a similar reason for wanting more male companions. I’m very, very tired of all the companions adoring the doctor. It seems to me like the Doctor and his fangirls, like you have to have people adoring him, so you choose women to acompany him and say how great he is, because God forbids that there is a male admiring and loving other male. Yes, now you have Rory, but he was more like a companion to Amy than to the Doctor, and there is not the same relationship.
      It was not so bad in the first seasons, before Moffat. Captain Jack admired the Doctor, even if he wasn’t in a whole season, and Donna was fantastic. Donna loved the adventure, and the Doctor as a friend. T the Doctor was important for him but she was important for him too. She didn’t worshiped him. When he was wrong, she said so. Even Rose and Martha had a more realistic vision of him than Amy and River. They loved him, but they knew that he was far from perfect.
      But now, the Doctor is like a Mesiah, and perfect, and frankly, a bit of a Marty Stu. So if you are going to have worshippers, at least have equal-opportunity worshippers, not a cult of women following you around and saying how amazing you are.

  10. Willemina says:

    I feel like this is kind of a tone argument, but at the same time not. I do feel slightly uncomfortable with the title of the post, since I haven’t seen Peter Capaldi say anything to the effect of being upset by fan reaction from either side of the equation (disappointment at less than progressive casting, or attacks on his age).

    Fans claiming that anyone who dares to question the loving and beneficent wisdom that is The Moffat *gag* are being troublemakers and the man himself rolling in reflected glory from his couple good bits are another story. I fully expected when I linked here that I’d find some new horror as Capaldi jumped in the septic tank with Moffat and joined in in denigrating people who see the great potential outside the box for the Doctor. Not so much. I agree with the criticism of people that are trying to shut down the conversation with “Lalalala, Doctor must be white guy who makes the ladeez fluttery,” but I’m not thrilled with blow-back on Capaldi for taking the role. Given Moffat’s crowing about his “list of one” and that odious line about the Queen there’s more than enough material to work with on that end. With little hope of real change on the horizon Capaldi’s basically my last ray of sunshine. Hopefully bitter cantankerous Malcolm Tuckery sunshine to match my general feelings about the hateful sidelining crap Moffat tosses out like candy.

    Sorry for getting kinda wordy, I’m having a hard enough time holding out hope for the show these days without finding out Peter Capaldi is a raging asshole a la Moffat as well. I guess I’m being made sad by thinking Peter Capaldi is being made sad by people being made sad because Steven Moffat just can’t be arsed.

  11. […] Apparently, I’m Making Peter Capaldi Sad: Doctor Who and Exclusion (culturallydisoriented.wordpress.com) […]

  12. mllelouise says:

    A reblogué ceci sur Mademoiselle Louise and commented:
    Add your thoughts here… (optional)

  13. In my opinion if, as others have said, it is possible for Time Lords to change ethnicity and/or gender, and if, as it seems (especially when River regenerates into Kingston “I’m trying to concentrate…”), the Time Lord has some even subconscious control over the results of regeneration, then it actually takes the Doctor way down in my estimation for him to continue to be a white male. If he has the ability to appear otherwise but doesn’t, whether by choice or through the leanings of his subconscious, what does that say? It says my beloved Doctor is racist and sexist (which isn’t hard to believe, given some of the writing). If we want to explore that as one of his tragic flaws of his character, that could be interesting, but I doubt that’ll happen.

    I actually thought it might have been a thing for Time Lords to get younger in appearance as they regenerated so I assumed the next Doctor would be even younger and I’m glad that’s not the case.

    Finally (mobile commenting won’t let me nest it), on the comment about changing genders for Harry, Bilbo, and Peter Pan: um. Peter Pan *was* often played by women. I know they were women acting to be boys but still.

  14. Brandie says:

    Hi there. I want to start by saying I’m a girl. Also as a fan of Doctor Who I have no objections to the Doctor being of a different race. Make him a person of color, better yet make him an alien because after all he is a Time Lord. From the planet Gallifrey. Not a human from earth. I do disagree with your statement that there haven’t been any major POC in the show. Martha was a strong amazing character who was exemplified for her cleverness and strength. Then there’s Mickey/Rickey, Rose’s sometimes boyfriend who grew from a lovestruck puppy into a strong leader and exemplary Torchwood agent. Now let’s focus on the portryal of women in the series. For the sake of time we will focus solely on Moffat’s female characters. Starting with Amy Pond. Now while she was a mother, to say that she was simply that is an insult to this character. Amy Pond is the woman who survived, alone, for twenty years fending off crazy robots with hypodermic needles for hands. She single handedly figured out which dream was reality,something not even the Doctor could do. That’s only two of the many examples. Then there’s River. Yes she is the Doctors lover. She is also an archeologist. A Doctor in her own right. She can drive the TARDIS better then the Doctor. She sends Daleks screaming at the sound of her name. She spends a whole regeneration protecting her parents and making sure they end up together. She travels through time without the help of a TARDIS. She is a certified badass. Then there is the whole the Doctor being a skinny white male. Firstly the Doctor does way too much running about and jumping to be out of shape. On top of which he has an advanced metabolism that processes food very differently, from ours so for all we know it could be impossible for the, good people of Gallifreyan to gain weight. Any time they have shown other Gallifreyans they have all been in shape. As to themale part , there have been Time Ladies as well as Time Lords. The Time Ladies regenerated as female why should the Time Lords not also follow this? The fact that the Doctor was a Time Lord and not a Time Lady was an accident of his birth/looming. Lastly, while the Doctor has a well documented taste for Earthling women, he also has a soft spot for Capt. Jack Harkness. They even shared a kiss on screen! So please. Stop. I’m sorry not everything fits into every single person’s view of how the world should be but this television program has done an exemplary job of including all types and kinds and to be honest has had some pretty kickass female characters along the way.

    • C.D. says:

      “I want to start by saying I’m a girl.”

      Oh, hey, me too!

      “I do disagree with your statement that there haven’t been any major POC in the show. Martha was a strong amazing character who was exemplified for her cleverness and strength. Then there’s Mickey/Rickey.”

      First “Martha was a strong amazing character who was exemplified for her cleverness” is not grammatically correct.
      Second, as I say repeatedly in the post, I am discussing the ways women and POC have been marginalized in the show during the STEVEN MOFFAT ERA. You know what two characters don’t show up at all in the Steven Moffat era? Martha Jones and Mickey Smith.
      Martha and Mickey are very well-rounded and interesting characters. But since they don’t appear in the Steven Moffat era, they’re not really contributing to POC presence in the show.
      If you can name one major POC character who appears in more than one episode of the Steven Moffat era, I’ll be very impressed.

      “Starting with Amy Pond. Now while she was a mother, to say that she was simply that is an insult to this character. Amy Pond is the woman who survived, alone, for twenty years fending off crazy robots with hypodermic needles for hands. She single handedly figured out which dream was reality,something not even the Doctor could do. That’s only two of the many examples.”

      Hey, I loved the Amy Pond who survived for twenty years fending off crazy robots. You know what the show did to THAT Amy Pond?
      It killed her.

      I don’t have time to get into a 101 discussion about why the portrayals of River Song and Amy Pond is hella problematic. But they are, and you can do research on it in your own time, at places like Whovian Feminism and STFU Steven Moffat.
      I will note that the problem with Amy Pond isn’t that she’s a mother.
      It’s that I can’t name anything about her life except for her relationship with Rory and the Doctor (and VERY occasionally River), and the fact that she was a Kissogram/Model.
      I can name a shitload of things about Donna, Martha and Rose’s life outside of their relationship with the Doctor/their significant others.

      “Firstly the Doctor does way too much running about and jumping to be out of shape.”

      I am going to BLOW YOUR MIND. There are fat runners. And fat athletes. And fat dancers. And fat people who are far, far, far more in shape than Matt Smith and David Tennant and Christopher Eccleston.

      And some of the Doctors were played by very old men (the first, for example). Probably not great runners and jumpers!

      “Any time they have shown other Gallifreyans they have all been in shape.”

      You keep using the term “in shape.” I do not think it means what you think it means.

      “As to themale part , there have been Time Ladies as well as Time Lords. The Time Ladies regenerated as female why should the Time Lords not also follow this?”

      What exactly is a themale?

      Also: there are documented cases of Time lords switching gender in their reincarnations. I am not fucking making this up. It is CANON. If you have an objection, take it up with Neil Gaiman.

      “Lastly, while the Doctor has a well documented taste for Earthling women, he also has a soft spot for Capt. Jack Harkness. They even shared a kiss on screen!”

      … I don’t actually think I talk all that much about sexuality in this post, because, frankly, I’m not that interested in it when it comes to Doctor Who.
      HOWEVER.
      If we’re going to talk about the Doctor’s sexuality, the ONLY time he could have been mistaken for anything other than straight was during the RUSSELL T. DAVIS ERA (ie: when Jack was an actual character) – NOT the Steven Moffat era, which is the one I’m talking about in this post.

      Also, don’t even play – having a “soft spot” for someone isn’t nearly the same as being attracted to them, and Jack kissed the Doctor, not vice-versa. If a woman comes out of nowhere and kisses me, it doesn’t mean I’m bi.
      (although, hey, I am!)

      “I’m sorry not everything fits into every single person’s view of how the world should be”

      I don’t think you are sorry, actually.

      “This television program has done an exemplary job of including all types and kinds and to be honest has had some pretty kickass female characters along the way.”

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      … oh, wait, you’re serious?

      I’m not even going to address this one, because HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, an “exemplary job” LOL, where is my kleenex, my eyes are watering.

      “So please. Stop.”

      Shan’t.

  15. DaveSF says:

    I’m a 61 year old straight white guy and I’d have been thrilled with (and was hoping for) a female Dr, or POC this time around. The Dr appears to be generally asexual, though the whole ‘married to River’ thing, and occasional kisses of late do open that door a bit, so making the Dr explicitly straight or gay doesn’t ring true to me. He and Jack hinted at past dalliances too, so heck, maybe he’s bi. Either someone known, and cool, like Ecclston or Tennant, or interesting and unknown like Smith, of any sex or color or ethnicity would have worked. I’m interested, like ponyacribbles, in how they use Capaldi – it’s cool that he’s older, he’ll do a fine job, but this seems like a missed opportunity to take the show to the next level. Just my $.02, thanks for the space.

  16. Caretaker says:

    The problem with this whole sorry diatribe, and with complaints like this in general, is that you don’t want the best actor for the job, you want a symbol, you want an act of tokenism, you want to tick a particular box and call it a victory.

    If the best actor for the role one day happens to be an actor of colour, or female, then that’s fine. Because they were the best actor for the job. But specifically trying to force it to be that, and complaining when it doesn’t happen, isn’t equality, it’s compliance.

    But of course my point won’t be heard here, I’ll just be derisively labelled, as you appear to do to all who dare not think the way you do, and don’t agree with all of what you say. But even so, I’ll also add this. The makers of any form of art owe you, the audience, exactly nothing. You have no right to dictate or demand anything, nor to tell them how their art should be created, or the form it should take. You can like it, dislike it, critique it, ignore it, but it is not within your right to demand changes just to suit what you may want or desire. You want to change the way the world thinks or sees things, make your own art your own way, don’t try to force change onto others. And if you don’t have the courage and drive to do that, then your words, demanding the change in others, are truly meaningless.

  17. Lemur says:

    catherine tate would have been a fabulous proper dr (not just meta-donna), IMO. regardless of race and gender, i need a dr who can range from wacky to wise to scary & dark. matt smith tried, but never got there. i hated smith, as much as you can hate something that you still love. moffat isnt just terrible at writing women, he’s terrible at writing anyone with human emotions. all his characters are 2D.

  18. Leon says:

    9 times out of 10 i see an argument about capaldi it’s usually he’s to old so to see someone bring up an actual reasonable argument about there annoyance with his casting is nice and refreshing to see, on the note of an actress playing the doctor I’m waiting patiently till the day either Moffat leaves or the BBC pull there finger out cause we’ve had long enough with white males specifically and I know if we have a female doctor or an actor of different efnicity Moffat would butcher both the script and the series even more than he is, on a better note I relish the opportunity to cosplay a female doctor or black doctor it would be nice to cosplay as either without the fear of people saying I can’t cause I look male (even though i identify as female)

  19. Trey says:

    For a timelord to change gender he must try to kill himself and regenerate, or force regeneration. I don’t think the Doctor will ever do that. Also: Why on earth would a TV show about saving the world and all this badass stuff need to represent multiple kinds of people? It’s a BLOODY TV SHOW. At this point, we all need to stop whining and just WATCH. Him being a woman or a different color does not represent anything, in 3 seasons he will be a new person anyways! There is no need for representation of any person or group of persons! When the Doctor, or any timelord for that matter, regenerates, the persons BODY changes, not their mind. They keep memories and thoughts, so obviously, they will keep their sexual orientation. This whole article is based around a person falsely throwing around accusation that are just, stupid!

    • C.D. says:

      “There is no need for representation of any person or group of persons! ”

      LOL, why are you even reading this blog? Go back to reddit where someone cares.

  20. Rachel says:

    Well, I want you to join the party too. I am so sorry that DW is not letting you. I’m on the outside too. (Female, disabled, asexual) and I wish the same things you do. God dammit Moffat.


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