The 13th Doctor is a woman. This is good news. It is good news for women and for men. For binary and non-binary folks. Gay, straight, bi, trans, gender-conforming, and non binary.
The 13th Doctor is a woman.
This is good news for everyone.
Toxic masculinity is a hot topic these days, as well it should be. It is dangerous for any living human, regardless of genitalia or chromosomes or hormones or identification. It perpetuates impossible, arbitrary, nonsensical standards for boys and men and perpetuates rape culture and victim blaming. It feeds archaic stereotypes about human experience, biology, and psychology that were disproved long ago. The war against toxic masculinity has been one of attrition, frustratingly and notoriously slow to advance, ground gained difficult to hold, subject to vicious attack from all sides no matter how tightly gathered and well armored the phalanx of progress.
Yet we persist.
My persistence has been, more often than not, on an individual level. I have tried to teach my son his emotions are his to feel, that it’s okay to cry, that pink is only a color, that anything boys can do girls can do and vice versa. I have encouraged his love of art, of cooking, of video games and knights, in sewing and baseball and glitter. In Batman and Superman and in the Superhero Girls. In Luke and Han, Poe and Finn and in Leia and Rey and Jyn. In Percy and Annabeth, Obi-Wan and Ahsoka, Cap and Black Widow, Ms. Marvel and Black Bolt, Allura and Pidge and Shiro and Keith and Lance and Hunk. Puss and Dulcinea.
I have made one hundred percent certain he’s seen, and understands when I do the same in encouraging his sister.
They both get science projects. They both get stuffed animals. She rides his old Captain American bike to which she has added a purple bell and pink streamers and he chooses to watch Moana.
I encourage them both to follow their passions, whatever those passions might be.
Because passions don’t have genders, not really. Society has put them in boxes and columns, categorized the hell out of them until the true purpose of passion, of geekdom is lost in arbitrary utterances of “boys shouldn’t” and “girls don’t.”
Boys should. Girls do. Those who are non-binary should and do.
GeekMom Karen wrote in an article earlier this week that the Doctor should remain male because his non-violent, intelligent, caring characteristics are one of the few modern representations offering an alternative to the culture of toxic masculinity represented in mainstream media.
We agree that toxic masculinity is a problem. But I believe the solution is exactly the opposite.
The solution is not to keep the Doctor as a male but, instead, to show boys that female figures can also be role models for them, too. I believe insisting on male models for this is akin to not allowing a boy to choose a purple shirt or telling him a female action figures isn’t for him or convincing him he play football when what he wants to do is ballet.
Creating a female 13 does not make her an unworthy role model and to suggest so is to miss the point of the fight against toxic masculinity.
This idea that the Doctor should be male to continue to be a role model feeds into an idea we’ve been working to eradicate for so long, that certain emotions/responses/characteristics are predicated on an accident of biology. It’s negating the struggles of those born into a gender with which they don’t identify and those who move in between and through.
It assumes value based on genitalia and feeds the beast to toxic masculinity.
13 being female isn’t just an opportunity for women and girls. It is an opportunity for everyone. It is a chance for girls to see a woman with the genius of centuries, who walks into trouble on behalf of others, who runs (maybe in heels and maybe not) into danger as often as she runs away from it. To watch, on a weekly basis, a woman who is smart and wise, who fiddles with electronics and talks to the TARDIS as though it were a spouse, who wields books and words and a sonic with equal comfort and ease. A woman who doesn’t like guns. A woman who gets furious and who cries.
13 being female gives the same opportunities to our boys. They will see beyond the rigidity of what has been to what can be. To teach them geek is geek and passion is passion and that preconceived notions of masculinity and femininity are absolute, complete, and utter crap. To search not for role models who are the same but for anyone who, regardless of similarities or differences gives them a spark of humanity, and teaches them a modicum of kindness.
Anyone who helps our children find their authentic selves.
The 13th Doctor is a woman and I am thrilled for my daughter. I am thrilled for my son. For myself and for my husband.
I am thrilled for all of us.