This year, women have achieved a lot! The women’s march happened throughout the world, and ended up on the front cover of TIME Magazine. Wonder Woman entered the domain, led by Gal Gadot and female director Patty Jenkins, who did a STERLING job. Buffy The Vampire Slayer, the original TV super-hero feminist icon celebrated its 20th anniversary, and proved she is stronger than ever. And Ieshia Evans showed the world how to protest peacefully and became a prominent figure for the Black Lives Matter movement.
So after all that we have achieved, why is it so difficult to accept, and so preposterous to imagine a female Dr Who?
It was revealed this month that the next Dr. Who would be played by Jodie Whittaker. The Dr would regenerate from Peter Calpaldi, into a woman...an amazing step forward for a TV series right? Wrong. Several fans took to Twitter to blast this decision, some going as far as stating that they would never watch the show again. This is ironic, considering that the Dr represents regeneration and change, and they should be embracing what the Dr stands for, hope.
However, this isn’t uncommon in the acting and film industry, with women’s roles being written very different to men’s. Both men and women age, but this only affects women in film. Men don’t tend to cross barriers, they go from strength to strength, always being cast as the protagonist and the hero. Just look at the likes of Michael Caine, Bruce Willis and Hugh Jackman. But women aren’t allowed to age, when they age, even a little bit, their role choices change. They go from daughters and love interests to mothers and old hags, and their screen time is limited - no one wants to look at an old woman surrounded by hot young men - well, I would rather enjoy someone’s acting experience and ability, rather than how fast they can run from a CGI explosion. And it is these perceptions within the film industry that seep into reality and public perspective. It can be difficult to imagine a woman as a superhero, or strong character when women are constantly cast in lesser roles, making them appear weaker and uninteresting.
Earlier this year, Gal Gadot changed everything with the much anticipated Wonder Woman. We were suddenly presented with a modern female icon, who doesn’t need a man, and just wants to kick ass and save the world. But let’s not forget the struggles that this film has faced. Commissioned in the 90’s, this film has been a long time coming. It has been cast aside countless times, with several men attempting to bring it to life (let’s not forget the recent release of Josh Whedon’s script - very disappointing), and let’s not forget how Wonder Woman was introduced. She was a smaller character amongst two male iconic superhero’s. Was this because she was lesser known and identifiable? Maybe. But eventually, she was given her own film, brought to life by a woman director. And this character, and Gal Gadot herself have changed the way we view women in films. It is the same for the new Dr. We have been pushing for a female Dr for some time, and it has happened. Not smoothly, but it never is, but I hope that Jodie Whittaker makes this role her own, and does for TV female icons, what Gal has done for film. It’s about time we get another Buffy!
But the response to the new female Dr means we have a long way to go, and we need to start pushing for more women in front of, and more importantly, behind the scenes. Women are no longer comedic release, or sexual tension. We are our own people and our own characters. Just remember broflakes, whilst you’re winging about not having a male Dr, young girls may just be discovering their new female role model.