“Doctor has no gender in English.”
Everyone who knows me will at some point discover just how much I love Doctor Who. For me, it started in 2005 when it returned to our screens after a lengthy hiatus. I don’t quite remember exactly how everything happened, but chances are I walked into the room when my Dad was watching it and stayed. I know he watched it a bit while he was growing up, but I don’t believe it was all the time, only occasionally. Regardless, I started watching it in 2005 and haven’t stopped since.
Even though I had seen shows like Star Trek Voyager and Stargate prior to Doctor Who, I don’t remember much of them. Bits and pieces yes, and I liked them, but it wasn’t until Doctor Who that I really felt a strong connection. Doctor Who was my first real dive into a love of science fiction. I love rocketing through space with this mad alien in a blue box, encountering danger left, right, and center.
Since 2005, I have always wanted to travel with the Doctor as a companion. I’ve wanted to be Rose, Martha, Donna…all of them. I wanted to be the ordinary girl who becomes extraordinary and helps to save worlds and countless lives.
I heard years ago that the Doctor could regenerate into a woman. I don’t remember exactly when, but I know I’d heard about it a few times. The thing is, I never thought it would actually happen. It was like a carrot being dangled in front of us, this possibility.
On Sunday the BBC announced the next incarnation of the Doctor, the one taking over for Peter Capaldi, would be Jodie Whittaker. A woman. It is finally happening.
The night before this announcement, I wrote a little about my thoughts about the Doctor’s regeneration, specifically about the potential that the next incarnation could be a woman. Even writing that though, I never thought it would come true.
Immediately following the announcement, I wrote about my thoughts as well as the reactions I was seeing. It was pretty much my first thoughts, without thinking. I am happy with the casting, especially since I know her work with Broadchurch. At the time I wrote my post on Sunday, I thought that was it. But I’ve been thinking about it ever since, with a small smile on my face while I do.
Jodie has a monumental task ahead of her. There is no denying that. But I’ve already seen videos of young girls reacting to this news with sheer delight and I realized something. We can be the Doctor. We can imagine that future now. Imagine ourselves in that scenario, as the lead, the driver, rather than just being the companion.
There is nothing wrong with being the companion, don’t get me wrong. But I’ve realized there is something magical about the idea of young girls and even women for that matter being able to imagine themselves as the lead.
I went to see Wonder Woman not long ago and something in that film struck a chord. She was the one in the driver’s seat. She wasn’t put in the submissive or helpless role. She had an immense power and ability to save people, which she wielded like no one I had ever seen. I walked out of that movie feeling strong.
That feeling is nothing compared to what I am currently feeling. There are two major stories making up the person I am today: Harry Potter and Doctor Who (and by extension, Torchwood, since its in the Doctor Who universe). It’s also more than that for me, but the rest is quite difficult to explain.
I fell in love with Doctor Who a long time ago, when a man was the Doctor. I loved the possibility of travelling with him in a blue box, seeing things I had never even dreamed of before, but somehow exceeded everything.
I fell in love with Doctor Who when a man was the Doctor. But there’s a little something more now. I could be the Doctor. I really, really could.
I imagine I would have done just fine without a female Doctor. Maybe. But having one now means I am doing well. Doing really well. And just thinking about the little girls out there who have a hero like the Doctor, who they can really attach themselves to and aspire to be, warms my heart. Truly.
I don’t know what Jodie’s Doctor is going to be like. I don’t know who she’ll be. I wish I could see her onscreen now. I wish we had stories.
I don’t know how to end this, because I feel like there’s so much more I could say. But there’s one thought that keeps repeating in my mind. I’ve said it here already, but I will say it once more.
We can be the hero. It’s possible.
And you know what?
I want to be.