Lincolnshire Talks: Should we care that the new Doctor Who is a woman?

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Earlier this week Jodie Whittaker was announced as the 13th Doctor Who and perhaps more notably the first woman to be given the role.

The 35-year-old received rave reviews as an actress for her part in ITV drama Broadchurch, however the decision to announce a female Doctor has split the nation as some believe the Timelord should be played by a male actor.

But does it really matter that the new Doctor is a woman? Lincolnshire Reporter spoke to academics from the University of Lincoln about the matter.

‘An important step in the right direction’

Dr Anna Tarrant, lecturer in Sociology at the university, said that the move was “an important step in the right direction towards gender equality in the acting world, but also for the viewers and society more generally.”

She said: “It is saddening, but unfortunately not surprising, that there has been a backlash and that the casting of a female actress to play a regenerating alien should cause any outrage at all.

“There is still a long way to go in the fight for gender equality in our society.”

The decision for Jodie to become the first Doctor Who has not gone down lightly on some areas of social media and Anna admits that there is still a fight for gender equality in the country.

“That Jodie’s decision to play the character has been described by some as ‘brave’ because of the inevitable backlash it has caused, is just further evidence that gender inequality and sexism persist in some parts of society.”

Alex Lewczuk, a senior lecturer in English and Journalism, said that the decision for a female Doctor had been on the cards and described the decision as a “bold step.”

“Michelle Gomez became the first female Master and there have been signs for a few years that a female Doctor was on its way,” he said.

“It would have been a greater boost if the new Doctor was an older actress like Olivia Colman or Miriam Margolyes.”

Social and developmental psychologist Julie Van de vyver told Lincolnshire Reporter she was delighted at Jodie’s appointment.

“I think it is great. There is absolutely no reason why this is a bad thing, and many reasons why this is a great thing, such as inspiring the next generation of actresses.

“In any job setting it is absolutely essential that people feel valued and that they feel like they can progress. The appointment of a woman to the traditionally male Dr Who character shows female actors that they can progress into these types of roles if they would like to do so.”

Your views

Earlier in the week, Lincolnshire Reporter asked people if we should care that Jodie was appointed the new Doctor Who earlier in the week.

Rob Leather said: “Personally I have no issue with a woman in a lead role of any TV show, however having to change an established series just to appease a small portion of the public (most of whom probably don’t even watch the show) is a shame.

“That said, I’m looking forward to what she brings to the role, but as a fan it’s always difficult to swallow when long-standing story rules have to be broken.”

“I think people are forgetting the fi bit of sci-fi, it’s fiction. It’s not real. And she didn’t get it to appease a small minority or any of those reasons, by all accounts she simply blew the available competition away,” was the view of Sian-Elizabeth Rees.

Steward Evardson said that he was looking forward to the new series but was concerned Jodie’s gender would be the main topic of debate after each episode.

“She’s a great actress and I’m interested to see her take on the doctor but I am worried every episode will end up being about her sex.

“The quicker it becomes normal the better.”

Let us know your thoughts on the new Doctor in the comments below or by emailing [email protected]

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