Reactions to the female leadThe most entertaining part of the announcement so far has been the online reactions. Many collated Twitter threads have already been circulated by the local and international media; showing a mixture of extreme reactions and less than gentle ribbing of those on each side of the debate.
It feels completely overwhelming, as a feminist, as a woman, as an actor, as a human, as someone who wants to continually push themselves and challenge themselves, and not be boxed in by what you're told you can and can't be.
It's just a TV show - why make it political?Once Whittaker's comment dropped the "F" bomb (ie: feminism), the surge of online responses started to swell. Some have suggested the change will make the television show "too political". However to suggest that television isn't political (or shouldn't be), does the medium and its audience an injustice. As the most accessible, most freely available media outlet in the world, television engages with politics by its very existence. As iconic television scholar and critic Raymond Williams once called it, television is both a "technology and cultural form". Whether we like it or not, all media representations are political. That is, they help us understand the way power works in the world. This isn't just what we see on our screens - but just as importantly - what we don't see. Viewers of different ages, nationalities, personality types and genders should all have the chance to see themselves every once and a while. And the joy of the Doctor character and Doctor Who franchise is that a casting change is just that - a change, not a loss. If you still feel more represented by Tom Baker than Matt Smith, then that's fine. No one's lost forever - a trick that producers of the show for decades have played with as "old doctors" return in various forms.
So what's next - a female James Bond?It's really up to the makers of the James Bond franchise to decide if the character can be played by a woman. James Bond is a fictional human man - which would make having a female actor play the part quite difficult - but not impossible. For example, when Cate Blanchett played Bob Dylan in I'm Not There, not only did she nail it, she was nominated for an Oscar and won a Golden Globe. Traditionally "male heroes" can be done justice by incredible women, too. I'm pretty sure the actual Dylan didn't mind too much, nor did his legacy take a hit. Clearly it's just about getting the right woman for the job.
Dear Jodie,Liz Giuffre, Lecturer in Communication, University of Technology Sydney This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. Suggest a correction
Welcome to the world of being a Lady Doctor! It's fun, but it can also be a bit exhausting at times - mostly having to explain that your gender identity isn't the most interesting thing about you, but also that you don't need to apologise for it and its distinctiveness. Remember, you're not replacing or competing, but expanding the possibilities. Good luck!