Sunday, July 16, 2017

Unexpected, Heart-Warming Support For The New Doctor From... Ghostbusters Fans?

I used to follow quite a few Ghostbusters fan pages, so you can imagine the onslaught of ickiness that flooded my feed from the moment the new reboot was announced until, well, pretty much now. Most Page admins did their best to stem the worst of it, but even so, the negativity towards the all-female cast felt relentless and overwhelming, until I eventually unfollowed all but one or two.

Today the BBC announced that the new Doctor will be a woman: Jodie Whittaker. As both a girl geek and an old-school Doctor Who fan (though not so much the newer seasons), I'm both excited and filled with dread by this news. Excited by the continuing wave of new, strong female leads, and by how great this *could* be for the DW franchise - but dreading the flood of hate and "us-vs-them" attitudes already filling comment sections everywhere.

Just a few hours after the news broke, though, I saw something rather lovely pop up from Proton Charging, one of the few GB fan groups I'm still proud to follow. First a quick, funny note of solidarity from the admins:


And then in the comments, from fellow member James Burnes, the most perfect meme of support I could ever imagine:


And THAT is how you support a fellow fandom, peeps.

Thanks, James - I have a feeling this *might* get shared a few more times.

26 comments:

  1. That is perfection! The only valid complaint I can see is that once again.... not a Ginger. ;)

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    1. Yeah, that's what my son pointed out. The Doctor can be anything it wants, it is an alien after all! I haven't watched the last few seasons anyway, and won't watch just because it's a woman. I miss Russell T. Davies...

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  2. I read the news on Tor.com and there were only 3 comments at the time, and only one of them was a very mild, resigned complaint (but a complaint nonetheless, sigh). Sometimes I know the comments are going to be AWFUL and I still can't stop myself from reading them. This is an awesome show of solidarity.

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  3. That is awesome! I'm so happy to see fandoms support each other! And I'm super excited to see what the Christmas special brings!

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  4. I know this opinion is going to be unpopular, but I'm honestly a little sad. Mainly because I have two boys (and no daughters), and even though they're still too young to watch, I liked having a heroic male role model for them who saves the world with cleverness instead of fists and all that. That being said, I'm still willing to give her a shot, assuming that I can get caught up on this current season. (Watching shows that aren't for the preschool set in a timely fashion hasn't been working out well for me lately.)

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    1. There will be plenty of old episodes for them to watch, and I'm sure there will be other Doctors too!

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    2. I'm going to join you on the teeny little unpopular boat. I consider myself a feminist, I loved the new Ghostbusters, and I'm all for breaking glass ceilings when necessary. However........this was not a ceiling that needed breaking, in my opinion. To me, the Doctor is a male character (just like Han Solo is a male character, Spock is a male character, etc.), and an atypical and much needed one at that. Kindness, curiosity, and tolerance are his "weapons" and that is something we need to see in our world. He may be fictional, but he is a beloved friend who has helped me through horrific times in my life.

      I appreciate why people are excited by this huge change, and if it were any other character, I might be joining in with the happy excitement. But this is the Doctor, and he doesn't need to become a woman to be something new and special because he already is. Truly, I'm glad that there are millions of happy Whovians celebrating today, but there are those of us who are feeling a great sense of loss and are feeling rather hurt (at least in my case) by others' aassumptions that my disappointment stems from some sort of anti-LGBTQ sentiment. Nothing could be further from the truth.

      **Edited to add that the folks accusing me of being anti-LGBTQ are definitely not on EPBOT.

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    3. Yeah. Especially when there's the sneaky suspicion that the folks aren't making the change because they have faith in their art, or what they're making. That they're deliberately seeking "us-against-them" controversy because they figure they can't get their payoff without pitting people against each other, laying down guilt trips, and pre-emptively demonizeing potential critics.

      There's also a lot of disrespect for male spaces and privileging female voices over male. Which was completely alien to SF&F fandom (as is the reverse) which doesn't help.

      I guess what I'm saying is that 20 years ago I would've been thrilled by a science fiction writer saying, "Hey, I know--! Lets say that the The Doctor has a female regeneration. Why would that happen? What kind of story could we tell..."

      Now. Not so much. Makes me sad.

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    4. Becky, why can't your boys look up to women as heroes, too? Aftr all, shouldn't you be their biggest hero? Your boys won't notice gender unless you plant it in their minds that it's an issue. Heroism is heroism, no matter who's doing the act. (former female police officer here)

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    5. I really don't see what the big deal is about the Doctor being a woman this round. If The Master can gender change in a regeneration, so can other Time Lords. After all, nothing is forever with those crafty Time Lords and Ladies.

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    6. Textbook AquarianJuly 17, 2017 at 9:28 AM

      You are not alone. What doesn't sit well with me is the pressure placed on this decision. There has been such an outcry to change the character that now it feels forced rather than organic. For me there will always be doubt as to whether this was planned or pushed. And it makes me nervous to see what happens next because some folks who campaigned for this change will take it as an opportunity to influence other decisions.

      A female Doctor wouldn't bother me if I thought the change was made for the right reasons. It does not feel that way right now though. It's unfortunate because I've seen Broadchurch. So I know Chris Chibnall and Jodie Whittaker are competent storytellers. I will give the new series a try because that's fair. Yet I'm not thrilled about it.

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    7. Just replying to Anonymous. I hope they do look up to women, both real and fictional. I'm looking forward to introducing them to Peggy Carter, Rey/Leia, and Wonder Woman (once I get to watching that movie myself) just as much as I am Captain America, the rest of Star Wars, and pretty much any other superhero movie. But as Lindsey says below, the Doctor showed a different portrayal of what a male can be, with more compassion and reliance on his friends and allies than you often see in male heroic characters. I do hope the female Doctor comes across well (especially after the Capaldi/Clara seasons, which were not my favorite), I just also will miss that unique perspective that he offered as a male character.

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    8. For male role models who solve the day with cleverness, a good portion of Star Trek is devoted to this, maybe consider that? I grew up with TOS and TNG and there are very few episodes that rely on violence over friendship, understanding, and cleverness.
      The Dreamworks Dragons Riders and Defenders of Berk as well as the first How To Train Your Dragon book have a clever and mostly non-violent male hero.
      While they'd not be suitable until the boys are older, mystery-based shows such as House MD and police procedurals almost always have clever heroes who solve the problems with their mind.

      Not to mention studies have shown that different parts of the brain are stimulated and develop when exposed to a character it's easy to empathize with, and a character where it's more of a challenge because of differences in gender/race/etc. Only encouraging them to see characters of the same gender and race as themselves as people they can relate to can stunt brain development. Easing them into the process with a character they already know and love is a fantastic way to start encouraging them to work those cognitive muscles.

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  5. The guy who runs Proton Charging is a class act. I've been a Ghostbusters fan since the first movie came out and there were times over the last few years I felt like 'leaving the fandom' due to all the vitriol. Because of Proton Charging I stuck with it. The FB page eviscerates hate and does it with cutting sarcasm and wit. I personally love Ghostbusters: ATC.

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  6. To those who have a problem I simply ask, 'how important has the Doctors penis been in previous series?' If the answer is 'not at all' (and it is) then it hardly matters what Earth gender a time travelling fictional alien chooses to be.

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    1. Sometimes the gender of a character is part of why we connect with them, especially when said character behaves in ways that are atypical of a male or female stereotype.

      I absolutely love superhero movies and my favorite character is Captain America, in part because he is very different from the modern snarky, sexy, "Let's blow stuff up!!!" superperson, a la Tony Stark, or the broody, dark, morose figure that was Christopher Nolan's Batman. Cap has elements of innocence and simplicity (is that the right word?) that I find really moving. I've never shed a tear for Tony Stark, but I wept when Steve Rogers learned that elderly Peggy passed away. That kind of vulnerable masculinity is something that I'm really glad exists in the Superhero Universe and for me, the Doctor represents that on television.

      I burst into tears as soon as I saw the beautiful Amazon warriors in 'Wonder Woman' and wept my way through two viewings of the film because of the incredible imagery that was entirely unlike anything I've seen before. I am absolutely thrilled that my son and daughter will have this film as an example of what fierce and loving Womanhood can accomplish. My son told me that he wishes they would just make a film about the women of Themiscyra because they were so interesting and amazing. Proud mom moment there.

      All that to say that I've never given a thought to the Doctor's genitalia, but I've given an awful lot of thought into what his type of masculinity represents, and I dearly appreciate it. I will give Thirteen a chance, but I will very much miss the Doctor as he was and what he represented.

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    2. Textbook AquarianJuly 18, 2017 at 9:17 AM

      Very well said, Lindsey.

      Personally, I tend to gravitate towards male characters like Tony Stark. I see a lot of vulnerability and insecurity in him. Unfortunately he's learned/been told to hide it though. So the snark is a shield to keep others from looking too closely. Over the course of the film he continues to evolve, and while I'm not sure he'll ever reach the same level, I hope at some point he becomes comfortable with his masculinity as Steve has. :)

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    3. Well said. This sums up a lot of what I was trying to articulate.

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  7. Joanna Lumley portrayed the Doctor in a Comic Relief episode and it was well received. The Master regenerated into Missy and Michelle Gomez has been spectacular. The ability for a Time Lord to swap genders has happened before and been referenced in Who canon. (I recognize that the Comic Relief episode isn't canon. :D ) In the past few pending regenerations there was massive speculation and calls for the Doctor to become something other than a white male. Ethnic minority actors were suggested along with female actors. If 10 had regenerated into a different 11, an 11 who was female or ethnic minority, then the Who franchise would have really been leading. Now, with the success of female leads in Wonder Woman, Ghost Busters,and Star Wars as preceding examples, it feels more like Who is jumping on a safe bandwagon. For me, this feels like "It's about time!"

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    1. One of the Big Finish audio dramas had a "What If" story written by Nicholas Briggs that had the Doctor regenerate into Arabella Weir after the conclusion of the episode "War Games". Apparently it is very good, and the Big Finish stories are generally considered canon (this one is just AU canon).

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  8. I will certainly watch and give her a chance. But I'm afraid no matter what the writing will be the issue. I'm afraid the show will either ignore the sexism that would be present if it were reality, or they will focus on it far too much. The doctor often steps in and takes control of a situation, on earth, on ships and on other planets. Often he is listened to with very little questioning from others, if there are any questions he flashes his psychic paper and people assume he is in a position of power. While in modern times and hopefully in the future this would be acceptable for people to see a woman in charge. But let's say she travels back to the 1800's on Earth. Her psychic paper wouldn't be seen as someone in charge, for the simple fact that in the past women weren't in positions of power (yes there are a few exceptions).
    I'm just afraid that writing the doctor to be believable will be more difficult. I'm afraid every episode will feel more like a lesson on equality. I think a strong female companion would have been nice. There have been many strong female characters on the show (River and Vastra for example). They often saved the day and showed that the doctor couldn't do it by himself. Which leads to a question of companions. If they have only male companions will they focus on a love interest approach (terrible idea and no I wasn't a fan of any Love interest idea besides River Song), or will they portray a weak male (also terrible idea). Or will it be all female companions (which could turn it into some horrible slumber party).
    I hope the writers can over come these issues and not be overly focused on her gender. However I am afraid they will use it as a platform for equality. I will watch and give it a chance, but if it just becomes a soapbox I will probably leave episodes unwatched on the DVR until I hear the writing has improved.

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  9. Okay, so I'm not a huge fan of Twelve. I really love DW and I really like Peter Capaldi but I couldn't get into his season(s). Can I pick up with Thirteen without going back and watching Twelve? I'd like to give the new Doctor a chance since I do love the show...

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  10. I agree with Lindsay above, who wrote how she admires the quality of different genders in certain roles, like Captain America. In the case of Dr. Who, I grew up loving the masculine role he portrayed, and the evolution of his character as representing different aspects of his masculinity, and more often, his alien-ness when compared to his human companions. I'm actually not happy to see the Doctor portrayed by a woman, not because of any negative attitudes toward women (heck, I am a woman and darn proud of it!) but because I really enjoyed the Doctor as a man. I truly believe in equality by celebrating the value that both genders bring to humanity, just by being different(and those differences should be admired and celebrated!), and not by pretending or treating them as the same and interchangeable. As the discourse about the new Doctor continues, I'm more afraid of backlash toward people like me who simply liked him as a man, than people upset about a woman doctor. I'm not anti-woman or anything like that- just attached to a certain type of the character that has 50 years of being a great male role. I'm going to miss that. --Hildy (signing in as Anonymous cuz I can't figure out the login process, lol!)

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  11. I'm excited. I think it has great potential.

    I'll be honest, the comments that are "I'm not sexist, I just think the Doctor needs to be a man!" are worse to me than the ones that are openly sexist. You can still like the male incarnations of the Doctor (there have been plenty) without any protest that there will now be female incarnation. I wasn't unhappy that Peter Capaldi was "old" because I liked "young" David Tennant/Matt Smith. I loved and miss David Tennant's Doctor but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate Matt Smith or Peter Capaldi's Doctors in their own way. Why does Jodie Whittaker's Doctor have to be any different? Every time they cast a new Doctor there is apprehension, because it's change. What if we don't like it? What if it's not good? Sure. But to say you don't like it or it won't be good "because" it is a woman, even if you "aren't sexist and have nothing against women" is still sexist.

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  12. My favourite comment so far has definitely been along the lines of, "The 13th Doctor had better have POCKETS!"

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  13. Storm the KlingonJuly 20, 2017 at 4:19 AM

    I'm no wiz with maths or anything, but it seems to me, by the law of averages or whatever, that if a Being can regenerate into either gender, and they've done so over a dozen times, eventually they've got to come out female. It was inevitable, and pretty seriously hinted at all season.

    My disappointment/trepidation comes not with the new Doctor's gender, but her age and perceived attractiveness. I've always hoped that if/when a new regeneration is female, she would be past the average age that most women can still conceive a child, simply because I can NOT BEAR the idea of "Oh no, the Doctor is PREGNANT?! SO MANY WACKY FEELS!!" That's part of why I was hoping it would be Jodie Whittaker's co-star from "Broadchurch", Olivia Coleman; not only has many of her past performances made me weep with either laughter or sorrow, but she's "of an age", if you will. *shrug* Maybe they didn't want to go from a "fatherly" male type to a "motherly" female type?

    But what I REALLY dread is the idea of it all becoming about her beauty and her sexuality, and everything male in the known universe trying to get funky with her; yes, many female beings have flirted with him in the past and all that, but I just feel like it'd be really lazy storytelling. But I don't dread that nearly as much as I dread ANY FORM of a "The Doctor Gets Raped" storyline; if that goes down, I'm out (and on the first plane to Britain to smack the hell outta somebody). No, I'm not saying that only young and pretty women get attacked. In the Real World, it happens to every sort/type of woman everywhere; it's only in the world of Male Writers Writing Female Characters that it only happens to the young and pretty, as a lazy lame-ass way to "give her story conflict", not unlike "fridging" female loved ones of the Male Hero to make him So Very Angry Vengeance Is His.

    You know who I REALLY wanted, though? MIRANDA HART! from "Call the Midwife"! Not only has she made me laugh and cry before, but she's just SO GAWKY. How funny would it be for the Doctor to not only be suddenly a woman, but a HUGE woman? IT WRITES ITSELF.

    Having said all that, let me close by saying that Jodie Whittaker IS brilliant, and will do a GREAT job. I've been watching the recent series of "Broadchurch", and she conveys strength, intelligence, and compassion every minute she's onscreen. Give her a chance. And don't forget what Craig Ferguson says: Doctor Who is all about the TRIUMPH of INTELLECT AND ROMANCE over BRUTE FORCE and CYNICISM!

    Cheers, thanks a lot,

    Storm the Klingon

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