the .moon's. quiet. daughter


h.o.m.e ............s.a.r.a.h...e.l.w.e.l.l ............ e.l.s.e.w.h.e.r.e .............s.e.e.d.s...&...s.t.a.r.s ............d r e a m i n g...t.a.l.e.s





July 17, 2017

will the new doctor be a woman?



This new Doctor, she might be anything. Witty, shy, stubborn, half-mad, mathematically prodigious, or more than a little broken. Just because she's a woman doesn't mean she'll wear dresses, bite her fingernails, or move through time as if it's a spiralling dance rather than dashes of light between stars. A woman is not something by reason of her womanhood.

But imagine if she did wear dresses, how radical that would be. Not because dresses make you a woman, but because they are a symbol of femininity. What if she wore a brooch her grandmother gave her, and wrote thank you notes to those who helped her save the Universe, and suffered menstrual cramps every month? And what if she was willing to talk about her emotions, act more collaboratively with her companions, and have a slight tendency to avoid conflict?

I don't expect any of these things. Why should I? Everywhere I look, I'm surrounded by portrayals of women which trouble the patriarchy only insofar as they are women, not necessarily womanly. And I do believe there is a difference between men and women in our brains, our biological way of being in the world, never mind psychology or culture; for example, it's fine that Wonder Woman was a warrior by personal nature, but she never once looked for a supply of tampons.

Writing this blogpost is scary for me because I know how easy it is to be misunderstood when talking about feminism. I'm endlessly glad the new Doctor is female. And I'm preparing to be disappointed. It goes to show me just how short the road has been so far for women's liberation that a new male Doctor might be anything - dour, madcap, quiet, intellectual, poetic, charming, or a thousand other things encompassed by acceptable manliness - but the chance of a female Doctor being dreamy, poetic, motherly, quiet, is probably zero at this point in time.


5 comments:

  1. i am sort of enchanted by your vision of a doctor who wears dresses, has cramps, and has "a slight tendency to avoid conflict"... if she might be motherly as well, what perfection. and how very interesting that would be! well, to me, at least.

    i often remark to myself that our liberation is falling short of being entirely, er, liberated; since too often we must be made to feel grateful simply for a barebones, numerically diluted, "representation" in any given sphere. to occupy which requires a facade, at least, of traditional masculinity. of a womanhood made to fit into an acceptably male mould. and which carries its own punishment and scrutiny for that very compliance/cryptic colouring... *sigh*

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    1. yes, what I see is either womanhood made to fit the male mould, or cliches of femininity that are usually sidelined rather than being main characters (at least on tv) - mothers, girlfriends. None of which challenges men to accept real womanly stories, or suggests that there is a place in the system for women of all kinds, be they tough or gentle or maternal or otherwise interesting.

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  2. Jodie Whittacker is a wonderfully versatile actress, so I have no worries on that score... But if she has rubbish story-lines, the project's domed... Bring back Russell T. Davies!
    btw Have they shown Happy Valley in your part of the world? Amazing lead actor (Sarah Lancashire), amazing writer (Sally Wainwright) - one of THE best portrayals of real-life feminine strength I've seen on TV.

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    1. I don't watch much tv, so don't know Jodie Whittacker or Happy Valley, sorry. Dr Who is one of only two or three programmes I watch.

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  3. Sarah, I'd like to hear of any womanly portrayals in books and movies and shows that you do find satisfying? If feels ever more important to gather these around us. I'm so craving characters (and real-life sharings) that are more real in the ways you mention...

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