Why Peter Davison is Wrong About a Female Doctor

Time Lord #5 has recently given an interview saying the Doctor should never be a woman, which is a bit confusing. Prior to Peter Capaldi being named the 12th Doctor, there was a huge, raging, nasty debate about whether or not 12 should mark a change in the 50-year run of white dudes playing the time- and space-travelling alien, The Doctor. Some suggested a woman, some suggested a person of color (regardless of gender), but what we got was, predictably, yet another white dude. It's confusing, however, because this debate took place months ago, and is pretty much dead in the water.

Now don’t get me wrong — I adore Peter Capaldi and I know he’ll be amazing in the role. He was the one name that was suggested during that time period that I immediately thought, “Yes. Perfect.”

So to a certain extent, I feel like if it had to be a white dude, they got the best white dude possible. And, as a result, my frustration with Steven Moffat refusing to offer any kind of change was mostly abated.

So why is Davison bringing this up now? And, more importantly, after the dust has cleared, surely there should be some new arguments against a female Doctor. Instead, Davison trots out the usual, “Oh, it would be weird.” and “It would be like having a female James Bond.”

Well, it wouldn’t. There’s a fundamental difference — James Bond is a human man. The Doctor is an alien that literally changes form and who, according to the show’s own lore, can shift into anything when he regenerates.

As the Ninth Doctor once put it:

I might have two heads, or no head. Imagine me with no head! And don’t say that’s an improvement… But it’s a bit dodgy, this process. You never know what you’re going to end up with–

Add to that the fact that, when checking their new bodies, both the 10th and 11th Doctors are pleased to find they have, say, legs — let alone a penis. 11 even thinks for a moment that he has become a woman, due to his long hair, but his lack of breasts quickly puts an end to that.

So we know it’s possible. And we know that this character, up until very recently, wasn’t even particularly gendered anyway. It caused huge fan upset when the eighth Doctor kissed Grace in the television movie, and then again when the ninth Doctor kissed Rose (and Jack) at the end of his run. If anything, it’s been a far bigger adjustment to have the Doctor be a heterosexual male lead, rather than just a foppish Professorial dandy who traveled with, and seemed suspiciously uninterested in, young and attractive men and women.

So if you do have a problem with a female Doctor, and perhaps there are legitimate reasons for having that viewpoint, please do present them. But don’t tell me that a shape-shifting alien can’t become a woman when the show itself has confirmed that he can. And don’t say that it would upset the “dynamic” of the show, given that many fans argue that the recent sexualization of the Doctor has been a problem. And don’t say that a woman just couldn’t be seen as an action hero, because that’s been straight-up bullshit since Sigourney Weaver took over command from Tom Skerritt in Alien. If there’s a legitimate, solid argument against a female Doctor, I’d love to hear it. But don’t repeat the same meaningless lines as though they make any sense — because they just don’t.

And for the love of God, Peter — be a little quicker on the draw next time.

Originally posted here.