The Next Doctor: Jodie Whittaker And A Half-Century Legacy

The Next Doctor: Jodie Whittaker And A Half-Century Legacy

Since the announcement of Jodie Whittaker as the new Doctor, we can't help but wonder what will change.
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I've been a fan of Doctor Who since around 2009, right when Matt Smith began his run as the Eleventh Doctor. Recently, the BBC announced the casting of Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth, being the first woman to officially play the part in canon. Many have praised the BBC for finally casting a female Doctor Who, and it is widely reported that she is the thirteenth actor to play the role. Jodie Whittaker is a great actress, but she cannot play a character named “Doctor Who” - simply because there is no such character with that name. Peter Cushing played a human named “Dr. Who” in the 1960s film adaptations that had little to do with the original show. She is the Thirteenth Doctor, and the eighteenth (give or take) to play the role in the show. Almost had you thinking this was an anti-Whittaker artcile, didn't I? Well, in reality, I'm totally in favor of the casting, so long as the writing team remembers what makes the Doctor who he/she is.

The Doctor has been played by several actors in the series' fifty-four year history, with major stars such as John Hurt and David Tennant taking on the role. In that time, each actor has brought their own take on who the Doctor is, but some aspects have stayed consistent – his care for humanity, sense of adventure and wonder, and a drive to save people in any way he can. These changes in actors are brought on via an aspect of the series called “regeneration,” where due to the Doctor's alien biology (being of the Time Lord species), when he is fatally injured or somehow otherwise dying, his body changes form into a new, healthy one. This prevents the need to reboot the show every few years, and gives the production team an easy way to explain a new actor in either the main role or another Time Lord role. Regenerations are always a controversial occurrence within the Doctor Who fandom, going back to 1966. It follows a cycle of hating the new actor, giving them a few episodes, liking the new Doctor, loving him, then being sad to see them go, and back to hating the new actor. Everybody has their favorite Doctor, and if the current one is the favorite, then a regeneration is even worse. Of course, these used to just be a surprise, but once the show started picking up in popularity, the BBC began to announce the next Doctor in advance – mostly to drive up hype. This time, the change was highly publicized and once the announcement was made, it divided the fandom between those who like it and those who hate.

One of the defining aspects of the Doctor is that he is not perfect. Oftentimes, his companions have to step in to help him get back on the right track or even save humanity when the Doctor has no idea of how to stop the monster of the week. Of course, usually the companion is a human woman, somewhere between the ages of 18 and 30, though there are many exceptions. One could make the argument that the companion is actually the main character and the Doctor a vehicle for them to travel with, and many companions themselves are on par with previous incarnations of the Doctor among fans (Romana, Rose Tyler, etc.)With Jodie Whittaker now in the headlining role, the writers working on her episodes must remember that even though they're in a new territory, they cannot make the Doctor always right and doing the best thing every single time – because then we'll end up with an even more arrogant Doctor, thus removing the purpose for a companion. One of the major controversies about the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot was that all the male characters were portrayed as stupid or evil, whereas the main four leads were the only competent ones. This is something that showrunner Chris Chibnall will have to avoid falling to, and instead continue to write the character has they have been for the last fifty-four years. The Doctor makes mistakes, the Doctor isn't always right. Changing that trait to avoid accusations of sexism would be changing the entire series.

Of course, a female Doctor means that the role model status of the character has changed. In the past, the Doctor stood out on television as a male action hero who didn't use guns or his fists to solve problems, but his mind. When he did resort to actually fighting in the Time War, he did not go by the name of “the Doctor,” as he was no longer the same person, literally and figuratively. For years, young boys could look at the programme and see that he just saved the universe without having to beat someone up. Fifth Doctor actor Peter Davison is critical of this change for those exact reasons – which is a totally fair argument. Young girls have usually had the companion, and as said above, the companion is the one who is the real focus of the programme. Despite this, the specific requirements of the Doctor are very unlikely to be altered – kind, travels in the TARDIS, uses brain over brawn. Chibnall knows this, and because of the popularity of the character and the show itself, nothing will change in that regard, but maybe it will lead to more young girls looking up to the Doctor than in previous incarnations.

If you notice, I refered to the Doctor as “he” more often than “she.” I do that simply because in his previous thirteen incarnations, the Doctor was male, played by male actors. It should also be clearly noted that Whittaker has not given a complete first appearance as the Time Lord, and not counting the regeneration in the upcoming Christmas special, won't until spring or fall of next year. The promotional images of her Doctor are not reflective of the final design, as she is still in the clothing of the Twelfth Doctor – so the hoodie/jacket combination won't be her actual costume as the Doctor. Many are excited for a female Doctor, many are not. Others don't care who plays the Doctor so long as the writing is good and the actor does justice to the part. I find myself in the second camp. If Chris Chibnall and the writing team can give her some good material, she could go down as one of the best Doctors. But that too is subjective – some like Tom Baker, others like David Tennant, my personal favorite is John Hurt. Doctor Who is a series that is always trying to be different from the usual storylines on television, and maybe this will help them go in a new direction. And if the Thirteenth Doctor isn't as good as they had hoped, they can easily replace her – and yes, that is true of every Doctor since the beginning, as they fired Colin Baker back in the late 1980s. Until December, Peter Capaldi is still the Doctor. After that, Jodie Whittaker takes over and we wait to see what she does with the character. I'm excited to see the new take, and who knows, maybe she'll be one of the best Doctors. Only time will tell.

Cover Image Credit: BBC

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I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.

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Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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13 Quotes For All Of Us Empowered Female-Identifying People Out There

For the days when you need to be reminded that you are really doing the dang thing and doing it well.

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For the days when you need to be reminded that you are really doing the dang thing and doing it well.

1. Do you really need someone else's permission, acceptance, wink, or nod, or are you ready to give these to yourself? -The Universe

I get notes from the Universe everyday and all of them are so amazing and inspiring. There might be a few of them on this list. You can sign up for your own notes from the universe here.

2. The princess saves herself in this one. -Amanda Lovelace

The quote is based off a book called The Princess Saves Herself In This One, which is a collection of poetry about resilience, you can get the book here.

3. I'm made of more than you think. -Snow White, Mirror, Mirror

4. Other people's perception of you ain't none of your business. -Lisa Nichols

CLAPPING HANDS EMOJI.

5. Do you realize how many events and choices that had to occur since the birth of the universe leading to the making of just exactly the way you are? -Mrs. Which, A Wrinkle In Time

I love this because it really hits home how so many right and wrong decisions led to the creation of you and how you should appreciate the good and the bad because without either of them you wouldn't be exactly who you were supposed to be.

6. You can't stop what's done to you. You can only survive it. -Rachel, Georgia Rule 

This brings up an important theme of my life that I'm still trying to figure out. The only thing you can control in your life is how you react to what happens to you.

7. Don't let anyone ever make you feel like you don't deserve what you want. -Patrick Verona, 10 Things I Hate About You

8. No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. -Queen Clarisse, The Princess Diaries

9. No trifling of the past, no matter how great, can tarnish the brilliance of eternity. -The Universe

10. People who are insignificant to your future shouldn't have an impact on your present.

Someone once told me this, and although I can't remember the person, this quote has always stuck with me.

11. Talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, show stopping, spectacular, never the same, totally unique, completely not ever been done before. -Lady Gaga

You know what... I think she was talking about you.

12. Tell yourself it's easy. Tell yourself often. Make it an affirmation. Eat, sleep, breathe it, and you life shall be transformed. -The Universe

13. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. -Mark Twain 

Go on then, be empowered and trust your instincts, you've got big things coming... I can tell.

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