‘Doctor Who’ breaks glass ceiling with female lead

Caroline Lozano/ Staff Writer

For the first time since its launch in 1963, the BBC has chosen female actress Jodie Whittaker to play the lead character of the popular sci-fi program “Doctor Who.”

The casting choice is a historic feat since The Doctor has been played by male actors for the show’s entire 36 season run.

Whittaker, who previously starred in the BBC crime drama “Broadchurch,” has expressed excitement on playing the thirteenth incarnation of the iconic character while also telling fans “not to be afraid of [her] gender.”

Unfortunately, sexism still has a beating heart in the world of television.

The immediate backlash from the announcement proves that certain fans just can’t wrap their minds around a female lead, citing the casting as proof of the BBC’s descent into “political correctness.”

Recently, one nationally published paper, The Sun, has even attempted to discredit Whittaker by publishing a scathing editorial along with nude stills from the actress’s previous works.

However, despite the negative reactions, I see Whittaker’s assumption to the role as a time of celebration for all women on the small screen and especially in the science-fiction and fantasy genre.

Of course, other television programs such as “Game of Thrones” have also featured strong female characters, both in lead and supporting roles.

In fact, new female leads are appearing “with increasing regularity” in movies and television, according to BBC News.

Surprisingly, it is the science-fiction and fantasy genre that’s reportedly paving the way for these types of roles.

In this genre, female characters have mostly been featured in supporting or minor roles, usually helping or being saved by the male characters.

They are also depicted as either beautiful or physically strong, but never both. If the woman is the latter, her gender becomes muted, as stated in Salon.

Other programs on television haven’t fared better in their portrayals of women, though there have been improvements in recent years.

For once, a woman is finally able to play a highly respected character who possesses intelligence and strength without having her gender reduced.

She doesn’t have to be a character that only women can look up to.

Male fans can also find qualities they can admire or relate to in this new incarnation in the same way female fans have done so for decades with the male incarnations of The Doctor.

More of these roles are becoming available for actresses on the big and small screen, which is more than inspiring.

The times are changing whether people want it to or not, and I’m ecstatic that the industry and the show are moving forward rather than being left behind.  



The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of Panther Press Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.


Photo taken from Flickr.

About the Author

Caroline Lozano
Caroline Lozano is a senior pursuing a Bachelor's degree in English. She enjoys writing, reading, traveling, listening to music (especially The Beatles), attending cons, and watching movies/shows on Netflix. One of her goals is to become an accomplished writer of novels and short stories. Caroline is also fluent in Spanish.

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