In the 1990’s, I grew up in a machista environment. Not only did I experience this androcentricity in my own household, but also in the media that I consumed growing up. Whenever I went to a clinic, the doctors were usually men and the nurses were women. As a child, I couldn’t help but believe that this was the case everywhere else (just as I believed that dogs were the males and cats were the females). We dichotomize everything and assign gender roles that to this day are still present.
Of course, (I must mention that at a much later age) I started to see more doctors who happened to be women, and nurses who were men too. This didn’t shock me but I realized that if as a child I saw the world a certain way, (many) other children probably perceive the world this way too–which can lead to the perpetuation of socially constructed gender roles. It is problematic to not discuss gender through an intersectional feminist lens. Therefore, I must bring up ethnicity.
It was only until recently, that I have started seeing doctors of color and female in real life and in mainstream media. “If she can see it, she can be it.” So, thank you, producers of Doc McStuffins whose first episode aired in 2012. Ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, and all the social categorizations we place ourselves in may yet to be represented in media, but we are now slowly starting to become more aware of the need for it. This is the perfect time to become critical thinkers and hopefully move from consumers to producers of our own media.
Now let’s discuss possibly the best show of all time and space: Doctor Who. While the show is not about a medical doctor, the fact that DOCTOR is a genderless title has come to light. This past weekend, on Saturday July 15th, 2017, it was announced that the new Doctor would be played by a woman: Jodie Whittaker. In the over 50 years of existence of the show, 13 [male] actors have played this awesome time-and-space-traveling alien. It has been been fantastic! As a fan of the show, I am depressed to see my Doctor leave, but ecstatic to welcome a new one. This happens EVERY SINGLE TIME. Yet, it was not a shock to me that the new Doctor is a woman–this is actually the perfect time, so go Moffat! It was also no surprise that some people are upset. What does continue to shock me is how much it affects me that people are upset that a fictional alien with two hearts who regenerates into different bodies and faces could be a WOMAN.
The female version of a doctor is not a nurse. It is in fact doctor.
Not only as in medical doctors, but also in terms of the Time Lord (“Time Lady,” as Missy puts it) in the TARDIS. The doctor in Doctor Who is an alien of the Time Lord race from a planet called Gallifrey, who stole a spaceship called the TARDIS and now travels through time and space picking up companions here and there. Since the beginning of the Doctor’s time, gender of Time Lords ambiguous. This past year we witnessed how his frenemy The Master regenerated into Missy. So, why does this matter? I advocate for equality because I honestly believe that all humans are equally capable of loving, of being loved, and of being bad. This show captures the best and worst of humans–surprisingly through the lens of an alien. Missy, played by Michelle Gomez, was just as wicked as the Master was when he was played by John Simm in the most recent reincarnation. While this may have been a test by Moffat and team, it proves to its audience that a woman is as much as a badass as any other man.
We have entered the age of Wonder Woman, as I like to call it. We no longer should have to prove anything. We ought to teach our children to accept others, build tolerance, and most importantly respect without judgement. I will always stress the importance of raising our children to be better than us. While it may be too late for some of us adults, our children are still blank slates. If we have the access and resources, then it is our responsibility to become a bridge to a better place. Think about it: what would the Doctor do?