Wednesday, July 26, 2017
( 4:54 PM ) posted by Setsuled
Here are a couple Doctor Who cosplayers I met on Friday, dressed as the Twelfth and Seventh Doctors. Apart from that there's not a whole lot of Doctor Who at Comic Con I can tell you about that you can't experience yourself by watching the full YouTube videos of both panels:
I took notes for the Classic Doctor panel figuring that one might not go online. Of course, it did. I am glad I managed to post a clip of Peter Davison, Sophie Aldred, and Colin Baker discussing the first female Doctor as early as it did, particularly with respect to Peter Davison who seems to be getting thrashed for having a past preference for a male Doctor despite expressing full support for Jodie Whittaker now. I kind of knew trouble was coming when, while Colin Baker was enthusiastically putting out tweet after tweet about how great it was to have a female Doctor, Peter Davison's first tweet on the subject was only one about how we should be encouraging to fans who are "uncertain about change." I'm sad to see now that Davison has deleted his Twitter account over the backlash he's faced. Though I think this may have been an overreaction on his part the rancour that has been aimed at him, even though he has more than once expressed his support for Whittaker, is disappointing and I can see how it might make him want to stay away from social media.
At the same time, the reason I do think Davison's initial tweet was a blunder was that it doesn't seem to reflect the nastiness with which people were reacting against Whittaker, posting flagrantly misogynist and sexist comments and commentaries. I have yet to see, apart from Davison himself, anyone expressing an articulation of "uncertainty" about a female Doctor that's truly respectful.
One of the problems I have with the vigorous efforts of so called Social Justice Warriors--I know many who self-describe that way, so I don't know if it's a pejorative anymore--is that there's a tendency in their publications to respond aggressively and dismissively to people for not knowing the definition of a term that's only current in Social Justice circles. For example, I saw an article recently that blasted an article in the New York Times that spoke in favour of cultural appropriation. The response to the article was to say that the author didn't understand that what he considered to be positive instances of cultural appropriation were in fact something called "cultural engagement". So I often see this seemingly unconscious, but aggressive and sometimes belligerent, conflation of an inevitable ignorance of niche or new definitions of terms with racism or sexism. It's no wonder when people are put off by what seems to be obnoxious pedantry.
I want to say this in preface because it seems Peter Davison is exhibiting the kind of misunderstanding that reflects white male privilege. He's not been forced to have the perspective of a woman and he evidently hasn't spent time trying to imagine what that perspective is like. Otherwise, he might be responding more like Colin Baker. Six remains my least favourite Doctor so it's somewhat awkward that I seem to be agreeing with him more in terms of social politics than with Davison--Colin Baker counters Davison's only really articulated argument so far, that it's a shame boys are losing a role model, by saying that there's no reason a woman can't be a role model for boys. Though I wonder if the realities of gender role barriers in English playgrounds support the viability of boys looking up to a woman.
Personally, I find the idea of not wanting the Doctor to be a woman to be difficult to imagine. Not just for statistical or political reasons but simply because I've always liked female protagonists and I like Doctor Who so it follows I should like a female Doctor Who. But since a young age I've been resistant to ideas of behaviour prescribed by gender so there's a whole lifetime of experience in trying to create oneself as a particular gender identity that I don't really have. People who have had that experience might support the idea of a female Doctor on an intellectual level but have to deal with residual feelings from that lifetime of experience.
In my first post about Whittaker, I casually referred to people who didn't like the idea as sexist, Davison's tweet made me wonder if this was the right tact for me to take. I think Davison failed to consider the issue fully but on the other hand I do agree with what I think is at the heart of what he's saying. The Doctor, after all, walked up to the Silurian and extended the hand of friendship. I'm not saying I feel the slightest sympathy with anyone expressing outright hostility to a female Doctor. But I find myself hesitant to express hostility myself when it might push away anyone for whom this upcoming season might be the thing that changes their minds about what--or who--women can be. This is the sense in which I think Davison advocated being "encouraging".
Someone has compiled a nice video of former Doctors reacting to the concept of a female Doctor: