The other night I was sitting with Twitter open, which I often do when I’m working at night as it gives me the illusion that I’m not sitting in a room alone working. Sometimes, when I’m feeling especially focused I have a TV series playing in the background.
Now it can’t be just anything. Preferably it’s a series that you can miss parts of without feeling like you’ve missed everything. That excludes most HBO shows, some of those you have to see twice without looking away once to feel like you’ve kind of got what it’s about. There are several shows, however, that I watch though, some more than once - the repeat helps as you already know the episodes and can miss a whole episode and still be all caught up when you look up. Well, one of those shows is DOCTOR WHO?
Now I wouldn’t call myself a fan. It wasn’t until just before my first trip to the Canary Islands almost two years ago that I really started watching it, then in a fury and utter panic over the fact that I had to sit on an airplane for six hours.
So I started watching because I really like Christopher Eccleston and as I’m a sci-fi fan in general and it is a bit strange that I hadn’t watched it before. I liked Eccleston as The Doctor but I LOVED the tenth doctor, in fact I loved him so much I have him as a small action figure on my writing desk.
Anyway - when I got to the canary islands that time they happened to show two episodes with the fourth doctor every evening on the television, so while the kid and her dad went to see the hotel show I sat in our room and watched Tom Baker as The Doctor. It was pure bliss.
And I love the premisses. It’s HARD to change actors in TV series. Fan’s aren’t keen on having new faces instead of their old favourites, but somehow this show has been able to do that time and time again since the 60’s! This is no small feat I tell you.
Still, it’s taken this long for them to dare to make THE DOCTOR, who changes face and personality (though that thing that makes the character THE DOCTOR always seems to remain permanent) on regular basis - a woman. In fact so far they’ve always been white males. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I like white males amongst other people (forgive me, almost wrote things there). It’s still fun on so many levels to see them take this plunge, change things a little and make Jodie Whittaker the thirteenth Doctor. I really hope they make a good job of it, have her be an extension of this fantastic character that’s been going on for generations and make a LAGOM point of pushing feminism (it’s not a dirty word!) in.
Let me explain the phenomenon of LAGOM a little - it’s a Swedish thing and you may think you understand it when I translate it as “ENOUGH, AVERAGE, SUFFICIENT or FAIRLY” but you really don’t. Swedes use this concept a lot in their every day life. It’s a lifestyle choice: LAGOM, and it's adopted by so many Swedes. They take their coffee LAGOM and they live LAGOM lives. I've been here nearly 20 years and I still can't explain it exactly. But it means they take life in moderation - they don’t overdo anything, not the good and not the bad. It’s all supposed to be LAGOM. You might find this boring, and it is a bit but it is a very, very smart approach to life. If we all lived LAGOM - the earth would be in a much better shape I’m sure.
Anyway - my point is that I hope they make a good job at withholding that gleeful character that has been built up for so long, bring in the new things (they always do) in LAGOM dosage (like they always do) - just the right amount feminine pizazz- you know?
What prompted me to write this wasn’t my wish for moderation in feministic message on TV though, in fact I’ll be delighted if they go over the top with that. Frack knows this earth needs it!
No, what prompted me to start to write it were the things I experienced as the news of the new female DOCTOR went viral.
I was sitting at my computer working when people started tweeting about it. And in my feed there were only voices that exclaimed their utmost exhilaration and joy over this. In fact they were so many that I started thinking - why are they all doing this? Isn’t this a bit over the top? But well, it was a nice thing and I didn’t think much more about it.
Not until the next day I happened upon some disgruntled voices. Can you imagine that someone commented that this was DOCTOR WHO and not NURSE WHO? They have never heard the quiz (puzzle, joke) about the kid that gets rushed into the hospital because they had been in an accident with their father who has died and the doctor says they can’t work on this patient because they are the kids parent. Thankfully less people now than when I first heard the joke fail to understand that the doctor isn’t just a doctor but a woman and a mother (ironically this first said “other” - I’m now wondering if it was autocorrect or if I just made a freudian slip!).
I still haven’t seen the new WONDER WOMAN film and though I am not ready to sign under anything that states it as a fact that she’s the first real woman superhero - I think it’s great that people are waking up to the fact that we need more women in roles that aren’t just supporting male heroism by showing cleavage and batting big eyelashes while they push the right button on the clever machine as the real hero fights supervillains. We’ve had a few before, you know - Eleanor Ripley is my favourite of them (and as I mentioned cleavage earlier I’m making a note that Pamela Anderson’s BARB WIRE has her place in this category) - but we do need more. And the fact that BBC decides to make THE DOCTOR a part of this is just wonderful.
I won’t thank them for doing that, (not yet at least) however I would like to thank those men in my social media feed that felt this was news exciting enough to shout EUREKA officially about it. I was puzzled about it at first, figured it was the normal reaction, but when I read all the negative reactions the day after those of you who did say the nice words instantly got a little cozy cabin inside my heart. I know one shouldn’t feel the need to thank people for doing the decent thing, but I thought it was important to tell them out loud that I noticed, I saw it and it warmed my heart.
And for the all women who howled - I’m right there howling with you. This is a great thing. Now we just need to make people recognise and appreciate new, unknown female heroes when they see them.
Because surely that's the next step?