I really like Doctor Who. I was introduced to the series with the 9th Doctor but my gateway episode, much like many others, was Blink. It is the quintessential episode that introduces scary monsters and clever plot lines. It also features my favorite Doctor. The Tenth Doctor portrayed by David Tennant. I loved Ten. Ten is my Doctor. He had many companions, Ten did. And a lot of times, I felt like I could be that companion. I felt like I had a crush on Ten. I had a crush on Ten, like Rose, and I could be Rose. I could travel in the TARDIS. I could be that person. That companion. Dressed in that one dress. With those cute shoes.
There was a lot of opinions in the Doctor Who universe when it was announced that the newest Doctor would be played by Jodie Whittaker. A woman. Some fans were appalled. Some were thrilled. Some argued that there was evidence that Time Lords could be women in other episodes. At first, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. I felt like I didn’t need a female Doctor. I felt like I had a place in the TARDIS. I could be that companion. I loved the Doctor. I did love the Doctor.
There has been a lot of talk about role models recently. About diversity. About how children need to be able to see themselves. They need to know that they could be that person. The leader. The healer. The actor. The Doctor. I didn’t think that I needed that. I didn’t think that it made a difference. I had always felt like I could still be there. To still be at the table.
And then the Doctor was female. I desperately wanted the episodes to be good. I wanted her to be the Doctor. Just be the Doctor. And as the episodes continue to be broadcast, I realized that the Doctor is female and that makes it completely different. It means that I can be the Doctor. I don’t have to just love the Doctor. I can be the Doctor. And that is huge. And it is different. And it is wonderful. And it is a huge difference.
And I know that this sounds ridiculous coming from me. I am not a young person. Do I still need role models? I would have laughed at even thinking about this. I would have scoffed even. But, I watch, every week. I watch and I am loving Ms. Whittaker as the Doctor. And when I watch, I think that I could be the Doctor. And the characters who she interacts with trust her. As a leader. They follow her. And she is smart and funny and quotable. And I realized that loving the Doctor and being the Doctor are two very different things. And as much as I loved to love the Doctor (sigh, Ten), given the opportunity, given the choice, I will always choose to be the Doctor instead.