I haven’t watched Doctor Who in a long time, but I’m about to start again.
After 54 years, the creators of Doctor Who have decided to instate a female doctor. This announcement of a female Doctor has me so excited.
Yet, I keep hearing the cries of people claiming that this is breaking tradition, that a woman could never be the doctor, that we are ruining their childhoods, that the show has just lost a fan, and more and more.
This new era featuring strong female leads in the media is wonderful, and long overdue. Let me tell you why it’s so important…
I grew up in an era where practically every superhero and every strong lead was a man, and women were just plot devices to be used as hostages or love interests. Playing games on the playground, I had to either be a man or be a princess waiting to be saved. The number of times I was told I couldn’t even act like a boy was ridiculous.
When you watch shows as a child and almost all the characters are men, especially all the strong leads, it can be really damaging to young girls. If you grow up being constantly told, both literally and through subliminal messaging, that you are not and cannot be strong, you start to believe it.
Boys get superheroes saving the world. Girls get Disney princesses who have to wait to be rescued by the prince, and that sends a strong message. Girls are supposed to need a strong man to “protect” them, when in reality we are perfectly capable of protecting ourselves.
Even when women are featured in a lead role, they are often sexualized. Women leads wear tight fitting suits, use low cut dresses to seduce bad men, and are generally otherwise made more “desireable” than men. Never once have I seen a movie where a man uses a v-neck t-shirt to display his bulging muscles for the purpose of tempting the bad guys into giving away their plan.
Female leads are emerging. Wonder Woman was incredible, depicting badass fighting scenes that empowered women and practical costuming. Star Wars features a female jedi who can easily carry her own weight. Movies like Moana and Frozen target young audiences where girls can see women acting in power.
Girls can finally have role models who encourage them to be strong and independant, and I am thrilled.
So, thank you. Thank you so much for the inclusion of strong female leads after such a long wait. Thank you for giving girls strong women to look towards, to impersonate on the playground, to dress up as for Halloween, to wear on t-shirts. Thank you for helping to send the message to girls that they are strong, and beautiful, and smart.
And thank you for helping me look with positive outlook toward shows such as Doctor Who and the future they promise.