By now, I imagine most of my fellow geeks are aware that when Peter Capaldi leaves Doctor Who in the coming Christmas special, he’ll be replaced by Jodie Whittaker. Naturally, not everyone was happy about the next Doctor being…gasp…a woman.

As the conversation progressed, I started to see more people suggesting the backlash wasn’t a thing. All they were seeing was people complaining about the backlash, as opposed to anyone actually being unhappy about a woman playing the Doctor. The whole thing was people getting angry over nothing, and feeding on each other’s anger.

Now Steven Moffat himself has joined in to proclaim, “There has been so many press articles about a backlash among the Doctor Who fandom about casting a female Doctor. There has been no backlash at all. The story of the moment is that the notionally conservative Doctor Who fandom has utterly embraced that change completely.”

Oddly, most of the people I’ve seen saying the backlash is imaginary, made-up, and/or blown completely out of proportion, have been men. Perhaps — and I’m just guessing here — because it’s easier for men to overlook sexism? Misogyny doesn’t directly affect us, so we’re less likely to notice it?

It’s like white people denying racism, straight people denying the hatred and intolerance of homosexuality, and so on. Just because we don’t see it — perhaps because we choose not to look, or perhaps because we’ve never learned to look — doesn’t mean it isn’t real.

For all those who share Moffat’s confusion, here are just a few examples of the ignorant, sexist, hateful, and sometimes flat-out batshit responses to Whittaker taking over as the Doctor.


“The replacement of male with female is meant to erase femininity. In point of fact, and no matter what anyone thinks or wishes, readers and viewers have a different emotional relationship to female characters as male. This does not mean, obviously, that females cannot be protagonists or cannot be leaders. It means mothers cannot be fathers and queens cannot be kings.

“…I have been a fan of Dr Who since age seven, when Tom Baker was the Doctor. I have tolerated years of public service announcements in favor of sexual deviance that pepper the show. But this is too much to tolerate.

“The BBC has finally done what The Master, the Daleks and the Cybermen have failed to do. They killed off the Doctor.”

John C. Wright (you may remember him from his freak-out over Korra and Asami.)


Over on Twitter, @TechnicallyRon took comments from angry Doctor Who “fans” and turned them into title cards.

Lisa Crowther also screenshotted some comments from angry Daily Mail readers.


Twitter also has plenty of comments like this fellow’s woeful lament, “And again the PC brigade get their way. R.I.P Doctor Who” (Source)


Joe Scaramanga’s response to this sexist twit was a thing of beauty.


British tabloid and shit-filled dumpster fire The Sun responded to the announcement by publishing nude photos of Judie Whittaker.


Caitlynn Fairbarns has rounded up a ton of the negative comments and reactions.


But remember everyone, it’s not about sexism!

“It’s a woman. That’s it, Doctor Who is ruined. Like I said, I’m not sexist, I just don’t think it’s a good idea.” –Mark S.W.


Now, folks might argue that the majority of Doctor Who fans are excited about the Doctor being a woman. (Though there’s a very real and valid frustration that we’re on our fourteenth doctor and the character has still been exclusively white.) Others will say some of the negative comments are coming from trolls just looking to get a reaction, or that of course Daily Mail readers are being horrid about Whittaker’s casting.

You might be right. That doesn’t change the fact that the negativity exists. It’s not one or two isolated assholes. It’s a real and significant thing, and it’s closely tied to the kind of harassment and disdain and hatred and other forms of sexism women deal with every day. Sexism that men so often don’t see. Sexism we respond to by telling women they’re overreacting, or they’re just imagining things, or that if they’d just stop talking about it the problem would somehow magically go away.

I get it. You’re tired of hearing people complain about sexism. Gosh, can you imagine how tiring it must be when you’re constantly on the receiving end of that sexism. Constantly being told you shouldn’t be allowed to play the same kinds of roles. Constantly being told your only worth comes from your body. Constantly being told your inclusion is some kind of public service announcement. Constantly having your accomplishments belittled as “PC pandering.”

Look, I wish we didn’t have folks like Wright rolling around with his head up his ass every time his Straight White Manliness feels threatened by a cartoon or a TV show or whatever else he’s scared of this week, but we do. Pretending otherwise not only turns a blind eye to the pervasiveness of sexism and other forms of bigotry, it also means turning your back on those who are directly targeted by that intolerance every day.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

legionseagle: (Default)

From: [personal profile] legionseagle

I actually think Moffat's views are perfectly sane and sensible, at least, when reported by someone who doesn't have the bias seen from space of the Daily Dot. He's pointing out that whether you're talking about UKIP or Marine le Pen or John C. Wright, the last thing you want to give them is the pleasure of thinking that they're big and important. Because guess what happens when you do?

And also, the absolute last thing you want is to give the Sun and the Mail the chance to report the boys having a tantrum as if it was a really big deal. (I mean, take your public service announcement - for a moment I thought it was actually a link - as to where pictures of naked Jodie Whittaker could be found. How feminist was publishing that fact, really?)

Having spent 55 years as a woman in some pretty sexist environments, I've learned there's times when you want people to make a big song and dance about sexism, and there's times when you want someone to say, "Dear God, he said what? REALLY? What a wankpuffin!" and collapse into giggles.

I think Moffat got that right about this one. The Sun and the Mail are the Sun and the Mail, and sometimes the only thing to do about them is an eyeroll and poke fun.
platypus: (Default)

From: [personal profile] platypus

Sentiment does seem to be running 80/20 in favor, but that 20% is vocal and obnoxious; saying "no backlash at all" made a room of 300 people laugh when the statement was brought up in a later panel.
dewline: (Default)

From: [personal profile] dewline

Whiny sexism in action. Bleh.

Looking forward to watching the next season here...
thewayne: (Default)

From: [personal profile] thewayne

So a FICTION series about a time traveler who dies and turns in to different people must always be a man? Clearly that's an absolute. My favorite sarcastic tweet was "The Holiday Special is on Christmas EVE, not Christmas STEVE."

There are already rumors that the next regeneration will have a significantly darker skin tone.... Just think of the tweets then! Everyone that I know is absolutely loving the concept of Jodi taking the key to the Tardis. She's an excellent actor.
ada_hoffmann: cartoon of a lion impatiently waving his paw (argue - scar)

From: [personal profile] ada_hoffmann

Assertions that the backlash doesn't exist also fail to take into account the filter bubble effect. I am very careful about who I friend and follow on social media, and I am very aware that this means there are views I rarely see. So even though I don't think I have male privilege, the pattern being described - where a lot of people are visible complaining about the backlash, but the backlash isn't visible - happens regularly, almost every time a media controversy happens. And every time, instead of somehow concluding that the backlash doesn't exist, it simply makes me very aware that even though my feed isn't full of people saying awful things, many of my friends' feeds still are.

I mean, isn't that basic perspective taking? Or... object permanence? That other people, due to their positioning, are able to see things in the vicinity that you don't? Not that I'd know about any of that, I suppose.

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