From patronizing “you go girl” attitudes to run-of-the-mill misogyny, men have a lot to say about the female Doctor Who played by Jodie Whittaker.
Neckbeards will always wail about political correctness run amok when a non-white man intrudes into their precious fantasy worlds. But the reactions of the so-called “feminists” of the male nerd community are more infuriating. Despite their earnest intentions, the smug op-eds about how “women, too, can be heroes,” reek of condescension.
“As a man,” writes Skylar Baker Jordan for The Independent, “I’m thrilled the new Doctor Who is a woman.” Just to make sure everybody heard him, Jordan is a man who also supports gender equality. Ten points to Jordan for his revolutionary feminism.
It’s impressive nobody realized the irony of starting an article about female representation with “as a man” headline. Jordan points to Jack Harkness, a bisexual man who becomes the lead of the Doctor Who spinoff Torchwood, as proof the show has been open-minded for some time. “As Jack Harkness helped open the minds of a generation to different sexual orientations, a woman Doctor can help this generation accept women as strong, capable heroes.” True, but Jordan misses the larger point, which is that it took the show over a decade to do for women what it did for non-straight men. BBC doesn’t deserve applause or gratitude for that.
Nor do men who tout their feminism through their daughters. Like this Twitter user who wrote “My youngest daughter loves new Ghostbusters. We watched it together almost daily at one point. Super excited to watch Dr Who with her!” There’s nothing wrong with him wanting female role models for his daughter to idolize. The frustrating part is the sentiment that the only reason gender equality matters for men is if they have a daughter/sister/mother/aunt/wife/mistress. It should be enough to say “I’m a feminist because I’m not an asshole.”
The crown jewel of irritating reactions comes from the Dr. Who Online site editor Sebastian J. Brook, who wrote the #AllLivesMatter of reaction pieces. Writing that we live in a “time of equality and representation,” Brooks informs women that The Doctor has always been a role model, for both boys and girls: “Throughout the show’s long history The Doctor has always been on the side of good; a character everyone can look up to, and now that he will become a she, that very same trait will still be at the core.”
In other words, women don’t get to celebrate this as our win because it’s a win for everyone. Nor do women have a right to complain that it took so long to see a female Doctor. There’s long line of male Time Lords who’ve always looked out for us, like a protective daddy.