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Old 6th August 2013, 10:17 PM   #61 (permalink)
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Re: New Doctor to be Revealed this Sunday

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But given what I've just summed up as the male-female power relationship in B7, it's pretty scary that I don't see Dr Who having moved much beyond that. Sure, we have feisty companions, who probably don't kiss a middle aged man just cos he has leathers (although I still go ooooh, at Paul Darrow's voice ), but who still are in the support role, who can't move past that defined role, and who, quite frankly, end up giving up their lives to chase a bloke around space in a police box.
But B7 and Doctor Who are intrinsically different shows. I don't think it's scary at all. Doctor Who won't ever be B7, it's not supposed to be. If you want an adult show that can be a role model for teenage girls, then I'm afraid Doctor Who isn't the show you're looking for, and I find it very unlikely it ever will be. I think Perp has identified the reason better than I can.

If the writers tried to force it to be that, it wouldn't be Doctor Who anymore.

I suppose it's time to write the proposal for a competition show with a strong female lead...


Although... making Starbuck in Battlestar Galactica female turned out to be a good move, although that was a reboot, which is completely different to regeneration. But that show is not completely suitable for younger viewers.

There is always Star Trek Voyager and aliens -- although once again, aliens isn't suitable for younger viewers. Sarah Conner Chronicles is another option.


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Now all of the seasons build up with huge hints and clues and exciting phrases, and you think "ooh, what's this all turning into?" and then it's supremely anticlimactic...not all he's built it up to be...or incredibly shoe-horned to fit the plot.


<snip>

Don't get me wrong...I still enjoy watching it, but I come away feeling frustrated a lot of the time. With Davies, I came away feeling like I'd watched a whole lot of cute, corny romance, but that's nothing compared to this.
Different tastes in stories, I guess. I didn't find it underwhelming at all how the first two seasons ended. In fact, I liked the way the second season ended and loved the way the first season ended. I can understand Clara though. I would have preferred Clara to be something more than she is, but I still had no real hangups with what she turned out to be.

I thought Moffat's directing was much better because it gave some consistency over the entirely of the season. Before Moffat took over the show was mostly episodic with filler that had nothing to do with the main overall story. With Moffat, we now get a more structured story that gives you hints to the main story in every episode -- but it appears that what I like about that is what frustrates you so -- and the quality of the production has gone up immensely. You just have to go back and rewatch older seasons with David Tennant to notice the difference.

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Old 6th August 2013, 10:41 PM   #62 (permalink)
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Re: New Doctor to be Revealed this Sunday

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But B7 and Doctor Who are intrinsically different shows. I don't think it's scary at all. Doctor Who won't ever be B7, it's not supposed to be. If you want an adult show that can be a role model for teenage girls, then I'm afraid Doctor Who isn't the show you're looking for, and I find it very unlikely it ever will

I suppose it's time to write the proposal for a competition show with a strong female lead.
Sorry, this is a primetime BBC show, paid for by the licence payers, shown on Saturday night in the middle of their family viewing scheldule. The relaunch stated in its remit that it was intended to be viewing for all the family. To claim, then, that it is wrong of me to expect such a show to provide a role model for female girls is farcical. And I think the BBC would be stunned that that should be the case. (incidentally, B7 filled more or less the same demograph at the time.) i think, btw, Dr Who is no better or worse than most other shows: I merely suggested that it still falls short, and it, perhaps, missed an opportunity to narrow the gap.
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Old 6th August 2013, 10:49 PM   #63 (permalink)
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Re: New Doctor to be Revealed this Sunday

At the cost of a role model for the boys? Or should we just tell them to go watch another show instead? How is that fair to them? They've had their turn, now it's the girls turn, we could say, or those boys could just answer why don't you go watch a different show and let us continue watching the male role model we've grown up to expect and love.

Unless the show objectifies the female lead -- which obviously we don't want to happen -- I can just imagine the reaction young boys would have, "we don't want to watch any of that sappy girly rubbish."

I can understand your point though. And it is true that making the Doctor female would set a precedent to change the genre into something that is fairer to both the sexes. But it seems to me that this is a lose lose situation.
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Old 6th August 2013, 10:56 PM   #64 (permalink)
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Re: New Doctor to be Revealed this Sunday

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At the cost of a role model for the boys? Or should we just tell them to go watch another show instead? How is that fair to them? They've had their turn, we could say, or those boys could just answer why don't you go watch a different show and let us continue enjoying watching the male role model we've grown up to expect.

I can understand your point though. Making the Doctor female would set a precedent to change the genre into something that is fairer to both the sexes.
It's not about doing one side down; it's about finding role models for both. Why should we watch a different show? That's not what primetime shows are about; there are niche channels and markets for shows that want to appeal to one sex over the other. Seven o'clock on Saturday night on BBC1 is not that time. I'm bowing out now as I think my original thoughts (that a female doctor might have been refreshing and provide a new role model) are getting pretty badly derailed and politicised, which isn't what I intended.
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Old 6th August 2013, 10:59 PM   #65 (permalink)
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Re: New Doctor to be Revealed this Sunday

Originally, Doctor Who was meant to be educational, in a book-learning sense: using a time machine to visit historical times. Given that raison d'etre didn't survive too long - for one thing, Daleks have never (as far as I know) been part of the History syllabus - it's a bit much to expect something that is, basically, pure entertainment to provide role models for anyone. And I don't think it does.

Okay, the companions were there to put humans into the story, to give the audience a stake and someone with whom to empathise and through which to live vicariously. This is probably why they've tended to be younger and of both sexes. I doubt the original Doctor was ever considered to be a role model, unless this changed in later series. (The early Doctors, the ones I watched as a child, were eccentric and often irascible, role models for no-one but grumpy old men.)
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Old 6th August 2013, 11:25 PM   #66 (permalink)
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Re: New Doctor to be Revealed this Sunday

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As an aside, I'm not sure The Doctor of recent times is a particularly good role model for anyone, not unless someone in the audience has a sonic screwdriver to solve whatever problem comes along and a penchant for running around in what looks awfully like a panic (albeit disguised by being a bit mysterious).
To be fair, Ursa, going with that argument would mean there is no such thing as role models.

You'd be lucky to ever find a show targeted at younger viewers where the adult protagonist actually acts like a mature adult. Why I cringe every time I happen to see a childrens show.

I think the role model aspect comes more from the morality of the character than anything else. The doctor doesn't drop those big nasty words parents don't want their kids to hear, or jump from bed to bed. And while he commited murder in the past, the show places a big emphasise on doing what is right morally and shows his regret for past actions and how it damaged him.

Now the originally imagined Doctor prior to the reboot I can accept wasn't intended as a role model. But it seems highly likely to me that the rebooted version of the doctor is. To me, the doctor who prior to the 2005 reboot is practically a different show.

It's sort of like taking the Battlestar Galactica reboot and trying to make it continue on with the same characters and plotlines you remembered from the original series. Things change, and while the reboot of Doctor Who stayed loyal to the character's past, he is clearly a different doctor to the one we saw in the original show.

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Old 7th August 2013, 12:13 AM   #67 (permalink)
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Re: New Doctor to be Revealed this Sunday

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To me, the doctor who prior to the 2005 reboot is practically a different show.
You're probably right, although as I didn't see any of the later doctors in the origianl run (i.e. prior to the reboot), I can't be sure.

As for the absence of role models: there never was an absence. In the original series, the role models, for children, were the companions, who were generally young or youngish, and could be of either gender (or both, when there were two of them). Focusing too much on the central character - who by definition can have only the one gender, appearance, orientation, whatever (though some of these could be made ambiguous albeit at the risk of confusing the viewer, or making it look as if the Doctor isn't confident about, say, coming out) - now means that no-one is going to be whole satisfied whoever is playing the part.

Apart from anything else, the companions - who are generally representative of the present time on Earth - can naturally include anyone, without a fuss being made, except by those who think England is still living in the 1930s (at the very latest). By including anyone as a companion, the younger viewer could easily imagine it being them***. But there's no way a human child can be a 900+ year old alien, whatever their gender or appearance or orientation. (And should we be encouraging the possible desire to be a mass killer, however moody and remorseful? )

I know the temptation to change the show's original dynamic was great - the Doctor is such a powerful icon and, nowadays, we are all meant to be more interested in the characters than the plots - but it should have been resisted.


** - I stopped watching regularly in the Baker period, and only restarted with the eighth doctor and then with Ecclestone.

*** - The companion as "is she****, isn't she the romantic interest for the Doctor?" may be an issue here.

**** - Apart from Rory (who was always a bit of a tag along character, rather than a companion), companions are now always female. Another mistake, really.
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Old 7th August 2013, 04:13 AM   #68 (permalink)
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Re: New Doctor to be Revealed this Sunday

I think Doctor Who as it currently stands has the potential to be a role model for teenage girls...all it needs are strong female characters...not just "companions"

Characters like Jenny and Vastra, like Donna...women whose existence doesn't revolve entirely around the Doctor.

Also I think that if your male children approach anything with a female lead as "ew, girly things", then they've probably been raised in a pretty sexist environment, to view anything inherently female as stupid. If we can't expect boys to enjoy female-led shows, unless said female is objectified and sexualised, then why would you expect girls to do the same? If any of my children (one day...) expressed that kind of opinion, I'd have to sit them down and have a serious look at why they think a female MC is a problem. Of course it's a problem if that main character has a life that revolved around "girly things", but in the same way, I'd have a problem watching a show that revolved around a guy picking up women and playing footy all the time...

I'm a fan of building a character...then flipping a coin to decide on gender, and then maybe tweaking a few minor character aspects and NPC reactions...that way you get a well-rounded character, with human motivations, desires, and behaviours.
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Old 7th August 2013, 05:19 AM   #69 (permalink)
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Re: New Doctor to be Revealed this Sunday

Personally, I think that a gender changed doctor having to deal with the problems of changing sex could lead to some pretty interesting personal journeys. It would not just be a role model for girls but would reflect the slowly changing attitudes towards transgenderism, feminism etc in our own times.

The series finale could then have a double conclusion - 1) the resolution of whatever conflict is taking place and 2) the final acceptance of the doctor's new sex.

Am I likely ever to see this happen? Yes. when Hell freezes over.
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Old 7th August 2013, 05:26 AM   #70 (permalink)
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Re: New Doctor to be Revealed this Sunday

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Also I think that if your male children approach anything with a female lead as "ew, girly things", then they've probably been raised in a pretty sexist environment, to view anything inherently female as stupid.

I just today had to put up with my brother and a couple of friends complaining all the way through this week's episode of Under the Dome that it was lame and stupid because it had a baby birth scene in it. I'm not sure what went wrong there then, if it has anything to do with upbringing. I'm a fan of shoujo anime and romance stories -- genres specifically targeted at females -- and had no problem watching the birth scene, yet raised in the same household I have completely different opinions about shows to my brother. The difference is, he is a typical male, I'm not. I remember him making fun of me when we were kids because I watched Rainbow Brite and My Little Pony -- If I said that to any guys I know today, I'd still get made fun of.

I remember them making the same complaint of an episode of Falling Skies sometime back for having a baby shower in the episode -- and they subsequently stopped watching the show from that point. Their reasoning was that the target demographic of Falling Skies wouldn't be interested in such scenes and that if the director was so out of touch with the shows fans, it wasn't worth their time watching.

Personally, I might not want to, but I'd expect young boys to have the exact same reaction. I think a large portion of male viewers feel their masculinity is threatened when watching anything remotely feminine so they feel the need to bash it and criticise the show because it tried to cater for everyone.

Look at the flak males get for being fans of shows such as My Little Pony -- being labelled as something else, apart from other males; bronies. Just because they are fans of something feminine.

And yes, their attitude towards it was wrong, but it nonetheless exists.

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Old 7th August 2013, 07:53 AM   #71 (permalink)
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Re: New Doctor to be Revealed this Sunday

I read somewhere or other that whilst girls don't mind a male lead, boys find it hard (or are unwilling) to enjoy something which has a female lead.

It's not a universal law, apparently Totally Spies (not renowned for its unfettered masculinity) was very popular with boys, but generally that's the case.
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Old 7th August 2013, 08:25 AM   #72 (permalink)
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Re: New Doctor to be Revealed this Sunday

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I read somewhere or other that whilst girls don't mind a male lead, boys find it hard (or are unwilling) to enjoy something which has a female lead.

It's not a universal law, apparently Totally Spies (not renowned for its unfettered masculinity) was very popular with boys, but generally that's the case.
I think it might be to do with what we're used to. I know when I started to write I struggled to look beyond a male MC because, frankly, they formed the bulk of what I'd read and seen. I think it was Bowler who suggested I could have used the MC's sister instead, had a different book, and it might have been stronger as he liked my female povs. Now, like Lioness says, I write people first, and sex second, but for my last two books my MCs have been female, and I probably write them easier than males now. (It's like, y'know they do normal things, like hugging... ).

So, conditioning to a norm, maybe?
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Old 7th August 2013, 08:44 AM   #73 (permalink)
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Re: New Doctor to be Revealed this Sunday

Moffat: "Women Don't Want A Female Doctor." | Kasterborous Doctor Who News and Reviews

Interesting read, especially the comments. One comment stood out to me in particular from a teacher, and it relates to what Thaddeus is saying. I'll quote it for ease:

Quote:
I taught a drama class the other day for youngsters, we played some games and acted out little scenes where they had to play both sexes – I have to say the boys were really reluctant to play girls, whereas the girls were a bit more mature about it. The boys were also not that keen on stories where the lead characters were girls – again, the girls were more mature. Where am I going with this you might ask… well, I don’t think a 6 year old boy would understand why his favourite character had switched to a girl, and I honestly think it could be quite a traumatic experience for a youngster – It would be traumatic for me…

Would be good to see some official research on this.
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Old 7th August 2013, 09:55 AM   #74 (permalink)
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Re: New Doctor to be Revealed this Sunday

I notice he doesn't quote the reason for most women not wanting a female doctor.

Of what I've seen, it's divided into two main camps: Those who think the writers can't do a female doctor justice, and those who follow the mainstream "but it's always been a dude why change it?"

Audiences of Doctor Who are pretty diverse...all sorts of races, genders, sexualities, etc...and probably a roughly 50/50 split of men/women.
The amount of shows that have a strong female lead is way less than half. What this means is that women have less film and TV specifically made to appeal to them...that directors/designers/writers assume that "most" of the audience is male...and so that's what they write for.

I found some statistics:
Quote:
Males outnumber females 3 to 1 in family films. In contrast, females comprise just over 50% of the population in the United States. Even more staggering is the fact that this ratio, as seen in family films, is the same as it was in 1946. Source
Women are about 37% of prime-time TV characters (they are 51% of the U.S. population). Women 45 and older are only 15% of prime-time TV characters. Source
Male TV characters (41%) were more likely to be shown “on the job” than female characters (28%). Men were more likely to talk about work than women were (52% vs. 40%) and less likely to talk about romantic relationships (49% vs. 63%) Source
From here

I think it's crazy to rationalise not having a female doctor because guys will stop watching the show. You know what might happen? More women might start watching the show. I don't want to keep saying the same thing, and I know it's coming out that way, but it doesn't make any sense to me that the majority of people I see arguing against a female doctor (not just here...everywhere) are doing it because "male viewers will lose interest" or "ladies don't make good adventury/investigatey people"
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Old 7th August 2013, 10:43 AM   #75 (permalink)
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Re: New Doctor to be Revealed this Sunday

Just to note that the gender (or any other attribute) of the actor playing the Doctor is of no consequence to me.


If the audience really was split 50/50 between male and female viewers, one can see why the producers wouldn't see the need to do something to increase the female viewership, particularly if the changes would risk a reduction in the size of the male audience.

But we're missing a trick here, one that relates to the gender dynamics inside the story. For while there are female Time Lords, the very name of the species seems to encapsulate a degree of misogyny. Why else are they called Time Lords**, rather than Time Peers?



** - I'll readily admit that we do have female aristocrats who carry a male designation; for example, the Queen is the Duke, not Duchess, of Normandy in her role as head of state of the two Channel Isle countries (Jersey and Guernsey).
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