What you are saying when you dismiss legitimate choices as PC gone mad
You may have noticed, but recently the BBC rather quietly cast a female actor in the title role of its successful show Doctor Who. Fans were divided by the choice; some thought it was a great idea, some will never watch the show again (don’t let the TARDIS door hit you on the way out…)
What was apparent though was many people on both sides of the fence did not seem to think that Jodie Whittaker had got the role on merit. She had got the role on one thing alone. Gender.
“She had got the role on one thing alone. Gender.”
“It’s PC gone mad!” crowed many, many, eyebleedingly many people in the bottom half of the internet. Twitter lit up with suggestions that she had slept with new showrunner Chris Chibnall to get the job, on account of it’s 1953… Despite the press release saying “her audition blew us away”, there seemed to be no suggestion that she was just the first choice for the job. Because how could a woman possibly be chosen when a man is in the running, right?
Of course, I saw lots of people saying “what’s next? A black, pregnant, lesbian, muslim refugee in a wheelchair?!” When that scoff is made, just remember that you are describing real human characteristics. You’re not being abstract, like “what’s next? A green fury Martian with gills on their toes?” You are taking things that apply to genuine people, with feelings, and telling them you believe it is ridiculous that they should be considered.
“When that scoff is made, just remember that you are describing real human characteristics.”
The sad fact is, we still live in a world where, unless we are told otherwise, we make an assumption about what “normal” is, and casting other than “normal” can’t just be because that person stands out, it must be to fill a quota. It’s sad that in 2017, people still can’t think “maybe a mixture of people went for this job, and just maybe, she was better than the men.” Because even in a world of time travel, aliens, magic boxes and parallel worlds, that idea is too impossible to imagine.
“If you dislike her because she’s a woman and the role must be played by a man, then I’m sorry, but you are being sexist.”
And for those saying “I’m not sexist but…” think about your logic. If the reason you dislike her is you’ve seen her acting before and it’s not to your taste, that is not sexism. In fact, it’s exactly the reason I was delighted Kris Marshall didn’t get the job, I don’t think he’s that great an actor and I think he would have mirrored Matt Smith’s zanier days. If you dislike her because she’s a woman and the role must be played by a man, then I’m sorry, but you are being sexist. It’s a role that it is established can switch genders, so why shouldn’t they do it? If you’re having Doctor-penis withdrawal, I suggest going back and watching any of Tennant’s run (maybe not the Catherine Tate ones…) Whether you like it or not, throwing your toys out of the pram before the woman has uttered a single word just because she’s female – that’s sexism.
My favourite comment I read was “it’s such a shame they cast her to be political. There were so many good people on the shortlist.” How sad it is that in 2017, what that (female, incidentally) commenter meant was people = men.
This is the world now.
How has Trump not red buttoned it…?