She Who must be obeyed

Article by Emma Horn  /
Crinkling News  /
July 25, 2017  /
Click here to view original  /

THE secret it out. The Time Lord is a lady.

In the 25 seasons of Doctor Who since the 1960s, 12 actors have played the Gallifreyan time-traveller. But now that the Scottish actor Peter Capaldi has stepped out of the T.A.R.D.I.S. for the final time, the British actress Jodie Whittaker will step in.

Some people were so upset they wrote to the BBC television network. Others, like Sue Turnbull from Wollongong University, were happy.

Professor Turnbull is a popular culture expert and long-time Doctor Who fan.

“It’s very exciting we have a female Doctor who,” she says. “If you’re a young woman and you see someone like you taking charge as the main character, you think, ‘Why can’t I?’”

The recent release of Wonder Woman attracted global attention for similar reasons. This was the first time a superhero movie has been directed by a woman. Wonder Woman became this year’s third highest earning film in Australia. It sits just behind Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 on the box office list. With Beauty and the Beast at the top, movies with female leads have done extraordinarily well in Australia.

Lauren Rosewarne from the University of Melbourne, says it’s encouraging to see. “More so than ever before audiences are hungry for, and also ready for, positive female role models, particularly so in action films,” Dr Rosewarne says.

But while Wonder Woman brought in just under $770 million, Captain America: Civil War, which was released in 2016, bought in more than a billion dollars worldwide.

Likewise, the final Harry Potter film earned over a billion dollars and the final Hunger Games just over $650 million.

Dr Rosewarne doesn’t think that’s because we preferred Harry to Katniss.

“Often times people buy tickets to what they think they have a high chance of enjoying which means seeing a film from a franchise they are familiar with, with recognisable male stars, [rather] than taking a chance on something new,” she says.

Since the new Doctor was revealed, people have called for women to be based in male roles – a Jane instead of a James Bond, for example.

But Dr Rosewarne says she’s like to see new films with a new female characters: “[My hope is] that totally new and exciting roles are created for [females].”