Some things stick in the mind; in this case a comic. It was black and white and showed a suspiciously handsome man, suave in moonlight, and showing a lissom young woman his swimming pool. She dives in and is instantly transformed into bone. The pool is acid – comic-book strength. The villain chuckles and we see that he is mad and the moonlight shines on his cheekbones and those of the woman drifting in a black and white pool.
It was a bit like that in teaching. The bell went and you dived into acid – the classroom instead of a pool. You assumed a persona and then dived. This maligns the children I taught. None of them were acid, though some verged on the alkaline.
The comparison is inexact in other ways, too. In a real pool behaviour varies. Not everyone dives in. Most enter from the shallow end, walking slowly in cold water and extending their arms slightly, wiggling their fingers as though tickling invisible butterflies. You couldn’t do that in a classroom…well, you could, but you wouldn’t last long.
But I digress. The point of this comic book memory is that the villain was male. In fact I can’t recall reading a comic with a female equivalent, luring lissom young men into an acid pool and drinking champagne in moonlight, savouring their screams.
This brings me to Doctor Who.
There’s been much speculation about a new dawn, its inevitability. A momentum is building. It’s time, they say…for a woman doctor.
Rip my childhood apart at your peril!
I’m fine with women villains, real villains - a Joker with breasts instead of the merely maladjusted - eye-candy like Cat-woman. I’m fine with a female God, a female Pope, and to hell with John Knox’s ‘…first blast of the trumpet against the monstruous regiment of women’ But a line has to be drawn. And though, Katrina Monroe, I am sure, would make an exemplary Doctor it wouldn’t be Doctor Who.
This leads to an obvious question. Why are there no iconic women characters in fiction or film? I know there are a host of strong women characters, ranging from conniving minxes like Becky Sharpe to the almost iconic but essentially formulaic like Cagney and Lacy. But unless you count Miss Marple, who in my opinion almost makes it, there is no one in the league of say Sherlock Holmes. The reason why is fairly obvious, but the solution is not to piggy-back on an existing icon, in this case Dr. Who, but for someone to create a female icon. It’s about time. If not now, when?
In short, you can have Superman, and Super girl, Super boy, super dog and super horse, but you can’t have Superman changing into Super girl? Why stop there?
Doctor Who is a man – even when Peter Davison played him. I don’t want small pouty boys, Justin Beiber look-a-likes playing assistant to a matriarchal doctor. In a culture of one parent families and feminised primary schools, Doctor Who is one of the few consistent male role models on TV. Family TV that is. Besides, think about Captain Jack? He can’t be doing with women doctors. And neither can I…though not for the same reason.
Once this particular door has been opened what’s to prevent the same fate being visited upon Hercules, Robin Hood, The Lone Ranger, Champion the Wonder Horse? No, Doctor Who must stay male and for any who would tamper with this Divine Law I have just one question: Do you fancy a dip in my pool tonight...followed by champagne? Yes the water is still.