Since starting this all-female Doctor Who blog, it’s fair to say we’ve taken a lot of flak from all corners of the fandom. Our aim for The Time Ladies and its accompanying podcast and social media channels is to raise the voices of women in a community where there is a significantly large male-to-female ratio, particularly within positions of influence.
A lot of people have argued over the ‘exclusivity’ of our space because we only feature female contributors. One argument in particular is that we’re creating the complete opposite of equality –actually encouraging the gap between men and women, and widening it.
This is untrue. Let’s take a wider look at gender equity.
Even if men and women were given the exact same opportunities, it does not equal equality of the outcome. This is why we need gender equity, a strategy that seeks to create the outcome of gender equality.
Imagine: three people all from different backgrounds, genders, ethnicities and sexualities. Now imagine them all standing on boxes, reaching high into the sky to get fruit (opportunities), from the trees. If we were to place them all on equally sized boxes and therefore giving them ‘equal’ opportunity to reach the fruit, the outcome would obviously not be the same for everyone.
The inequality we see in this analogy is due to deeply rooted systemic inequalities in power; meaning men are naturally privileged in comparison to women just for being born male. The same also goes for white women being more privileged than women of colour, heterosexual women being more privileged than someone who is LGBTQ+, and so on.
In order to reach equality, we must boost minorities and under-privileged people to the same level. The boxes must be raised in order for them to reach the fruit. In the example of The Time Ladies, we must bring women up to the same level as men. So, by this logic we have to give women, LGBTQ+ women, and women of ethnic minorities opportunity and safe spaces in order to work towards gaining fairness and equality.
This is where the term ‘empowerment’ comes into play. By creating an all-female space, we are raising the voices of passionate women, changing the community and bringing everyone together equally. We can develop ourselves and other women’s agency, relations and structures. This needs to happen across all communities, and most definitely in the Doctor Who community, despite many believing otherwise.
This is why it is necessary to make a big deal out of a female Doctor. Across 54 years of the show, 13 actors have played the lead character, and even though there have been female Time Lords for decades as accompanying characters, there is no denying that there is a running theme with 13 white men playing the main part. The Doctor is an alien who can regenerate into anyone, so being a woman shouldn’t be a big deal in the show. In the real world however, it is a huge step in the direction of seeing equality on our television screens and should most definitely be celebrated.
Just because the Doctor is a woman, doesn’t mean inequality and sexism isn’t a problem within the Doctor Who community. A lot of men try to say this isn’t true, but I’m afraid they’re not opening their eyes to the topics in the tree analogy, and are also not on the receiving end of it.
Be open to people when they say they’re feeling unfairly treated or put down, they’re saying it for a reason. And for now, we will carry on being an female-led space which everyone can enjoy.