Doctor Who, Ma’am: YouTube Reactions to the 2017 Reveal of the New Doctor

Sophie Eeken en Joke Hermes
Soort object
In 2017, BBC released a video revealing that Jodie Whittaker would be the actor to play the thirteenth Doctor in the 2018 season of Doctor Who (1963–), the popular BBC television series. The “reveal” that a woman had been cast in the role of the Doctor prompted an overwhelming backlash and fierce online discussion. The same period saw a number of popular films and series cast women as leads. The intense discussion that the reveal generated indicates that televisual representations of gender continue to matter greatly to viewers. The question is how? Fan comments posted below the reveal video on YouTube suggest that viewing publics are less engaged in a controversy over feminism than bewildered by gender categories becoming unstable. Notably, once the series aired, discussion about the Doctor’s gender died down. Seeing the Doctor addressed as “Ma’am,” it turned out, was not what upset viewers.