So over on Digital Spy they’ve had a poll and now they’re doing a countdown of the Ten best Tenth Doctor moments and in at number 10, somewhat to my dismay, are the closing minutes of Forest of the Dead where the Doctor unilaterally consigns Alex to an eternity of simulated bliss. One of the Talking Heads remarks that this is wonderful because it illustrates that the Doctor will always "go the extra mile" – in my book that tends to have as much to do with vanity as with love, but there you go.
I can’t think of a single female DW fan on my flist that didn’t detest that moment, and many of them hated the end of JE (at least the bit with Rose) for similar reasons. That little feminist observation led me on to notice that every Talking Head on the Digital Spy clip was male. I wonder why that is? I doubt if it’s a sexist conspiracy. More likely it’s the fact that women tend to be more circumspect about publicly declaring their allegiance to a fandom than blokes are. It’s one thing to be a male geek. But to own your fantasy as a woman is a bit less acceptable.
I think this might actually change after Tennant quits, because right now if you come out as a fan of New Who the chance of you being dismissed as a Tennant fangirl is extremely high. Since girls tend to be a bit more sensitive about relationships in general, they don’t necessarily want to be associated with this, if only because their Significant Others don’t react to it very well. Maybe I’m extra-cautious about this because I’m fifty and to lust after a 38 year old toyboy just isn’t on – though, interestingly, the age gap between DT and his current partner is slightly greater, and that seems fine (And that’s a topic in itself, as you’ll know if you’ve been following the tale of Aaron Johnson (Nowhere Boy) and Sam Taylor Wood, his much older, female fiancee).
But to return to DW, I reflected that it was a bit hypocritical of me to grumble about male-dominated discourse when I’d self-consciously removed any reference to DW from my Facebook Profile. It’s a bit like RTD keeping it to himself that he’s gay – if you ain’t gonna come out, stop hurling rotten tomatoes from the sidelines. Maybe women fans have only themselves to blame? It’s going to be interesting when Chicks Dig Time Lords comes out next year to see if it’ll bring more of us out of the comparatively private realm of fan fiction and into the public spotlight. And how cool is it that Torchwood Babiez is in there?
I go back and forth on this myself. It’s gradually dawning on me as I contemplate doing a dissertation on Shakespeare that, much as I love the Bard, what I really want to do is a PhD on Doctor Who. And one thing is certain – if I don’t believe in my ability to do that, nobody else will. That doesn’t mean I’ve got up the nerve yet to go off to Cardiff Uni and sit at the feet of Matt Hills yet, or for that matter to tell my academic friends in Birmingham and Stratford of my intentions – though I did manage to sneak the Daleks into a recent essay. And guess why I’m absolutely paraonid about mentioning DW in Stratford? Because they’ll groan and assume I’m mooning after David Tennant, that is why. In certain Stratford circles, you mention him at your peril. Shakespeare is far too serious to be sexy, at least if it brings all these strange people who don’t understand how to speak the verse into Stratford. It’s all a bit vulgar, really…
I have a lot of respect for the lovely Paul Cornell and I think he’s probably right when he says,"I always say Doctor Who isn’t a show, but a lifestyle choice" – there are values embodied in the Doctor which actually transcend the Skinny Sexy Scottish Bloke – much as I love him. Paul Cornell isn’t afraid to express love in his writing about the show – not in a slashy way – but just in the honesty of his warmth, affection and inspiration when he writes about it. Fandom needs a bit more of that I think, and who better to provide it than us chicks who dig the Time Lord?
And now, just to annoy you all, here’s a picture of the new bloke…