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A sex change for James Bond and Doctor Who? Give me a break

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2017-02-21 Irish Times.jpg


Since its inception in the 1960s, the lead character in Doctor Who has always been played by a man. For over five decades the Time Lord has always been just that, a lord.

From William Hartnell and Jon Pertwee to David Tennant and Matt Smith, the various doctors have all had a different approach to their time in the Tardis. But now that Peter Capaldi, the 12th doctor, has announced his departure, many people are calling for the 13th doctor to be female - a Time Lady, if you like.

Campaigners believe that young girls need to see more females in adventurous leads, as the dearth of exciting parts means that these impressionable youngsters will feel that only men can act as double agents or eccentric scientists who travel back in time.

It's a lot of fuss about nothing. The Doctor Who character, who hails from a planet called Gallifrey, was created as a male and since the very first episode the lead role has always been played by a man, in keeping with the origins of the show.

I really don't see why campaigners, including the talented Billie Piper, feel the need for "gender equality" here. Surely it isn't beyond the realms of possibility for someone to write an entirely different screenplay where the hero of the hour is female. There are far bigger issues to be addressed, and to have petitions calling for the gender of a fictional character to be changed is downright silly.

A man of his time

Apparently there is also inequality at play in the James Bond creative headquarters. Ian Fleming invented the fictional, very male spy in the 1950s. Now many people are calling for the character to undergo a change of gender and to be renamed Jane Bond.

What is the purpose of trying to force these characters to be something they are not? The whole point of James Bond is that, no matter how many actors have played the part, the essence of the man remains the same: great at his job and, in keeping with the era in which he was created, a somewhat smarmy ladies' man.

Over the years there have been many strong, feisty, successful women colluding with or plotting against Bond and aiding and abetting or challenging the Doctor in Doctor Who, but both characters have always been male and there is no reason for this to change.

It would be far better for campaigners and writers to put their efforts into creating new books or TV programmes where the strong central figure is female surely an entirely new show would be preferable to a rehash of something that has been going for decades and would always feel like second prize.

A female super spy, a time-travelling mother or powerful superheroine (am I even allowed to use that word?) would be a far better option - and is sorely needed.

Wonder Woman sacked

In the grand scheme of things, getting so hot under the collar about a made-up character is pointless - unless, of course, you are the big wigs at the UN, who late last year appointed Wonder Woman an honorary ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls thanks to her many years of portraying the image of a strong female.

However, following protests and an online petition that garnered more than 2,000 signatures, the cleavage-baring, hot-pants-wearing one was sacked.

And proper order, too -as although the current trend is for celebrities, from Z-list to the red carpet, to bare all their assets on social media under the guise of empowerment, the scantily dressed Wonder Woman is hardly a good role model for young girls.

We are living in very uncertain times, when some of the world's most powerful leaders possess a questionable attitude towards women. It's time we stopped focusing on fantasy figures and put more effort into promoting and supporting real live women.

The UN needs to find a successful and powerful living woman as ambassador-there are plenty to choose from - and campaigners should stop trying to change the gender of established male characters and instead focus on creating some new and exciting role models for the next generation.

We need to teach them to forge their own paths instead of simply following along someone else's.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Harris, Arlene (2017-02-21). A sex change for James Bond and Doctor Who? Give me a break. The Irish Times p. 11.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Harris, Arlene. "A sex change for James Bond and Doctor Who? Give me a break." The Irish Times [add city] 2017-02-21, 11. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Harris, Arlene. "A sex change for James Bond and Doctor Who? Give me a break." The Irish Times, edition, sec., 2017-02-21
  • Turabian: Harris, Arlene. "A sex change for James Bond and Doctor Who? Give me a break." The Irish Times, 2017-02-21, section, 11 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=A sex change for James Bond and Doctor Who? Give me a break | url= | work=The Irish Times | pages=11 | date=2017-02-21 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=26 February 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=A sex change for James Bond and Doctor Who? Give me a break | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=26 February 2024}}</ref>