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Essentialism Is Dead! Long Live Essentialism

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  • Publication: Femspec
  • Date: v. 19, no. 2 (2020)
  • Author: Christopher Leslie
  • Page:
  • Language: English
  • Abstract: At the end of 2017, the Christmas special of Doctor Who, a long-running television program on the British Broadcasting Corporation, concluded with the body of the title character transforming from male to female. The transformation of the Doctor was not a new idea; since 1966, the program's fictional setting stipulated that the main character's impending death could trigger a sort of reincarnation known as regeneration. For at least thirty years, it has been suggested that the Doctor's regeneration could result in a change of sex. Nevertheless, until "Twice Upon a Time," all of the actors who portrayed the Doctor since 1963 were male. Maybe it was easy to pretend that Doctor Who was always open to fluid notions of gender while watching the Doctor and his companion spar about their friendships and love interests, but unsurprisingly there was some robust sexism when the program first appeared in 1963. As a foil to the modern characters, the first Doctor's bias against women is on full display in "Twice Upon a Time." The actor who played the Doctor in the original black and white television series, William Hartnell, died in 1975. A new actor, David Bradley, reprised his role. Both he and the Capaldi, the twelfth doctor, offer a refrain of being unwilling to change. The duet of voices fearful of change built to a cathartic appearance of the first female actor to portray the Doctor, Jodie Whittaker, in the closing of the episode. The fearful sentiment of the first and the twelfth Doctors has been previously expressed by science fiction fandom in in general.


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  • APA 6th ed.: Leslie, Christopher (v. 19, no. 2 (2020)). Essentialism Is Dead! Long Live Essentialism. Femspec .
  • MLA 7th ed.: Leslie, Christopher. "Essentialism Is Dead! Long Live Essentialism." Femspec [add city] v. 19, no. 2 (2020). Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Leslie, Christopher. "Essentialism Is Dead! Long Live Essentialism." Femspec, edition, sec., v. 19, no. 2 (2020)
  • Turabian: Leslie, Christopher. "Essentialism Is Dead! Long Live Essentialism." Femspec, v. 19, no. 2 (2020), section, edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Essentialism Is Dead! Long Live Essentialism | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Essentialism_Is_Dead!_Long_Live_Essentialism | work=Femspec | pages= | date=v. 19, no. 2 (2020) | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=18 April 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Essentialism Is Dead! Long Live Essentialism | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Essentialism_Is_Dead!_Long_Live_Essentialism | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=18 April 2024}}</ref>