Doctor Who: Why are the Doctor’s Companions called Girls?

For the most part I think Doctor Who has great female representation. The women companions and all the female friends of the Doctor are shown to be intelligent compassionate people.

Martha Jones is a doctor who goes on to work with Torchwood (the team that battles invading aliens). Not only that, but she is the only black female companion so far. Rose Tyler and Amy Pond both might be young and not super educated, but they’re both shown to save the world and help the Doctor see morality. Their “humanness” helps the Doctor avoid the temptation to go to the evil side of a situation. Donna Noble becomes Donna Doctor the closest to a female Doctor the audience might ever see. River Song is part time lord and the Doctor’s “wife”. Song is shown to be more clever than the Doctor at times and can operate the Tardis more steadily than he can. The list of impressive female characters on Doctor Who goes on to include lesbians, cross-species lesbian relationships and prime ministers. But there are at least two big issues that stop me from saying that, Dr. Who, one of my favorite British programs is a feminist show.

The major issue is that the Doctor refers to his companions as “girls”. I am talking about the standard phrase the doctor uses to represent each woman that has traveled in the Tardis for a long time. Amy is the “girl” who waited. Martha is the “girl” who left. The new one Clara is the impossible “girl”.

You may ask why would I have a problem with these awesome phrases. My problem is all these “girls” are grown women. The youngest one, Rose, is nineteen years old! I think that the Doctor’s use of “girl” infantilizes these powerful women characters. “Girl” makes these female characters seem lesser than this “immortal” time lord man. My second point is a question: Why can’t the Doctor ever be a woman?

The fact that the Doctor has never been played by a woman makes me think that Stephen Moffat may be a tiny bit sexist. In fact, Moffat decided to play a April Fool’s joke on us fans by announcing that Maggie Smith would be Doctor 12. When I learned this was a joke I was super upset. I don’t think that it’s funny that an older woman or any woman would be cast as the Doctor. I think Maggie Smith would make a great Doctor 12!

If the Doctor can regenerate any age, looking any way, then why can’t “he” become a “she”? I feel like by not even considering publicly that the Doctor could be played by a woman, Moffat and the whole Doctor Who team underestimates women’s capabilities. By joking about a woman playing the Doctor they imply that they don’t think a woman could pull off the role of Doctor. I disagree. In fact, I personally call for Doctor 13 to be a woman or at least not a white man.

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