'Doctor Who is a girl!'

That's what my five year old daughter said as she ran around the house squeeing in happiness. I must admit I ran around with her and squeed just as loudly. I cannot even begin to tell you how thrilled I am to see that after 60 years of a white male actor playing the role of an alien who was created gender fluid - the character will finally regenerate into a woman in the form of Jodie Whittaker. 

What I will never understand is the naysayers who proclaim that Doctor Who could never be a woman. My question would be, in this day and age, how could the character not be? I think many are just happy for the status quo not to change - it's what they've been used to so why change it? There are many, many reasons...

I have watched Doctor Who for as long as I can remember and my favourite character of all time was Romana, because she was at least a Time Lady and the Doctor's equal. And, I seem to remember, could operate the Tardis a damned sight better than he could (for all those who worry the new Doctor will prang the precious police box). So the fact that the Doctor is now a woman and a generation of children can see that a strong female character can be the lead and not just the sidekick gives me a warm, fuzzy glow, which barely offsets the overwhelming sense of rage and nausea at some of the reactions there have been to the news.

Sadly, it's not even that we can point fingers at misogynists and claim they are wholly behind the discord. When the Daily Mail, still sadly read by thousands of people, runs trashy headlines such as: Why are male heroes disappearing from the box? (an article I printed, kept and lined the cat's litter tray with) and Katie Hopkins Tweets trite comments about the Doctor going on maternity leave and some fans claiming that, of course, all the women supporting the new actor are lesbians...it means taking a long hard look at a society which still thinks it's okay to deride women for daring to get ahead or claiming that political correctness is the only reason they're doing so. Thankfully, they seem to be a minority.

I've seen the portrayal of women in films and books change over the last few years - no doubt in huge part to the amount of female writers, producers and publishers who just aren't up for taking this kind of shit anymore. And indeed, a lot of men actively doing the same by writing about strong women. I know Steven Moffat has taken a lot of flack over his tenure but he gave us Missy, Pearl, Amy and Clara - some of the strongest female characters going in the series, effectively setting the audience up for a female lead. 

I know editors who turn down books about violence against women on principle - and those actively seeking strong, psychologically balanced women who aren't turned into an unreliable narrator or a damsel in distress halfway through the series. I, myself, recently took on Rebecca Ann Smith who is writing a novel about gender as a social construct. I see teens reading books with heroines like Katniss Everdeen and Beatrice Prior, and films like Wonder Woman making their mark for us. And I see a lot of mothers working to ensure that their sons are just as feminist as their daughters.

That's why having a female Doctor Who is so important. It's not just a role. It's a message of hope. It says to me, and my daughter - if the Doctor doesn't have to be afraid of being a woman - then neither do you. Stand proud. Stand tall. And let those howling at the moon continue with their empty voices. For we are strong. We are powerful. And we are the Doctor.