Sense of Wonder: Gender equality on Doctor Who?

Karen Gillan and Matt Smith
Karen Gillan and Matt Smith

It seems the latest incarnation of DOCTOR WHO, played by Matt Smith, is engendering some controversy across the Atlantic, due to the short skirts worn by  current travelling companionAmy Pond (Karen Gillan), which are considered “too sexy” by certain Brit viewers. Ms. Gillan is not the only one accused of exposing too much skin: There was also a seen in which Smith appeared clad only in a towel, prompting some fans to complain that they could see the Full Monty – a claim refuted by the BBC. (Smith was wearing “an item to protect his modesty.”)
Defending her character’s wardrobe, actress Karen Gillan points out that Amy Pond’s skirts are standard length for young women of her age:

“I just don’t get it with the skirts. It’s what any girl on the street is wearing. I mean, Amy’s not a schoolgirl, she’s 21, pretty much the same age as me, and we all wear stuff like this.”

Fair enough. However, Gillan goes on to say that Amy Pond is the Doctor’s equal:

“It’s just never occurred to me that a woman wouldn’t be equal, in any sphere, to a man,” she said. “It’s nothing that has ever come up in my life and nothing I’ve thought about in terms of Amy. She’s just a strong girl, woman, whatever. Oh, let’s just say she’s a strong female.”

I’m all for gender equality, so if Amy Pond is going to wear short skirts, I suppose it’s only fair for the Doctor to show up in a towel. However, the issue here is not equality between a man and a women. It’s between a 21-year-old Earthling and a Time Lord who has lived thousands of years. It’s just a wee bit absurd to imagine that anyone from Earth, male or female, could be the Doctor’s equal. The only way we’re going to get gender equality on DOCTOR WHO is if the BBC decides to bring back Romana from the E-Space parallel dimension, where she remained at the end of WARRIOR’S GATE during the Tom Baker era.

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