English 1102: Television and Feminism

Dr. Casey Alane Wilson • Georgia Institute of Technology

Tag: #doctorwho

Doctor Who????

Press, Andrea, and Terry Strathman. “Work, Family and Social Class in Television Images of Women: Prime-Time Television and the Construction of Postfeminism.” Women and Language, vol. 16, no. 2, 1993, pp. 7. ProQuest, http://prx.library.gatech.edu/login?


The source “Work, family and social class in television images of women: Prime-time television and the construction of post feminism” discusses the transformation of how women of various social classes, families, and work divisions are represented in America’s prime time television over many decades. This document does not relate to the show Doctor Who and its companions, however it still provides multitudes on information that is relevant to the topic and correlates to Doctor Who. This source is valuable because it provides a foundation of how feminism and women have been portrayed in American prime time television. For younger generations, this is especially important as they have grown up with television shows and series that star women and that are created by women; however, this was not always the case. This source explains how women did not have a significant impact in television until the last twenty years. This knowledge is crucial before comparing how feminism has evolved (if it has) in the show Doctor Who. This source is also valuable because it provides very specific examples of the points it puts across.


Laville, Helen. “Prime-Time Feminism. Television, Media Culture and the Women’s Movement since 1970 / Seeing through the Eighties, Television and Reaganism.” Historical Journal of Film, Radio, and Television, vol. 19, no. 2, 1999, pp. 297-299. ProQuest, http://prx.library.gatech.edu/login?



The source ” Prime-Time Feminism. Television, media culture and the Women’s Movement Since 1970 / Seeing Through the Eighties, Television and Reaganism” argues how feminism has evolved, specifically in television, since the 1970s. This source provides very thorough and relevant information with specific instances and examples for and against the argument of the article. As a result, this source is valuable. Because it provides information on how certain periods have progressed and digressed in terms of the role of women in television. In addition, this source incorporates the political tensions at the time with the rising popularity of President Reagan and Reaganism. This is unique compared to other sources as it introduces a new conflict that is very influential on America’s prime time television before, during, and after President Reagan’s terms as president and vice president. This source is also valuable because of provides viewpoints from two other diverse sources with Feuer’s and Dow’s books.

“Who’s Sexiest in a Tardis?” Daily Record, Mar 21, 2005, pp. 4. ProQuest, http://prx.library.gatech.edu/login?



The argument of this source “Who’s the sexiest in a tardis?” is the determine the most attractive companion in the show Doctor Who. The source provides a small reasoning for each competitor of companions and how they prove to be attractive. This source is valuable because of the reasons why one companion was more attractive over another companion. This is important in relation to feminism as women were avoid objectification: “[Peri] caused an outrage during the mid-80s with several scenes in just a bikini. In this time period, it was not very common or normal for a woman to wear revealing clothing. The source also includes many quotes from the audience with their opinion to the companion at the time of the show airing which can show how one would have reacted to women decades ago versus how it is completely normal to see women in revealing clothes, such as bikinis, on television. A comparison to be made with this article is the power each companion had with their attractiveness to determine if power as a character was or was not proportional to attractiveness in terms of how to character was allowed to portray herself.


“So Who is Your Favourite Dr Who Assistant?” South Wales Echo, Jun 19, 2008, pp. 8. ProQuest, http://prx.library.gatech.edu/login?



The argument of the source is to give brief descriptions of all the companions of the show Doctor Who in order to make a personalized decision on who one thinks was the best companion in the show. Each companion has details on her personality, time in the show and general character. This source can be valuable, not in the descriptions of the female companions, but in comparison to each other as this show has been running for many decades: comparisons made between companions can give an idea of how the companions progressed throughout the years, specifically her role and how it relates to the respective wave of feminism. This source is also considered valuable because the information present leads to new connections about the time period and how feminism was present in prime-time television. It is also interesting and important to consider if any of the companions lost any roles or power as a character as the years went by. It is fascinating to follow up this consideration with the fact that the next doctor in Doctor Who has been announced a being a female for the first time in Doctor Who History.


Beck, Debra B. “The “F” Word: How the Media Frame Feminism.” NWSA Journal, vol. 10, no. 1, 1998, pp. 139-153. ProQuest, http://prx.library.gatech.edu/login?



The source “The “F” word: How the media frame feminism” argues how feminism has developed over the previous decades in various media. This article takes an unconventional approach in how “feminism became a national “dirty word” and why it can be perceived that way. The source proceeds in chronological order with make the source quite valuable as it allows for a clearer and more visible comparison on how feminism in media changed year by year. An important aspect that Beck introduces is how there was a “Mass rejection of feminism by young women, largely in response to negative images that are at least perpetuated in media.”  This is critical because an opinion against feminism by women is not typically included in research relating to feminism as it could go against one’s argument. Another valuable aspect of this source is how it makes conclusions: many sources leave it up to the reader on what to think about the topic which can sometimes become difficult when many points of view are put upfront.


McDonald, Soraya N. Who should Play Doctor Who? Former Time Lord Sylvester McCoy Says it should always be a Man. WP Company LLC d/b/a The Washington Post, Washington, 2015. ProQuest, http://prx.library.gatech.edu/login?



The source “Who should play Doctor Who? Former Time Lord Sylvester McCoy says it should always be a man” argues how the seventh doctor of Doctor Who, Sylvester McCoy, believes the doctor should always be a man. This source is extremely valuable as it gives the point of view from a former star of the show. His view is very powerful and influential because he was such a prominent character. This article shows how many people are not afraid of expressing their views not only for feminism, but against feminism. This provides valuable cross source connections where the animosity can be seen through many people. This source also gives background information on how ever since Doctor Who first aired on television, the doctor has been a man and the main companions have been women. This article is interesting in the sense that regardless of what Sylvester McCoy said, the next doctor has been confirmed to be a woman.

The Female Companions of Doctor Who and Their Reflections of Feminist Trends: Annotated Bibliography

  1. Perryman, Neil. “Doctor Who and the Convergence of Media.” Convergence, Sage Publications. 1 Feb 2008. Web. 20 Sep 2018.


This source argues that while Doctor Who has crossed over multiple television shows successfully and in a way that enriches the world of Doctor Who, it is ultimately impossible to truly combine all three Doctor Who universe shows (Doctor Who, Torchwood, The Sarah Jane Adventures), particularly because of their differences in maturity level of content. This article is valuable because in its description of The Sarah Jane Adventures (which focuses on a former female companion of the Doctor) are revealing as to how her character was treated on the original show, and it will provide useful evidence when discussing how the figure of the female companion has changed over the years of Doctor Who.


  1. Jowett, Lorna. “The Girls Who Waited? Female Companions and Gender in Doctor Who.” Manchester University Press, Sage Journals. 1 Apr 2014. Web. 20 Sep 2018.


This article argues that while the role of the female companion in Doctor Who has always had sexist notes and stories, the last few years of Doctor Who have especially unempowered the women in that role in comparison to earlier companions, despite the fact that the most recent female companions are bolder and more confident (classic “strong woman” traits) than before. This source is valuable because it gives an overview of the series’ lineup of female companions and gives a deep analysis of how seemingly modern and empowered women characters can fall into sexist tropes just as easily as women characters from fifty years ago.


  1. Pool, Landon Garrett. “”Girls” in Time and Space: A Feminist Analysis of the Companions of “Doctor Who” from 1963–1975.” Tarleton State University, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing. Aug 2015. Web. 20 Sep 2018.


This source argues that, because of Doctor Who’s record-breaking longevity, the show functions as a viewing point for feminism through the years and its interactions with pop culture through analysis of the female companions. This article is valuable because its use of the female companions as reflections of contemporary feminist trends matches exactly with my group’s research topic, and it includes detail about early companions, which is difficult to find. It is also very useful because it is written in a more understandable and less esoteric style, which is more accessible to me and my group and will help us more than an article filled with technical jargon.


  1. McCullagh, Cassie. “The Doctor’s Leading Ladies.” Australian Broadcasting Corporation, n.p. 18 Nov 2013. Web. 20 Sep 2018.


This article argues that Sarah Jane Smith was the first truly feminist female companion of the Doctor, and that the earlier Doctors’ lack of sexuality was what allowed his companions to be empowered women as compared the contemporary Bond Girls who were given no agency or allowed to be anything outside of their relationship with Bond. This source is valuable because it provides a look into how the early female companions functioned as mirrors of the flow and ebb of the feminist movement in Western culture, and what exactly allowed them to reflect feminist trends when so many other female characters could not.


  1. “Susan Foreman (Carol Ann Ford).” British Broadcasting Corporation, n.p. 24 Sep 2014. Web. 20 Sep 2018.


This article provides a short biography of the character Susan Foreman, the first female companion on Doctor Who. This source is useful because it mentions Susan’s more feminist traits (like her unusual intelligence that she took no pains to hide), but also describes her sadly trite ending of being abandoned by the Doctor so that she could pursue a relationship with a man. This article is a great representation of the feminist and sexist writing that coexisted in early Doctor Who, and will act as a way to connect the show and feminist trends of the time at which her character was airing.


  1. Moreland, Alex. “Doctor Who Explainer – Who is Susan Foreman, and is She Coming Back to the Show?.” Yahoo! News, n.p. 7 May 2017.


This article argues that, due to a few hints strewn through the new series, there is a strong possibility of Susan Foreman’s character returning to Doctor Who. This article is useful because it goes more into depth about her relationship with the Doctor than the previous article, revealing the more paternalistic approach the Doctor had with his earlier companions and how they functioned more as his pupils than his equals.


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