What is the definition of a companion? In the show Doctor Who, why are the companions almost always exclusively females? When applying these topics, it’s important to realize that science fiction has the potential to offer something new in terms of gender representation. In the constantly evolving world we live in today, it’s rather crucial to address and consider the weight of these questions in a serious manner. Diversity, equal gender representation, and the role of relationships have and still are commonly abused in the world of media television.
Firstly, the Doctor is often portrayed as a lonesome or solitary individual and the female companions are practically defined by relationships. These relationships afford companions more depth than before, however, they also categorize female companions into a traditionally feminine group of family, domestic, and relationship building. Personally, I think the role of the companion itself seems to place females in a box of stereotypes which they plead to escape. Furthermore, the new series of Doctor Who emphasizes this depiction of the Doctor as a lonely traveller in need of friendship, who, many times, uses the female companions to fill that deep trench. I find it very frustrating how he becomes a huge part of each companion’s life and then seemingly carelessly drops each and every one of them back where they came from like a hot tamale. Each new companion believes that she is unique and different to the Doctor when she’s really just a segment of a long string of series on a toil of yarn.
Moreover, the structure and basis of Doctor Who presents many issues involving the representation of gender in particular. While it is certainly evident that each companion represented throughout the show develops a unique relationship with the Doctor, diversifies the role of the companion, and makes the role more acceptable to female viewers to the point that the Doctor surprisingly becomes emotionally affected by his companions, the Doctor is always the main character, the focal point, and the hero. Other characters usually function as sidekicks or adjuncts and the role of companion clearly means a secondary role, with the Doctor forever being the superior character.
Needless to say, I could not have been more ecstatic after the results for the next season of Doctor Who were released. The newest season will indeed feature a female as the next Doctor along with an adequately diverse cast. It’s about time.