By Heidi Stevens
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A female “Doctor Who”, actually Dr. Jane Hu from Seattle who has been quietly living among us for years gives her take on the recent backlash to the announcement that a woman will be heading the sci-fi-fi series “Doctor Who.”
When the BBC announced Jodie Whittaker as the next Doctor, some hardcore fans didn’t take kindly to a lady headlining their beloved sci-fi series, “Doctor Who.” (Political correctness gone mad. It’s Doctor Who, not Nurse Who. You know the drill.)
But it turns out a female Doctor Who, Dr. Hu, actually, has been quietly living among us for years.
Jane Hu is a Seattle-based science journalist who writes on such topics as training quantum computers to recognize trees and the use of gene-editing techniques to try to restore extinct species to the Earth.
Recently, a woman describing herself as Dr. Krista Murchison, who has a doctorate and is a lecturer in medieval English literature, weighed in on the “Doctor Who” backlash on Twitter. “OK,” she tweeted, “but based on experience everyone is going to start accidentally calling the show Miss Who.”
I had to track her down.
She’s 30 years old, and she grew up in Louisville, Ky. She earned her doctorate in developmental psychology in 2014 from the University of California at Berkeley and moved to Seattle about three years ago.
She’s a casual “Doctor Who” fan.
“I’ve seen a few episodes,” she told me. “But I’ve been meaning to get more into it.”
Still, she followed the crescendo of criticism after the BBC’s announcement. (And how could you not, really? It inspired some comic gold: Samantha Bee’s “Fem Agenda: What To Ruin Next” checklist, for starters.)
“My little corner of the internet was pretty overjoyed by the revelation of a female Doctor, and the female Ghostbusters reboot,” Hu said. “As far as I can tell, for every fan who disavows a fandom because they can’t stomach the idea of strong female leads, there’s a new fan drawn in by the appeal of seeing strong women on screen.”
I asked her if she ever corrects people who give her the wrong honorarium. The Miss Hu offenders, if you will.
“I don’t think I ever have,” she said. “Honestly, I don’t see much of an upside to it besides personal satisfaction, and the downside, being perceived as pompous or difficult to work with, far outweighs that.
“Plus, as a science journalist,” she added, “it’s sometimes advantageous for folks to assume I’m less knowledgeable than I actually am; often, they give simpler explanations of scientific concepts, which makes quoting them in my articles way easier.”
When she’s not researching and writing, she likes to backpack around the Northwest and hang with her dog, Maeby. She derives a fair amount of joy from Birdyonce, a parakeet-looking bird that struts to Beyonce.
“With so much negativity on the internet, there’s just something so pure and wholesome about a five-second video of a bird strutting to ‘Crazy In Love,'” Hu said. “What I really want to know is if Queen Bey has seen it, and if so, what she thinks.”
I can’t speak to the fantasy world inhabited by Doctor Who, but I feel unequivocally good about any endeavor helmed by Dr. Hu.