By any other name
Gender and Doctor Who Barbie dolls, adventure dolls, and 1:6 scale figures
in Doctor Who – New Dawn
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This chapter examines thirteenth Doctor toys and collectibles from a fan studies perspective, focusing on figures like Mattel’s posable thirteenth Doctor Barbie doll. Victoria Godwin argues that different marketing names such as ‘dolls’, or even ‘adventure dolls’, can be linked to anxieties around ‘feminizing’ fandom, whereas similar toys targeted at boys have typically been positioned as ‘action figures’ instead. This is due to a commonly held belief that boys will not play with toys aimed at girls. By exploring this, Godwin critically interrogates the restrictive gendering of specific Doctor Who merchandise. Her analysis contrasts the mainstream thirteenth Doctor Barbie with Big Chief Studios’ high-end, niche ‘1:6 figure’ collectible, arguing that this collectible is masculinized (and aestheticized) through its marketing emphases on physical ‘fabrication’ and sculpture, as opposed to exnominating those who worked on fashioning the figure’s clothing fabrics and their designs. While the Chris Chibnall / Jodie Whittaker era may often have been progressive on screen, highly gendered terms for at least some of its paratextual merchandise suggest that there are commercial and cultural limits which remain in play around Doctor Who’s transformations.

Doctor Who – New Dawn

Essays on the Jodie Whittaker era

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