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The Doctor (and Rose) Strike Back (Against Sexism)

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“So when are we?” Rose was quick to pick up the language of time travel, the Doctor thought, absently answering her question with a vague ‘1977’. Following up with the entirely logical “and…where are we?” (“Manhattan, Astor Plaza to be precise”), he shooed her off to the wardrobe, assuring her that the TARDIS would have a selection of time-appropriate outfits ready.

Rose slipped into the flowing pink satin top, quickly pairing it with flared denim jeans. A matching pair of heels completed her ensemble, along with white drop earrings. Pulling the hairbrush through her hair, Rose attempted to swiftly fluff it up, resorting to a crimping iron to style it. (If she was completely honest with herself, Rose enjoyed dressing up in different clothes from the TARDIS wardrobe for their adventures; with a closet like this one, who wouldn’t?)

“So how are you going to get the movie tickets?” Rose asked the Doctor, remembering their first date when she’d paid for chips.

“Psychic paper,” he muttered, replacing his sonic into his pocket. “Come on, then.” The Doctor began to describe the after-effects of Star Wars, its complete integration into pop culture, both on Earth and beyond. “Episode V, by far the best in the series, though VII comes,” he clicked his tongue to demonstrate.

“Watch it, woman! Get back home, cook your man a nice dinner for after the show. Star Wars is so inappropriate for girls. Come on man, whatcha doing, taking a nice girl like Blondie here to watch space battles?” A group of teenagers sauntered past the pair, alternating between jeering at Rose and catcalling her. Rose rolled her eyes and kept walking, the Doctor’s dead weight pulling her back. He stood in place, his dark eyes smoldering in anger the disappearing teens.

“Doctor, come on. It’s not worth going after them,” Rose forced a laugh, pulling on the Doctor’s arm. They’d neared the theatre; the Doctor removed the psychic paper from his pocket and showed the cashier his ‘advance tickets’. They’d just taken their seats when the same group of teenagers sauntered into the theatre, sitting directly in front of the duo.

“Doctor,” Rose whispered. He looked at her, the rage still burning in his eyes, and pushed the boys from his mind, intent on enjoying a classic film during its world premiere with his companion. They watched the film, enjoying soon-to-be classic scenes and reflecting on how Star Wars, as a whole, shaped society, ignoring the whispers that came from the row in front of them.

As the final credits rolled off the screen, the Doctor was already talking a million miles per hour about behind the scenes facts and spouting off trivia. They were leaving their seats when one of the boys made a snide, sexist comment concerning Leia’s choice to tell Han she loved him and her reaction to Han’s freezing.
The Doctor was about to blow into full oncoming storm mode, so Rose interfered. “If I were you,” she began icily, “I wouldn’t make any more of those stupid comments.”

“Oh, and who’s gonna stop me?” He snickered. “You think you’re so high and mighty. Well, let me tell you, sister, Leia chose such an opportune moment to tell Han her feelings. She should’ve told him earlier and they could’ve had a nice little fuck.”

A moment later, the boy was clutching a bloody nose. “You broke my nose,” he wailed angrily.

“I did, yeah.” Rose replied, unfazed.

“You’re a girl,” he whined.

“Good of you to notice,” Rose muttered sarcastically.

“It’s set in space. It’s an action movie.” The boy renewed his attack.

“It’s a movie. Movies don’t have genders.” Rose turned to face him once more. “Now, unless you want a nice pair of black eyes, I suggest you reform your opinions.” Rose spun around and briskly took the Doctor’s hand, who was trying (and failing spectacularly) to hide a smile.

“You must be ten kinds of crazy, bringing her to a movie like this, mister.” The boy called after them. He snickered to his friends.

“I could tell you the name of every single person who’s called me crazy, but I don’t think you want to be here for five years,” the Doctor said in a low voice. “What’s your name?”

“What’s yours?” The insolent teen shot back.

“I’m the Doctor.” He said simply.

“Oooo.” The kid jeered. “Doctor what? Doctor Psychopath?”

“For a kid with a broken nose, you just don’t seem to get the message,” Rose sighed. “No use trying to tell him different, Doctor; he’s just thick.” The duo began their trek back to the TARDIS, trying to ignore the boy’s continued taunts.

As they approached the ship, the boy had given no signs of backing off. Rose thought she heard the Doctor mutter something about ‘dangle him above the Eye of Harmony’, whatever that meant (it couldn’t be good). “What if we took him somewhere? Somewhere he could see that what he’s done is wrong.”

“I could dump him in a black hole and he could think about what he’s done for eternity,” the Doctor thought. “No, that wouldn’t work. He’d just pass the event horizon and it’d only look like eternity from our perspective.”

“No, you daft alien. Take him to the future. Show him how diverse Earth becomes.” Rose corrected him.

As it turned out, the Doctor had been correct in his diagnosis of sexist and xeno’phobic’. Showing the young boy the wonders of the universe had only reaffirmed that he was superior to them. The Doctor, disgusted, had barely checked to make sure that they had landed in the boy’s home time period before kicking him out.