Desiring The Doctor: Identity, gender and genre in online science-fiction fandom’

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Science-fiction has often been coded as a masculinised genre, assumed to attract primarily male audiences and devoted fans. However, this paper seeks to examine female fans of the recent incarnation of the British science-fiction programme Doctor Who (BBC, 2005- ) and examine their responses to the show. Female fans are often dismissed as silly or trivial (Hills and Williams 2005; MacDonald 1998; Nash and Lahti 1999) and those who express overly sexualised desire for fan objects are frequently devalued (Hills 2007). This paper seeks to consider the responses of female fans of Doctor Who and the show’s lead actor David Tennant and how they ‘read’ the show through their fandom of this actor/celebrity figure. In contrast to work which has emphasised how female fans and desire have been marginalised in fan cultures, I intend to consider how these fans might use this to negotiate their fan identities in a positive manner. Thus, in keeping with theories of fandom as performative (Hills 2002) I will examine how status as ‘fangirls’ might be embraced, reclaimed, and performed. Finally, the paper seeks to consider how these issues might relate more broadly to fan debates about science fiction as a genre.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBritish Science Fiction in Film and Television
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • science fiction television
  • gender
  • doctor who


Dive into the research topics of 'Desiring The Doctor: Identity, gender and genre in online science-fiction fandom’'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this