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I en­joyed Aleks Kro­to­ski’s new col­umn in the Oc­to­ber is­sue (327). But it’s not only so­cial me­dia that is to blame for the lack of self-es­teem among women. I’ve long been in­fu­ri­ated by the way that al­most every actress play­ing a role on TV has to be ‘phys­i­cally per­fect’ (un­less, of course, they’re play­ing some­one stupid or nasty or a ser­vant, for ex­am­ple). Even if the pro­gramme is about a real-life woman from his­tory, you can be sure that the actress play­ing her will be stun­ning, no mat­ter what the real woman ac­tu­ally looked like.

If you look at male ac­tors, how­ever, there’s a whole dif­fer­ent at­ti­tude. There are weird-look­ing, old, wrinkly and some­times down­right ugly men in all sorts of roles in films and on TV, and quite of­ten they are the ones who ‘get the girl’ (who is in­evitably young and beau­ti­ful, of course).

To see what I mean you need look no fur­ther than the lat­est rein­car­na­tion of Doc­tor Who. The men who have starred in the ti­tle role have been of all ages and were not all con­ven­tion­ally at­trac­tive. But, you’ve guessed it, the new fe­male Doc­tor is young and as near per­fect as you can get. What a sur­prise.

It’s no won­der so many women have such low self­es­teem. I look for­ward to the day when women aren’t val­ued only for their looks but I have a feel­ing I’m in for a long wait.

El­iz­a­beth Wal­lace, Bog­nor Regis

I think, sadly, you may be right. There’s cer­tainly more progress to be made in terms of on-screen di­ver­sity but the first fe­male Doc­tor is a step in the right di­rec­tion, at the very least.

– Daniel Ben­nett, editor

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