The Week in Women: A female Time Lord, Margaret Atwood’s thoughts on the Trump era, and Trump’s curious remarks on Japan’s first lady

Margaret Atwood. (MIKE CLARKE/AFP/Getty Images)

Because reality is tough sometimes, this week’s roundup is all about fiction — from TV, to books, to imaginary language barriers. Let’s take a look back, shall we?

The BBC sci-fi series Doctor Who is getting a female Time Lord for the first time in its 54-year run. British actress Jodie Whittaker will make her debut as the show’s 13th Doctor during Doctor Who’s Christmas special. Speaking about her groundbreaking new role, Whittaker said, “I want to tell the fans not to be scared by my gender. This is a really exciting time and Doctor Who represents everything that’s exciting about change.” And good news, folks: unlike the rest of the female employees of the BBC, Whittaker will earn the same salary as her male counterparts.

While recent rollbacks of reproductive rights in the U.S. have driven women to dress up as characters from Margaret Atwood’s famed dystopian novel, the author isn’t entirely dismayed by the current political climate. “I’m not easily depressed by these sort of things,” Atwood said during an interview with Emma Watson. “I don’t think America is rolling over in acquiescence to all of this.” Feeling a bit better about things? Not for long! Atwood also noted that The Handmaid’s Tale, which depicts a society that enslaves women to bear children, was inspired by American history. “The 17th century foundation of America was not, ‘Let’s have a democracy,’” she explained. “It was ‘Let’s have a theocracy’ … [the book is] based on stuff that people have really done and therefore could do again.”

A Chinese man has been dressing as a woman for the past 20 years to help his mother cope with the death of his sister. The unnamed man’s mother is mentally ill, and was deeply distressed after her daughter died. So her son found an unusual way to comfort her: assuming the guise of his deceased sister. “She was so happy, so I kept doing it,” the man told Pear Video, which first reported the story. Dang, talk about honoring thy mother. We’re feeling slightly guilty about vigorously resisting our parents’ bed-making requests back in the day.

In a recent interview with The New York Times, Donald Trump noted that he sat next to Akie Abe, Japan’s first lady, during the G20 Summit in Germany. “She’s a terrific woman, but doesn’t speak any English,” the president said. “Like, not ‘hello’.” Except here’s the thing: Abe does speak at least some English. She even delivered a keynote address at a Ford Foundation event in 2014, though she did read closely from a script. The internet had fun speculating that Abe pretended not to speak English so she could avoid having to talk to Trump which, as The Washington Post reports, probably isn’t true. But if it is, that is some Seinfeld level stuff right there.

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