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Is Time Travel A Boys' Game?

Is there a reason why Rachel McAdams doesn't get to accompany her various screen boyfriends through time?

"Back to the Future" DeLorean
Courtesy of Everett Collection

Is time travel a sexist occupation?

A story from the British Guardian newspaper points out that poor Rachel McAdams has failed to travel through time while her partner gets all the chronal fun in no less than three movies (The Time Traveler's Wife, Midnight in Paris and this year's About Time), and then goes on to point out that women very rarely get to go on solo time travel jaunts, for some reason.

It's not that there aren't any female time travelers -- Off the top of my nerdy head, I can point to Sue Storm in the recent Age of Ultron series from Marvel, Uhura in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Amanda in the TV mini-series Lost in Austen, not to mention all of the companions in Doctor Who -- but, not only are the women time travelers in sci-fi greatly outnumbered by their male counterparts, there's a worrying tendency for them not to actually do anything outside of their regular time zone once they get there, deferring to the inevitable male lead.

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"In the hands of generally male screenwriters," writes the Guardian's Anna Smith, "time travel seems to be a serious business best handled by blokes -- the implication being that women are somehow too emotional to deal with it." She points out Back to The Future as an example of that, with poor Jennifer spending the entire second movie sedated because "she's not essential to my plan."

Women's place in genre cinema is an ongoing problem -- Let's just take a moment to consider the lack of a solo female superhero movie for a second, why don't we? -- but the lack of women traveling through time of their own agency is something that really has gone oddly unnoticed until now. All the more reason to hope against hope for a female Doctor to be announced on Sunday, perhaps…?