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Women, Sex, and Power - A Rant

More Sherlock reaction...well, basically, this is my Reaction to Sherlock Reactions.


As I talked about a little bit previously, there are people who took issue with the way Irene Adler was handled in Sherlock. And SOME of the issues are valid - like for instance "How and why is she involved with Moriarty?" Yes, it ties the plot together nicely - but what does it mean about her motivations? Or, for instance, the debate about whether the very end of the episode made her a the victor or the loser in her game with Sherlock....(personally, I see her as being the victor, but again, I just like liking things.)

We get people who miss the point entirely and are mad that she seemed to have feelings for Sherlock even though she was a Lesbian...which I just roll my eyes at, because obviously they miss the entire point of her conversation with John.

And then we get people who are mad that she was a professional dominatrix. Ryan North of dinosaur comics, thinks it's an overused trope - uh okay, he's obviously watching different programs than me. Though, honestly, what would you have her be? An opera singer like she was in the ACD book who just HAPPENED to have a past affair with a member of a royal house? That plot wouldn't go very far - she wouldn't have the information needed to involve the Americans, or terrorists, or Moriarty. She wouldn't have enough clout to garner the interest of anyone, let alone Sherlock Holmes. There would be absolutely no intrigue - I mean honestly...go back and read the original story, it's fun, but there is NO INTRIGUE. "I have this photo, but I'm not going to give it to you and I'm never going to show it to anyone anyway, and you can't fool me with your disguises! Now I'm off to live happily ever after with my beloved husband and I'll never cause trouble again! Bye!" Oh, thrilling television, that.

And we get people who say stuff like this:

 I did side-eye the idea that a woman can only be powerful by being sexual

First off, she is not ONLY powerful by being sexual. She is powerful by being SMART and she just so happens to be sexual. Sexual arousal is her PROFESSION, it is not the source of her power. Her BRAIN is the source of her power, the sex is just a visual sign post - and I'll tell you why...

Completely ignoring Irene for a second... It pisses me off that when powerful women are overtly sexual, they are anti-feminist. That, for instance, Irene showing up naked to battle Sherlock is somehow a BLOW to womankind. Horseshit.

You know what women are supposed to be? Do you know what Victorian women are supposed to be? Do you know why so many of the worlds misogynist religions ask women to cover up? (My apologies to any of you who believe in misogynist religions and take offense that I just called them misogynistic twice). Do you know what the 19th and 20th century women were believed to be? Here's the answer: Women don't want sex. Men are the horndogs who defile them. You have to coerce your pretty girlfriend into letting you fuck her...pry those legs apart. Mini-skirts are scandalous. Bikini's even more so. My goodness, check out that whore in the low-cut top! God, did you see Stephanie the other day - she was dressed like a total slut. If a man has a one night stand, he gets high-fives - if a woman does, she's a slut. More than two boyfriends in your life? - whore. Enjoy threesomes? - whore. And let's not forget what it said in the sex book I found from the 1950s "Women on top is perverse and unnatural" so there you go girls - lie back and think of England. Sex is something done to you, not by you.

So, what is a sign of a woman in a position of power? What's a sign of a woman who is not only in control of herself, but also DOES NOT GIVE A FUCK WHAT YOU THINK? Maybe it's that she's HONEST. Maybe it's that if she wants to have you right here, on this desk, until you beg for mercy twice, she is going to fucking do JUST THAT. Maybe she is going to walk into a room completely naked just to freak you out - because she knows how you work already, Sherlock Holmes, and she knows a thing or two about disguises.

Have you ever walked into a room completely naked in a society that is constantly judging how you look when completely naked? If you can pull it off - climb up into a strangers lap - and not bat an eyelash, then you are a pretty goddamn confident girl, I'll tell you that much...but your ability to strut around naked does not make you confident and powerful. It doesn't work like that. Just because A causes B, doesn't mean B causes A.

So fuck anyone who complains about sexually confident women being a DETRIMENT to feminism. If I want to be sexy, I'm going to. If I want to whip people until they orgasm, I'm going to. If I want to sleep with someone, I'm going to. If I want to pick a fight with someone and then battle them with every single tool at my disposal, including my naked body and the fact that sex might alarm them, then I'm going to - because I can, because I'm confident and powerful and I can do whatever the fuck I want and be whoever the fuck I want.

It's one of those Madonna/Whore things...damned if you do, damned if you don't. You're either anti-feminist for being too demure, or your anti-feminist for being too sexual. Why don't we just let people be themselves? How about we stop making every single female on television the representative for all women? Is Sherlock the representative for all men? No? Why not? Oh, because he's a possible asexual sociopath and most men aren't. Well, most women aren't dominatrixes that want to blackmail the British government, so how about we stop forcing Irene to represent our ideal of the perfect woman. Why aren't we talking the same way about Mrs. Hudson? She's pretty badass - I mean, she was attacked by Americans and still managed to stuff that phone into her bra...she once got Sherlock to ensure that her husband was executed for murder... she's a woman who has managed to garner Sherlock's affections without being sexual at all. Maybe SHE can be your ideal of the perfect woman - or is she too old? Not intriguing enough? It's because she hasn't nicknamed herself "The Woman" right? You understand that that title was just a nod to ACD canon, which, quite frankly was WAY more misogynistic than what you just saw, right? Sherlock is not the perfect representation of all men, and Irene is not the perfect representation of all women...there, they really are perfect for each other - if only Irene weren't gay and Sherlock weren't Sherlock. Hamish is a very fine baby name. It's what I picture whenever I say "Jesus H. Christ!"...which is something I say, for some reason.

Anyway, now I'm just rambling. I'm just sick of it. You know what the day will look like when we're finally equal? No one will give a shit about crap like this - a character will just be a character, and not be an ambassador for every single person with the same genitalia, skin-colour, sexual-orientation, or pocket watch.


Comments

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missyjack
Jan. 5th, 2012 02:53 am (UTC)
I actually thought there was a particular point to here being a dominatrix. She and Sherlock are mirrors of each other - and for each (both narcisissts I think) they love getting the better of people, love dominating if you will if in their work. The difference I would say would be that Irene actually gets people's consent, while Sherlock doesn't (and we see the negative effects of this for example in his interaction with Molly) .

And I thought the point of stating she was a lesbian, and John is straight, was to make the point that her/their connection to Sherlock wasn't sexual!

And seriosuly she can sit naked on my lap anyday!

Edited at 2012-01-05 02:56 am (UTC)
hells_half_acre
Jan. 5th, 2012 02:56 am (UTC)
Yeah, I agree - I really saw the episode as basically a battle between two Doms to see who was the ultimate Dominator :P

I really liked that slow walk she did into the other room at the very beginning of the show...I may be primarily heterosexual, but I enjoy a well sculpted ass on any human regardless of gender. ;)

And I thought the point of stating she was a lesbian, and John is straight, was to make the point that her/their connection to Sherlock wasn't sexual!

YES! EXACTLY! Oh man...that's why I said the people complaining about that missed the point of that conversation entirely. Moffat has continually said that Sherlock "is a love story, not a sex story." Just because a girl is naked on someone's lap, doesn't mean that there's sex involved. :P

Edited at 2012-01-05 02:59 am (UTC)
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katsheswims
Jan. 5th, 2012 03:02 am (UTC)
Completely agree.
hells_half_acre
Jan. 5th, 2012 03:05 am (UTC)
Thanks...I obviously needed to vent all that. It's good to know I'm not on my own here. :P
Candace Hudnell
Jan. 5th, 2012 03:23 am (UTC)
Thank you. I'm so glad someone doesn't get caught up in petty mess like that.
hells_half_acre
Jan. 5th, 2012 03:24 am (UTC)
Thanks - I must admit, by posting this rant, I do feel a little caught up in it, because I'm responding to it.
baruchan
Jan. 5th, 2012 04:54 am (UTC)
(icon is a reference to them Irene haters, not anyone in this space :) )
First off, she is not ONLY powerful by being sexual. She is powerful by being SMART and she just so happens to be sexual.

THIS. THIS SO HARD. Sexuality is not the end-all and be-all of a person's identity!

I was debating with an RL friend the other day because I actually don't find the connection between Irene and Sherlock romantic, whereas she thinks that it is. I agree with what missyjack said about Irene and Sherlock being drawn to one another because they are basically mirrors of themselves.

They are each other's equals intellectually, and for Sherlock, who always feels like he's surrounded by idiots 24/7, Irene is probably like a breath of fresh air after years of muddling about in the muck. My friends and I call this feeling having a crush on someone else's brain, because all the signs and symptoms of infatuation are there, only you're not attracted to the other person sexually or even romantically, just intellectually.
hells_half_acre
Jan. 5th, 2012 05:06 am (UTC)
Re: (icon is a reference to them Irene haters, not anyone in this space :) )
I think for a lot of people just don't have experience with- or understand non-sexual/non-romantic attraction. This is the only thing that can explain the weird tendency people have to view all deep relationships in a sexual/romantic context.

But yes, you are completely right about Irene being a breath of fresh air for Sherlock...finally, an equal. John, of course, was his own breath of fresh air, but only in attitude - he wasn't on par with Sherlock intellectually and never will be. Irene, on the other hand, has the whole package - and is, arguably the very first person Sherlock meets that has the full package. (One could argue that Moriarty is also Sherlock's intellectual equal - but Moriarty is also TRULY sociopathic and therefore too crazy for Sherlock tastes.)

But yes, "having a crush on someone's brain" is a good way to describe it. I've had a crush on someone's brain before myself - and it's EXTREMELY similar to infatuation... because you might not be attracted to the body, but you want to get as close as possible to that brain...you want to wrap yourself around it and poke at it and stay with it forever.
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mymuseandi
Jan. 5th, 2012 04:56 am (UTC)
I LOVE YOU FOR THIS. If I ever want to have a discussion like this, I don't think I can make it as clear.

First off, she is not ONLY powerful by being sexual. She is powerful by being SMART and she just so happens to be sexual. Sexual arousal is her PROFESSION, it is not the source of her power. Her BRAIN is the source of her power,

YES. Absolutely. I feel that Sherlock isn't attracted to her physically (not at first anyway, maybe later? Who knows) but it was her brain that fascinated him. And she managed to turn his words back to him in their first meeting. And she even managed to figure out how he solved the case of the dead hiker all by herself, which, again, not many people are able to do so. And he did take on the case because she had the guts to maneuver a power-play with royalty, something that caught his eye. So he was attracted to her intelligence and her audacity, I suppose.

This might be digressing a little, but I'm also not sure why he couldn't be attracted to her just because. Be it for her brains, her body, whatever. Some of those objections and reactions are because the painted Sherlock to be asexual, and that he is above all things sexual. I did look up its definition, and am still unclear to what it entails, but is it possible for Sherlock to maybe have a asexual desire for Irene Adler for that just small amount of time, maybe a spike of lust, or even a little sentiment, and then his admiration to her other attributes take over that? (sorry if this doesn't make any sense, i can't articulate it any clearer!)

Bottom line, I like her portrayal, I don't think that she is anti-feminism, and if being a dominatrix gives her an outlet for her intelligence, who are we to judge?
hells_half_acre
Jan. 5th, 2012 05:26 am (UTC)
(ugh, just typed out a huge reply and then lost it...let's see if I can recreate it...)

If I ever want to have a discussion like this, I don't think I can make it as clear.

Thanks! I didn't think I was very clear, because I was in angry!rant mode - so yeah...thanks for saying I was!

This might be digressing a little, but I'm also not sure why he couldn't be attracted to her just because. Be it for her brains, her body, whatever. Some of those objections and reactions are because the painted Sherlock to be asexual, and that he is above all things sexual.

It's true, fandom has largely painted Sherlock as an asexual because of his statement that only the mind mattered and "the rest is transport" - but we don't actually know whether that means he's asexual or not. John and Mrs. Hudson don't even know. It could be that Sherlock WANTS to be asexual, because he believes sex to be beneath him - but wanting to be something and actually being something are two different things. The truth of the matter is that we won't ever know Sherlock's "heart" unless he himself tells us - after all, not even MYCROFT knows. So yeah, there IS a possibility that Sherlock is attracted to Irene...we shall never know, unless Sherlock tell us.

Where the difference between sexual/romantic attraction and intellectual/other attraction is important is when we look at Irene. This is what Irene's conversation with John is about in the empty power station - the fact that sexual orientation has nothing to do with her (or John's) "infatuation" (or love) for Sherlock. John is obviously a heterosexual - he dates girls, he SAYS he's not gay...yet the most important relationship in his life, the other half to the "couple" that he is in, is Sherlock. John might not want to have sex with Sherlock, but he IS in love with him.

Where the viewers of the show seem to have fallen down in their comprehension is the fact that love does not equal sex.

Back to Sherlock's asexuality though...it kind of annoys me that there's this belief that if you are intelligent, it means that sex is "beneath you" (and this is completely off topic...though, I think it's also one of the reasons why people are up in arms about Irene being in a sexual profession). Sex doesn't make you stupid. It's this whole sex-shaming culture we still have going. There is nothing horrible, bad, or barbarian about sex. Intelligent people want sex too, and it doesn't make them less intelligent if they have it. So, yeah, people assume Sherlock is asexual because he's smart...and Spock only had sex every 7 years, because he was smart...but damn it, if they were REALLY smart, they'd realize how goddamn awesome orgasms are.
spvinter
Jan. 5th, 2012 05:10 am (UTC)
*delurking*
Found my way here through missyjack and felt the need to step in here and give you a fistbump.

This is exactly what has been annoying me about pretty much all of the critique of Sherlock's Irene Adler that I've seen. Saying sex is her only power makes me wonder what the hell they were watching while I enjoyed Sherlock. Her intelligence is obvious throughout the episode.

I saw someone ask if Irene couldn't have been a crafty schoolteacher or something, because dominatrix was so obvious. How they expect a schoolteacher have access to the kind of blackmail material Irene needed I have no idea.

Although there are some valid questions about her motivation as well as the fact that, as intelligent as she was, she should have been able to come up with a plan on how to use her phone without Moriarty's help, she made sense in the context of the original Irene while being, IMO, a lot more interesting.

So yeah. *fistbump*
hells_half_acre
Jan. 5th, 2012 05:32 am (UTC)
Re: *delurking*
Hi! *fistbump*

I saw someone ask if Irene couldn't have been a crafty schoolteacher or something, because dominatrix was so obvious.

LOL - yeah, in my mind, "schoolteacher" is such a female stereotype...that would have been 10x worse, not to mention, as you point out, it wouldn't have made any sense for blackmail material.

Although there are some valid questions about her motivation as well as the fact that, as intelligent as she was, she should have been able to come up with a plan on how to use her phone without Moriarty's help, she made sense in the context of the original Irene while being, IMO, a lot more interesting.

Yes, exactly. I'm all for discussions about her motivations, and why or how she ended up going to Moriarty (and what that says about her character)...these are all concerns and questions of mine too. But as you say, it all made for a very interesting episode, and much more intriguing than original Irene...who, I'm sure was an intriguing woman for Victorian times, but wouldn't make for a very interesting story these days.
sgmajorshipper
Jan. 5th, 2012 06:08 am (UTC)
Directed here via missyjack!

This post(and the comments!) are so fascinating when it comes to sexuality vs. intelligence in fandom and RL. I for one thought the episode and Irene's portrayal as fantastic, with only a couple little nitpicks that I'd have to rewatch to catch and expand on.

*shrugs* Haters are always gonna hate Irene, either because she gets in the way of their OTP, or because she's too feminine/modest/whatever(or not enough!). I've liked her in practically every incarnation I've seen or read, so I never questioned that I'd like this version.

I just know I really like the way they threw out the whole "If you're attracted to someone, it must be sexual, and if you're not, then you obviously can't love them" thing that fandom seems to love.

Going off on a tangent, that's always been one of the biggest things that annoys me about some fandoms; if there's a bond/relationship/love, even, then it must absolutely be sexual. And I say that as a shipper and slasher of less-than-canon pairings! But there's a difference between seeing the world through your rosy porn-filled shipper glasses all the time and being able to take them off. And I think that may be tripping up a lot of Sherlock fans.

Edited at 2012-01-05 06:09 am (UTC)
hells_half_acre
Jan. 5th, 2012 06:28 am (UTC)
*shrugs* Haters are always gonna hate Irene, either because she gets in the way of their OTP, or because she's too feminine/modest/whatever(or not enough!). I've liked her in practically every incarnation I've seen or read, so I never questioned that I'd like this version.

It's true. As I said in a previous post - a lot of the time it seems like these people were determined to hate ANYTHING they saw far before the episode even aired. It's doomed from the jump.

I'm actually really picky about my Irenes - because I don't like it when she's made out to be a career criminal (as in the ritchie!verse) but I DO like this Irene, and I think that says a lot about how awesome she is.

I just know I really like the way they threw out the whole "If you're attracted to someone, it must be sexual, and if you're not, then you obviously can't love them" thing that fandom seems to love.

Oh man, me too! I LOVE that scene between Irene and John.

Going off on a tangent, that's always been one of the biggest things that annoys me about some fandoms; if there's a bond/relationship/love, even, then it must absolutely be sexual.

Yes, me too! I've spoken about it before on my journal, in my entries http://hells-half-acre.livejournal.com/tag/on%20love%20%28and%20slash%29 I think it's all well and good to have a bit of fun with hot gay sex and writing bonds in sexual terms as a way of bringing them to a VISUAL level (because I think that's what sex becomes in slash, it's a VISUAL for a love-bond)...but I also think that the tendency to slash everyone, to not be able to take off those shipper glasses, speaks to this weird tendency in our society to place romantic love over all other forms of love - to say that it is somehow better or MORE than friendships/family/other-bonds. And it's a tendency that I feel works to the our detriment, because it's a belief that may cause us to give less attention to these other bonds in our own lives, that might cause us to not put as much value in them as we should. But, that's me extrapolating to the extreme...basically, I'm saying I agree with you. I like Sherlock/John as much as the next shipper, but not to the point where I can't see that it's not ACTUALLY the relationship that John and Sherlock have.

(ETA: sorry about the multiple edits - I was trying to make my link all fancy, but it won't work :( )

Edited at 2012-01-05 06:32 am (UTC)
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claudiapriscus
Jan. 5th, 2012 06:33 am (UTC)
I'm leaving a comment because I think I have to show up whenever you have these conversations- I'm pretty sure that's a rule somewhere.

But I don't follow the show, so i don't actually have anything to say!

So I guess I'll do this instead:

>Insert somewhat contrary opinion here, with points of agreement<

;)
hells_half_acre
Jan. 5th, 2012 06:44 am (UTC)
lol - I thought of you when I posted this, and wondered if you watched the show, so I'm glad you stopped by!

>Insert reply here about how I understand your point of view, but beg to differ on a few points, then go on to mention that I appreciate your input and feel as though my mind has been enriched from this intelligent discussion<

;)
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corbyinoz
Jan. 5th, 2012 10:04 am (UTC)
Here via missyjack. Love your post! I haven't seen any of the discussions you've mentioned, so I must say I am a bit surprised by the negativity. I, too, get very tired of sexual women being somehow received by analysts as anti-feminist. My view is that the single most anti-feminist thing you can do to any woman is to deny her right to her sexuality, *as she chooses to use or define it*. Irene used her nakedness as a weapon, a strategy, to wrong-foot Sherl; in the end, it was incidental, something she employed to measure Sherlock by. She was brilliant, and captivated him not by her tits but by her mind. I thoroughly enjoyed the portrayal, and rather thought that her role as a dominatrix was as much about her being beyond the society she 'served' as anything else. Everything she did - her work, the way she interacted with Sherl - was on *her* terms.

You put it all so much better. Thank you for a terrific post!
hells_half_acre
Jan. 5th, 2012 08:38 pm (UTC)
I think you said everything very well, if not better than I did! Thanks for the great comment. I'm sure it's no surprise that I agree with absolutely everything you just said.
fannishliss
Jan. 5th, 2012 12:04 pm (UTC)
I wonder if you watch Doctor Who at all?

I haven't yet started to watch Sherlock....

I have a lot to say about Moffat and women characters, but my experience with Amy and River is coloring my reaction to your post!
I wonder if women viewers who are frustrated with the role Moffat gave to Irene, might be having some of the same frustrations with Moffat's work in general that I have?

Misogyny is so pervasive, and such a nasty, jagged implement that cuts everyone around it. You know? Here is Moffat holding up this interesting character as a dominatrix, very smart, full of power, and not being led around by her ovaries.... and over at the most recent Who story, there is this wonderful celebration of Motherhood.... so why is it that these "celebrations of womanly power" remind me uncomfortably of the whole virgin/mother/whore thing you've already mentioned instead of making me cheer?

If you are familiar with River Song's devolution from smart, sexy anthropologist to morally compromised, love-addled teenager.... you might see the place of Moffat skepticism that I'm starting from. and I don't even want to start on Amy, cause that's a 20 page article in the making. :P

I just have one more question, that not having seen it, I'm not in a position to answer.... Do you feel that Irene is presented as a pornographic object for the male gaze, an inspirational role model for empowered women, or some combination? I'm guessing some combination... but if that element of pornographic spectacle is significant, it would complicate my reception of Irene as a character.

It shouldn't be a revolutionary claim that smart is sexy. Too bad is smart also needs to be naked so you can tell how sexy it is!!

I'm glad the Irene portrayal worked for you, and I'll be keeping your thoughts in mind when I get around to Sherlock. Cheers!
hells_half_acre
Jan. 5th, 2012 09:01 pm (UTC)
I DO watch Doctor Who - however, I don't read discussions about Doctor Who, or think about it very critically. It's my "fun" show (along with Merlin). It's true, I didn't much like how they handled River...but I actually haven't thought much about Amy's character or story-arc, and I'm probably not likely too. I sort of just turn off that bit of my brain when I watch Doctor Who (along with the bit of my brain that cares how good special affects are, or gets annoyed by an excessive use of deus ex machina).

But yeah, I have noticed that even before Sherlock aired, people were saying stuff like "I hope Moffat doesn't mess up Irene like he's messed up the Amy/River/Whoever" - which, is why I said that it seemed that some people who were already pissed off at Moffat for other reasons were determined to hate whatever he did on Sherlock as well.

It all leads back to my opinion that we should stop making female characters the spokesmen for the entire gender. Yes, we can get mad at Moffat for ruining River Song, but I think we should get mad at him for not being able to write a CHARACTER effectively, not get mad at him for being sexist. But, you know, that's my dream world.

To answer your question about Irene and the male gaze... I'd say No to both. It's true, the first time we see her, we get a lovely shot of her ass as she wakes away (and it is GLORIOUS) - so, that's the "male" gaze, I suppose...though, as she was in charge in that moment, I'm not sure it quiet qualifies. When she appears naked, well, she's naked - I'm sure many people would accuse it as being an object for the male gaze, but I did not see it that way AT ALL. She just happens to be naked - it's a tool to throw Sherlock off his game, and it works well. Sherlock is thrown. John is uncomfortable. Irene is reveling in her very early win in the battle.

Furthermore, in terms of just being filmed as "sexy" (object of male gaze or no), I think the director and cinematographer actually treated Sherlock and Irene the exact same. Sherlock actually appears naked BEFORE Irene in a similar bid for dominance. The difference, of course, is that Sherlock doesn't sit in someone's lap, nor is he overtly sexual in his nakedness...but that's because he's Sherlock and it's a scene with his brother...sexuality is not a tool that he can use at that moment, even if he possessed it. Irene, however, can - because she knows/believes that sexuality makes Sherlock uncomfortable.

Irene is, actually, from beginning to end, portrayed as a female!Sherlock. We see her first with the riding crop - just as we first saw Sherlock in ASiP with the riding crop... yes, people lust after her, but in our first scene with Sherlock back in ASiP, we also had Molly lusting after Sherlock.

So, the short answer is: No, I don't think Irene was an object for the male gaze.

I also don't think she was an inspirational role model for empowered women. She was smart, yes, and she was confident, yes...but she was also blackmailing the British government and in league with a terrorist. I certainly HOPE she wasn't meant as a role model.

I think, she was just Irene...and I think we were supposed to perceive her as Sherlock perceived her: a cunning opponent in a game of intelligence and dominance.
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onechairleft
Jan. 5th, 2012 12:11 pm (UTC)
Too lazy today to attempt intelligent input, so...

Seconded. :)
nomango
Jan. 5th, 2012 12:36 pm (UTC)
Same. And Thirded :)
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verdande_mi
Jan. 5th, 2012 02:20 pm (UTC)
I also found my way here via missyjack; and I’m glad to read something that actually makes sense, thank you for that.:)

The conversation between Irene and John was so very telling that I would think it would have managed to stay in viewers minds as they continued watching as it mirrors Irene and Sherlock as well. There are many types of attraction, not all of them sexual regardless of a person’s state of dress. That’s a point that has done, and continues do a lot of damage I think, the belief that nakedness is automatically sexual.

I think it’s clear that Sherlock chooses who he spends time with within a clear set of ground rules, he only has patience to deal with a few people and the scene in Mrs Hudson’s kitchen made a point of this. John sees Mrs. Hudson as a sweet old lady that would probably benefit from going out of town for some days, but Sherlock has righty judged her to be made of sterner stuff. Irene is the same as Mrs. Hudson and John as in that Sherlock sees something interesting in them, something that for whatever reason appeals to him. Irene differs because he’s not able to read her and because her intelligence matches up to his. That alone should make it obvious as to why his interest is piqued, and Sherlock never does anything half way.

It baffles me, saddens me and makes me angry how people can’t just be taken for who they are and has to be judged and held up to a specific standard, women especially. And the one standard in anything but, and if women can never be a dominatrix, a mother, a school teacher, a lover, or any other thing people perceive as being degrading because women are often put in those boxes then we’ll just continue as we are. I agree that women in general needs to be given larger roles, and better ones in many cases, but that will do little if any role will be only be seen and understood by one or two factors regarding that role and not the character as a person. If all a person sees is the dominatrix in Irene they’re missing out, she’s so much more than that, but people are blinded by that one aspect of her.

I hope some of this makes some sense; I’m finding it difficult to express what I’m thinking very well.
hells_half_acre
Jan. 5th, 2012 09:28 pm (UTC)
Hello! I responded to your comments in reverse order :P

It baffles me, saddens me and makes me angry how people can’t just be taken for who they are and has to be judged and held up to a specific standard, women especially. And the one standard in anything but, and if women can never be a dominatrix, a mother, a school teacher, a lover, or any other thing people perceive as being degrading because women are often put in those boxes then we’ll just continue as we are. I agree that women in general needs to be given larger roles, and better ones in many cases, but that will do little if any role will be only be seen and understood by one or two factors regarding that role and not the character as a person. If all a person sees is the dominatrix in Irene they’re missing out, she’s so much more than that, but people are blinded by that one aspect of her.

Couldn't have said it better myself. It saddens me the most that WOMEN are often the ones judging and holding up other women to a specific standard. The worst thing you can do to someone is not allow them to be human - and that includes wanting to turn them into some sort of Ideal. Irene should be allowed to have faults, (just as I have faults and you have faults, and Sherlock has faults,) without being accused of representing her entire gender poorly.

I think it’s clear that Sherlock chooses who he spends time with within a clear set of ground rules, he only has patience to deal with a few people and the scene in Mrs Hudson’s kitchen made a point of this.

Very true. I also think the Christmas scene made a point of this. Sherlock chooses his few, and as soon as Molly arrives, we see that she ISN'T one of his chosen few... and I think that's why Sherlock can't see that Molly has chosen HIM. But, that's sort of tangential and beside the point...or maybe it's not? I'm not sure where I was going with this thought.

That’s a point that has done, and continues do a lot of damage I think, the belief that nakedness is automatically sexual.

Indeed. I often wonder how society would be different if we never moved north and put on clothes. :P
(no subject) - verdande_mi - Jan. 5th, 2012 11:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - hells_half_acre - Jan. 5th, 2012 11:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - verdande_mi - Jan. 6th, 2012 04:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - hells_half_acre - Jan. 6th, 2012 06:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
numbuh12
Jan. 5th, 2012 03:59 pm (UTC)
Bless you for writing this. I just hate all of these (more than likely female) fans for ranting about all of the stuff they are with Irene, because in the end it's only hurting them and their own sense of identity as a woman.

I myself was concerned with ASiB, but for different reasons. Irene's character is very easy to mess up, and I knew that if Moffat failed to handle her dynamic with Sherlock properly, the whole episode would fall apart. In my opinion, the complete opposite happened, and I was both thrilled and relieved. I wasn't surprised at the reactions of other people to Irene's portrayal, but like I just said, it makes me sad more than anything else. So, again, thank you for writing this up.
hells_half_acre
Jan. 5th, 2012 09:35 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading and commenting!

I was really concerned too before I went in, because I really didn't like Irene in the RDJ movies. But, I was very happy with what Moffat did - and certainly, Irene and Sherlock had a fantastic dynamic that really did the story justice.

So yes, it pains me too that other people have gone so far on the feminism scale that they've accidentally turned the corner into hurting equality rather than helping it.
franztastisch
Jan. 5th, 2012 07:31 pm (UTC)
So. I mostly steer clear of this kind of stuff. Because it annoys me, because I can't be bothered, because I don't care enough.

That being said; you remember that time I said we share a brain, only you use yours?

HIGH FIVE. You've done it again. :D
hells_half_acre
Jan. 5th, 2012 08:34 pm (UTC)
Hahaha, well thank you, my friend ;)

I usually steer clear of this kind of stuff too - but I read that line that I quoted above and then I let it sit in my brain for 20 minutes, and then suddenly I was ANGRY! :P
coral_amber
Jan. 5th, 2012 09:02 pm (UTC)
I....love you for this post. I found it via Tumblr and I just have to say THANK YOU FOR SAYING THIS.

I'm quite the queer chick and I just thought sexuality in this episode was handled so beautifully and with such complexity. I think people are right to be a bit critical of the way Moffat writes women, but I honestly thought the way he wrote Irene and her story were wonderful.
hells_half_acre
Jan. 5th, 2012 09:42 pm (UTC)
Ooo, I'm being talked about on tumblr now? Haha...I have a tumblr account too, but I was afraid to post a link there, because some people on tumblr can be quiet scary :P

I'm glad you aren't scary though!

I absolutely LOVED how sexuality in this episode was handled. It was so refreshing to see.

And of course, just because I think Moffat has done this correctly, doesn't mean that he does EVERYTHING correctly. I think that's where a lot of people fall down these days - it's as though if someone writes one bad character (or even two) it must mean that they are ALWAYS going to write bad characters...they are ALWAYS going to be sexist/racist/whatever... when that just isn't the case. I think the moral of the story is that we all make mistakes - Irene should be allowed her faults, just as Moffat should be allowed his. It doesn't mean that Irene is anti-feminist, nor does it mean that Moffat can't write women. Maybe he just has a harder time of it, but that doesn't mean that he can't occasionally get it right. :)
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