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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.


Jan. 5th, 2012 07:47 am (UTC)
Supernatural, redefining your fandom preferences since 2005. ;) It's amazing how it can do that. Yet another reason I love it.

Me too. There's a reason it's the first fandom that I've ever actively participated in.

So I can safely say fandom and the experiences therein have changed me - for the better. But that's highly tangential.

Yes, I'm the same way. I really believe that being involved with fandom (even when I was just lurking for year) has been to my benefit rather than my detriment. But yes, highly tangential ;)

I can't help but wonder if that comes from the stigma and hate attached to being gay; for a heterosexual couple to behave heterosexually in public, that's "normal", nothing new. But for two gay men to "put their masculinity on the line", for lack of a better way to put it, and actively behave romantically towards each other in public, that takes a level of bravery that is generally associated with stronger affection(society's correlation between your love for someone/something and how far you're willing to go or how much you're willing to do). So the connection between being gay and true love. I admit, I tend to see it myself. And the reason it doesn't show up in F/F relationships is because for women, there's a lot less stigma attached to it than with men; for women society has informed us that it's practically trendy.

Very good point, and possibly also a good reason for my reaction to gay love vs hetero love. Also, a very good point about how the same doesn't hold true for F/F relationships - even though they do suffer social stigma as well, females can get away with more public affection than men can. Which, I might add, is a lose to heterosexual men as well. It's always really interesting for me to go to countries where there ISN'T a social stigma against male affection and see how many completely hetero guys are happy to hug, kiss (platonically), and fall asleep on the shoulders of each other. It's adorable, and also extremely attractive - since there's nothing I love more than someone who is comfortable with their sexuality....but I'm getting WAY off topic now. :P

Glad you liked the posts!
Jan. 5th, 2012 07:54 am (UTC)
*nod nod nod* Yup. It's funny that as women we tend to enjoy and feel attracted to men who aren't afraid to be romantic and affectionate with everyone...and yet we are also often some of the biggest ones to call "gay!" at every little thing. BUT YES. Basically, you're reading my brain and typing it all out in a way that makes sense :P
Eh, off-topic is totally subjective, right? XD

I'm working on a rec-post for this and the other Love and Slash posts on my journal, but, of course, as expected, I'm getting off on my own explanations too.
Jan. 5th, 2012 08:02 am (UTC)
Haha, well in fairness, I only cal "gay!" easily when the men are on TV shows...in real life my "gaydar" kind of sucks. It doesn't help that I'm also attracted to snappy dressers, and (most) gay men tend to put more effort into their appearance then (most) hetero guys. :P

I'm working on a rec-post for this and the other Love and Slash posts on my journal, but, of course, as expected, I'm getting off on my own explanations too.

Awesome! I look forward to the pingback-bot comment when it's up ;)
Jan. 5th, 2012 12:04 pm (UTC)
It's always really interesting for me to go to countries where there ISN'T a social stigma against male affection and see how many completely hetero guys are happy to hug, kiss (platonically), and fall asleep on the shoulders of each other.

Sorry for hijacking this thread, but this reminded me of a book written by an American Fulbright scholar who went to the Philippines to study our basketball culture. In one chapter, he commented on the difference between the interactions of the local and American-born members of the basketball team he followed for a season:
On the [Filipino-American] side, every player occupied a well-defined sliver of personal space.... On the other set of couches...[the] homegrown Filipino players were seated in one tangled, conjoined mass. [...] The contrast between Philippine and American norms of male camaraderie, acted out on opposite sides of the lounge, couldn't have been more stark. To [the basketball team's] contingent of Californians, their team-mates' snuggling was excessive and borderline disturbing...[evoking] all sorts of homoerotic discomfort. The locals, no doubt, considered themselves just as manly as their Fil-Am teammates, but their notion of machismo didn't preclude clutching a teammate's inner thigh.
When I read that part above, it made me realize why a lot of people ship J2, whereas all the vibes I could get from them is nothing but friendship (and I have a pretty reliable gaydar). If they behaved that way here, people wouldn't immediately latch onto the notion that they're gay for each other. Heck, I've seen two of my male classmates holding hands with each other while walking to their next class, and I know for a fact that they're as straight as they come. It all boils down to what a particular society would consider acceptable expressions of heterosexual masculinity, I guess.
Jan. 5th, 2012 08:17 pm (UTC)
Yes! Exactly! I actually think it's quite sad that American men can't be openly affectionate with each other. I especially feel bad for immigrants in North America who are from places like the Philippines - and they come over here, and suddenly people are calling them gay. Not, of course, that being gay is a bad thing - but eventually they modify their behaviour in order to fit in with how North America expects them to act...and they lose that ability to be casually affectionate.

It's why it really annoys me at Cons, when the audience "awws" loudly at Jared and Jensen being physically affectionate - I always want to hiss "don't let them know they're doing something out of the ordinary!!" because eventually they'll just stop (I think they already have - if you compare old Con videos to new ones)...and I LIKE seeing friends being affectionate with each other.