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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

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
verdande_mi
Jan. 5th, 2012 11:20 pm (UTC)
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.

This is true, and I just don’t understand why women keep this behaviour up, and often in discussions it just turns into a screaming match because everyone is blind to even trying to understand the other’s views. The world has moved forward and many things have changed for the better regarding women, but truly being of the female gender doesn’t make all of the people under that banner the same. I just wish it was more room for people to express different roles than what society upholds as the norm without being judged up and down the madonna/whore scale. When there is something one doesn’t understand, the smart thing is to make an effort to learn and understand before going off on a rant.

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.

Yes, the Christmas scene; what a terrific scene and so telling! What you said is very accurate, and in that vein I think it is telling that John’s girlfriend is there, even if Sherlock clearly has no interest in her or even remember her name or face. It says something about his fondness for John. It’s true that Molly has chosen him yes, and I agree that Sherlock doesn’t understand that, or more accurately he isn’t able to perceive it because he doesn’t seem to have any references to anything like it and no interest. And he doesn’t know how to handle it when he does clue in, he tries to, but really he has no references to being nice either, and everyone in the room knows and accepts that. Except Molly.

Regarding Moffatt, which I’ve seen others have mentioned. I wonder if isn’t something of the same as when we remember the times our toast falls and lands with the spread faced to the floor more often than we remember the opposite; like negativity just latches on more easily or something.

I’ve seen a lot of negativity regarding him, him as a person and not based upon any stories or characters he has written. I personally really enjoy his stories from Doctor Who and Sherlock and don’t have complains about how he writes women; but for an outsider looking in it just seems like negativity piled upon negativity without taking the time to check if quotes are accurate or keeping in mind that, as you’ve said one or more mistake doesn’t mean a person is this or that. A person is made up of so much more and yes even brilliant and kind people say the post idiotic and fail-worthy things at times. Also things get misquoted or things sound better before the same thought tumbles out in spoken word a total mess and not resembling what you thought at all. Sorry to go off tangent.

Indeed. I often wonder how society would be different if we never moved north and put on clothes. :P>/i>

An apt question I have no answer to; there’s a great fun Norwegian short story that asks the question, if it was destined that we were to wander, why we didn’t wander south to grow orchards instead of following the ice and reindeer north? One can wonder!
hells_half_acre
Jan. 5th, 2012 11:45 pm (UTC)
I agree with everything!

And he doesn’t know how to handle it when he does clue in, he tries to, but really he has no references to being nice either, and everyone in the room knows and accepts that. Except Molly.

Hmm, very interesting point. I've seen a lot of comments elsewhere about how John lets Sherlock be Sherlock and accepts him for who he is - and that's why Sherlock loves John so much. I wonder if part of the reason Sherlock is so annoyed by Molly all the time is because part of him knows that she wants something ELSE from him - that she has this ideal picture of him that he doesn't, and won't ever fit into, but that she refuses to let go of.

I’ve seen a lot of negativity regarding him, him as a person and not based upon any stories or characters he has written. I personally really enjoy his stories from Doctor Who and Sherlock and don’t have complains about how he writes women; but for an outsider looking in it just seems like negativity piled upon negativity without taking the time to check if quotes are accurate or keeping in mind that, as you’ve said one or more mistake doesn’t mean a person is this or that.

I've noticed this too. I've wondered if perhaps it's because Moffat has a very flippant sense of humour - sarcastic, and sly...and maybe people just don't understand that it's humour and that he's not serious? I mean, he's often quoted as having this "fuck you" attitude (which I love), but maybe people are interpreting that as him not caring about the characters, rather than him just not caring if people don't like the way he wrote *insert character name here*?

I don't know...I've been trying to put my finger on this weird phenomenon as well. Interestingly enough, Mark Gatiss doesn't seem to have this problem - people adore him - yet, when people don't like Irene, it's Moffat's fault (and it's true Moffat is credited with the writing on the episode) but I don't doubt that Gatiss approved of Moffat's work wholeheartedly, yet no one is coming after him with a pitchfork (that I've seen.)
verdande_mi
Jan. 6th, 2012 04:46 pm (UTC)
I’ve been thinking the same as you; it’s at least part of the answer I think. I’m fast on my feet to get away from it when I stumble upon it, so perhaps I’ve missed something. Fandom is my happy place so if it isn’t squee or a good discussion I tend to stay clear of it.
hells_half_acre
Jan. 6th, 2012 06:17 pm (UTC)
Haha, yes, that is the case with me as well. I'd rather not understand the negativity than accidentally drown in it. :P