Petra Todd: A Few Final Thoughts
I really just wanted to add that I watched an interview with Louise Brealey. She said it’s difficult for her to read the Sherlolly fanfiction, not because of dynamic between the two, but because when she plays Molly she’s basically being herself. So, by saying that Molly Hooper is a stereotyped character, you’re also saying that Louise Brealey is. I find Molly to be extremely believable and not at all stereotyped. She’s sweet, shy, and has a crush on someone who she probably knows will never feel the same. Sorry, but we’ve all been there. Even as adults. However, there is something that stands out to me that most people either don’t see, overlook, or disagree with. Molly is awkward and a bit shy, yes, but she’s got a lot more backbone than people give her credit for. She stands up to Sherlock far more than is actually realized, because its delivered in a shy, awkward fashion. He obviously trusts her enough to complain t her about John’s absences, seeks her out for help in the morgue and lab, and utimately, I’m assuming helping to fake his suicide. Do I honestly believe Sherlolly could ever exist? No. For the simple reason that Sherlock Holmes finds women on the whole, distracting, and has no interest in pursuing the matter. At all. That doesn’t mean I can’t ‘ship’ them. Because I ship them like a priority package going through Fedex! Anyway, that’s what I wanted to add, because I feel it needed saying. :D
If you were here yesterday, you might have seen a mammoth post on Molly Hooper and Sherlolly that was being reblogged back and forth: you can find it here and here. (there are two links, because there were two threads and I actually think there were some…
So this is the quote which I found for Loo Brealey:
‘I think she’s very unthreatening and she’s very girl-next-door and I do think that young women, girls, they can identify with her and men don’t feel threatened by her. So, she just a sort of ordinary woman surrounded by these extraordinary people and in that respect she is a way in for the audience and also she’s also quite sweet. If you’re a young woman and you really want to sleep with Sherlock, there’s a young woman on the screen who really wants to sleep Sherlock, you’re going to identify with her.’ Saying this, she states that she’s not like Molly. ‘I wouldn’t let a man talk to me like that however, I think, who hasn’t made a complete tit out of themselves over some bloke?’
*shrugs* Personally I find Loo to be funny and engaging, the few interviews I’ve read of her: she also describes herself as an ardent feminist, which is great for her, but I find the above comments to be a bit troubling personally.
Look, I never said Molly wasn’t a realistic portrait of a woman: Maybe my wording wasn’t perfect, but what I meant was actually the opposite. Maybe the word I should have used was ‘ordinary’ or ‘everyday’. Sherlock is full of fantastical characters, such as Irene, Moriarty, Sherlock himself, so when a John Watson or Molly Hooper shows up, they are indeed meant to be more ‘relatable’ to the audience. Meant not being are, of course, but more on that later.
So, I think she’s meant to be a fairly realistic/ordinary women on the show and also one of the only reoccurring female characters and that’s what’s troubling: that you only have one female character, she’s meant to represent an everyday woman who, by Loo’s own words, is defined by her ‘really wanting to sleep with Sherlock’. I just think that should have been thought about more. Molly in real life IS different: I have a friend like Molly (actually, I have two) and they’re not anti-feminist, but they’re also not the only female protagonist on a male-dominated show. In real life, people are complex, they have many motivations and if you love Molly/ are participating in this conversatonyou see her as being this complex, alive person, you ascribe these hidden depths to her and that’s great. We clearly do the same to all the characters, because we’re Sherlockians and we love these characters. That’s why I’m not disagreeing with you liking her so much: you all clearly have head-canons and analysis floating around by which Molly Hooper comes off as a strong, healthy character, but you’ve got to understand, most people DON’T, they take her at face value and that’s an issue.
Why? Well, this is a show and every character in a show/novel is defined by their primary motivations to the general audience (you know, the people who can just watch a show and not dedicate a blog and lots of analysis to it) and that’s where the problem is: Irene’s primary motivation might be security to them, Sherlock’s might be alleviation of boredom (later changing to protecting his friends), but Molly’s motivation is to sleep with Sherlock? Really? I think the characterization has gotten better/deeper than that, admittedly, but that interview is from June 2012 and that’s LOO BREALEY talking.
Also, about the relationship: I said COULD. As in might, because Sherlock simply walks all over those who let him and I would be afraid Molly would let him. But you guys clearly don’t think so and yup, that’s something I want to look more into, because it’s intriguing about why you don’t.
As for Irene: I too relate more easily to her, but, like I said, she clearly isn’t being set up to be ‘the woman that everyone relates to” (that’s one quote form Loo up there, but there are probably a dozen or so floating around, I’ve seen a few from other members of the cast and crew). She’s one of the ‘fantastic’ set, the people on the show who are crazier and larger than life: like characters from a storybook, really. Sure, some people relate more to them and that’s fantastic, but it’s not their purpose. But I do see your point: I don’t mean to imply she isn’t important, just that she’s a whole other discussion, isn’t she? I personally didn’t think she was in any way anti-feminist and I felt that a lot of the arguments that thought she was were flawed, but again, different discussion.
Again, this isn’t an argument I have to ‘win’ or ‘lose’. I do simply find it interesting and the purpose is not to rile everyone up.
See this is the part I really have a problem with:
In real life, people are complex, they have many motivations and if you love Molly/ are participating in this conversation you see her as being this complex, alive person, you ascribe these hidden depths to her and that’s great. We clearly do the same to all the characters, because we’re Sherlockians and we love these characters. That’s why I’m not disagreeing with you liking her so much: you all clearly have head-canons and analysis floating around by which Molly Hooper comes off as a strong, healthy character, but you’ve got to understand, most people DON’T, they take her at face value and that’s an issue.
You are trying to speak for a lot of people. Who is this vague ‘they’? Stop speaking for everyone and speak for yourself.
And when we present examples of Molly’s character, you brush it off as our headcanon. We aren’t imagining “hidden depths,” we’re referring to what we see her doing onscreen.
- Intelligence- her job requires it and Sherlock relies on her professionally
- Loyalty- she’s willing to do whatever it takes to help Sherlock because she has faith in his abilities
- Sweetness- well that’s obvious. She’s friendly and kind, asks Mrs. Hudson and Lestrade about themselves at the party.
- Sensitivity- is aware Sherlock is troubled when other people aren’t
- Strength- she doesn’t become angry or hateful despite being surrounded by death and negative circumstances, which we have seen on the show. (Rejection, Jim stuff, her work in general.)
Those are just a few characteristics. And they aren’t “hidden depths,” they’re right there onscreen, rather obvious. And her being ‘one of the only recurring females?’ This show has a tiny recurring cast, compared to other TV shows. It’s not like there are twenty guys and just one woman recurring. There are a few, and not many more men recurring. It’s unfair to her character to expect her to represent all women, that she has to be a loud aggressive female character. That may be your wish, but that is not this character. And it is not unfeminist if she is that way.
By the way, we do have an assertive, vocal female who is a very feminist figure in a recurring role.
And the fandom regularly calls Sally Donovan a bitch and a whore, and a whole host of other names. There are good women on this show. If they aren’t appreciated, that’s the fandom’s issue.