*Obligatory post to say that you can be a feminist and still like Amy, River, Molly and Irene. Liking them doesn’t mean that you ignore their flaws. It just means that you also acknowledge their strengths*
Why BBC Sherlock is not Sexist – A Re-evaluation
As a woman, I want to explain why one simply cannot label BBC Sherlock as “sexist” and why the writers are not “woman hating misogynists”.
This re-evaluation is a more logical, comprehensive and coherent analysis of the reasons why BBC Sherlock is not sexist. I investigate the claims that:
- There is a lack of female characters
- Female characters are defined by their relationships with men
- The portrayal of women in the show is sexist
On the way I also delve into feminist movements, the strange myth of the “feminist ideal” and why we should be happy to see women like Mrs Hudson and Molly portrayed on screen.
Reblog if you like it!
So Prisci and I decided that, character-wise, BBC Sherlock (from Molly’s POV) is a modern Jane Eyre
Molly is Jane, Sherlock is Rochester, Lestrade is St. John, Irene is Blanche, Mrs Hudson is Mrs Fairfax, Moriarty is Richard Mason, Donovan and Anderson and St. John’s sisters.
And John is Bertha.
Now, after you’ve read that here is my headcanon which is based a bit on the fic but also has some of its own points.
Irene Adler is an invented name, just as Richard Brook or Jim Moriarty are. Her real name is Harriet Watson, and that explains so much. The snippy little sibling-rivalry thing that they’ve got going when they’re alone, the way John is uncomfortable in Adler’s flat when she’s naked—his roommate is just STARING at his SISTER—and why he asks her to put some clothes on.
She’d not spoken to him for years and years, but despite problems in her own life (a breakup, burgeoning alcoholism) she rushed to his side when she heard he’d been wounded. The phone had been professionally erased of everything save the engraving on the back, and a single phone number. She assured John that he wouldn’t have to pay for it, and that she’d left the engraving on the back to remind him that it was second-hand to make him feel better. She left his bedside (because of course she broke in somewhere, duh) with a brief kiss on his forehead and a good-luck wish before she disappeared.
When Mike Stamford asked if Harry could help, John felt like his sister had endangered herself quite enough by giving him her phone number. He’d known for a long time that his sister was mixed up with the wrong kind, and on the shady side of the law most of the time—in the last few years he’d really understood how deeply she was into it, too—and John can’t ask her for more than she’s already given.
Some nights he considers deleting the phone number, to protect her. Other nights he sends her a text asking how she is. Not because he really cares, but because having someone expect something of him keeps what’s on the bottom of the middle drawer on the left at the bottom and not against his head. Even if it is a simple expectation of a reply, and Harry ALWAYS asks how he’s been in return.
It explains the older-brother tone that John adopts when they meet in the warehouse, too. “Dammit, Sis, you WILL listen to me you are breaking a man’s heart here!” kind of tone. Because his life is put back together once again he feels he can stand his ground. But he doesn’t yell or do anymore than plead to her sense of fairness, because without a mobile phone Sherlock would never have been able to text him and things might not have panned out as they did.
It also explains her attitude about Sherlock not texting her back, because while she and John haven’t been in touch much since he’s been getting better they still TALK occasionally. Just to make sure that the only other family they have on earth is still alive.
This is also why it is so hard for John to lie to Sherlock for Mycroft. Because he feels like he’s giving Sherlock hope where he himself is deprived of it. John was prepared for Sherlock’s fall long before it ever became an issue—he’d lost his sister already, in his mind, because of something she’d done to herself really. It’s also why he didn’t want to give Sherlock the phone, because a petty part of him felt like he’d lost more than Sherlock had with Irene/Harry’s death.
I like to think that she came back for him again, after Sherlock’s death, to make him laugh and give him a touch of hope. She makes him believe in Sherlock, she makes him believe that the man still might be alive and lays it all out for him. Because she is clever like Sherlock. Before she leaves she kisses his forehead once and gives him a new phone with a new number but with no etching on the back.
POST TO THE POST:
It also explains why she was off on her own in Pakistan. She was trying to get into Afghanistan because she was going to FIND the people who shot up her brother and she was going to END them.
Sherlock, Molly and the great “I don’t count.”
The look on Sherlock’s face when Molly tells him she doesn’t count has struck me more than any other shot in the entire series.
So many things fly across Benedict Cumberbatch’s face in that moment. You can SEE the inaudible “Of course you count” he is about to say when she interrupts him again and it’s heartbreaking because he finally sees her as a person outside of the “Someone not directly irritating” list that most of the people he tolerates reside within and she knows exactly how little she is ever going to mean to him. She interrupts him because she knows even if he says it, he will never really understand what it means.
She finally becomes a real person to him by holding up a mirror to him and John and saying “This is what you think counts. Even if you don’t know it. And I will stay the girl behind the mirror who still loves you even though that concept is so far outside your realm of ideaology you only know of it because February has anatomically incorrect hearts everywhere.” She looks him straight in the eye and says “I know you. I know you as well as he does and that is never going to mean anything to you because you are who you are, but I AM STILL HERE FOR YOU.”
She is as resigned to her role as Sherlock is being the smartest person in the room. She knows it and she owns it. But to her it is no matter of great pride as Sherlock’s intelligence is. Her love is nothing like Irene Adler’s soul crushing infatuation, it’s a weight, like Sherlock’s drive against boredom.
This moment, to me, makes Sherlock and Molly the far greater tragic love affair than Sherlock’s relationship with John
Csárdás: Chapter 1
For those of you who missed it last night:
Authors: Em and Prisci
Chapter: 1/? + Prologue
Fandom: BBC Sherlock
Genre: AU, Friendship, Coming of Age, TeenLock, Adventure, Romance
Characters: Molly Hooper, Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, Irene Adler, Mary Morstan, Jim Moriarty, Sebastian Moran
Board the ship on AO3
Thanks to fan art and Prisci, I can now safely say that I actually ship Molly with every single Sherlock character except Anderson and Mrs. Hudson.
Like, even Molly/Sally although I don’t think I’d ever admit that.
I mean, “hello.”
But, seriously, if it exists, I ship it. Well, kinda. I don’t actually actively “ship” them all, but I am not really opposed to any of them. And would be willing to RP/write all of them. And this is just within the Sherlock Fandom.
Can we take a minute to look at A Scandal in Belgravia? *Here be Molly Hooper Feels*
Look at the way Sherlock’s looking at Molly. He’s not just looking at her, but he is also not deducing anything about her. He’s seeing her. And this got me thinking of several things. Like, why is she there? And why is he seeing her now?
And then I had this idea:
Everyone, every once in a while, gets angry and directs their anger at a person who maybe doesn’t deserve it. Sherlock Holmes is not immune to this subconscious redirection of anger.
And if one of the people you thought you maybe could trust was dating (albeit unknowingly) the man who’s only goal was to bring you down, you’d probably feel betrayed, even though you know they didn’t actually do anything wrong.
So you wouldn’t directly show them that you’re angry. You wouldn’t tell them that they betrayed you. Because, deep down, you know they didn’t. But you’re still a little pissed. You don’t want to see them. Their presence pisses you off more than it normally does.
So maybe you just belittle them, treat them like shit. Try to get away with it.
But then you realize that you were wrong. That you could trust this person after all. And you’ve hurt them horribly.
And then you realized she never hurt you. Not on purpose. She didn’t date him so that he could get closer to you. Hell, you didn’t even know he was out to get you until later.
So when she joins you in the morgue on Christmas when she’s not even needed, because let’s be honest, you don’t really need her to get in, especially with your brother around, you realize how loyal she is. How she would never betray you. How you can trust her more than anyone else.
She there because she wants to be. She wants to help. And you want her to be.
In Reichenbach, Sherlock tells Molly that he’s always trusted her. This is when he realizes that.
But what does he say to her? Not “Thank you for coming.” Just “You didn’t need to come in, Molly.” And not in a thankful tone. He says it in a way that implies that he didn’t want her there, which is odd, as Molly’s one of the only people who Sherlock never pushes away. Even when she’s annoying him, he never tells her to leave. Her presence is never a bother to him. He doesn’t mind having her around.
But when he’s looking at Irene Adler’s body, he wishes she wasn’t around.
Later, after he and John find the living Irene asleep in their flat, Irene asks for her phone back. When Sherlock tells her it’s in a safe box, John suggest that they have Molly go pick it up. And Sherlock Holmes is not a fan of this idea.
Seriously, John? Could you have a more ridiculous idea?
And it’s not just because he has a fake right there. It’s because it’s Molly. And Irene. Molly and Irene. Molly Hooper and The Woman. And they have no place together in Sherlock’s mind.
As intrigued as he is by Irene, she’s not Molly. She’s not kind, caring, innocent Molly.
There is no crossover between Molly and Irene in his mind. Irene has hurt him. He doesn’t trust her at all. And he wants no association between them.
It’s like when you look back at ancient Christian civilizations and all women are compared to the standards of Mary and Eve.
Molly’s Sherlock’s Mary and Irene his Eve.
This has been a post.