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I've been sitting here for awhile trying to put my thoughts together, because while there were some things I really enjoyed, there were a lot of things I was really troubled by. And I know that a lot of people on my flist just really loved it, and I don't want to harsh anyone's squee. But I just have to throw my two cents in. And I certainly don't want to tell anyone that they shouldn't be enjoying it, or bring it down in their eyes, but I have feelings, and so...

Let's face it, Steven Moffat is a misogynist, and that comes out in everything he does. Even when he writes supposed "strong female characters", they're more this kind. And again, I'm not trying to tell people not to like them; there are plenty of them that I like, too. But again, there are tropes and elements that are deeply troubling, and I think that needs to be addressed and not glossed over.

Because female characters get criticized constantly, and so often by women, I feel like it's important to ask: is this internalized misogyny coming out? Is this being overly critical? Is a female character getting called a Mary Sue when a male character would just be considered awesome? But there are problems with the women Moffat writes, sometimes on the surface, and sometimes more deeply, and I have to address them.

Irene Adler: on the surface- strong, charismatic, smart, sexy. But oh my god, the use of the lesbian who still falls deeply in love with the male hero: SO PROBLEMATIC. (And offensive, not to mention over-used.) Also problematic: the glamorization of sex workers. Yes, she chooses it, and she seems to enjoy it, and in real life, I would never judge someone for it. But this is just another example of the trope wherein the only way women can have power is through sex. And let's not talk about the male gaze issues in this: we had the parallel getting ready scenes between Sherlock and Irene... only Sherlock ends up in a bulky police coat, while Irene is in lingerie and then is totally naked. (I could even go into a long discussion of the application of make-up scene, but that's better left to Julia Serano, who has a great analysis of that in Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity. Also, I am aware that Sherlock ended up in the buff earlier, but a) that was played for laughs, b) it was very brief, and c) it wasn't in a sexually charged situation.)

Also, there was that whole thing where Irene needed to consult with Jim Moriarty, and yet was still in the end outwitted by Sherlock. In the original VICTORIAN story, Irene didn't need to consult with Moriarty, and also was successful in outsmarting Holmes. Nor did she end up needing to be saved by him. AND THIS WAS THE VICTORIAN ERA.

All of this was in the same episode where Mrs. Hudson was brutalized and needed rescue, and where Molly was totally humiliated by Sherlock, but oh, a kiss on the cheek makes it all better. Oh, and Watson had a girlfriend even he couldn't remember, and who is played as unsympathetic despite her valid grievances. ::headdesk::

I was very amused at how the cliffhanger with Moriarty was resolved, I was happy to see Lestrade, the deerstalker was awesome, John had some great bits, there were lots of good interactions with Mycroft... but despite the fact that there were a lot of things I enjoyed, I was still left wishing that I could get Moffat enrolled in therapy. And some women's studies courses.

Date: 2012-01-03 05:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gadgetorious.livejournal.com
Yeah, I really enjoyed the episode on the whole. I'm ecstatic to have the show back and it had a lot of moments that made my fangirl heart very happy. BUT. BUT.

I HATED that Irene A) fell in love with Sherlock despite being a self-professed lesbian? I mean, I get that you couldn't really take anything she said at face value [and THAT'S an issue to take up another time perhaps] but WHAT?

Ugh. I was bothered that she needed saving in the end.

I was EXTREMELY bothered that Sherlock figured everything out at the last minute. She was supposed to best him, not ALMOST best him and then flee with tears in her eyes because she just loves him so much.

And why, WHY, must she always be working for Moriarty? Why can't she just be a kickass criminal mastermind in her own right? I've never actually really liked the character of Moriarty that much. Irene is COOLER than he is.

I <3 this post because it is everything [livejournal.com profile] tocourtdisaster and I bitched about in between our bouts of squee. (Because in all honesty I can be as annoyed as I like at Moffat but I'll still be rewatching this episode.) I really can't think of anything to add because you've just listed all my complaints. Well, all the ones really worth complaining about, but yeah.
Edited Date: 2012-01-03 05:35 am (UTC)

Date: 2012-01-03 05:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gadgetorious.livejournal.com
Yeah. I was actually equally bothered by Sherlock's apparent crush, not just because the "Oh, I was taking your pulse to see how you've got the hots for me" was cheap on so many levels, but because the implication was that she basically used her sexual wiles (herein referred to as breasts) to dupe him, instead of just genuinely outsmarting him. Because a woman clearly can't be smarter than Sherlock, but she can surely make him act stupid if she flirts hard enough.

The day that Moffat finally writes something completely free of misogyny will be the day I die of shock, so I really tend to ignore it in his stuff more than I probably should. I just assume it will be there and I will have to get over it if I want to enjoy a show that is otherwise fantastic.

Date: 2012-01-04 03:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gadgetorious.livejournal.com
I wanted to give somebody the link to this if you could be convinced to unlock? Alternatively: friend [livejournal.com profile] tocourtdisaster who is lovely despite her lack of interest in Marvel :D

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