Sherlock, but if John was a Kitty…
I doodled this for fiberistanora in my sketchbook while we were on an airplane a couple weeks ago.
I would watch this show. I would watch the heck out of this show.
Oh my god NOTHING WOULD CHANGE.
The eye-fucking would take on creepy connotations, though.
Current Doctor Who is like an ex-boyfriend I used to have a great time with and am still kind of into but lately he keeps being an asshole so it’s awkward every time I see him
In my post-series 3 re-watch, an interesting observation struck me: a large number of Sherlock’s female characters are involved in the media industry.
Jennifer Wilson supposedly worked in the media, which Sherlock deduced from the fact that she was dressed in a ‘frankly alarming shade of pink’ - the colour most closely associated with femininity.
Irene Adler used the media to her advantage. As Mycroft informed Sherlock, ‘She’s been at the centre of two political scandals in the last year, and recently ended the marriage of a prominent novelist by having an affair with both participants separately’ - she used public interest in private affairs to gain power. She also used the media to keep tabs on Sherlock, who she knew she would be facing as an adversary.
Kitty Riley worked as a journalist, and was a key player in Moriarty’s scheme to bring about Sherlock’s demise.
Janine also worked in the industry as assistant to Magnussen, the head of a major news corporation. Magnussen’s villainy, like Moriarty’s, was strongly linked to the media industry, and again, Janine is connected to that. She also has connections to Mary, who also fulfilled antagonistic narrative roles. She also takes her revenge on Sherlock for using her by selling false stories about their non-existent sex life to one of Magnussen’s rivals (another link between the media and antagonism).
The Empty Hearse, Anderson’s group of theorists after which the seventh episode is named, predominantly comprises of young women, and it was a young women who shared a theory and was the focal point of that group.
It’s also notable that Jennifer, Irene, Kitty and Janine are all associated with sex. Jennifer was a serial adulterer, Irene used sex as a form of power play, Kitty attempted to seduce Sherlock upon their first meeting and Janine used the sensationalism of sex in the media to take revenge on Sherlock. Both A Scandal in Belgravia and His Last Vow also contain shots in which Irene and Janine hold newspapers - tangible products of the media industry - while wearing read nail varnish, often used as a signifier of sex and sexuality.
So, what is the significance of this?
Sherlock as a programme is strongly based around the idea of perception. It’s Sherlock’s powers of perception that drive the crime-solving aspects of the narrative, and the way in which characters perceive events and one another form the shape of the programme. The majority of the characters whose perceptions have significant narrative impact are male - Sherlock, John, Mycroft, Lestrade, Moriarty, Magnussen, even Anderson. The media is an industry built around how we perceive others, and its feminisation within Sherlock provides a route by which women within the programme can use perception to shape the narrative, some of the instances of which I’ve already noted above.
What I am particularly interested in is the way in which these (sexually-confident) women explore male homoeroticism, homosexuality, desire and relationships.
With the exception of Jennifer Wilson, who of course never met Sherlock, all of these women discuss Sherlock, particularly with regard to John, in this light. Irene confronts John about his feelings for Sherlock - when he declares that he’s not gay, she responds “Well I am. Look at us both.” Kitty, when she first meets him, asks “You and John Watson - just platonic? Or can I put you down for a ‘no’ there, as well?” Janine, in one of her interviews, says that ‘I know some people thought he’d been having an affair with John Watson but I can tell you that’s definitely not true.’ Even the nameless young woman in The Empty Hearse, who had never met Sherlock, inferred homosexuality - her theory involved him kissing Moriarty. There are plenty of other similar inferences in the (feminised) media throughout the series, too - one newspaper refers to Sherlock and John’s ‘salacious home life’, and another refers to ‘confirmed bachelor John Watson’.
221beemine wrote an excellent meta entitled ‘Female Reading of the Male Gaze, and Sherlock’ which you can read here, in which she explores the female perception of Sherlock and John’s relationship. What is increasingly clear to me is that this perception is not exclusive to the programme, but is being increasingly integrated into it.
I’ll leave you to your deductions.