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Feminism: Sex and gender discussions

Sherlock and Endeavour.

176 replies

Wamster · 04/01/2012 13:16

I watched both of these shows and although obviously just TV, I was struck how one of them was really sexist and the other one sympathetic to women.
Ironically, it was the modern-day Sherlock that fell short and not Endeavour, it irritated that the character of Irene Adler -who outwits Sherlock in the Conan Doyle books- is shown here as being simpering and, although clever and resourceful, turns into jelly because of Sherlock's charms.
Also, why couldn't she just outwit him?! He beats her intellectually and saves her life at the end.
By contrast, Endeavour showed the (sad) reality of how women are used and abused by men (the young girls used at orgies; the young girl used as a toy between the two Oxford academics; the betrayed wife) but presented a more sympathetic view of women on the whole.
Women presented as being rounded characters with feelings and emotions.
It is strange of how a character such as Sherlock (as portrayed here by Benedict Cumberbatch) is shown to be pretty vile to women -yet is fancied by a lot of women so it seems-and it is somehow OK when set in the modern day with modern day audiences.

OK, it is just TV, I know but just an observation.

OP posts:
StewieGriffinsMom · 04/01/2012 13:47

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HandDivedScallopsrgreat · 04/01/2012 14:27

I saw Endeavour and agree with your assessment Wamster. Morse and his boss were indeed sympathetic towards the girls and the betrayed wife. The issue I have generally with the Morse character is that he tends to put women on pedestals and they seem to be a bit of a "mystery" to him which seems to reinforce the "othering" of women.

But overall I found it quite refreshing that they could see the misogyn where it was happening and even expressed surprise at the opera singer giving up her career for her husbands (which he repaid by having a series of affairs).

SardineQueen · 04/01/2012 14:35

I didn't see endeavour but I was also disappointed at sherlock. Why do we have to have sex and people taking their clothes off the whole time? Why can't we just have a good old fashioned mystery crime drama comedy thingy? Do I sound like my gran?

Have the same with Dr Who. I don't want my Dr Who and Sherlock to be involved with sex. It's all wrong Sad

Prolesworth · 04/01/2012 14:36

Oh yes, I quite agree about Sherlock. Had a rant about that on the Bechdel Test thread.

I didn't see Endeavour - sounds good

Tmesis · 04/01/2012 14:38

But Sherlock the character (in both the original books and the TV reworking) is rude, overbearing, conceited, ungrateful and almost totally lacking in consideration or empathy. He has no friends apart from Watson because he is not a nice person at all; all he has going for him is intellectual ability and a certain abstract moral code. And the original character was a huge misogynist so the reworking is as well. If the character was a decent human being then he wouldn't be Sherlock Holmes.

Irene Adler should have beaten him, though, as she did in the book (well, she had his measure but voluntarily gave up the photograph).

StewieGriffinsMom · 04/01/2012 14:54

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thunderboltsandlightning · 04/01/2012 15:00

Sherlock was ghastly. Just a wank fantasy basically.

The writer said he introduced a woman as sex interest to put pay to suggestions of homosexuality that were being made about the characters.

Tmesis · 04/01/2012 15:06

Was she simpering? I missed the last 15 minutes but I didn't think she really simpered. And I didn't really mind the naked aspect as much as I'd expected to from the trailers -- she had deliberately chosen the nakedness to discomfit other people, after a careful consideration of which wardrobe choice would be most intimidating, and wasn't in the least self-conscious or "vulnerable" about it. And I can see that they needed a modern-day equivalent of someone who worked in a thoroughly non-respectable profession but who was utterly unapologetic about it.

But absolutely she should have outsmarted Sherlock. Not doing that rather devalues the rest of it.

Prolesworth · 04/01/2012 15:13

Yeah she simpered. It was dreadful and not just the way they portrayed Irene Adler, but the female pathologist too, who is portrayed as a simpering (again) idiot. And Mrs Hudson simpers. I detect a theme here.

StewieGriffinsMom · 04/01/2012 15:14

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thunderboltsandlightning · 04/01/2012 15:20

They told Mrs Hudson to "shut up". Super annoying.

If they'd wanted someone unrespectable and beyond the pale they should have made IA a radical feminist.

thunderboltsandlightning · 04/01/2012 15:21

The bit with Sher-LOCK on the phone was pathetic too.

IslaDoit · 04/01/2012 15:23

Ooh I disagree about Mrs Hudson. That woman is steely really. She is a product of her age but she's tough.

I had a few issues with the latest Sherlock too. So what if people thought they were gay? I don't think it reads like that. I like that he appears to be on the autistic spectrum and is not very sexual. I thought it was a shame to spoil that with a pointless love interest. Who in the books was in love with someone else was she not? Neither was she a Dominatrix ffs.

I have concerns about the way Watson has a series of woman and can't even be bothered to remember basic information about them.

Prolesworth · 04/01/2012 15:32

It's clear that they don't like or respect women (ho ho ho at John Watson being unable to tell his girlfriends apart Hmm) unless they are basically a man in a woman's body (IA)

The love and respect is reserved for men only.

Mrs Hudson 'steely'? She's their dogsbody, portrayed as a simpering idiot!

IslaDoit · 04/01/2012 15:35

Did you miss the bit where she played up to her attackers to get the phone out? Steely I tell you.

IslaDoit · 04/01/2012 15:36

No you're right. She is also a cardboard cut out of a motherly type.

Prolesworth · 04/01/2012 15:38

The IA naked scene is an example of a patriarchal reversal if ever there was one. IA says she's going to wear her 'battle dress' to meet SH, then appears naked, as if this confers real power on her to wield over the hapless man (similar to that argument that strippers are the ones with the real power over the poor men they exploit). In reality the person who is naked (usually a woman) among clothed people (usually men) is the one without power.

HollyGhost · 04/01/2012 15:38

I watched it, and was enjoying it until the last bit, when the twist was that it suddenly became a whole lot more sexist than the original Conan-Doyle version, written in the 1800s Hmm

Prolesworth · 04/01/2012 15:39

I hated that scene where Mrs Hudson had been attacked, dragged upstairs, beaten and bound and a gun held to her head. And then she's laughing it off with Sherlock 5 minutes later. Instead of telling him to get the fuck out of her house as any sane person would.

StewieGriffinsMom · 04/01/2012 15:43

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IslaDoit · 04/01/2012 15:44

I dislike that IA has to use sex. If she's as clever and bright as she appears to be then she doesn't need to use sex. It's just another reduction of women to sex object isn't it. And then she's undone by it later

Actually something had been bothering me since I watched it but I couldn't put my finger on it (I mean besides the obvious stuff). I think that's it.

HollyGhost · 04/01/2012 15:46

IIRC - in the original, the only love interest was the woman Watson eventually marries.


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SardineQueen · 04/01/2012 15:52

"The writer said he introduced a woman as sex interest to put pay to suggestions of homosexuality that were being made about the characters."



SardineQueen · 04/01/2012 15:53

That stuff with the pathologist fucked me right off as well actually.

And I really enjoyed the first series of sherlock.


IslaDoit · 04/01/2012 15:54

Isn't the man who plays Mycroft (of whom there was far too much last episode) also a co-creator and gay? You'd think they'd have more sense than to be bothered tbh.

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