Sherlock and The Abominable Straw Feminist

Sherlock and the Abominable Straw Feminists.

Disclaimer: Yes I’m a man writing about feminism, I don’t claim to be an expert or have the solution, I just like to hear myself talk.

Spoilers, so many many spoilers.

I like the BBC’s modern version of Sherlock. It’s an excellent update on a classic that was fun for me to read as both a child and an adult. Benedict Cumberbatch did a wonderful job of creating a cold calculating super sleuth and Martin Freeman excels at humanising him. I did feel that some of the wry on the nose humour might be missing in the new series. Naturally the announcement that there would be a Victorian new years day special was one that ignited a very impatient anticipation in me. Then last night I finished watching it and began scratching my head. What had I watched? Was it a stunning piece of metafiction that cleverly linked and paid homage to the characters long and colourful history; Was it a love letter from super fans to the stories that had inspired them; Or was it a convoluted mess that only succeeded in jumping the shark?

For all it’s inception-esque cleverness the special never really managed to pull itself together. Originally thought that the Victorian setting was just a very clever ruse under which they would launch a new season of Sherlock in surprise; it was not. Then it seemed to be a strange form of fan service utilising the homo-erotic theories that Tumblr seems obsessed with. All of this taking place at the Reichenbach Falls with some very strong bromantic themes triumphing over the obsessive stalker ones. I’m still not sure if my mind is capable of coming up with any concrete answers for these many and varied possibilities but one question has planted itself firmly in my mind; Is that what Stephen Moffat really thinks of feminists?

For those of you unaware of how feminism was presented in the show it looked a little like this:

The Klan Does Purple Now

So as you can see this is the answer to the Victorian portion of the specials narrative arc. Though it would be slightly unfair to deem them feminists in the vernacular of the time they would be suffragettes, and in Moffat’s world they’re a pseudo-occultist revenge society. A group of clandestine women that have orchestrated the abominable bride of the title so as to strike fear into the hearts of the pillars of the patriarchy as they deem them.

I have a few issues with this. Apart from it being a wholesale rip off of theBatman: Mask of the Phantasm Plot (emerging from and disappearing into the mist included.)

Enter…

….and exit.

it also shows the suffragette movement as ruthless, scheming and little more than vindictive, Sherlock insinuates as much when he brands them The League of Furies. Why do I say vindictive? The subjects of the Brides wrath are not really key figures against the advocation of women’s right but rather men who have wronged members of the group at one point or another. This is not to say that the two men we see punished, Ricoletti and Sir Eustace Carmichael respectively, are not deserving of some form of justice but they do not seem to be obstacles in the road to equality. To have them targeted is to reduce the Abominable Bride from a weapon of change to a scorned housewife’s tool.

Moffat has done a wonderful job of creating a perfectly victorian straw feminist brigade. Straw feminists are essentially an intellectual boogey man designed to allow those made uncomfortable by equality to dismiss them as aggressive and militant radicals. The Bride is exactly that, she engages in violence and terror tactics to affect change. In doing so, she grants Sherlock and Watson the right to stop her, whilst simultaneously allowing the audience to feel okay for viewing them as the enemy.

Why would Moffat do this? Why would he intentionally draw attention to the plight of women only to reduce it to a petty annoyance. A simple solution can be found. He is almost directly referencing the original tales of Arthur Conan Doyle as well as reflecting the actual views of men at the time.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle firstly uses the women in his stories to further the impression that Sherlock Holmes is a man of unmatchable deductive skills. Doyle contrasts the wit and knowledge that Sherlock Holmes possesses with female characters who are typically silent and reserved. The mere fact that the women come to Holmes with an issue that needs solving renders them immediate victims to circumstances, while also ensuring that they are subservient to Holmes both for his talent and for his protection of them (which additionally perpetuates the structural stereotype that a woman cannot care for herself).

This is a quote from Meghan R. Gordon’s essay on women in Sherlock Holmes. She goes on to list the many and varied times that women are represented as meek and docile within the cases of Holmes, each one serving to show the stronger, and by Victorian definition, more masculine traits exhibited by the detective. This meek treatment of women was often coupled with words like hysteria should a woman ever exhibit any form of passion. By today’s standard’s such thoughts are ridiculous, the special can be seen to be taking advantage of them for comedic purposes. Over the top patriarchal dialogue is a feature of the episode. Each exchange is meant to be blatant and on the nose so as to engage in that safeguard against criticism that is Irony. One of the best examples is when Mary asks if she is simply to wait in the apartment while Holmes and Watson tackle the case. Watson looks at his wife, full of understanding and says: ‘’Not at all my dear, we’ll be hungry later.’’

Oh the hilarity of sending your wife to the kitchen. Moffat provides himself another escape from condemnation in the form of Moriarty, who is little more than a late 19th century Tyler Durden. He directly references the over the top, shark jumping nature of the special:

Oh c’mon be serious, the costumes, the gong. Speaking as a criminal mastermind, we don’t really have gongs, special outfits. Is this silly enough for you yet?

So all can be excused, the show is self-knowing, fully aware of it’s actions and simply parodying it’s source. It’s simple. but in the words of Sherlock Holmes,‘’There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.”

Just because the show establishes a tongue in cheek tone in its Victorian narrative does not excuse the rest of the episode. One of the major criticisms of the special was that it engaged heavily in ‘’mansplaining’’. ‘’Mansplaining’’ is difficult to define correctly but the primary ingredients are condescension and an unearned sense of authority on a subject (which I may be doing right now but apologies, I have included a disclaimer, so we’re good right?). One particular quote that is provoking considerable ire is:

The invisible army hovering at our elbow, tending to our homes, raising our children, ignored, patronized, disregarded, not allowed so much as a vote. But an army nonetheless, ready to rise up in the best of causes, to put right an injustice as old as humanity itself. So you see, Watson, this is a war we must lose.

Spoken by Sherlock, the main problem with the statement is its permissive nature. It is almost like the terms of surrender being given to men, which will enable them to gracefully step aside and allow women to join them. There it is though, allow, they would not have earned equality it would be granted to them by men. The point is they don’t need help.

Now that last sentence is more mansplaining, me talking to you like you’re not intelligent like you can’t figure it out for yourself. Something that Moffat does throughout the episode. He creates a ridiculous but accurate depiction of an era’s values, one that anyone can see takes the exact form of a victorian man’s worst nightmare. An avenging woman, strong and deadly that is not bound by any of their rules, THE BRIDE.

aaaaah an accomplished woman!

Then he ruins it by creating a completely opposite counterpart for her, it comes in the form of Mary Watson. The term straw feminist is derived from the term straw man fallacy, which is a technique used when arguing a point. In order to back your own argument or refute another’s, you create an exaggerated example that will scare people into believing your viewpoint or abandon your opponents. A straw man is used to prop up an argument and Mary is Moffat’s.

Surely I’m wrong? Mary is a strong, independent, intelligent woman. Throughout the special alone she is seen to frequently best the male characters, both in victiorian and modern England. She technically beats Sherlock to the solution, is trusted by the more intelligent Holmes, then in modern London is shown to be more capable than even Mycroft, besting him for clearence in MI5. Her status as an equal is recognised and remarked upon by the men of the tale. Sherlock refers to her as remarkable choice of wife. She is infallible. That’s exactly the problem, one that is being seen more and more in popular culture, in order for a female character to be the equal of men she must be strong and perfect. Mary doesn’t actually say much in the episode, anything that isn’t a strong female statement or a correction, each time she does it is usually to ensure victory or correct an assumption and Moffat seems to think that’s enough. To be accomplished a woman must be strong and fearless. That is the message of this special. The message itself is not a poor one, empowering viewers is fine, but it is a very narrow range. More and more strength is the new standard that women are held to, but that strips them of being a full person.To be a woman, or an equal for that matter, is to be a complete person. Happy, angry, sad, mean, kind, etc. this is something that the likes of Jacqueline Rose and Naomi Wolf all agree on.

So what has Stephen Moffat done in presenting the opposite? He has excused his show from major equality debate by giving his viewers a perfectly strong character, only it’s lazy writing hiding as progressive. It seems fitting then that the first time we see Mary in the special, it is as a mirror image of the actual Bride:

She is the true Abominable Bride, the Abominable Straw Feminist, a whole new breed, used to feign equality.

Side Note: I’ve just realised my title looks like a Doctor Who Christmas special.

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2 thoughts on “Sherlock and The Abominable Straw Feminist

  1. Lots of interesting observations. I have a lot of different takes TBH. To avoid writing even more than I have I have been quite ‘curt’ at times. Please don’t take it as overly combative/ contrary, I’m just trying to keep my responses as precise and ‘clean’ as possible 🙂

    Also, my take on Moffat and his views on women/ men are based on all of his stories and characters (Dr Who etc) and not just this one episode of Sherlock.

    Anyway, hope you like my different takes on your observations…..

    > Disclaimer: Yes I’m a man writing about feminism

    If being a man makes you unqualified (or less qualified) to speak on issue related to women, or gender relationships and gender dynamics as a whole, then surely feminist women are equally unqualified to speak on issues related to men / gender?

    A feminist declaring women to be ‘oppressed’ or ‘downtrodden’ – or declaring men to be ‘privileged’ or ‘powerful’, MUST by definition have a firm (and equal) grasp on what it is like to live as a man, or as a woman in society……. otherwise how can she possibly know that women are oppressed and vulnerable, or that men are privileged and invulnerable?

    You can’t say sheep are more oppressed than cows (or sheep are oppressed BY cows) if you know nothing about cows, right? If sheep claim they know what it’s like to be a cow, why can’t cows claim to know what it’s like to be a sheep?

    Feminist theory is (by definition) a declaration by feminists that they understand both men AND women’s lived experiences, entitlements, restriction, rights and so on. They MUST know both in order to comment on the differences / injustices between them.

    So are you implying that by being a man you are somehow unqualified to make unbiased, objective assessments or judgements about gender issues? …. that you lack the objectivity to view society from a male as well as a female point of view? If so are you suggesting women somehow DO have such a capacity to be unbiased and objective, even though men do not?

    Or ….. are you implying that feminism is an ideology and a movement exclusively FOR and BY women about women’s specific issues, and not (as we are so often told) a fair and balanced (objective) critique of gender as a whole?

    See the problem?

    I am guessing you just wrote that disclaimer as a way to signal your own POTENTIAL bias, in the interests of fairness, and more importantly that you are AWARE of that potential bias….. thus making it in fact a signifier that you are being objective, because objectivity MEANS being aware of your potential biases!

    But your statement carries some serious implications if you think about it. Feminists never, EVER give a disclaimer that their assessment of men/ women/ gender might be affected by their biases and their lack of lived experiences as men……. or as women in the past.

    If feminism is indeed a bone fide exploration of gender issues in society (and not just a thinly disguised mob making endless demands for special treatment and free stuff and then resorting to emotional – and occasionally actual – terrorism until those demands are met) then you being a man should NOT devalue your contribution to any discussion on gender …… at least, no more so than being a woman should.

    > For those of you unaware of how feminism was presented in the show it looked a little like this: (scary picture of women in black pointy hats and robes)

    As you noted, the image Moffat gave us was essentially of a KKK meeting, but with whites supremacists replaced by women and blacks replaced by men. This is actually a fairly accurate depiction of feminism. Feminists actually do define ‘men’ as savages, rapists, oafs, idiots, who threaten civilised (female) society and lurk on every street corner with rape in their eyes. This is EXACTLY how blacks were once framed. As savages, rapists, oafs, idiots, who threaten civilised (white) society and lurk on every street corner with rape in their eyes.

    And like the racists of the past, feminists today are calling for increasing segregation, safe spaces, white only gyms and train carriages and so on (sorry I meant ‘women only’).

    Both slavery / segregation AND feminism (and nazism for that matter) are based on ‘threat narratives’. The threat narratives are all essentially the same….. Group A is powerful, invulnerable, savage, scheming, rapey and dastardly…. and Group B is weak, vulnerable, pure, innocent, lovely, noble, downtrodden, civilised and the guardians of moral virtue and social order.

    Group A threatens Group B ……… and THAT is why Group A must be subjugated, segregated, stripped of their rights, arrested and if necessary removed from society by Group B.

    This is called ‘social justice’.

    The purpose of a threat narrative is to erase society’s collective empathy towards the target group (men, blacks, jews etc) by defining them as all-powerful, invulnerable, dastardly, oppressors and savages etc. Once empathy is fully erased there is usually some sort of socially sanctioned mass persecution often resulting in a bloodbath…. then everyone comes to their senses and pretends they had nothing to do with it.

    Today thanks to the relentless feminist threat narrative there is little outrage (and indeed much support) for the practice of arresting jews for sitting with their legs apart on public transport.

    Sorry not jews….. I meant to say blacks……. I mean men!

    The council of NYC spent $70,000 to promote the new practice of arresting men for the crime of possessing big noses….. sorry I meant big lips….. sorry I meant narrow hips and balls!

    But more important than how these proto-feminists were presented is how *favourably / sympathetically* they were presented. And in line with mainstream academia, media and politics (and especially the BBC which is 100% pro feminist) these murderous, villainous (and kind of deranged) women were presented in a very sympathetic light. These women were presented as lovely, nice, fair, homely….. enchanting even…..even in the scene when they had been caught plotting acts of murder and terrorism… in an old church……. in black robes.

    Despite being able and willing to commit murder there were no women with guns standing guard over the meeting…. women who would have shot Holmes, Watson and Mrs Watson and skilfully hidden the bodies in order to protect their terrorist network.

    Recently we (ie mainstream culture) celebrated the acts of domestic terrorism committed a century ago such as sabotaging a horse race (wilfully endangering the lives of every horse and rider) as an overwhelmingly GOOD and LOVELY thing. You see, women’s terrorism is delightful and lovely…. as we saw in the recent movie Suffragette and as we see in this episode of Sherlock.

    > Though it would be slightly unfair to deem them feminists in the vernacular of the time they would be suffragettes, and in Moffat’s world they’re a pseudo-occultist revenge society. A group of clandestine women that have orchestrated the abominable bride of the title so as to strike fear into the hearts of the pillars of the patriarchy as they deem them.

    Feminists, being essentially traditionalists, have always preferred to play the damsel and use passive-aggressive psychology to get chivalrous men with guns (and typically in blue costumes) to help them impose their ideology onto society by proxy, but having said that, over the last century feminists have also performed many DIRECT acts of violence and intimidation as well. These acts are either framed as heroic and celebrated, or more often swept under the carpet and completely ignored by the history books. Feminists’ treatment of figures like Erin Pizzey is a good example of this (basically driving into hiding, forced to leave the country, had to have her mail redirected to the police to be checked, I think they even killed her dog). More recently they have been willing to shut down events discussing things like male rape and men’s rights by setting off fire alarms and harassing speakers. They are on camera goading and even assaulting police officers…. the moment the police push back they fall to the floor with a mock injury like a professional footballer.

    Ten minute video making the case (with clear evidence) that feminism is terrorism
    Feminism Is Terrorism

    But all of these feminist women resorting to terrorism goes against the feminist/ traditionalist/ patriarchal narratives which ALL define women as essentially weak, vulnerable, inept, inert, ‘acted upon’ objects incapable of posing a credible threat to men, or other women, to children, or to society as a whole.

    To highlight feminists’ acts of activism, or indeed terrorism, is to frame women as a powerful force in society and THAT undermines feminists’ main weapon which is (a) the idea that women are weak and vulnerable and (b) the idea that men are strong and invulnerable and the only active agents in society, which is why men must sacrifice themselves to save / serve women (he for she).

    Depicting a feminist ‘KKK’ meeting where women literally plot to murder men (and actually do carry out these murders) in such a fay and enchanting manner is really a way of asserting male dominance over women…. it’s as if Moffat is saying there is nothing women can do to threaten men’s status as the powerful, dominant, and invulnerable privileged class – not even successfully plotting to murder them in a cold and calculating manner!

    And this is where feminism and patriarchy ‘intersect’ and are revealed to be two sides of the same coin. It is society’s continued belief that men really are all-powerful and privileged and women really are weak, stupid, lovely, enchanting, vulnerable flowers that ALLOWS feminists to get away with murder figuratively and literally (women are far less likely to be arrested, charged or convicted as men for the same crimes and men are given 60% longer sentences than women for the same crimes).

    The narrative of male invulnerability and male superiority and privilege ALLOWS feminists to abuse men, direct hate speech towards men and parasite off men’s resources and hard work (he for she) ..and all the while with men believing this is not only their role and their duty (their penance as men) but also their privilege to endure such treatment!

    If men ever collectively decide to acknowledge that they CAN (as men) be victims of society and of women specifically, feminism will collapse. And so for feminism to continue to direct resources and special privileges towards women men MUST continue to believe they are all powerful and privileged and guilty of oppressing women just by virtue of being male.

    Traditionalists and feminists BOTH reward men with social approval, flattery, ego boosts, and (to be blunt) sex in return for men agreeing to sacrifice themselves for women’s benefit. Traditionalists offer more carrots (cooked meals, a loyal obedient wife etc) whereas feminists threaten with sticks (social ostracism for being ‘misogynists’ if you don’t subscribe to your ‘he for she’ chivalrous role as a man).

    > it also shows the suffragette movement as ruthless, scheming and little more than vindictive…

    A fair depiction. Remember, the suffragettes were NOT demanding gender equality. Gender equality would have meant women getting to vote and having to PAY for such privilege by agreeing to be disposable tools of the state – just like men had to agree to be to earn their voting rights (rights most men only got a few years before women). What suffragettes ACTUALLY demanded was voting rights but with NO corresponding social obligations at all. This is female privilege, not gender equality. And they won it thanks to the all male government being hard wired (as all men are) to give women special leeway and privileges to ensure their safety and comfort.

    In a pivotal scene in the episode John asked Mary what side of the debate she was on when it came to women’s suffrage….. the joke being the absurd idea that a woman might be against such a thing! And yet in real life there WAS a strong anti-women’s suffrage movement among the women at the time. Something a BBC documentary or Hollywood film or school history class is sure to never mention. These women were the true gender equality champions. They argued against giving women this special privilege – the privilege of being able to vote for wars and then FORCE men to go and fight them while they got to stay at home.

    Can you imagine if the sexes had been reversed so that men could vote for wars and then stay at home while women as young as 18 were forced ‘over the top’ into a hail of machine gun fire?

    Would feminists today be celebrating a century which saw millions of young women drafted into wars (while the men got to stay at home) as some sort of triumph of gender equality? I don’t think so! And what if a man dared to suggest that men’s role for the last century was oppression due to being ‘chained to the kitchen sink’? Do you not think he would get a punch in the face for insulting the millions of dead women soldiers with such an insensitive remark?

    > Moffat has done a wonderful job of creating a perfectly victorian straw feminist brigade. Straw feminists are essentially an intellectual boogey man designed to allow those made uncomfortable by equality to dismiss them as aggressive and militant radicals.

    I would argue that feminists have never fought for equality, but only ever for special female privileges and entitlements. Where are the feminists fighting for gender equality in ‘male dominated’ jobs like garbage disposal, truck driving, or construction work or roofing?

    Moffat has done what everyone does and depicted feminists as harmless, inept, enchanting, and lovely and in no way a threat to men’s own comfort, safety, human rights or life….. despite the fact that after a century of feminism 95% of workplace deaths are men (plus we can add in wars) and men today have far LESS legal rights than women and are far MORE vulnerable as a result. Using criteria such as life expectancy, homelessness, suicide, legal rights, criminality, failure to complete education, lack of support (shelters, helplines etc)… men are WORSE OFF than women in every case.

    If statistics on men vs women were swapped out with black people vs white people, we would conclude that whites were privileged and blacks needed all our help to lift the out of their disadvantaged, harrowing lives…… but because of the endless narrative of male privilege and invulnerability we define women as the downtrodden class and direct the majority of our sympathy, concern and resources and laws towards helping women (he for she). DESPITE ALL THE FACTS TELLING US THAT MEN NEED THIS HELP MORE.

    ‘Male Privilege’ and ‘Male Power’ is not an observation based on facts (because the facts say otherwise)… it is really just a sales pitch. Whenever it is asserted it is always followed by an outstretched hand and a demand for more resources and special treatment be given to women (he for she).

    > The Bride is exactly that, she engages in violence and terror tactics to affect change. In doing so, she grants Sherlock and Watson the right to stop her, whilst simultaneously allowing the audience to feel okay for viewing them as the enemy.

    But are they not the enemy? Isn’t murder and terrorism wrong? Or are these crimes magically OK when done by women?

    > Why would Moffat do this? Why would he intentionally draw attention to the plight of women only to reduce it to a petty annoyance.

    What was the plight of women in that age (or any age)? To be exempt from wars? To be exempt from manual labour? To be able to dress in fine clothes? To be placed on the lifeboat and have the men swim for it? To be escorted by men, who then must walk home alone? To have men socially and legally responsible for financially supporting you?

    Women were indeed second class citizens…… but in an age where basic survival was a struggle and society was a harsh and brutal environment it actually PAYED to be a second class citizen in terms of comfort, safety, protection and survival. That is presumably why women chose to be second class citizens for thousands of years (and I would argue they DEMANDED it) …… right up until the very moment that new modern technology created electric lighting, indoor plumbing, telephones, cars, supermarkets, decent street lighting and comfortable safe office jobs where women could finally earn a living and live independent lives WITHOUT having to do dangerous and back breaking manual labour. At this precise point in history women FINALLY rolled up their sleeves and demanded the right to work outside the home and become more full citizens (except when it came to stuff like wars) … and not a split second before!

    The reality was that life was tough and shitty for EVERYONE….. men, women, children and animals. Due to (a) the unforgiving environment (no modern technology) and (b) women’s frailer bodies and the demands of motherhood women enjoyed a status half way between children and adults where they had some of the freedoms of adulthood but many of the protections of childhood too. Men’s role was to be paternalistic and self sacrificing providers and protectors of both children AND women (“women and children first”).

    Both men and women’s gender roles offered some benefits and some drawbacks. These roles were imposed NOT by men but by NECESSITY. The roles were a form of division of labour dictated mostly by biology and the harshness of daily living. Women gave birth and nurtured young and were physically weaker than men. It made no sense for women to work in the coal mines and men to stay at home. And very few woman throughout history ever wanted to trade places with men, no matter how much they might have resented their role as a woman. In almost every case women’s roles were preferable to men’s – at least if you valued your comfort, safety and your life.

    Where is the systematic oppression of women by men in all of this?!!!

    Today children are treated as second class citizens who lack most of the rights of full status adulthood. Are children oppressed? By feminist logic they are!

    As children become adults and become less vulnerable and more capable of being self sufficient do they not complain of oppression too? Do they not act like feminists for a few years? Children today are as vulnerable as women were in the brutal environments of the past (and men too, but nobody cares about them).

    Feminists today are the 20% of women in modern society who still cling to the old patriarchal gender roles because they offered women increased protection and resources based purely on their status as women (he for she). Feminists do not want true gender equality, they want special treatment on account of being female (he for she). Feminism is patriarchy 2.0 ….. instead of marrying a man with a job they have chosen to marry the state (men with guns). They are still basically traditionalists who demand strict gender roles be enforced.

    > This is a quote from Meghan R. Gordon’s essay on women in Sherlock Holmes. She goes on to list the many and varied times that women are represented as meek and docile within the cases of Holmes, each one serving to show the stronger, and by Victorian definition, more masculine traits exhibited by the detective.

    And men’s feeling of masculine pride, power and greatly appreciated service to women is the reward women traditionally give to men for putting themselves in dangerous roles on behalf of women. Masculinity has always been bestowed onto men by women (and taken away from them by women too), and masculinity has always been defined by men’s UTILITY to women. Women praise, adore, approve and have sex with men who agree to put themselves in danger on behalf of women, so that women do not have to.

    For thousands of years an effete, vain, frivolous, emotionally sensitive man was of no use to a woman – and a threat on HER MONOPOLY on the right to indulge in those traits herself! If women and men BOTH insisted on behaving his way who would mine the coal, plough the fields, build the ships, maintain the infrastructure and fight the wars?!

    Women’s frailty and vulnerability relative to men has always been exaggerated BY women, in order to further manipulate men into doing the grunt work so women don’t have to. Turning up on Holmes’ doorstep in frilly clothing and acting all demure and asking him to investigate some case which will put him in danger because “I couldn’t possibly do it myself” is a woman’s way of manipulating men. If men want to play the game then they SHOULD get to enjoy the dominant role as part of their rightful reward! That’s gender equality in action – both parties have negotiated their gender role and both have made sacrifices and both get something out of it too, all by by mutual agreement (much of it unspoken, and using body language and social etiquette instead).

    Meghan R. Gordon is framing these negotiated gender interactions in terms of ‘men oppressing women’ and ‘men asserting dominance over women’. This is just ANOTHER way of defining women as ‘acted upon’ objects and having women play the poor damsel role and then appealing to men to play the heroic role of (in this case) the male feminist who offers to pay penance to women for the alleged sins of his patriarchal ancestors. It’s just more “he for she” BS.

    Nobody defines women as ‘acted upon’ objects more than feminists do. Feminist theory objectifies women by stripping all the agency from all women past and present and defining women as mere pawns (objects) controlled by men.

    Denying your own agency is a way of manipulating others around you. Go into a shopping mall and start demanding somebody drives you home for free……. now try faking a broken ankle or an asthma attack. By making yourself appear weaker and more vulnerable you have far more chance of convincing someone to do stuff for you. This is the essence of feminism in practice. Pure damselling all the way. A cult of victimhood. And for the men a cult of male power and overblown agency (because men;s role is to look after himself AND women). He for she.

    > This meek treatment of women ….

    No! Acting meek is just an effective way to get other people to do stuff for you! Especially if you happen to be a woman and the other person happens to be a man.

    You keep being pulled into the trap of the feminist narrative where women are ‘acted upon’ objects, and men are dastardly agents controlling them while twirling their moustaches. LOL

    Go and watch Emma Watson’s ‘He for She’ speech at the UN. It is a masterclass in playing the meek, vulnerable damsel in distress (trembly voice, big wide eyes, dressed in white etc) in order to provoke men’s hard wired protective, paternalistic drives towards women. It works!

    Why do women tilt their head to one side and speak like little girls when asking men for favours? Because it exposes the vulnerable neck area and makes them look weaker and more vulnerable – this triggers men’s hard wired urges to protect women.

    > was often coupled with words like hysteria should a woman ever exhibit any form of passion.

    And hysteria was often treated by doctors masturbating women as a form of therapy. Is that the oppression of women, or is it women convincing society (and their husbands) that they should be able to have sexual affairs with their doctors and get away with it?

    Can you imagine men saying “I’m hysterical! I need to be wanked off by a prostitute!”…? Would their wives go along with that or would they roll their eyes and say “Nice try! But no way unless you want a divorce!” LOL

    > One of the best examples is when Mary asks if she is simply to wait in the apartment while Holmes and Watson tackle the case. Watson looks at his wife, full of understanding and says: ‘’Not at all my dear, we’ll be hungry later.’’

    Yes. For the average working class family the man’s role was to get up at 5m and trudge off to work down the mine/ shipyard/ construction site/ factory all day, and the woman’s role was to beat carpets, darn sock, look after the children and prepare and cook food. Feminists’ CLAIM these roles were oppressive towards women. But how many modern feminists do you know who have CHOSEN to work in factories, shipyards, down mines or on oil rigs or emptying the garbage or on a construction site?

    In real life being a detective would be actually a very dangerous job (and in the books they do face many dangers). Presumably Mary relies on John’s income/ war pension to live on. Is her making her husband dinner really is too much to expect of her? Is John being unreasonable to want some hot food when he gets home …. if Mary refuses to cook, but lives off John’s earnings isn’t she being a spoilt princess?

    > Oh the hilarity of sending your wife to the kitchen.

    You talk of the straw feminist. Isn’t this an example of the straw misogynist or straw male chauvinist? In most households today the men bring in the majority of the household income. Men work longer hours in more stressful and often more dangerous jobs to accomplish this. These men are perfectly entitled to ask their wives to do more of the cooking and cleaning than them. But dare to suggest that and you will be called a misogynist. When married or cohabiting men and women earn the same or when the woman earns more than the man a funny thing happens. The woman ends up doing more of the cooking and cleaning, and says she enjoys it and doesn’t want the man to get involved.

    Her role/ value in the relationship is no longer in question because of her earnings…… so she doesn’t have to pretend the housework and cooking is a massive chore to elevate her own value in the partnership. She can finally admit she likes doing it… just like most single women do (which is why most single women live in very clean and tidy apartments).

    Don’t forget that while John is demanding a cooked meal (if it’s not too much trouble) while he goes off to work to pay the bills, the suffragettes demanded (and won) the right to send young men off to war while they stayed at home. I wonder how many 18 year old soldiers bleeding to death on a muddy battlefield in France having just had their legs blown off consoled themselves with the thought that they were not confined to the comfort and safety of the kitchen …… like those poor oppressed women back home were?

    > Moffat provides himself another escape from condemnation in the form of Moriarty, who is little more than a late 19th century Tyler Durden. He directly references the over the top, shark jumping nature of the special: Oh c’mon be serious, the costumes, the gong. Speaking as a criminal mastermind, we don’t really have gongs, special outfits. Is this silly enough for you yet?

    I thought it was an odd comment because the groups who DO overtly and covertly rule the world (governments and their militaries, the Vatican, the Freemasons etc) ALL indulge in silly costumes, elaborate rituals, and a variety of musical instruments ranging from gongs to organs to trumpets to bugles to drums to bagpipes.

    This feminist KKK meeting was low key compared to your average democratic election or religious ceremony – even the administrative ones. Let’s not forget Catholicism conducts actual blood drinking rituals every Sunday even though we no longer live in the dark ages.

    > ….. in the words of Sherlock Holmes,‘’There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.”

    Quite!

    > One of the major criticisms of the special was that it engaged heavily in ‘’mansplaining’’…… One particular quote that is provoking considerable ire is: The invisible army hovering at our elbow, tending to our homes, raising our children, ignored, patronized, disregarded, not allowed so much as a vote. But an army nonetheless, ready to rise up in the best of causes, to put right an injustice as old as humanity itself. So you see, Watson, this is a war we must lose.

    There is so much psychology in this it’s hard to know where to start. Yes I suppose it is mansplaining, but (as I have hopefully explained) it is COMPLETELY serves feminism’s interests for men to view feminism in the patronising and simplistic way described by Mycroft, and to think of feminism’s victory in terms of men ‘allowing’ women to win.

    For feminism (being an extreme form of traditionalism) to work men must always believe they are the ones in change and with all the power. Feminis is a girl telling her brother “If you run to the shop and buy me some sweets in under five minutes I guess I’ll have to admit that you are fitter than me”…… and he does it and she admits it. And he feels superior. And she gets to use him as her personal servant!

    The reality is that many women DID oppose women’s suffrage (or rather the sexist and unfair terms being demanded by the suffragettes). And many women did AND STILL DO oppose feminist ideology and feminism as a movement. 80% of women today REJECT feminism, many of them vociferously! 🙂

    To support feminist ideology is to go against the majority of women’s wishes.

    The quote also references the fact that women have the most control over raising the next generation. (The invisible army hovering at our elbow, tending to our homes, raising our children, ignored, patronized, disregarded,….). This is an unbelievable power that women have always had! The power to form the gender identity, morals, world views of both males and females. One hundred times more powerful than voting rights ever could be.

    Like most men Moffat was almost certainly raised by women almost exclusively. Either he grew up in a single mother household (the explosion of single mother households is a product of feminism), or his father was working most of the time as the primary wage earner. And in primary school he will have been taught mostly (if not exclusively) by female teachers. In secondary school and university feminism is accepted as a valid ideology and both history AND ‘gender studies’ essentially teach the feminist narrative as gospel (men bad, women weak). The media and politics also promote the feminist narrative – and certainly never challenge it in any meaningful way! (the way I am doing right now, for example).

    If the power to essentially dictate the world view/ self identity/ gender identity of both sexes of each successive generation is not power then I don’t know what is!

    As for men being the majority of politicians….. these male politicians have ALWAYS granted women special privileges and entitlements and exemptions from the hardships that men are expected to endure. Because that’s how men are hard wired. Name one politician who advocates for men’s rights and / or challenges the feminist narrative? If any politician (male or female) dares to suggest men’s rights and men’s issues needs addressing in the political arena their career is immediately over. So nobody ever does (despite the fact that men have less rights than women).

    Are men in so many positions of power because they are oppressing women… or because women LIKE having men in those positions, knowing that men have a soft spot for women? (they are, after all, hard wired to protect women). Studies show that – all other things being equal – women tend to prefer to vote for male politicians than female politicians. And there are more female voters than male voters. Yet still we are told that the abundance of male politicians is because of a conspiracy by men to oppress women!

    The FACTS of the matter count for nothing because – as we all know – women are ‘acted upon’ objects and men are dastardly agents who have conspired to oppress women throughout history! We know this as second nature…… because we were all raised mostly by women….. who defined our reality for us in this way.

    The quote is wonderful propaganda ….did you notice how a small minority of women fighting for special female privileges is automatically defined as ‘women’ collectively (ignoring those women who opposed them) so that women as a group were “ready to rise up in the best of causes, to put right an injustice as old as humanity itself. So you see, Watson, this is a war we must lose”.

    He is saying it is right (moral) for men to lose this war, which also implies men have a choice about whether to win it or not – which itself implies both an injustice AND male superiority … the injustice of men controlling women’s fate AND the superiority which allows them to do so. In reality the quote (like feminism itself) is just feeding men’s ego AND men’s paternalistic urges to protect women AND exploiting men’s moral integrity and desire for a just fair, society …….it is playing men like a violin.

    It’s a perfect example of how the feminist narrative AND traditionalist/ patriarchal / paternalistic mindset are two ends of the same pole. Both pump men up with delusions of grandeur and then invite men to serve women’s interests at their own expense. It is like telling men they are sure to win the lottery this week before asking to borrow £50.

    Feminism is a male power fantasy AND a female resource acquisition strategy. The two feed each other like a perpetual motion machine.

    > Mary is a strong, independent, intelligent woman.

    Why is she these things?

    Sherlock has to make sacrifices to be all of those things. He has to put in the man hours. His social life is non existent as a result. Mary should be equally a nerd, a social outcast, a virgin, an insular, intense, troubled (perhaps drug addicted) character. But she is not. Why is she not? She is not because a chivalrous/ traditionalist/ patriarchal/ feminist man decided it was his duty, his privilege and his power to wade in and help Mary enjoy a similar status to Holmes, but without her having to make any sacrifices or do a bunch of work.

    That chivalrous/ traditionalist/ patriarchal/ feminist man was Moffat of course.

    > Throughout the special alone she is seen to frequently best the male characters, both in victiorian and modern England. She technically beats Sherlock to the solution, is trusted by the more intelligent Holmes, then in modern London is shown to be more capable than even Mycroft, besting him for clearence in MI5. Her status as an equal is recognised and remarked upon by the men of the tale. Sherlock refers to her as remarkable choice of wife. She is infallible. That’s exactly the problem, one that is being seen more and more in popular culture, in order for a female character to be the equal of men she must be strong and perfect.

    But she is not equal to men. She is above men. The men all have to WORK to achieve their superior skills. They all have to face dangers and make sacrifices. Mary is gifted their high status BY MOFFAT simply because she is a woman and Moffat thinks that means she somehow deserves to be given all of those skills for free…. and by him. (He for she).

    Another perfect example of feminism intersecting with paternalism.

    Mary – which is to say Moffat’s paternalistic and condescending attitudes towards women – is the reason why so many young women today end up bitterly disappointed when they fail to achieve what they were told was their birth right (as females) – ie effortless excellence in relationships, their career and life in general.

    Turns out that all those men in their high flying careers had to work damn hard to achieve their status. Who’d have thought? ….. Not these young women indoctrinated by feminists to believe they can “do anything men can and better” because vagina and ‘girl power’.

    These are the women who enrol in STEM and then drop out because it is too hard and then complain it is a male dominated environment (it’s actually a hard work dominated environment)….. or they become bosses and then complain they are being oppressed when people call them ‘bossy’.

    Moffat consistently gifts his women skills and insights that his men have to work hard for. It is a form of playing god which jives well with feminism, and pretty much defines feminism which is a religion. The religion of men / god sacrificing themselves for women/ humanity. He for she.

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  2. (I didn’t read the other comment… and have only seen up to this special.)

    Actually, I rather think Moriarty’s line does explain the rest of the episode. In fact, between that line and the coffin problem, what /exactly/ was happening is left unknown. Certainly, the principles are established but that is as far as it goes.

    Because Holmes doesn’t know exactly how it proceeds, he imagines the Klannettes as “one mystery to explain another mystery”… it doesn’t make sense that Holmes would be called to investigate, because his solution is incomplete. Ricoletti required assistance but the conspirational aspect is Holmes’ hallucination incorporating the /who/ behind Moriarty’s revival and clouding the reasoning.

    As to Mary… she’s not entirely flawless. For one thing, she’s also unable to complete the story… which is why Holmes walks out into the middle of the Klannettes to address them. Insofar as anything that is real is happening at this point in time (something is based on the episode’s end), Mary has managed to determine that there is assistance. Notice that she’s meant to be part of a group (are you for or against?) but despite her maid’s being part of the plot, she is uninvolved?

    Less dependent on proceedings which are part of a fevered imagination, one turns to her marriage to Watson. It is clear that neither party is particularly good at being married. Initially Watson is clearly the problem but he takes the active step of moving out… before then commenting on being concerned about drifting apart.

    Similarly, much of what happens in the real world isn’t actually part of the real world. The grave thing (dependent on Mary’s skills) isn’t real but is a sign of an incomplete success. The absence of widespread knowledge of the Bride is also suggestive that either there was no widespread conspiracy or the Klannettes were unsuccessful. Both points lead to the conclusion that Holmes does not know the motive (but thinks he does… see: the end) and that parties unknown are involved (how is Moriarty everywhere = how is the body disposed of?).

    Holmes although I should now say Sherlock, of course, doesn’t stick with these holes because the central purpose was achieved: Moriarty’s dead.

    The problematic quote that is the centre of the mansplaining narrative (which, I maintain, is based on the presumption that the episode presents a complete explanation… a presumption I hope I have disputed) is awkward dialogue. It /is/ out of place with the rest of the episode and I suggest that this is another clue that Holmes hasn’t quite managed to determine what is going on. Remember the cabbie? An invisible killer supported by an invisible benefactor? Here, again, Moriarty is slipping in… blending in with Mycroft’s comments about losing.

    Mycroft has theorised the true nature of the case. Holmes worked out how its fundamentals proceeded. Based on Mycroft’s comments, he managed to identify the motive roughly but its true nature, like that of specifics, remained unknown. He concludes, ultimately, that the case is not his failure because he knows what is going on… but it is Mycroft that has realised that revealing the rough motive would be problematic to the likes of Mary’s group… allowing the Ricolleti associates to pursue their agenda is palatable for the cost of stopping them, whereas it is the sort of murdering Holmes has been sympathetic to so that covers his side.

    (If the Klannettes were the real villain, the Bride would have been a widespread cultural phenomenon that would not have burnt itself out given that there are decades more, historically, of no votes for women to come. It would, therefore, be something that is remembered (120 years is not so long). It is not. Within the context of the 1895-verse, while we are not privy to what really proceeded then, we can assume my concluding paragraph and the cocaine.)

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