Not in response to anything in particular

People so often ask those of us who read/write/draw slash why we do it. Apparently it’s incomprehensible to some that two people with a clear strong bond who happen to be the same gender could possibly ever be more than friends. It’s especially bizarre when the characters’ sexual/romantic orientations aren’t specifically stated in the text.

As a bisexual/biromantic, it seems natural to me when I see two characters who really click and seem attracted to each other on multiple levels to imagine that it might eventually become a romantic and/or sexual relationship too. Telling me that I’m delusional/crazy/wrong to imagine a different trajectory for a fictional relationship feels an awful lot like an attempt to erase me and my sexual/romantic identity, and I’m getting a little fucking tired of it.

Female Reading of the Male Gaze, and Sherlock

acafanmom:

221beemine:

Why the dismissal of women’s readings of Sherlock bothers me so much

Male showrunners and actors: They’re just friends. Why are you reading sex into this?

Female fans: They obviously want each other.

Male showrunners and actors: No they don’t. You’re hysterical and oversexualized and deluded.

Female fans: No we’re not. It’s OBVIOUS they desire each other.

Male showrunners and actors: NO THEY—

Female fans: YES THEY—

[ad infinitum]

Film and television are visual mediums. The text comes from what we see, not just the script, and definitely not extra-text commentary. Sherlock especially is a strikingly visual story that is all about looking.

image

Any woman with any sense of self-preservation spends her whole life learning to read the male gaze. The reason is not because women are constantly checking to make sure they are desirable (as many men like to think); the reason is because women have to. The consequences for not noticing when a male gaze equals “desire” are very dangerous, and so obvious I don’t even have to explain them. Any woman who walks through a parking lot at night, who has to spend her days avoiding a co-worker who sexually harrasses her but not enough to make it worth it to fight back, who deals with members of the public service who laugh at her when she is being threatened (I am thinking of that woman in San Francisco who tried to get a BART bus driver to call the police when a man was threatening to rape her and got ignored)—any woman who LIVES ON THIS PLANET has to learn to be aware of the male gaze and interpret it for signs of arousal and/or danger from a young age. This is SO MUCH BIGGER than “women want romance” or “women want love” or any of that ignorant shorthand for “women aren’t reading this show correctly.” It is definitely bigger than Sherlock.

image

If a man stood right in my personal space and stared into my eyes I would know how to interpret that. If a man licked his lips while staring at my face I would know how to interpret that. If a man belitted and chased off my romantic partners I would know how to interpret that. If a man asked me to reach into his jacket and pull out his phone I would damn well know how to interpret that. Any time I have tried to brush aside suspicions under these circumstances, I was proved right that I should have trusted my instincts, and I wound up in dangerous situations (luckily, nothing terrible resulted thanks to being able to escape, but the danger was real). If I’m wrong, I’m wrong, but at least I don’t get locked in a basement in Cleveland for a decade. Women have to err on the side of caution. People are right when they say the sexual tension moments in Sherlock are brief, but that doesn’t matter: if you’re a woman you have to take even the briefest flashes into account. There is a reason we call these moments “eyefucking.”

image

Sherlock is all about the power of sight, of the gaze, specifically the male gaze. (There’s a whole article in that, but I’ll resist.)

image

We get Sherlock POV when he interprets a scene, with those subtitles and graphics; we get John POV for everything else (that’s my reading, anyway; Watson is the narrator of the Sherlock Holmes tales, after all). There are only a few establishing shots/omniscient narrator scenes that aren’t from John or Sherlock’s POV, e.g. the victims at the beginning of ASIP, or Moriarty texting in front of Big Ben in ASIB or in a cell in THOB. We briefly see Irene’s POV as she looks at pictures of Sherlock (in that beautiful sequence where they look at pictures of each other), but that’s about it. (I’ve never been certain whether that dream sequence of Irene interpreting the “bed scene” was from her POV or Sherlock’s or both.) I have hopes we’ll see Molly’s POV in TEH but of course I haven’t seen it yet.

The denial of the male showrunners of Sherlock and the firm disagreement of the female fans just proves to me that even in the 21st century, men and women live in different worlds.

5 men: There’s no sexual tension.

Thousands of women: Yes there is.

5 men: Clearly you’re wrong!

I don’t need this ship to be canon, it’s not the differing opinions that bothers me. The writers are free to write whatever they want and I’m on board. I just want some acknowledgement—from the world at large—that women’s perspective on human interactions is just as valid as men’s and doesn’t come from wishful thinkingQuite the opposite.

Bottom bit bolded, because THIS. Fucking THIS, a thousand times THIS. It cannot be said strongly or loudly or often enough: we get so, so fucking tired of being told that we’re delusional, when everything - everything - is telling a different story than the ones TPTB think they’re telling.

Women are forever being told we’re imagining it all - from PMS to actual hostility and danger to narrative romance, and everything in-between. Women are always ’imagining things’, and men are always there to set us straight. Well, fuck that.

(via snogandagrope)

allacharade:

*infomercial voice*

So, let’s say you want to ship two dudes together because ‘omg they have so much unresolved sexual tension’ or ‘did you see the way they looked at each other in that scene’ or ‘they are two dudes that i find hot that exist nominally in the same universe.’

But one or both of them has shown some interest in a female character! Canonically!

Now, I know what you are thinking, about how they are probably just in denial or how canon only does that because they aren’t allowed to show the true gay selves of these characters.

BUT. I have a product that is about to blow your mind. It will allow you to respect the characters actions and attraction in canon, not relegate female love interests to a characters misplaced sexual delusions, AND allow you to write hot, hot man love.

I call it BISEXUALITY. Similar products such as pansexuality, polysexuality, and ‘not a perfect 0 or 6 on the Kinsey Scale’ (among others) will have similar effects on your fanfiction.

This fantastic product has somehow remained hidden from the fanfiction community for years, but I am hear to spread the word.

Available for 3 payments of not being a biphobic and/or misogynistic butthead, this amazing writing tool can be yours to use and share as many times as you like.

For more information, visit us online at the internet.

(via prettyarbitrary)

thescienceofjohnlock:

iwillincendiotheheartoutofyou:

So I mentioned in my video on shipping that Sherlock utilises a lot of the conventions of the romance genre in such a way that subliminally encourages the audience to view the relationship between Sherlock & John in a romantic light, which is one of the reasons I thought it rather unfair that certain people involved acted as if they were shocked that anyone thought Johnlock might ever have become canon. For those of you who haven’t studied media, I thought I’d put this together, illustrating what these conventions are and the effect they have on audiences.
Romantic & sexual iconography
Iconography, for those of you who don’t know, is the use of images with genre associations. For instance, if you see a broken doll, you think ‘horror’. Sherlock utilises a lot of romantic and sexual iconography in relation to the Holmes/Watson relationship.

The candle. As Angelo says himself, ‘nice and romantic’. Although John protests that he’s ‘not [Sherlock’s] date’, the inclusion of the candle subliminally suggests romantic undertones, and affects the lighting of the scene, making it soft and rose-tinted (which is also seen in A Study in Pink), which is perhaps the lighting most associated with the romance genre.

The wink. An excellent example of a cultural code, i.e. something that holds a particular meaning within a particular society. In the Western world, the wink has heavy sexual undertones.

The glass of wine. Another example of cultural coding, a glass of wine with dinner is frequently used to suggest romantic feelings or intentions.
Tropes 
A trope is (amongst other things), something that arises again and again within a genre, and hence comes to signify it.

The moonlit silhouette. One of the oldest tropes of the romance genre, this has been used for hundreds of years in books before being introduced to film and TV. For more on this trope, see the section entitled ‘The Male Gaze & homoeroticism’.

The damsel in distress. Even older than the moonlit silhouette, the damsel in distress was, until the rise of feminism, a staple feature of almost every romance story. Even today, this trope is still utilised, and, we can see here, our modern damsels aren’t always women.The trope is strengthened in this instance by music intended to build tension, and the evident fear that Benedict Cumberbatch portrays through a shaking hand and clearly nervous expression. And of course, the damsel in distress is saved by…

The knight in shining armour. Ideas surrounding heroism and what it is to be a hero are a running theme throughout Sherlock, and John is strongly characterised as a war hero, far more than he was in the original stories. His characterisation as such really begins with how Sherlock describes his saviour prior to realising that it was John, noting his ‘nerves of steel’ and ‘strong moral principles’. John is the perfect example of a modern day knight in shining armour (or in his case, knitted jumpers).


The love triangle. While these examples of the love triangle are rather atypical, they both contain definite elements of it: a third party being introduced to a partnership in such a way that causes disruption and jealousy. And on that note…

The jealous lover. I think this shot is really the best example of romantic undertones in the entire programme. The cut aways between a slow motion shot of Irene kissing Sherlock’s cheek and of John slamming his mug onto the table spells one thing: jealousy. In fact, the entire episode was littered with instances of John behaving like a jealous lover, such as counting how many texts Sherlock received from Irene.

The exception. A common trope in romance stories that involve ‘the icicle’ - a character who behaves in a cold and emotionless manner - is a declaration of exception - that the other half of the primary romantic couple is exempt from their cold outlook on the world. Sherlock’s little speech in The Hounds of Baskerville - ‘I don’t have friends. I’ve just got one.’ - is very similar to this.

The dying request. Few romantic tragedies are without one of these.


The mutual death. Whether two characters literally die together or, in this case, figuratively, with the living partner shown to be left empty and, in the second shot, framed in such a way that includes them in the death of the other, this is again very frequently seen in romantic tragedies.
Date territory
As anyone who has lived on this planet for a moderate amount of time will know that certain activities are associated with dating, one of the most common is eating out together. This is commonly seen in Sherlock.




What is particularly significant about this is that the term ‘date’ and the concept of dating is frequently used in verbal instances of homoromantic suggestion within Sherlock - ‘I’m not his date!’; ‘I’ve got a date.’ ‘What?’ ‘It’s where two people who like each other go out and have fun.’ ‘That’s what I was suggesting.’
Touch-a touch-a touch-a touch me!
Something that I’ve discussed a lot in the past is that while it is perfectly socially acceptable for heterosexual women to display physical affection for their friends, such is not the case with men, and men touching one another is, strangely, considered far more intimate. With that in mind, Sherlock and John touch one another with surprising frequency for a programme that features two male leads who are not explicitly written as homosexual or bisexual.












The Male Gaze & homoeroticism
The Male Gaze theory is one described by feminist media critic Laura Mulvey, and refers to the fact that in almost every film and television show, we view the world through the eyes of a man, regardless of our actual gender. This often leads to women being objectified, forcing a heterosexual male perspective on the audience. However, in some cases, it also leads to homoerotic shots, which is often the case with Sherlock.

Here we have the reaction shot following the one of Sherlock silhouetted by the moon. The rose-tinted lighting and slightly curled lip, frequently used to suggest sexual attraction, is an excellent example of the homoerotic Male Gaze. Interestingly, Steven Moffat said in an interview said that he was the only person who liked the sequence, hence why it was cut from A Study in Pink.

The homoerotic Male Gaze is particularly prevalent in this shot, as the shot quite literally involves two men looking at one another. Their proximity and the fact that John very briefly looks at Sherlock’s lips (an action which carries heavy sexual undertones) adds to the homoeroticism.


This is the moment in which Sherlock realises that it was John who saved his life, and their eyes meet across the carpark. Another common romantic trope in which something positively alters the dynamic between the protagonists, Sherlock’s parted lips also add to homoerotic undertones.

If you’re not convinced yet, this is all you need. A male character scrutinizing another male character’s crotch in order to determine whether or not he is wearing underwear is practically the definition of the homoerotic Male Gaze.


Again, excellent examples of the homoerotic Male Gaze: a male character being brought to a state of near-nakedness in the presence of three other men (all of which are included, if only partially, in both shots). I don’t see you averting your eyes, either, Dr. Watson.
And with that, I draw this to a close. I must note that I am not trying to prove that Johnlock is canon, because it isn’t. What I am trying to prove is that it is heavily suggested, not only through verbal references but also through the technical construction of the programme and the utilisation of romantic conventions, and while some of these may be accidental, that is rarely the case with something as carefully constructed as a TV drama. So can we stop with the whole ‘Johnlock shippers are just delusional fangirls’ argument now, please?

Yes, let’s.
This is brilliant actually and extremely insightful, thank you.

thescienceofjohnlock:

iwillincendiotheheartoutofyou:

So I mentioned in my video on shipping that Sherlock utilises a lot of the conventions of the romance genre in such a way that subliminally encourages the audience to view the relationship between Sherlock & John in a romantic light, which is one of the reasons I thought it rather unfair that certain people involved acted as if they were shocked that anyone thought Johnlock might ever have become canon. For those of you who haven’t studied media, I thought I’d put this together, illustrating what these conventions are and the effect they have on audiences.

Romantic & sexual iconography

Iconography, for those of you who don’t know, is the use of images with genre associations. For instance, if you see a broken doll, you think ‘horror’. Sherlock utilises a lot of romantic and sexual iconography in relation to the Holmes/Watson relationship.

The candle. As Angelo says himself, ‘nice and romantic’. Although John protests that he’s ‘not [Sherlock’s] date’, the inclusion of the candle subliminally suggests romantic undertones, and affects the lighting of the scene, making it soft and rose-tinted (which is also seen in A Study in Pink), which is perhaps the lighting most associated with the romance genre.

The wink. An excellent example of a cultural code, i.e. something that holds a particular meaning within a particular society. In the Western world, the wink has heavy sexual undertones.

The glass of wine. Another example of cultural coding, a glass of wine with dinner is frequently used to suggest romantic feelings or intentions.

Tropes 

A trope is (amongst other things), something that arises again and again within a genre, and hence comes to signify it.

The moonlit silhouette. One of the oldest tropes of the romance genre, this has been used for hundreds of years in books before being introduced to film and TV. For more on this trope, see the section entitled ‘The Male Gaze & homoeroticism’.

The damsel in distress. Even older than the moonlit silhouette, the damsel in distress was, until the rise of feminism, a staple feature of almost every romance story. Even today, this trope is still utilised, and, we can see here, our modern damsels aren’t always women.The trope is strengthened in this instance by music intended to build tension, and the evident fear that Benedict Cumberbatch portrays through a shaking hand and clearly nervous expression. And of course, the damsel in distress is saved by…

The knight in shining armour. Ideas surrounding heroism and what it is to be a hero are a running theme throughout Sherlock, and John is strongly characterised as a war hero, far more than he was in the original stories. His characterisation as such really begins with how Sherlock describes his saviour prior to realising that it was John, noting his ‘nerves of steel’ and ‘strong moral principles’. John is the perfect example of a modern day knight in shining armour (or in his case, knitted jumpers).

The love triangle. While these examples of the love triangle are rather atypical, they both contain definite elements of it: a third party being introduced to a partnership in such a way that causes disruption and jealousy. And on that note…

The jealous lover. I think this shot is really the best example of romantic undertones in the entire programme. The cut aways between a slow motion shot of Irene kissing Sherlock’s cheek and of John slamming his mug onto the table spells one thing: jealousy. In fact, the entire episode was littered with instances of John behaving like a jealous lover, such as counting how many texts Sherlock received from Irene.

The exception. A common trope in romance stories that involve ‘the icicle’ - a character who behaves in a cold and emotionless manner - is a declaration of exception - that the other half of the primary romantic couple is exempt from their cold outlook on the world. Sherlock’s little speech in The Hounds of Baskerville - ‘I don’t have friends. I’ve just got one.’ - is very similar to this.

The dying request. Few romantic tragedies are without one of these.

The mutual death. Whether two characters literally die together or, in this case, figuratively, with the living partner shown to be left empty and, in the second shot, framed in such a way that includes them in the death of the other, this is again very frequently seen in romantic tragedies.

Date territory

As anyone who has lived on this planet for a moderate amount of time will know that certain activities are associated with dating, one of the most common is eating out together. This is commonly seen in Sherlock.

What is particularly significant about this is that the term ‘date’ and the concept of dating is frequently used in verbal instances of homoromantic suggestion within Sherlock - ‘I’m not his date!’; ‘I’ve got a date.’ ‘What?’ ‘It’s where two people who like each other go out and have fun.’ ‘That’s what I was suggesting.’

Touch-a touch-a touch-a touch me!

Something that I’ve discussed a lot in the past is that while it is perfectly socially acceptable for heterosexual women to display physical affection for their friends, such is not the case with men, and men touching one another is, strangely, considered far more intimate. With that in mind, Sherlock and John touch one another with surprising frequency for a programme that features two male leads who are not explicitly written as homosexual or bisexual.

The Male Gaze & homoeroticism

The Male Gaze theory is one described by feminist media critic Laura Mulvey, and refers to the fact that in almost every film and television show, we view the world through the eyes of a man, regardless of our actual gender. This often leads to women being objectified, forcing a heterosexual male perspective on the audience. However, in some cases, it also leads to homoerotic shots, which is often the case with Sherlock.

Here we have the reaction shot following the one of Sherlock silhouetted by the moon. The rose-tinted lighting and slightly curled lip, frequently used to suggest sexual attraction, is an excellent example of the homoerotic Male Gaze. Interestingly, Steven Moffat said in an interview said that he was the only person who liked the sequence, hence why it was cut from A Study in Pink.


The homoerotic Male Gaze is particularly prevalent in this shot, as the shot quite literally involves two men looking at one another. Their proximity and the fact that John very briefly looks at Sherlock’s lips (an action which carries heavy sexual undertones) adds to the homoeroticism.

This is the moment in which Sherlock realises that it was John who saved his life, and their eyes meet across the carpark. Another common romantic trope in which something positively alters the dynamic between the protagonists, Sherlock’s parted lips also add to homoerotic undertones.

If you’re not convinced yet, this is all you need. A male character scrutinizing another male character’s crotch in order to determine whether or not he is wearing underwear is practically the definition of the homoerotic Male Gaze.

Again, excellent examples of the homoerotic Male Gaze: a male character being brought to a state of near-nakedness in the presence of three other men (all of which are included, if only partially, in both shots). I don’t see you averting your eyes, either, Dr. Watson.

And with that, I draw this to a close. I must note that I am not trying to prove that Johnlock is canon, because it isn’t. What I am trying to prove is that it is heavily suggested, not only through verbal references but also through the technical construction of the programme and the utilisation of romantic conventions, and while some of these may be accidental, that is rarely the case with something as carefully constructed as a TV drama. So can we stop with the whole ‘Johnlock shippers are just delusional fangirls’ argument now, please?

Yes, let’s.

This is brilliant actually and extremely insightful, thank you.

(via belovedmuerto)

So apparently anti-slash trolls are tweeting at Amanda again?

My theory: They’re totes jealous of all the fun we have over in the slashy side of fandom and think their fandom policing can shut us down.

LOL, as if.  The fucking history of fandom is about some groups trying to prove they’re “better” or “more legitimate” fans than others because of the ways they interpret the show and see the characters.  Meh, whatever. I said some stuff about that last week.

If you’ve never read it, here is what The Brat Queen had to say to those folks a decade ago. Still relevant.

Sherlock (TV) numbers (from which the pie chart was made) AO3 numbers (from which the pie chart was made) Sherlock(TV) specific relationships (from which the bar chart was made)

destinationtoast:

This one goes out to the makers and listeners of Three-Patch Podcast.

In the latest episode, there was a continuation of a roundtable discussion about queerness and Sherlock.  There was a discussion at one point about how much slash there is in the Sherlock fandom.  That’s exactly the type of question I like to answer (though I can only easily answer as it pertains to fanfic on AO3, which is by no means all of fandom).

I had already examined the most common relationship categories employed on AO3 in general (Fig 2), so I repeated the analysis for just the Sherlock (TV) fics.  Indeed — unsurprisingly, given that most of the characters are male — there is more slash in the Sherlock fandom than on average.  The other main difference between Sherlock and other fandoms is the relative lack of F/M fics.  Compared to the overall AO3 average, about 10% more fics in Sherlock are M/M slash, and about 10% fewer are F/M.  Several of the other categories also differ by as much as a few percentage points, but those are the biggest differences.

I also analyzed the frequency of the most popular relationships (which was also discussed on the podcast).  I didn’t do an exclusive analysis for this, so there’s overlap between the different relationships (e.g., a story that has both Johnlock and Mystrade will be counted toward both).  But it’s clear from this analysis that Sherlock/John outstrips all other relationships by an order of magnitude, occurring in over half of the Sherlock fics on AO3.  Even platonically, Sherlock & John is far more prevalent than any other character interaction.  Because, yeah, that interaction is pretty much the show.  :)

[the rest of the AO3 analysis series]

I adore the way fan fiction writers engage with and critique source texts, by manipulating them and breaking their rules. Some of it is straight-up homage, but a lot of [fan fiction] is really aggressive towards the source text. One tends to think of it as written by total fanboys and fangirls as a kind of worshipful act, but a lot of times you’ll read these stories and it’ll be like ‘What if Star Trek had an openly gay character on the bridge?’ And of course the point is that they don’t, and they wouldn’t, because they don’t have the balls, or they are beholden to their advertisers, or whatever. There’s a powerful critique, almost punk-like anger, being expressed there—which I find fascinating and interesting and cool.

Lev Grossman (via finnemores)

(via penns-woods)

aldora89:

tacosmells:

Okay, so there are a couple different levels to this (yes I am seriously turning a joke tag into meta).

  1. You couldn’t say “boner” on 1960s television.  Duh.  If you want Spock to admit some kind of intense feeling for Jim, it must appear platonic.
  2. “Friend” was used as code or cover for homoerotic subtext in entertainment during intolerant time periods.  While perhaps not the writer’s intention, that context exists.
  3. “Friendship” isn’t really a feeling anyway.  Which adds to the sense that Spock is confused and struggles to identify and label emotional urges.
  4. He is “ashamed” of the feeling.  Not just feelings in general, but this specific one.  Yet in later episodes, he seems to have no problem labeling Kirk as a friend.  So again, it stands to reason there’s not just “friendship” at play here.
  5. Years later, Roddenberry would invent a word for Kirk and Spock’s relationship that translates to some mysterious combination of “friend/brother/lover.”  i.e. he allowed for ambiguity.
  6. Therefore, in hindsight it’s conceivable that Spock was referring to a t’hy’la-like feeling in this scene - a nebulous jumble of intense platonic bonds and potential romanticism.
  7. Conclusion: a compromised Spock is confessing that he feels drawn to Jim in this scene.  But the ship is in danger, Spock dislikes/suppresses the emotion, and Jim probably doesn’t realize what he’s saying anyway.
  8. …so they’ll be doomed to spend the next seven years dancing around each other until Spock figures out how to accept his feels.
  9. Q.E.D.
  10. (✿◡‿◡)

…also this is the climactic scene of the episode, and THE most charged moment of that scene.  And Spock can’t stop trying to explain himself, even in the midst of the important technobabble:”Understand, Jim. I’ve spent a whole lifetime learning to hide my feelings.”A line that summarizes the major conflict between them for years to come.

But if imminent danger wasn’t there to interrupt them - an emotional Spock bent on pouring his heart out to a lonely Jim - who knows what this confession would have turned into?

(via do-you-have-a-flag)