can i marry three men at once

anonymous asked:

I don't want to be disrespectful, but I don't understand your issue with sherlock and "queerbaiting." I'm all for representation in media, however, realistically not everyone is gay. John has said multiple times in the show that he isn't gay, and he was married to a woman. Two men are allowed to be close friends without having to satisfy a tumblr-worthy homoerotic fantasy. As I said, I fully support representation, but just because two characters aren't gay for each other doesn't make a show bad

There are many things I’d like to unpack in your ask, nonny.

It’s difficult to know where to begin. I’ll start by saying I’m glad you agree that queer representation is important. So let’s start there, with the textual representation of queer people in Sherlock.

The characters who are textually queer in Sherlock include: 

-Moriarty (confirmed most recently in TFP when he jokes about his bodyguard having ‘more stamina, but is less caring in the afterglow’),
-Irene Adler (established as gay during the Battersea scene with John, in which to his assertion that he’s not gay, she replies, “well I am. Look at us both.” More on John later. She also nonconsensually drugs and whips Sherlock, which I think is extremely out of character for a professional in the kink community)
-Culverton Smith (who has an honest to god hard on when he’s suffocating Sherlock and breathes his fear of death in and says in the most rapturous voice, “lovely”),
-Eurus, (who suggests that the victim of her brutal rape could have been a man or a woman and she wouldn’t have noticed)
-and to some extent Magnussen (who creepily kisses Sherlock’s hands, among other weird bodily power things he does, like flicking John’s face).

Perhaps you’ve noticed that this is a list of villains, all of whom are queer coded, and most of whom to some extent have the hots for Sherlock and violate Sherlock’s bodily autonomy when he is otherwise incapacitated (other than Eurus, because equating queerness with incest would be a little much even for this show).

So for our queer representation on this show we get 6, count em, 6 queer monsters, 6 queer psychopaths.

Forgive me if I’m less than thrilled about this.

BUT I was willing to overlook this, I was willing to forgive this, because to my view, the plot was inching forward towards a realistic portrayal of queer love—a nuanced and hard won happy ending, a love narrative that would speak to the complexities of human nature and queer identity.

Let’s turn to that question for a while. Queerness does not exist in a vacuum. It exists within a highly oppressive heteronormative framework. And so when you tell me, John has said many times that he isn’t gay, I say unto you: so did I.

My only way of surviving a homophobic environment was to swallow whole the lie that I was straight, to try as hard as I could to believe I was straight. This is compulsory heterosexuality. The result of this doublethink was that I had no interest in romance or sex. But I publically feigned interest in men for many years. I worked hard to convince myself that I was straight and normative. I was trapped deep in a subconscious closet. We often talk about the closet being something that we know we’re in and we want to be out of it. But I tell you, I honest to god thought I was straight. I thought I would marry a man and have children and live in the suburbs. As it turns out, none of those things have happened, thank god. But I spent many years of my life telling people I wasn’t gay.

By the way re: John and his marriage to a woman, being married to someone of the opposite sex has virtually nothing to do with whether you’re gay or not in a world where visible gayness is met with violence, death threats (my gf has literally been chased with a knife), rape threats (this has happened at least three times that I can think of off the top of my head), judgment, discrimination, and hate. Also, many people, like a younger version of myself once did, believe that they are straight and do their best to act accordingly, including marrying someone and finding out later that they were wrong in doing so. All this being said, John could easily be bi or otherwise queer. Suggesting that his marriage to Mary should preclude any and all attraction to men or taking that as proof of straightness is frankly biphobic and erases the bi experience.

But let’s move away from the personal significancer of a John Watson coming out/discovering himself narrative, and towards addressing your other comments.

Regarding your comment, “Two men are allowed to be close friends without having to satisfy a tumblr-worthy homoerotic fantasy”: From my perspective, summing up what the Johnlock fandom does as “tumblr-worthy homoerotic fantasy” is infantilizing and doesn’t give full credit to the depth of thought and nuance that goes into these transformative works.

I can name on one hand the pieces of mainstream media that tell a story like mine. Blue is the warmest colour is one, Carol is another.

The work these fanfiction authors are doing for representation by taking mainstream stories and queeriung them is monumental. But it is still not mainstream media representation. And we deserve that.

And now we come to the queerbaiting portion of my response.

Tropes are what tell us what kinds of archetypal stories are being invoked in the telling of a new story. In TV, there are many different kinds of tropes: plot tropes, lighting tropes, musical tropes, dialogue tropes, camera angle tropes, etc. For example a long lingering gaze in television codes romance for us. It’s a romantic trope. 

For more on tropes, here are some useful resources:

As a culture, we tell a lot of straight white love stories that end happily. Most of our romantic tv tropes come from these stories.

As a culture, we don’t tell many gay stories, and usually when we do, they are tragic and someone dies ( A common trope in stories about lesbians that I hate is that one woman leaves the other for a man—and that’s supposed to be a happy ending.

The point is, the filming and story telling tropes of romance are all over this show and these characters. Close shots of them gazing into each other’s eyes, the soft looks they give each other when they think the other won’t notice, the soft lighting accompanying these scenes, the dialogue, especially in the scene in ASiP at Angelo’s. As an exercise, try imagining that scene if Sherlock were a gorgeous woman.

JOHN: So you’ve got a boyfriend then?


JOHN: Right. Okay. You’re unattached. Like me.  Fine.  Good.
(modified from this transcript )

And then John licks his lips.

This is where it becomes queerbaiting. When the BBC tweets “Sherlock’s in love, but with who?” in order to promote s4, in which Sherlock’s romantic life is not shown to be developing at all, that is queer baiting. And it’s cruel.

More on queerbaiting:

Basically, the idea of gayness between Sherlock and John is a running joke on the show, a joke which has no pay off. Perhaps your sexuality has never been thrown in your face, or laughed at. Perhaps you have never been threatened violence or stalked or whistled at. But I have experienced all of this, just for holding my girlfriend’s hand in public.

So in sum, we have a show using romantic film tropes in order to make a joke about my sexuality, a joke at the expense of the marginalized.

Of course I’m upset and angry.

If this is a show about an epic platonic male friendship, that’s fine.

(Epic platonic male friendship is the oldest, most done narrative in existence, by the way. This is an excellent if somewhat dry book about the cultural shift in the twelfth century from tales of epic brotherly love/devotion between knights to tales of chaste courtly love between men and aloof women).

But in that case, stop it with the romantic TV tropes, stop teasing queer fans on twitter, stop making homophobic “no homo” jokes for the straight audience to have a laugh at my expense, and for god’s sake, stop writing all of your villains as queer coded psychopathic monsters. Was that really necessary??? It’s homophobic and it’s bad, lazy writing, and we deserve better representation than that. We deserve more than psychotic gay villains and desperately unspoken hidden subtext and winks and nudges on twitter from the creators. We deserve real representation, no hinting, no winking, no implying. Real, textual queer representation.

My last comment to you, nonny, is this: Indeed, not everyone is gay. And neither is everyone straight. I’m tired of never seeing myself or any part of my identity reflected in mainstream media.

For more information about media’s skewed representation of the world, see this GLAAD report.