Only when you learn to stop reading aesthetic presentation as a rigid series of gender codes can you truly begin to appreciate and explore it as the medium of highly personal artistic expression that it is. Liberate yourself from that way of thinking. A painting is more than its subject, as I am more than a breathing set of prescribed identity markers. I am more complex than that. We are so much more complex than that.
teach girls they are normal for not liking feminine things and being feminine instead of telling them they might “not be girls”. girls are hurting because they are being forced to perform gendered things they don’t like and you’re telling them it’s because they “aren’t girls”? you are making girls hurt more.
In addition to being thin, women (particularly in the west) are expected to maintain the illusion of hairlessness. Any sign that puberty might have bestowed upon us a spray of fuzz beneath our arms or a thatch of fur between our legs has to be eliminated immediately. Waxing, shaving, plucking, electrolysis - women have to fork out precious financial resources just to achieve what is then laughably passed off as a ‘natural’ state. For men and women similarly invested in maintaining patriarchal notions of gender performance, hair on women seems to be oddly terrifying.
I was performing in a girl’s vocal ensemble for a Christmas thing about two years ago– it was a special where a bunch of girls tried out and we had some pretty damn serious rehearsals for a month before hand, and most of them had to learn how to sing chorally for the first time, which is no mean feat. When we got onstage, the male announcer just introduced us as “lovely” and “beautiful” and I just can’t help but ponder how ingrained it is that our value as performers is based off of our looks. We weren’t there to be pretty, we were there to sing…
I started thinking about the beauty procedures and products that had seemed normal to me growing up - padded bras, control tights, anti-wrinkle this and that, fake tan, make-up, shaving. Every time my friends and I bought these products we received a free gift at no extra cost: insecurity. We learned that without fake tan our skin was the wrong colour, without padding our breasts were the wrong size, without shaving our legs were unfeminine and without control tights our tummies were too big. We learned, in short, that our bodies needed fixing.
Hi River! Can you link us to some meta, analysis, commentary, or basic evidence of Sherlock being trans, particularly in BBC Sherlock? I just haven't really read anything in depth about this so I'm interested to know more. Thanks!
so firstly, most of the canonical evidence is in s3 and tab but i thought i’d start with something that caught my attention in the great game
here, sherlock is excitedly giving his deduction about the golem
and john, pressed about the earlier confrontation he had with sherlock about moriarty, and impatient, replies with this
which leads sherlock and lestrade to have these reactions:
now QUITE obviously sherlock and lestrade know something here that john does not. lestrade looks down and away immediately after john’s comment and sherlock looks at lestrade with a look which vehemently reads “don’t say anything, he doesn’t know”
to me, this is an extremely obvious misgendering of sherlock that john does ignorantly and unintentionally because he honestly doesn’t know, and i can adhere to this personally because it has happened to me on multiple occasions
now, throughout the next 10 minutes of the episode sherlock distances himself from john by telling him that they should split up to get more done, which isn’t an unusual occurrence but it is DEFINITELY unusual when john is doing something that only police should be doing (interviewing the dead man’s roommate)
i see this as sherlock needing to distance himself from john for just a little while because of the earlier instance. he’s obviously not mad, just a bit upset and jarred but as you can see by the end of the episode everything between them is completely fine again
in s2 there isn’t much in the way of physical evidence like above, it’s more subtextual, in asib it is brought up at least twice that i can remember that sherlock is a virgin
“sex doesn’t alarm me” “how would you know?”
“he calls you the ice man and the virgin”
this can be attested to that sherlock is just a genuinely awkward person and uncomfortable with contact as such but it can easily be read that because he is trans that he experienced and experiences body dysphoria which would lead to him not being comfortable with his own body, let alone allowing someone else to be with it so intimately
“but what about top surgery scars?????” you may ask
not all trans people get double mastectomies!!! some of us don’t ever get surgery! but sherlock could have easily had the key hole operation which would not leave the double incisions on the chest that you see on many trans men
sherlock having little to no body hair is also incredibly telling, as many trans men, even on testosterone, are unable to grow it and if they do it’s usually patchy
in both thob and the google maps of 221b, there is an injection gun sitting on the table
injection guns are used to inject medication accurately and frequently, and, sherlock constantly on the move for cases, would need to administer his testosterone quickly and efficiently
now, in The Trans Sherlock Show (s3) there is so much evidence that he’s trans it makes my head spin
the VERY first scene we see sherlock in, he has absolutely no facial hair, yet, the hair on his head is literally down to his shoulders
where did he find the time to shave yet not cut his hair??? he didn’t
sherlock was unable to have access to testosterone in the field for 2 years is what happened, so it stunted his facial hair growth
there is literally no other explanation for this like
moving on to tsot
sherlock loves dancing and always has which isn’t that unusual for men anymore, but his love for dancing does not explain the fact that he can do a pirouette perfectly? he would have had to go through extensive training to complete such a move, and many parents put their “little girls” in dancing lessons
during the stag night and sherlock and john’s drinking game, sherlock drunkenly asks questions that john answers to validate him, not the person on his head
“am i human?”
“am i a man?”
“am i important?”
“do people like me?”
sherlock is obviously seeking validation from john, and he just wants to know what he is to people and how people see him
later in this scene sherlock also says “beauty is a construct based entirely on childhood influences and role models” which is a really… trans thing to say. he’s talking about beauty and looks but those are as performative as gender, gender is literally performing a look, how you want to be perceived and how you want others to perceive you
as a little aside and a line that i always laugh at anderson asks sherlock if he has “one hole or two” and sherlock abashedly says “sorry?!” and obviously they’re talking about the gunshot wound but it’s just a funny trans joke to me
anyway! “how can sherlock be trans if he is clearly a little boy in his mind palace!!!” sherlock can imagine himself however he wants in his mind palace folks and children are mostly androgynous in formative years so this could have been how he looked or he’s picturing himself as such
now the 2 hospital scenes, one with janine and the deleted scene with magnussen
first the janine scene:
“you lied to me, you lied and lied”
“just once would have been nice”
sherlock, awkwardly, “i was waiting until we got married”
“you shouldn’t have lied to me, i know what kind of man you are. we could have been friends”
now this can be read as both a reveal of sherlock being gay AND trans
“but it can only be about him being gay!!!” you might say
then explain the magnussen scene:
magnussen, a man who blackmails people for money, is blackmailing sherlock about his “musician’s hands”
but this comment quickly turns into calling them “woman’s hands,” and sherlock looks at magnussen in fear - he knows his secret
this deleted scene completely explains sherlock’s vehemence toward mycroft near the end of hlv when mycroft asks sherlock why he hates magnussen so much
and finally the tarmac scene, when sherlock says “sherlock is actually a girl’s name”
this can be interpreted a couple of different ways in terms of him being trans
sherlock could be saying here that sherlock was his birthname and he wanted to keep it, but needed a masculine name on legal documents, hence william sherlock scott holmes, because sherlock is quite an androgynous unusual name
or, he could be saying that he was born a “girl,” and that his being carries along that sentiment even though he had chosen sherlock during his transition. either way, he’s literally saying he’s trans
sherlock has no facial hair at all, yes he could be cleanly shaven, but as this is the 1890s hrt doesn’t exist yet so he wouldn’t be able to actually grow it
sherlock, perhaps having noticed, or not caring to notice because hooper is in the same predicament as him, has not said anything about the fact that hooper is, for lack of a better term, “a woman dressed in man’s clothing”
hooper could be a trans man just like sherlock, hence him not saying a single thing because he himself is trans as well and would not dare to out hooper
I LITERALLY HAVE NO COMMENT????? THIS IS THE MOST TRANS LINE I HAVE EVER COME ACROSS IN CINEMA
in the end scene, when sherlock tells john that he “would be very much at home in such a world” and that he’s always been a man out of his time, it’s fairly obvious that sherlock knows he could better himself in current day, that he could be the man he wanted with access to what he wanted in the 21st century (testosterone, surgery, etc)
and finally after all of that! the big doozy of yesterday in which we all learned that sherlock literally leaves his t needles all over 221b! a major thank you to @sidryan for that!
anyway that’s all! sherlock is trans thanks for coming to my ted talk
Queer Self-Presentation and Auto-Sexuality in Yuri Plisetsky’s “Welcome to the Madness”
I’m currently working on this meta. I should be working on my PhD coursework (oops, my age is showing), but I’m so inspired by Yuri’s performance and the discourse that has cropped up around it.
For context, I study feminist/gender/queer theory and performance studies. So WttM was like catnip for me. I’ve already written 1,000 words and have barely scratched the surface… so I’m going to break it up into parts. Oops!
I don’t know when it will be ready to post, so follow me or keep an eye on the #yoimeta and #wttm tags.
(Admittedly, I’m a bit nervous about throwing my hat into the Otayuri discourse, but I aim to make my analysis fair, balanced, and empathetic. My personal opinions aside, I follow both Otayuri and Anti-Otayuri blogs, and while I am relatively new to the YOI fandom in an active capacity, I’ve been following along for a couple of months and I’ve been involved in other fandoms with similar problems in the past. Anyway, I hope that no one will judge before reading because I think these kinds of analyses can help us to find common ground regardless of our shipping practices.)
Performing one’s gender wrong initiates a set of punishments both obvious and indirect, and performing it well provides the reassurance that there is an essentialism of gender identity after all. That this reassurance is so easily displaced by anxiety, that culture so readily punishes or marginalizes those who fail to perform the illusion of gender essentialism should be sign enough that on some level there is social knowledge that the truth or falsity of gender is only socially compelled and in no sense ontologically necessitated.
Judith Butler, “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution” (528)