Let’s face it, 2016 was tough, and 2017 doesn’t look to be much easier. So let’s delve into some of our favorite geeky romantic pairings to help us cope! Yep, it’s Valentine’s Day, that sickeningly sweet holiday when our authors nominate and then vote on ships for our Top 20 Romantic Couples in Geekdom (10 Canon/10 Fanon) list. It is now my duty to present to you the super cute and sexy ships of 2017!
I basically live for representation of LGBTQ+ characters. As a bi person, I’m especially starved for good bi representation. Unfortunately, such characters are especially difficult to come by. Then there are wonderful characters who could be great bisexuals, and that’s where headcanons come in. A headcanon is something that is not explicitly stated in the text, but doesn’t contradict it either, and you like to imagine it’s true. It’s not as great as actual representation, but it can be great fun and provide comfort when actual representation isn’t there. So, today I want to share with you my Top 10 characters whom I like to imagine are bisexual and who would make excellent representation if they were made canonically bisexual.
Well, it’s that horrible, horrible time of year again, when Lady Geek Girl forces all of us here to list our Top 10 fanon and canon pairings, successfully turning our blog and mission of equality into a giant shipping war for a day. This post, however, is not that list. You’ll get that later on today, but in the meantime, let’s talk about asexual characters. Asexuality is not well represented in popular culture, and when it is, it’s not represented very well. Unfortunately, this leaves me with very few characters I can related to sexually. Coming to my rescue, though, are headcanons. Headcanons are hardly the same thing as representation in the source material, but at least they’re something.
So without further ado, here are my Top 10 characters who I think could be asexual.
The BBC’s Sherlock is full of problems. Race, gender, sexual orientation, and plot—co-creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss have done questionable things with all of them. But the cool thing about Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous character is that Sherlock inspires so many of his fans to create their own interpretations of the timeless detective, whether they have the BBC’s budget or not. Today’s web crush is one of the more creative ones.
Elementary, the modern Sherlock Holmes adaptation set in New York, had many Sherlock Holmes fans, such as myself, eying it suspiciously at first: not only did it move the setting from the iconic 221B Baker Street in London,
but it introduced a reworked Watson character—the ex-surgeon turned sober companion, Joan Watson (Lucy Liu). However, Elementary quickly established itself as a clever, subtle, inclusive, and all-around amazing show and an exciting new take on Sherlock Holmes canon, while Joan Watson became one of the most complex female characters on TV right now. She‘s a role model in ways that you don‘t often see on TV. I want to talk about one such aspect of her character which is particularly important to me—what Joan Watson can teach us about looking for and finding what one is meant to do in life. Continue reading
Sherlock is rarely hesitant and seldom tactful, but there’s a tentative quality to his tone when he says, “You’re not… falling for her are you?”
“What? No!” She’s suddenly aware of how high-pitched her voice has become and she shakes her head, annoyed at herself. “No. That’s insane.” And it is. Completely.
He continues despite her protest. “Because I’m well aware of the allure she possesses.” And here, his face takes on a wistful expression, as if recalling some memeory that Joan desperately hopes he won’t share. He doesn’t, and instead says, “But, you must remember that the pull she exerts is not unlike that of a black hole. She will suck you in, but ultimately leave you empty and decimated.”
Joan’s first instinct is to laugh at the absurdity of being “sucked in” by anyone, but then she thinks of Moriarty and her raptor sharp gaze. Cold steel through the heart. And she doesn’t laugh. Instead, a choking sound claws its way out of her throat as she struggles for words. “Sherlock, come on. I’m not falling for Moriarty. She sends me letters, which I ignore. That hardly makes for a successful… courtship or whatever.”
It goes against a personal code I have to recommend works in progress, but today I’m breaking that to bring you Of the Devil’s Party by Mermaiddrunk, a fantastic Elementary fic that I just couldn’t wait to share.
First, a confession: I’m painfully and deeply committed to the idea of bi!Joan Watson. While in-show I’m holding out hope for them to introduce a still-female Mary Morstan character for her to romance, I’m also intrigued by the potential for a relationship between her and Jamie Moriarty. Their in-show relationship has such an antagonistic dynamic, but Moriarty also clearly has a weird sociopathic ladyboner for Joan—like, can we talk about the giant painting of Joan’s face that she made while locked up in that warehouse? She’s pretty obsessed, and for a fanficcer, it’s a pretty easy jump from obsessed to smitten.
Of the Devil’s Party is set during the second season, after the incident with Moriarty’s daughter. Moriarty has been freed by the authorities, and heads off into the world to rebuild her criminal empire. However, after a few weeks, she starts reaching out to Joan, first through letters and then through phone calls. Joan is at first utterly unamused by Jamie’s attempts to reach out and befriend her, but the two of them eventually grow into friends. As of the fic’s more recent chapters, that friendship is beginning to develop into something romantic, much to Joan’s surprise and Sherlock’s unease. Continue reading
Spoilers for all of Season 2 ahead. Continue reading
Several years ago, comics writer Gail Simone introduced the term “women in refrigerators” as a way to describe women in comics who have been hurt or killed as a way to further a man’s pain. Since then, it’s entered the general geek vernacular as a way to describe any woman who ends up dead for manpain’s sake, and while more and more people are likely to call out The Powers That Be for writing women this way, it does remain an often-used trope. The whole premise of Supernatural revolves around two fridged women, Mary Winchester and Sam’s girlfriend Jess, and women regularly are hurt or die to make its leading men sad. (A short list: Anna, Sarah Blake, Pamela, Meg, Amy Pond, Jo, and Ellen, just to start us off.) Barry Allen’s origin story in the upcoming Flash series centers around his mother’s death. Rachel’s death in The Dark Knight was purest fridging, and so were Allison’s death in Teen Wolf, Frigga’s death in Thor: The Dark World, and Spock’s mom Amanda’s death in Star Trek XI.
The problem with this trope is that it reduces women from people with agency into objects that are acted upon; they go from characters who make choices to tools whose purpose is to make someone else sad or angry or motivated, and that propagates the idea that objectifying women is a legitimate storytelling technique. One interesting thing about this trope, though, is that it’s become so expected that writers have started to use it in a subversive and surprising way.
Spoilers for Arrow Season 2, Elementary Season 1, and How To Train Your Dragon 2 below the jump.
I’m still working on catching up with Elementary (no spoilers, please!) but I’ve finally gotten to (and a little past) the Season 1 episode where Joan and Sherlock encounter a Chinese gambling ring. At first, this sort of threw me for a loop, because up until then I’d been enjoying Elementary’s inclusivity and non-token-ish diversity. BBC Sherlock’s “The Blind Banker” had about conquered the market on terrible representation of Chinese mafia, right? Well, yes. But fortunately, Elementary’s “You Do It To Yourself” did not encroach on Sherlock’s absolute monopoly on poor representation—rather, the episode did a far better job of handling the trope of the Chinese mafia than did its more famous cousin.
Spoilers and trigger warning for sexual abuse after the jump.
Double standards are everywhere in geek cultures. Most of them are easy to spot in such things as clothing and armor options for genders. Such standards extend into character archetypes as well. A very well known trope that is often reserved specifically for women is the Damsel in Distress trope. We’re all familiar with this, but one character archetype that seems to skip women is the Jerk With A Heart of Gold.