So it’s asexual awareness week, and in honor of that, we are going to talk about my dislike of Johnlock
As many of my followers know, I do not like Johnlock. Now, you can ship whatever you want to ship and all. I mean, that’s your choice. I won’t hold it against you if you do ship Johnlock, I just want people to be aware of the fact that it is, generally, out of character.
It bothers me. And I think this is because of the way it characterizes Sherlock Holmes. Let me say something about Sherlock Holmes. Growing up, he was one of my favorite characters. He was someone I related to. I can be cold and emotionless at times, and I sometimes think of things too scientifically, and lose focus because of that. I’ve always loved mysteries. And for a good portion of my life, I was very often shallow in my romantic relationships. And more so in my sexual relationships. One of the things I like best about Sherlock Holmes is that he is portrayed as someone who is highly intelligent, not only that, but he is the best of the best and he knows it.
He is someone that would be, in any other context, be considered a deviant. Canonically, Sherlock Holmes does not have sexual attractions, and he does not understand romantic feelings. Which does not mean he is emotionless. He cares about people quite a big deal, you can see it in the way he acts. He cares about John quite a big deal. I would say that he cares about John more than he cares about anyone else. But that does not change the fact that Sherlock Holmes could canonically be considered asexual and aromantic.
There are not that many asexual, or aromantic, characters portrayed in the media, whether they are in books or in movies or whatever it is. It’s just not a thing. I can understand why there isn’t. Romance plotlines are huge in the media, and asexual/aromantic character don’t work very well for that. And that’s okay.
But Sherlock Holmes is not only a character who is portrayed as asexual, he is one of the most famous characters of all time. He is the most portrayed character in the history of film, being portrayed by over 80 people. The Sherlock Holmes fandom is the first organized fandom, and there are literally Sherlock Holmes groups in every country in the world. There is so much Sherlock Holmes fanfiction that I wrote a ten page paper about it that didn’t even scratch the surface. There is a 500 page book that just lists all the published Sherlock Holmes fanfiction, and it is 20 years outdated. I mean, this is one of the largest fandoms in the world. It’s been around for over 100 years and is still going strong enough that the map of “Believe in Sherlock” signs are everywhere in the world, including islands in the middle of nowhere.
Do you realize how important it is that Sherlock Holmes is portrayed the way he was, cannonically? He is so hugely famous and important and he is portrayed as asexual and successful. That’s huge. It’s so fucking huge.
And then people (not just the fans, but hell, even the published fanfiction, starting way back in the 1800’s) take that and they take Sherlock and they make him into something he’s not. They turn him into a repressed coldhearted monster. They say he’s not really asexual, he’s just hiding his gay feels for John. No. No. He cares about John. More than he cares about anyone else. But why does it have to be something more than that? It’s not who he is.
I think that’s why the BBC version annoys me in general. Because that man that they are calling Sherlock Holmes is not the one that I grew admiring. They are turning him into someone else. He is angry, and he is childish and immature, and honestly, he’s stupid. Which is a rant for another time. But the Sherlock I used to read about, he understands human emotions. He knows how they work. He wouldn’t be a good detective if he didn’t understand motivation. He understands that romantic feelings and sexual feelings are things that the rest of the world has. He just doesn’t have them himself. He isn’t cold. He cares deeply enough about his clients that he has been known to chase an abusive and manipulating step-father away with a riding crop. He enjoys things, that are not about logic. He has been known to lose himself in music, and even fanboy over musicians. He has been known to admire others, that he feels deserve it.
He is a fully developed character who is successful and asexual and aromantic, and it really bothers me that a lot of people reduce BBC’s Sherlock down to Johnlock. Because in making Sherlock engage in romantic and sexual acts with his best friend isn’t about promoting the fact that it is okay to be asexual and aromantic. It’s about repressing that, and taking the most famous and most successful asexual character and making him…not.
(This isn’t just a tumblr/shipper/fangirling issue. It generally bothers me when people take Sherlock completely out of the character I grew up admiring, and just brush away the reasons I did admire him.)