Sherlock: The Abominable Bride – Feminist or Sexist?


Written by Allison Robison

‘The Abominable Bride’, the newest fix for all those addicts and fans out there. Full of “proper murders”, a unique Gothic/Victorian style, and plenty of twists and turns to keep the new theories and predictions coming. I, and probably many others, certainly did not expect the writers to incorporate this Victorian times episode to the actual overall plot in present day Sherlock! The costuming was beautiful, and it was amazing to see our favorite characters meet and bond in such a classic style. However, despite all these plusses, there were a few aspects that may have been a little too controversial.

I refer to the addition of feminists, and a feminist movement in this episode. Does this mean Sherlock is a feminist, or isn’t? Are the writers jerks for portraying women as being inferior and treated badly by their male counterparts in this time period? The extremely analytical fans are looking at this topic from every possible angle, and several have come to the most logical conclusion: it is simply because that was how women were treated during that time in history.

We find out every part in this episode that took place in the 1800s was completely in Sherlock’s mind palace, the reason being, he wanted to recreate an unsolved murder that was similar to Moriarty’s, in an attempt to solve it himself. He recreated everything as best he could, even the social structure of that time period. He used people he knew in the present, from Lestrade to Janine to his airplane pilot as Lady Carmichael, as characters in his hypothetical case. Molly Hooper, dressing as a man, was because he knew a woman at that time could procure that kind of job. However, he did not fully transform her into a man in his mind, she was still a female, as John pointed out right away.

I find it appropriate, and even fascinating that the writers kept so much detail in the episode; not unusual for Gatiss and Moffat. Here are a few moments that you may judge yourself. The insults start when Mrs. Hudson complained about just being the lady who brings tea, and who doesn’t talk, in John’s stories. Another kip at women was with Mary, who was complaining about always getting left behind on her husband’s exciting adventures. ‘What am I to do, sit here and do nothing?’ ‘No, my dear,’ replies John, ‘we’ll be hungry later!’ Also, when Lestrade hears that Mary is a part of an organization having to do with women’s votes, he is ignorant enough to seriously ask her, “So, are you for, or against?”

Another point worth discussing is Mycroft. He has already solved the crime, in Sherlock’s mind, and tells Sherlock, “This is a battle we must lose…because they are right and we are wrong.” When Sherlock finally solves it, he agrees with Mycroft, this is a battle we must lose.

What do you think? Are the writers trying to say something about feminism to their fans? Are they simply being realistic to the time period, it being a fact of history? Does it have anything to do with the plot of the next series?

One thought on “Sherlock: The Abominable Bride – Feminist or Sexist?

  1. Yes it would be historically correct if they actually stuck to representing suffragettes as legitmate activists to promote equal rights and not murdering women out to have revenge and kill men. Sure their other phrases can be turned around as historical accuracy but when they actually have women in purple Klan cloaks and have Sherlock mansplaining feminism… U know history wasn’t their main concern


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