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People Are Pissed Off That "Sherlock" Mansplained Feminism

"Feminism is not murder of naughty men by a cult of women, even if mansplained to be so by Benedict Cumberbatch," one person tweeted.

Originally posted on
Updated on

Warning: Some spoilers ahead if you haven't watched the special episode of Sherlock.

The episode, entitled "The Abominable Bride," saw Sherlock Holmes and his cronies try to solve the mystery of a supposedly dead bride wreaking murderous havoc.

Set (sort of) in Victorian London, the presence of the suffragette movement threw some feminism into the mix.

"The ghostly bride represented the invisible army of women, rising up to claim the vote and wreak vengeance on abusive men," according to The Telegraph's rave review.

But some people found this approach somewhat ~problematic~.

#Sherlock -tastic caveat: feminism is not murder of naughty men by a cult of women, even if mansplained to be so by Benedict Cumberbatch.

This is a man's nightmare of women, isn't it? We dress up in hoods, hold Masonic ceremonies & kill our men in the name of feminism #Sherlock

Because presenting women as a murderous cult might be, IDK, not that sympathetic to the fight for equality?

But wait! Cumberbatch's Sherlock seemed to say it was feminist, sooo...

Best part of tonight's Victorian #Sherlock special was when a man explained feminism to a room full of suffragettes.

Mostly we all loved the bit where the man came and explained feminism to a room full of women. #Sherlock

There were definitely women in the episode – some not even murderers! – but while at no point were there more than two of them talking about something other than a man, that's NBD, right?

Love that a TV special ostensibly about feminism manages to both feature mansplaining and fail the Bechdel Test 😏🙄☹️ #Sherlock

And hang on, Cumberbatch is what a feminist looks like, remember, so we're totally good. Thanks again, men.

I'm going to need some Twitter youth to chill--Sherlock is no feminist. The white heteronormative world of Sherlock is not ours.

But on Monday, Amanda Abbington, who plays Mary Morstan in the show, tweeted her disagreement to the reaction.

@wearthedamnhat @laurafleur oh god. Ok. Isn't it just a story? In Sherlock's head. A man who doesn't understand women. It's not real.

Abbington pointed out that the Victorian part of the show, in which the murderous portion of the plot, and Sherlock's mansplaining take place, are actually in the detective's head, and that he is a man who doesn't understand women.

Laura Silver is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Laura Silver at laura.silver@buzzfeed.com.

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