trying to read a book by a straight man that discusses how holmes and watson might have been queer, more like a discussion of how ‘feminine’ watson apparently is (???) and overuse of the word homosexual
also blatant misogyny around every corner
I have actually been having Thoughts about this recently, and they may not be very coherent thoughts, but oh well.
Watson actually does a lot of things that are traditionally coded as feminine, and especially so for Victorians. He’s giving huge amounts of his time to support Holmes, both by assisting in his investigations but more importantly by writing stories and therefore publicizing Holmes and giving him clients. And this is completely in line with the Victorian wife, who might seem passive but was absolutely supposed to be supporting her husband’s work in her own, social arena. See An Ideal Husband. Agatha Christie (born 1890) writes in her autobiography about how much of a woman’s life was completely determined by her future husband’s career, and this is certainly the case for Watson. (because he chooses for it to be the case.)
And a lot of what Watson does as Holmes’ doctor looking after his welfare would be completely appropriate for a wife as well. Watson accepting Holmes’ quirks but insisting that he take care of himself and rushing to his side when he’s ill. And in fic of course there’s even more of this, and also of Watson being Holmes’ moral compass, which was absolutely a wife’s duty.
But Watson does all of this as an absolutely proper English gentleman who fulfills all the roles of a proper English gentleman as well. When Holmes says there’s no one better than Watson to be a jury (ABBE), he means that Watson is worth twelve other men. And also that he is moral and wonderful and has good judgement. And of course Watson is a doctor and a soldier and these were both heavily masculine roles.
…I should have a conclusion here, but basically, John Watson! Man who is totally comfortable taking a “feminine” role in relationships without worrying about his masculinity!
Oh wait, yes, I did have a conclusion. This is why people underestimate Watson. Because his contributions are stereotypically feminine and therefore ignored. Taking care of people and supporting them cannot possibly be important even though they are the most important. So it’s assumed that Holmes doesn’t need him or that he’s incapable because he doesn’t do flashy things. But Watson isn’t flashy, that’s the point. Except when he’s shooting things for Holmes, but I suppose those authors ignore those moments?
So - yes these are coded feminine, but obviously they aren’t inherently so, and also devaluing them sucks and is still sexist.
Also! he’s doing all this for someone who is in every other way coded as more feminine than he is! Which is neat!