Keynotes 09/02

“No sex please, I’m Sherlock”: applying academic theory and writing to your idea.

This lecture was basically about her ideas around masculinity and sex and how she began to write an article about it.

  • where do academic ideas come from?
  • illuminate process
  • applying theory and academic writing to an idea
  • explaining what an idea is
  • sex in TV

Masculinity and Sex
Sherlock and Dr. Watson (BBC version)

  • their first meeting Dr Watson is asking sexuality – normal conversion; do you have a partner?

Lecturers argument: No sex please, I’m Sherlock

  • sex is important about masculinity
  • Asceticism is in the past – mainly in religion now, e.g. nuns, monks
  • contemporary asceticism – for example with the body, giving up food for lent
  • Masculinity: might not be predicted upon sexual powers – could emerge in different ways
  • Is Sherlock lacking masculinity because of no sex?

Masculinity: in what way are men usually portrayed in TV?

Researched Sherlock Holmes and sex

Masculinity on TV – Interpretations of Sherlock Holmes – other ways he’s portrayed – TV detectives: look? act? – what elements make Sherlock different? – He is disinterested in sex

Lecturers idea: Asceticism is a viable form of masculine identity – she couldn’t find anything written on it so wrote about it herself…

Masculinity on TV (detectives)

  • Men portrayed in fixed manner – heterosexual
  • Heterosexual males: married (implies sex), employed (power), sometimes violent (reinforces masculinity)

What do they look like on TV?

Sex and masculinity on TV

  • Sex considered to be an important facet of masculinity (Connell, 1992)
  • TV audiences equate sex with masculinity
  • dynamic and graphic sex on TV amplify masculinity
    • e.g. Game of Thrones, Spartacus
  • IDEA: lack of sex in hemlock and indeterminate sexuality
    • does this make his ‘less masculine?’

Ways Sherlock demonstrates masculinity

  • homosocial partnership with Watson – NEVER SEXUAL
  • performance of hyper-intellect
  • narcissism and drug-use
  • ascetic and ambiguous
  • clothing – pjs on TV, suits, dull and drab colours
    • not drawing attention to him body but slim and masculine frame: sexual
    • suits are a contradictory item of clothing (Galilee, 2002)
      • make body to uniform: part of a crowd


  • common
  • contributes to identity
  • understand asceticism as a valid form of sexual identity
  • sexual asceticism is viable sexual identity for men
    • not undermined as displayed in other male attributes

Applying academic theory and writing to your idea

  • read around areas of interest
  • unlikely to find books and papers which directly match to what you want to talk about
  • YOUR JOB: make links between academic reading and your idea with your own writing
  • otherwise you’re replicating what someone else says

Author: ellenreiddesign

First year Graphic Communication student at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

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