My response to The Wallpaper Conspiracy.
This fiction has only one real purpose: to illuminate just how systemic sexism, misogyny, and is in our society.
Every women out there is going to recognise the situation Molly is in. It doesn't have to be at a party: it could be at home, at school, at the workplace, on the bus, at the supermarket, on the street walking home from taking your children to school. It is everywhere: a woman being judged and mistreated because she doesn't allow herself to be demeaned and degraded according to a man's ideas of how she should dress, how she should think, or how she should behave, especially when it comes to sex and she refuses.
David is a typical man. He is well-dressed, gainfully employed, generally mild-mannered, intelligent, sophisticated, and he seems nice. Yet deep down he still believes Molly should behave a certain way: ie be a midwife, or a nurse... some job traditionally "female" instead of a pathologist who frequently works with the police force solving brutal crimes, and he demeans her when she doesn't fit his ideal, hiding it behind a "compliment," and saying she is "mistaken" or "overreacting" when she points out his behaviour.
This is what women face every day of their lives, from the cradle to the grave. Men constantly demeaning and belittling us and our accomplishments, our intelligence, and our own basic human rights because we dare to be true to ourselves, and refuse to let them treat us as their sexual property. More than one woman has been assaulted, abused, or killed because of it.
When all is said and done, being called "wallpaper" and therefore unimportant, irrelevant, and being dismissed, is probably the mildest form of this abuse, but it is no less abusive, insulting, or sexist because of that.
For those who are wondering why I wrote a Sherlock fanfiction about this: Mark Gatiss - the man who wrote the episode where Sherlock calls Molly Hooper "The one person who mattered most" - called her wallpaper. He equated a highly intelligent and important character - a one female character who doesn't subscribe to the mother or sex symbol roles - an inanimate object that has no real purpose.
Needless to say, none of us were happy about it: we just channelled our feelings into our art.
Molly had no idea what she was doing here.
Really, why had she let herself be convinced that this would be a good idea when she had a mound of paperwork to finish before her shift in the morning?
Of course she knew: a friend need her, and she wanted to help. Elizabeth had come to her this morning and begged her to accompany her to this inter-hospital do, and despite having an early shift and said paperwork to complete she caved. So after a quick dash home to change into the one party dress that wasn't in the laundry she rushed to the apartment complex the party was being held at, only to find herself abandoned when Elizabeth realised she wouldn't be the only neurosurgeon from Bart's after all.
She tried to mingle - she always did - but as usual her morbid sense of humour put everyone off, even other medical professionals. And as usual Molly found herself leaning against the wall, sipping a non-alcoholic cocktail, counting down the minutes until it wouldn't be considered impolite to leave.
She really hated her empathy and sense of propriety sometimes: she had work to do and she wasn't going to let her professionalism slide.
Molly took a sip of her mocktail and closed her eyes. How long have I been here? Half a hour? A hour? What would the odds be that I would get any sleep in the break room if I went back to the hospital now? Clothes were not a problem: she kept a clean outfit in her locker and she could shower there, and she only had a ten hour shift tomorrow, so...
Molly was started back to consciousness by a loud thump next to her and a deep, rumbling voice asking: "Are you as bored as I am?"
Molly blinked and turned to the man leaning against the tan and floral wallpapered wall beside her. Her lips cocked up into a smile. "Is it that obvious?" she asked.
The man, a tall, blond, closely-shaved and impeccably dressed man - laughed quietly and nodded. "Yes, I am afraid so," he replied.
Molly shrugged and took another sip of her drink before replying. "Oh, well."
The man held out his hand. "Hello, I'm David. I work at London Hospital."
Molly quickly transferred the drink to her other hand and shook David's. "Molly, Bart's."
"Oh, very nice. Very prestigious. What are you? A pediatrician?"
Molly sighed internally. Why do they always assume I work with children?
"Not a pediatrician, then. A nurse? A midwife."
Molly closed her eyes for a minute and sighed again. "No, I am a pathologist."
David frowned. "Wow, you don't look like a pathologist."
Molly raised an eyebrow. "What exactly is a pathologist supposed to look like?"
"I don't know: Creepy, plain, weird. Not pretty like you."
Molly shook her head. "That was a back-handed compliment if I ever heard one."
David stood straight. "Hey, I wasn't trying to offend you."
"Well, you did."
David shook his head. "I was just trying to pay you a compliment. You shouldn't take these things so personally."
Molly stepped away from the wall and downed the last of her drink. "I have an early shift tomorrow, so I'm afraid I have to go."
David snorted. "Fine, you want to blend into the background so much you become the bloody wallpaper, be my guest. I was just talking."
Molly turned on him. "No, you were trying to get laid, and I am not bloody wallpaper!"
David rolls his eyes, and grabs Molly's arm. "Listen, I was just trying to be nice, no need to get all hysterical."
Molly tried to pull her arm out of his grasp, but the man refused to let go of her. "Let me go," she said.
David shakes his head. "Not until you calm down and behave yourself. What's wrong with you?"
Molly gritted her teeth and stood her ground. "There is nothing wrong with me, now let me go," she muttered.
"Then why are you acting this way?"
"Because I don't like you and I want to leave!"
Molly took a step back and jerked her arm out of David's grasp, but yet another hand - another male hand - slid around her waist. Molly stiffened. Oh, God, what am I going to do? Caught in between two probably drunk men was never a good thing. Slowly she turned her head to gauge the new threat, only to sag in relief against Sherlock's side.
Sherlock smiled down at her. "Hello, darling. I've been looking everywhere for you," he said pleasantly.
David laughed. "What? She's your girlfriend?" he scoffed?
Sherlock turned to David, and his smile fell from his face. Molly shivered a little. With his fierce eyes, his down-turned mouth, and deep frown, she could almost believe in his self-proclaimed sociopathy.
Sherlock sneered at the man. "No. She is my fiancee, and you have been harassing her."
"I was just talking to her."
Molly scoffed. Oh, yes, "talking." That's what they all say.
Sherlock felt her snort pass through her, and looked down at her. He frowned at the disgust he saw there, but most of all he frowned at the tiredness he saw in his pathologists eyes. He shook his head, not at Molly - never at Molly - but at the man in front of them, fixing his gaze on the man. "No, you were attempting to lure her into circumstances where you could force her into a sexual act that she wouldn't want."
David chuckled. "She would have wanted it."
Molly growled, quite literally growled, and her fist balled at her side.
Sherlock squeezed his hand on her hip, holding her in place. "No, she wouldn't have. Do not come near her again, or I can guarantee you a lengthy stay in a very uncomfortable, undisclosed location. Such a shame you picked a target who has connections. Good night."
Sherlock turned away and guided Molly through the apartment, and out the door to the empty hallway.
Molly pulled out of Sherlock's grasp. "Thank you, Sherlock," she muttered.
Sherlock looked down at her: at her long brown hair curled into a bun, at the tan-coloured dress that hugged her figure, and at her shaking hands as she tried to straighten the fabric - and he frowned. "You're welcome."
Molly took a deep breath and looked up at him, unconsciously flexing her fingers, fisting her hands again and again. "Thank you, Sherlock, but I could have handled him."
Molly blinked. That certainly wasn't the response she expected, not coming from Sherlock. It should have been a long tirade on how she should have never let herself be put into that position; of how stupid it was to go "alone;" or the many, many unfavourable deductions about not just David, but her hair, her clothes, her make-up and what-not; but certainly not "I know." "You know?" Molly asked.
Sherlock nodded. "Of course I know. That doesn't mean you should have had to."
Molly blinked again. "Oh, well, thank you for the moral support."
Sherlock chuckled and smiled. "You're welcome. Fancy a cab home?"
Molly sighed and squared her shoulders. "Actually, I would appreciate a cab back to Bart's. I have a ton of paperwork to do," she said.
Sherlock laughed. "Ever the professional."
"Like you ever take a day off."
Sherlock smiled up at her, and held out his hand. "That's true. I'll join you, if you don't mind," he requested.
Well, this was certainly a first, and Molly wasn't going to let the opportunity slip by. She reached out and took Sherlock's hand - his warm, long fingers closing around hers - and she let him gently lead her down the hall towards the elevator. "I do not mind at all," she replied.
Molly and Sherlock stood in a comfortable silence, waiting for the elevator. With a quiet "ding" the doors opened, and the two stepped inside. As the doors closed Sherlock turned to her, and pulled her into his arms. He rested his cheek in her soft brown hair, and held her close. "You will never be wallpaper to me."
Molly smiled, and returned the embrace. "I know."