IMPORTANT BREAKING NEWS: You can now buy pants with Benedict Cumberbatch's face all over them.
(Thanks to BuzzFeed for bringing this vital information to us.)
Let's talk about the leggings above for a sec, because, whoa nellie, it's a slow news week and the Internet fell all over itself for these things real quick.
On one hand, these are hilarious and obviously made by a company that doesn't take itself seriously (someone buy me those macaron-print pants please and thank you). But does this not look like every serial killer's bedroom wall in every cop thriller you've ever seen?
Don't get me wrong: I love me some Benny C. Trust me, I do plenty of breathless ogling at him in the privacy of my own living room (dude can wear the HELL out of a suit and that little half-smile he does sometimes when he laughs oh my God). But the more I read about him, the more I feel really bad for the guy: He's one in a growing list of male heartthrobs who seem to be a little uncomfortable with their sex-symbol status, and I'll bet seeing things like these take over Google search trends probably doesn't help him feel any more at ease. I mean really, these pants are kind of the clothing equivalent of a long, uninvited leer on public transit. Just sayin'.
But since I don't feel like spawning a flame war in the comments section today, I’ll stop here. You and only you can decide how to feel about Benedict Cumberpants—because if you want to have a discussion about whether fan art is fun or creepy, these pants are the least of your worries. Instead of my gettin' all philosophical on ya, let's take a look at even odder items with Benedict Cumberbatch's face on them.
I figured Etsy was the place to go for this kind of thing. I got as far as “she” in the search bar before it autocompleted to a laundry list of Sherlock-related search terms, which I thought might be a foreboding sign of what I was getting myself into. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised by the results: For the most part, the world of Cumberbatch fan art, even the stuff that with his famously-divisive face front and center on it, was actually quite cute and respectful. I started preparing to shift the tone of this post to reflect that I was really encouraged by the amount of restraint I found.
But then I started noticing an alarming amount of shirtless, subtly-softcore sketches of him.
(I’m so sorry. That’s the worst of it, I swear.)
And the fan art just got weirder from there. Here's an illustration of him as an angel:
And here he is with a hedgehog:
(Is this a thing from the show? I gave up after a few episodes.)
There are also a lot of Benedict Cumberbatch earrings.
Like, a lot of them. Earrings aren’t that much different from pants, I suppose, but there’s something about the fact that it’s just his floating head—attached to your non-floating head—that’s a pinch more awkward.
I also found a startling number of Benedict Cumberbatch pillows. Not THOSE kind of pillows, perv. Throw pillows.
(But let's be real, at least some of the buyers are probably using them as a human stand-in. "Benedict cumberbatch pillow" was one of the suggested search terms at the bottom of the results page.)
Here’s a Cumberbatchian doll head, which comes severed and in a box.
Then there are T-shirts declaring your devotion to him, which, whether they are on a young girl or a grown woman, always make me a little uncomfortable:
You can also express your love with this unnecessarily-angry shirt.
Wow, OK, chill out.
Lastly, there’s this:
I know I said mere months ago that words should never be banned, but can we maybe think about replacing this with something else? I was actually kind of ambivalent on "Cumberbitch" until I saw it on a shirt (and as a necklace) just now. The man himself has proposed the less-degrading “Cumberbabe” as an alternative, and personally, I’m way more OK with Cumberbatch thinking of me as a "babe" than I am with him considering me a "bitch."
In conclusion, I’m no closer to understanding what makes some fan art funny, some totally fine, and some just plain weird. The only thing I think on the matter is that we all know weird fan art when we see it, but it probably only makes us uncomfortable because it reminds us that we're ALL kind of weird to be fetishizing a real, living human we've never met in the first place.