The topic of Killian Jones is hotly debated in the Once Upon A Time community. It seems you either love him or loathe him. Accusations are thrown at him-sociopath, murderer, abuser, misogynist, rapist. For now, I’m focusing on mainly the last three. I’ll set the record right now, he isn’t any of these.
Is he a rapist?
Answer: no. Not only have we never seen him rape anyone but it would be extremely OOC of him to be a rapist, given that one of his defining character traits is endorsing people’s agency. There are two scenes that Hook haters use as “evidence” (note how lightly I use the term) of him being a rapist.
- The infamous “when I jab you with my sword you’ll feel it” line from season 2. Now let me say, as someone who does love Hook, this line made me uncomfortable (cue ACS screaming in the distance. Sexual humour ain’t for me). And with Hook leaning over Emma, it gives off creepy vibes. But it is not a rape threat, given that just before, he said he didn’t want to have sex with her-“Normally I prefer other more enjoyable activities, but you’ve left me no choice.” He flat out distinguishes sex and violence. Furthermore, he was stalling for time at that point. In addition, we later learn he threw the fight, so he was stalling for time and used his sexuality as a means of doing so (which makes one wonder where he learned that). One innuendo with poor timing does not make one a rapist.
- The bar scene in the s3 finale. Past!Hook says to Emma “If I didn’t know better I’d think you were trying to get me drunk, which is usually my tactic.” However, look at the whole context. Emma is the one pretending to seduce him. Therefore what Hook is really saying is “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you [are not trying to seduce me you’re] trying to get me drunk”. Meaning he thinks she’s getting him drunk for the purposes of NON SEXUAL ACTIVITY (ie getting information). Later on, he asks Emma’s consent twice-“Come back with me for a nightcap or shall I find someone else” (he flat out gives her the option of rejecting him and if she does he’d find another sexual partner), “I do hope you’re not having second thoughts” (again, gives her the option of leaving). Finally, you do realise that Killian is being sexually assaulted in this scene? Emma (much as I love her and get why she did it) had gotten him drunk and then made out with him. So taking a scene where a man is being sexually assaulted and using it as evidence of said man being a rapist…. doesn’t that seem victim blaming to you?
- As I’ve said, Killian is constantly endorsing women’s agency. More on that in the next part.
- He has had plenty of chances to take advantage of Emma but didn’t. In 5a he could have taken advantage of her spiral downwards to have sex but didn’t, he walked away from her knowing she wasn’t herself. All I’m saying is that if he were a rapist who wanted in Emma’s pants, he’d have likely seized that chance.
Is he a misogynist?
Answer: heck no! He’s quite the opposite. Look at how he treats women, take off the anti goggles and pseudo feminism and look. He treats women as equals.
- He listens to women and takes them seriously. Examples:
(2×06) Emma: Waiting for a giant to fall asleep isn’t (risky)? Hook: Point taken.
(4×03) Elsa: When you have the weight of the world on your shoulders, it can be hard to let people in, to trust them. Hook (to Emma, later): I know you feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders.
See the pattern? He takes what they have to say seriously and listens to them. Also note how he was proven wrong by a woman, Emma, and just said ‘yea ok point taken’, something he does a lot (“You were right, I was weak”, “I sacrificed your prince, I’m so sorry Ariel”).
2. He has no problems with taking orders or instructions from women.
Season 2, he took orders from Cora, not a word of complaint about how he took orders from a woman. He also respected the authority and strength of Team Princess (“you lot are far safer company”)
Season 3, repeatedly took orders from Emma (“go get some firewood” “as you wish”).
Season 5, he allies himself with Zelena (albeit briefly) in 5×08
Season 6, Ashley asked him to look after her baby (a typically feminine task) and he did so, only protesting slightly because he didn’t know how to look after a child.
He has no qualms with working with women and being equals. He says to Emma that they make “quite the team”.
His relationship with Milah deserved a point in itself. Let’s see how they met; he punched a man in the face for sexually harassing her. Then she turned him down and he respected that and gave her the option to change her mind before leaving her alone. Then later, he sat in a tavern with her and listened to her rant about her life, again taking an interest in what she had to say. Later, he respected her agency by taking her on board the Jolly (rather than dismissing her with “you have responsibilities”-side eyes Rumple). We later see she was his second mate and had much respect in the crew, to the point where she gave the orders.
4. He refuses to objectify women.
Look at 4×02. David, much as I love him, was showing some sexist attitudes towards his daughter-“I think it’s time we have a little talk about your intentions with my daughter”. Hook’s response? “I think that’s a bit old fashioned.” Go on you, Killian, becuase two men don’t get to decide a woman’s life for her (side eyes Neal and August). In the same episode he states that his and Emma’s relationship is “up to her as much as me.”
And when Belle accuses him of ‘stealing’ Milah he immediately shuts her down and points out that if a woman begs to be taken away it’s not theft (though I do cut Belle some slack since he’s only heard the story from Rumple’s perspective).
5. He builds up and praises women.
Let’s look at some of the things Hook has said to women in the series:
“You’d make a hell of a pirate” (to Emma, note he’s saying she’d do well in a male dominated profession)
“Look who’s still a fairy” (to Tink)
“Nice shot” (to Emma)
“You can do it” (to Emma)
“No, it was Ariel, she never stopped believing” (about Ariel, he still builds her up)
“I’ve yet to see you fail” (to Emma).
“My Emma’s too strong for that” (to Emma)
“You can overcome anything” (to Emma)
“Well, you’re a brave lass….. You have a rare gift” (to Ursula)
6. Endorsement of women’s agency.
He wouldn’t hear of anyone using the Dagger on Dark Emma because “it has to be her choice“. He took Milah’s ‘no’ and left, but not before giving her the option of leaving “should that ever change”. He helped Milah and Belle leave their toxic marriages (both, ironically, to Rumple).
7. General respect for women
- The bar wench in 3×17, he pays her despite not having sex with her, makes no inappropriate gestures and politely sends her on her way.
- Helps Belle hide from Rumple in 6a and gives her a means of contacting him.
- Saving Aurora’s heart, thereby helping her regain her freedom.
- When Emma sees her mother die in 3×22, he comforts her and helps her grieve
- When Emma asks him to be patient or she’s not in the mood, he doesn’t speak to her again until she comes to him
- Comforting Belle when she was upset about Rumple (4×11), reassuring her that he did love her
Has Hook harmed women? Hell yes. Does that make him a misogynist? Hell no. Here’s the thing, hurting a woman and violence against women are two separate things. If Belle were Bob, Ariel were Eric and Aurora were Arthur, he’d have done the same. He was a cruel villain at the time who hurt those who got in his way. The irony is that saying Hook is misogynistic because he hurt women is misogynistic in itself because you are reducing strong, capable women to their gender and reinforcing a “Don’t Hit Girls” mentality.
So there you have it, Killian Jones, pirate, hero and feminist.