Cumberbatch on his Cumberbitches: ‘I worry about what it says for feminism’

I never really paid much attention to what “female fans of Benedict Cumberbatch” called themselves/ourselves. I thought “Cumberbitch” was a default name for us, used along-side monikers like “Cumbersluts” and “Cumbergirls” and “The ‘Batched.” But it seems that “Cumberbitches” is a real thing, and they even have a Twitter for all things Cumber-obsessed. Benedict Cumberbatch’s female fanbase of enthralled Cumberbitches has gotten so big that Benedict even gets asked about in interviews now. AND HE ANSWERS. Not only does he talk about The Cumberbitches, but he wonders aloud if one can be a self-proclaimed “Cumberbitch” and a “feminist”. Oh, Cumby. I love you. Some highlights from Cumby’s interview with the August issue of InStyle UK:

On The Cumberbitches: “I wish my 15-year-old self had known about my allure to the opposite sex! It’s flattering, though I worry about what it says for feminism, it’s quite a pejorative term… Cumberbabes might be better.”

Not being comfortable with his fame: “I’m quite sensitive to people noticing me. There are times when I’m relaxed, then others when it does make me self-conscious. I’m not complaining. It’s all come from good things.”

Doing voice work for The Simpsons: “I was at a meeting yesterday in the same place The Simpsons is recorded and heard there was a part going in an episode… I said, ‘I hate to muscle in here, guys, but could I record it?’ Next thing, I’m standing in a room with all those famous voices: Bart, Marge, Homer, Lisa…”

Leaving LA after a four month shoot for Star Trek 2: “I’ve got post-movie depression. I had my last sunset yesterday, so I strolled down the beach and ate a sarnie on the sand dunes.” LA life, he says, has been “surprisingly mellow”, his only complaint being that there aren’t enough libraries. “The members’ clubs here are great fun in the evening, but by day, they’re awfully big and brassy; everyone’s busy rubber-necking so it’s not very private.”

Working in Hollywood versus “small” English stuff: “[The fans] see it as a corrupting golden handshake… [but] I like treating every job as the first time and to do that, I’ll vary the work, so I’ll be a knucklehead and run around with girls and guns, then I’ll slow it down and do something totally different, like Parade’s End.”

Success coming later for him: “I’m glad it all came when it did. I think it’s wonderful that you can go from 19-year-old unknown to superstardom, but for me, having a slightly harder time of it to begin with, doing a lot of theatre work and with every penny counting, means I’m humbled by the reality of the profession”. Though had he achieved success early, he doubts he’d have gone off the rails. “I grew up surrounded by professional actors, so it stood me in good stead. I know what a sin it is to be late, I’m really hot on those sorts of things,” he says, “It’s very easy to burn bridges and many actors don’t think it matters, but it does, because people end up saying, ‘Yeah, he’s great, but you don’t want to work with him because he’s a pain in the ass!'”

He’s currently single, and he’s sort of enjoying being a bachelor: “Yes and no. I have a sort of clock ticking. I’d really like to be a dad before I’m 40, but at the same time, I’m in this weird territory where people know me before I know them.”

His actor parents love his success: “They’re over the moon,” he says, his voice softening. “I flew them out here recently and they came to see me on the Star Trek set. All the stuff that’s happening to me is useless unless you can share it with someone you know. And who better to have by your side than family?”

[From InStyle UK via Digital Spy & ONTD]

Sigh… even though I don’t think it’s anti-feminist (or full-blown misogynistic) for women to refer to themselves as “bitches” or “Cumberbitches” (or “Fassbitches” or “Gandybitches” etc), I do love it when a man talks about feminism. I always loved Jon Hamm because, you know, The Hamm Dong and all of that. But when Hamm started talking about the sisterhood and “sisters doing it for themselves” and really coming out as a strident feminist, my love knew no bounds. I’m starting to feel the same pangs for Cumby.

Oh, and here’s a Cumby interview from a few months ago where Cumby talked about The Cumberbitches:

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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80 Responses to “Cumberbatch on his Cumberbitches: ‘I worry about what it says for feminism’”

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  1. Vera says:

    I see people referring to themselves as Cumberbitches all the time on Tumblr.

    I like that he seems really sincere, though.

  2. Mauibound says:

    From the first sherlock holmes on masterpiece I loved this man! Okay, maybe a little more now…

  3. RuddyZooKeeper says:

    Oooh, I bristled at Cumberbabe. *shiver* Cumberbitches are faithful, fierce, and fearless. A Cumberbabe just sounds like a worthless airhead.

  4. ella says:

    Love him, biological clock and all. So glad he’s found success.

  5. Rin says:

    They’re just trying to compete with the Hiddlestoner’s. Meh. Tom Hiddleston rules!

    • LOL says:

      LMAO! The Terms “Cumberbatched” and the twitter account “Cumberbitch” have been used since 2010, you don’t even know who is Tom Hiddleston then~~ Oh… those loki fangirls entertain me a lot!!!

      BTW, the Alan Carr interview was done in Feb. 2011, not a few months ago.

      • Amelia says:

        Where’s Eve when you need her? I almost got slutshanked by her when I dared question ownership of the Hiddles.
        I’m such a Cumberbitch though. Like RuddyZoo said, babe sounds airheady. It’s like that actress in Skyfall trying to change Bond Girl to Bond Woman – just doesn’t work.

      • Jenne Frisby says:

        Actually, Hiddleston has been on my radar ever since he was the best thing about a horrible storyline in the ill-advised Return to Cranford, in 2007. But to be fair, I’ve also known about Benedict since 2007 because of Atonement. I like that he’s a feminist. I love that he is sad about insufficient libraries. Library talk is the sexiest talk around.

        I like the term “the Batched” because it kind of sounds like debauched, which suits Cumberbitches quite well, I think. 🙂

      • Eve says:

        @ Amelia:

        I’m here — not going to slutshank anybody over Hiddleston anymore though. His army of Hiddlestoners on tumblr have turned me off a great deal. Also, I don’t like the fact I can see that creepy publicist of his in the background of every candid picture taken of him — it’s like the dude is his nanny!

        Oh, and that (mild) crush I had on Oscar Isaac is now a full blown obsession. I haven’t been thinking on anyone else lately.

      • Amelia says:

        Eve, I’m with you on the Tumblr dodging. I wonder if Hiddleston knows how far reaching his influence is …. stuff the new world order and Co$, I reckon Hiddlestoners could take over the world.
        Hmmm… Fatal Attraction publicist? Let’s hope she doesn’t get fired.
        I may join you in your Isaac obsession … He looks great in the Bourne trailer but for the life of me I can’t get past the douche moustache in Suckerpunch.

      • Eve says:

        @ Amelia:

        His publicist is a guy — Luke Windsor (who, apparently, also has tumblr pages dedicated to him).

        You see the way he stands next to Hiddleston? It’s ALWAYS like that. He creeps me out, honestly.

        Dude is more present than Stephen Huvane in Aniston’s pictures. And I’m not suggesting anything, I just find off-putting that Hiddleston is under his constant supervision — he’s a grown-ass man for crying out loud!!!

        On Oscar Isaac in “Sucker Punch”: the movie itself is an exercise in futility, but I’ve lost count of how many times I watched it just for Isaac and his douchestache. Plus, he’s good even when given such poor material to work with.

        But the movies you should watch are “Agora” (by Alejandro Amenábar) and “W.E.” (Madonna’s collage of video clips — seriously, there’s a scene that looks EXACTLY like her video for “Rain”). He’s also amazing in “Drive” and “Robin Hood” (as King John).

      • Amelia says:

        Oh, HIM!! I saw Hiddles on a talk show a while ago and they did some sort of ‘candid’ behind the scenes thing and the guy was always. there.
        He looks part lost little boy, part sociopath who’d lock you in the basement. It’s the eyes … ¬¬
        Those films have gone on my summer physio DVD list ^^

      • Eve says:

        I saw Hiddles on a talk show a while ago and they did some sort of ‘candid’ behind the scenes thing and the guy was always. there.

        It’s weird, isn’t it? And I think his smile creeps me out a way more than his eyes. But don’t you dare say that to a Hiddlestoner because, like you said on another thread, you’re not allowed to say anything even remotely negative about Hiddleston or anything related to him or they’ll hunt you down and kill you with their bare hands.

        And I understand Hiddleston is probably his biggest/most important client but, really, does he need to be watched like that???

        P.S.: You’ll love Isaac in those movies — I guarantee you that.

  6. beyonce's bump says:

    i do not get his appeal at all. A cumberbitch I am not.

    • Micki says:

      I don’t get it quite either but still prefer him over Fassbender(and as an actor too.Fasbender was a horrible Mr.Rochester).
      Fassy looks like a happy lizzard on a sunny rock.I don’t get his appeal at all.
      But my favourite is Richard Armitage.His Armitage’s Army fans crashed I#Net sometime ago.And his face is more to my liking.

      • Amelia says:

        OH my goodness Micki don’t get me started on Richard Armitage….
        He killed me in his last series in Spooks. One of the reasons I will actually watch the Hobbit.

      • Micki says:

        Ohhh, PLS, lets get started!LOL.I have a weak spot for sharp features and loved him not only in Spooks and notorious North and South but in Strike back too.Have you seen it?
        And of course I’ll watch the Hobit too.

      • Amelia says:

        Seem ’em both … loved Strike Back, but I was so annoyed in the 2nd series though when they decided to replace him. But, he was moving onwards and upwards, so hey ho.
        But, his Guy of Gisbourne…. 0_o

      • Micki says:

        I think he had signed for the Hobit at the time the second Strike back was filmed,more the pity.
        I honestly didn’t like Robin Hood much, it was sort of mockery.And the Maid Marianne annoyed the shit out of me, Robin was (mentally)just barely out of his diapers.All in all even Armitage could save it for 10 eps. but that was it.I watched it just because of his…voice if you’ll believe me.

      • beyonce's bump says:

        i loveeee fass but i had to lmao at sunny lizard! lolol

    • Ailine says:

      He makes a good Sherlock, but I find the character too arrogant. I am not one of those women who like arrogant assholes–even if he is a genius. I haven’t seen the second season yet though.

    • T.C. says:

      You have to watch Sherlock. It will change your mind about him. So sexy.

  7. phaksi says:

    I just watched the the first episode of the 2nd season of Sherlock; I am definetly in love 🙂

  8. Gwen says:

    He sounds like a really smart and nice man. Hard not to like him 😀

    • T.C. says:

      Isn’t he wonderful. I got Cumberbatched a month ago now there is no turning back. lol.

  9. Aud says:

    HE should play the role of that Grey dude from the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy.

    • miriam says:

      Ugh, no self-respecting actor is going to play that role. Just accept it.

      • Lindsay says:

        Haha, Miriam, right?!

      • Ms Deb says:

        Miriam, I have to agree with you that no self-respecting….. However, when I read (and re-read) the books, he is the man I see in my mind. Just saying…..but only with Sherlock’s shaggy hair : )

  10. Julie says:

    im not a cumberbitch but he certainly has a unique look and thats always great.

  11. alonsyalonso1 says:

    Goodness he’s lovely. Hurrah for wanting more libraries! <3

  12. Katyusha says:

    “oh, Cumby.” lolz

  13. Mairead says:

    Cumberbabes might be better

    Dear, sweet boy – NO!

    And I would like to assure everybody that it is wholly possible to be feminist AND appreciate beautifully-sculpted cheekbones and killer talent. 😈

  14. v says:

    “Cumberbabes” is worse…

  15. TheOriginalKitten says:

    I don’t get the appeal either but he does seem pretty awesome, at least based on this interview.

  16. Rll says:

    If he’s so single, why’s he always at the same parties as that Hearst chick

    • WaywardGirl says:

      Uh, because that’s his own business. He can go out with whomever he wants. He has said multiple times she is one of his friends. So, if he wants to go to parties with her, he can.

    • MissMary says:

      They’re friends, have been for a while. Same w/him and Alice Eve and some others. He’s one of those guys with a lot of female friends.

      • Alice says:

        Yeah, but I do not attend all the same parties any of my friends do, I don’t cross the ocean every time my friends do and I definitely don’t have my PR person announce that we’re in a “very close relationship.” I’m starting to think the “aw, shucks, I’m single and want to be a dad,” thing is a PR gimmick.
        But maybe I’m just cynical… They might be really great together. And maybe he’s just trying to protect his young fans from looking her up out of curiosity and then seeing her nude photos. (But if that’s the case, a simple “no comment” would suffice.”)

    • Miss Mary says:

      For some reason it wouldn’t let me reply to Alice’s post… Anyway, friend who works in the industry says LH is total famewh*re (I don’t know—just repeating friend’s words) so *shrug* make what you will of that. I don’t think they’re dating esp since he’s gone to a ton of stuff solo and w/Alice Eve, and with non famous friends as well as LH so I’m of the “just good friends” camp, esp since it was BC’s PR that smacked down dating rumors with “to say they’re dating is pushing it”.

      • Alice says:

        Thank you for the inside/industry view, Miss Mary! Hopefully you have cured my cynicism. (For some reason, it didn’t bother me who he might be dating, but it really bugged me if he was in a serious relationship and hiding it just to build his female fan base or something. I don’t know why, since 1) it’s none of my business and 2) normally I give people the benefit of the doubt.)

  17. grabbyhands says:

    I admit, the Cumberbitch name makes me cringe a little-not so much because I’m like, AH MAH GAH, SO MISOGYNIST, but mostly because it comes from all the Tumblr fangirl craziness, which can be pretty weird. But I agree, Cumberbabe isn’t much better. It reminds me too much of Twilight Mom.

    I adore that he missed the libraries. But if he’s looking for intellectual stimulation on a film shoot, Hollywood is probably the wrong place to search.

  18. Halfmydadsage says:

    I love the Alan Carr interview. It’s gingerbatch for the win. Love when he’s ginger. Go Cumbercrushing.

  19. Ravensdaughter says:

    More of a “Cumberbabe” than ever thanks to Benedict’s sensitive comment!
    Alan Carr-hilarious!-must see if I can track his show down online!

    • iseepinkelefants says:

      You can get Alan’s show online. There are UK Telly sites where lovely members upload pretty much everything on tv so ex-pats and Anglophiles can get their fix.

  20. tarrydidle says:

    He has beautiful hands.

  21. irishserra says:

    I can see his point about “Cumberbitches.” Women have fought (among many things) against the use of such labels (“bitch”) by people who have intended the name to be negative and demeaning. Some women now claim that taking back the label and using it themselves strips the power away from those who use it negatively, but others view it as the undoing of years of work. There are many men out there now who continue to throw the term around in a derogatory manner and then point to the fact that women use it today amongst themselves as justification for their own use the term.

    Both sides have validity, but I tend to lean toward the latter.

    It smacks of the debate about the “N” word, and who can use it, etc.

    That being said, I do find Cumberbatch appealing, but in a way I can’t describe. I don’t necessarily find him handsome or sexy, but then I haven’t seen enough of him. I will have to check out some more of his work. (I had to go back up and verify what his actual last name is… I forgot! Cumberbitch, Cumberbabe, Cumberpatch, Cumberbatch… so confusing. :o)

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      I so agree with everything you just said but this is exactly why the PC standard of eradicating words is insane.
      No words should be off-limits, words should be taken IN context and judged accordingly. Censorship isn’t the answer.

      For instance, I wouldn’t be offended by Kaiser calling us readers “bitches” (which she often does) nor would I be offended by a gay man using the term “fabulous bitch” or a straight man using that term (although pretty unlikely he would 😉 ).

      But I WOULD be offended if a man who has a history of violence/misogyny, like say Mel Gibson, referred to a woman as a “stupid bitch”. Overzealous PCers want to make this a black and white issue but it’s just not, so many gray areas and we need to evaluate each situation individually. It’s not about the word “bitch” in and of itself, it’s about who’s using it and the context in which they do. Banning certain words or condemming them as “off-limits” is not a fix to this problem.

      • irishserra says:

        Very good point. I don’t get up in arms about the word, but I do cringe a bit when I hear it, probably because of what that word meant in our home growing up. It’s just really difficult for me to label someone a bitch unless I’m really pissed off (which of course means that I would tend to use it in a very negative – wrong – way); hence, I try to stay away from it.

        But like you said, if I was deemed a “fabulous bitch” in the context you refer to, I certainly would not make an issue of it. It would be hypocritical of me to do so, when I have a difficult time understanding offense in other un-PC words such as retarded, but then I’ve never had any family members with handicaps that at one time were labeled such.

        I really appreciate Benedict Cumberbatch’s sentiment though. It’s nice to run across a man who has a real respect/concern for women, as he appears to.

      • marie says:

        exactly, you described my feelings on this perfectly.. it’s all about the context and intent behind the word, but not the word itself..

      • Amelia says:

        Brilliant post, Kitten 🙂

      • Lindy says:

        I totally love the way you put this, OriginalKitten! It very often is about context and usage.

        Also, I would rather be a Cumberbabe than a Cumberbitch. Damn, I have the hots for this man.

    • iseepinkelefants says:

      I could never get behind the term because I find it derogatory. Not to say that the occasional “what’s up bitches” and the like offend me but for some reason Cumberbitches does. I don’t have a problem when women say it to each other in jest but for some reason when men call women bitches whether they’re saying it in a playful manner pr what have you, it doesn’t matter. I don’t care for it.

      But I realize that it really is dependent on the context, the person and the manner in which it’s said.

      That said rech to Cumberbabe. Babe is just so… old fashioned and gross. It’s probably just me but babe, baby those just skeeve me out.

  22. EscapedConvent says:

    I thought he couldn’t be any more wonderful, then I read that he was lamenting there weren’t enough libraries in LA. Sigh.

    Please, someone, begin human cloning immediately, just this one time.

  23. Ming says:


    Hello, Iam a young lady infituated with a man made of cheese.

  24. Quinton Wirfs says:

    Studies like this bring up some great discussions. Looking forward to more articles like this.

  25. Lisa says:

    He’s a feminist AND he’s sad that there aren’t enough libraries in LA. Wow. Where can I get one just like him?

  26. jamie says:

    So relieved, I thought from the title of the post he might he might have adopted some snotty attitude of ‘I’m an actor not a heart throb’. I’m glad he can have fun with it. Makes me even more a cumberbitch.

  27. Stacy Dresden says:

    Don’t worry about us modern-day feminists, Hot Sherlock. We co-opted the term ‘bitch’ long ago. 😉

  28. Reece says:

    So polarizing…While I appreciate his thoughts on the title & it’s meaning…No, No. No! “Babes” is far more insulting to me than “Bitch”.

    *grumbles* Sounds like somebody has been hanging out in “Hollywood”. There are LA City, LA County, and the individual city system libraries. (LA City main library downtown is gorgeous!) If the local branch doesn’t have to book you want you can request it and it will be sent to your local. No driving out to the boonies. There are plenty of libraries in LA. IN LA not “Hollywood” there’s a difference.

    Edit: All have websites btw. You don’t even have to travel to the local until the book gets there.
    Rant Over.

  29. Sarah says:

    Meh, not really my cup of tea, but then I’m embroiled in a heavy duty crush on Tom Wlaschiha so every guy is lookin that way nowadays.

    • grabbyhands says:

      I DEMAND that they find a way to bring Jaquen Hgar (before he went to uglyface)back to Game of Thrones next season.

  30. grayze says:

    I think he’s an entirely decent guy, and very intriguing. I loved him in Sherlock, but I have to admit my fascination died *because* of the “Cumberbitches” and the fandom generally – not the name, but the vibe is just so intense it scared me off!

  31. Issa says:

    He has a really big brain…and I like that in a man 🙂

  32. Rose says:

    I haven’t really seen any of Cumberbatch’s work, nor do I go nuts over his looks. But reading interviews like this, he seems like a great guy and is keepin’ it real–and that’s very attractive.

  33. buckley says:

    There are tons of libraries in Los Angeles, they are just all spread out much like the city itself…

    • ZenB!tch says:

      See my comment below. I was wondering if he meant bookstores because like you said they (libraries) are all over. Each little named area has one. However they won’t lend to him, I signed up because they lend to Kindles now and they asked me for a utility bill proving I was a resident of Los Angeles.

  34. ZenB!tch says:

    To my fellow LA peeps – WTF are members clubs.

    I’m not even sure what he means by “libraries”. The LA City Libraries are horrid but they are all over. Not sure if they lend to Brits – they ask for a utility bill. Our chain bookstores are all gone but the reading rate has gone up since the Kindle was invented so not necessarily a bad or illiterate thing. There are also some cool niche bookstores in Los Feliz, WLA and the Valley. I’m a weirdo and love the Psychic Eye but there are all sorts even the kind with really pricey cool looking original books from 1870. I look but I can’t buy.

    In short – bemoaning the lack of libraries and the lack of prihvuhcee in members only clubs makes him sound like a bigger pompous ass than Tom Cruise.

    • buckley says:

      fellow L.A. peep here.. have no idea what he means by members clubs…

    • Miss Mary says:

      Member’s clubs are popular amongst the posh set in the UK and BC is a member of one in London. They’re basically old school or striving to be old school clubs where people (used to be just men) go for drinks and socializing and networking (if you’ve seen Sherlock series 2, Mycroft’s Diogenes club is a member’s club). Members pay a (usually steep) subscription/membership fee with the intent that a membership limits the clientele and makes it more exclusive and “private.”

  35. Bec says:

    “I do love it when a man talks about feminism…. when Hamm started talking about ‘sisters doing it for themselves’ and really coming out as a strident feminist, my love knew no bounds”
    These quotes just described me to a T.

    I had never heard of Cumby before but now (w/ his talk of feminism and all) I’m hooked! Those EYES. I bet he’s the kind of guy that is even hotter (like insanely hot) in real life.