Defense of Scully's Mothering

From Fanlore
Jump to: navigation, search
Title: Defense of Scully's Mothering
Creator: LoneThinker
Date(s): late 1990s
Medium: online
Fandom: X-Files
External Links: The X-Files: commentary and analysis of Dana Scully, Archived version
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.


Defense of Scully's Mothering is an essay by LoneThinker.

It is one of many essays at The Cave's X-Files Commentary Archives.


I know "mothering" is a loaded word, crammed with shades of meaning (restrictive, controlling, condescending and out-of-touch are some of the less pleasant ones that come to mind) and value--as in "just a mom".

I think Scully mothers people, and I think she mothers Mulder, and I don't see that as a negative. She has a real sense of compassion that shows up in the way she treats people--from crime victims to Gibson Praise to Clyde Bruckman--that seems to come from a deeper, more instinctive base than a mere sympathetic attitude for whoever happens to be in distress. And she is perceptive to the extreme where Mulder is concerned (situations, for instance, that will pull his strings, like the investigation in Paper Hearts.) She seems always to have one finger on Mulder's emotional pulse. But this emotional monitoring goes beyond partner-support or any concerns a counselor (or a doctor, since Scully is a doctor) would have. It flows directly from her love for him (unselfed love, not necessarily romance.)

But why do I think it's more than empathy, or good bedside manner, or that it can't be explained away as a blanket sense of compassion for humanity? Probably because I've been there.
This is not to imply that Scully has no other kinds of feelings for Mulder. Neither is it an implication that she is strong and he is weak. Mulder has saved Scully any number of times, and beyond the obvious physical rescues, he has given her the inspiration of his passion for his work and stretched the boundaries of her rigidly ordered world. The magic of the bond between them is that they are always there to save each other, no matter how much their professional points of view may clash. And part of Scully's saving is the instinctive, selfless way she watches out for her partner. It's what moms do, too, and that doesn't cheapen it one bit.