Shit that is not sexist re: Irene’s portrayal in Sherlock:
- She is a sexual person
- She is a sex worker
- She is gay/a lesbian
- She is not 100% perfect 100% of the time
- She does not do literally every single thing on her own
Shit that is just generally not automatically sexist:
- A woman losing
- A woman needing to be helped/saved
- A woman being emotional, vulnerable, etc.
Shit that is problematic, if not downright sexist, re: Irene’s portrayal in Sherlock:
- The fact that she is sexualised in a way that specifically appeals to straight male fantasies when lesbians have a long history of being exploited thus in the media
- The fact that this is used to reinforce the harmful stereotype that lesbians ‘just need the right man’
- The fact that the way she was shown as being flawed was specifically set up to make her lose to a man in a way that reflects common stereotypes about women, i.e. they are more emotionally vulnerable than men, basically reinforcing the idea that traditional femininity = weak
- The fact that Moffat and co. went out of their way to add Irene being saved into a narrative where, originally, she needed no help, in a media which tends to need women to be saved disproportionately to men
- The fact that, again, they went out of their way to change it from a woman winning to a woman losing in a society where dudes typically end up the best off at the end of stories
Context, people. It’s all about context. If SCAN were a different story, then perhaps it wouldn’t have been the problem it is. But SCAN is a story about one thing, and ASiB a story about another, and the discrepancy between what Moffat read and what he wrote is the real issue tbqh.
YES. This is a great summation of the problems I had with this episode.
In the original Scandal in Bohemia, it is made quite clear that Holmes does not consider Irene Adler “The Woman” because he loves her, or even because he cares for her in any real way. She is The Woman because she beat him. She beat him, taunted him, and got away scott free to live out her life how she wanted, in a story written in freakin’ 1891. That is the POINT of Irene Adler.
And in Scandal in Belgravia, Irene Adler is only able to outsmart Holmes because Moriarty gave her the Cliffs Notes, and she STILL loses because of her lady!feelings, and finally she needs to be rescued (from the scary foreign-y foreigners, I might add) by Sherlock.
Yeah, that’s bullshit. That’s bullshit, and it’s NOT THE POINT of The Woman.
But then, when has Moffat EVER gotten the point of female agency?