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Unimpressed by Irene

18th January 2013 (15:14)

Mood: blah

I went to see "The Hobbit" with my friend Lara last monday. After the film I still had an hour until my train was leaving, so Lara and I decided to have a drink at a café. We talked a bit about the film (we both liked it) and about watches (I really need a proper one) before we got to Sherlock, like we do most of the time (when it´s not Teen Wolf).

Lara said that she wished that Gatiss and Moffat would make Moran a woman. She thought that for a sniper you don´t necessarily have to be a man as you do not need strenght, and for the rest she could actually use her brains.
"Moriarty is unpredictable, and having a woman as his right hand would be compeltely in character!"
I agreed that it would be a nice change and given the rest of the series they could do it if they wanted to.
Well, if.
I then saidt that I wished there were more female characters, but if Moran was a woman than it would somehow make Irene Adler less of a "strong" and intelligent woman as she was presented to us and Sherlock in "A Scandal in Belgravia".
Lara agreed unhappily. And then she asked me what I thought about the Sherlock Holmes short story "A Scandal in Bohemia".

I read this short story about a year ago and can´t remember the whole story, but I do recollect that I put a lot of expectations into it. Before I read it I watched the episode of Sherlock and then read an interview with Mark Gatiss where he stated that Irene Adler was a really impressive and strong female character, keeping in mind the time and place of the story.

I expected so much more. I don´t say that I didn´t like the story, and I don´t claim that I expected her to be in any way similar to women nowadays but still, I expected more.
What was it that I didn´t like?

Well, first, Irene hardly ever apears in person (something Lara hated the most), mostly Holmes talks about her. I can let it pass if it wasn´t for the rest of what she does or rather, doesn´t do.
Holmes is told to get a picture from her which shows his client and Adler in a rather...compromising position.
To find out where Irene Adler hides the picture Holmes and Watson initiate a false fire alert which exposes the hiding place, and when Holmes goes back to her house to get the picture, he pulls a letter adressed to him and the picture from the hiding place. In the letter it merely says that she wasn´t suspicious until the false fire alert and that he could have the picture as she didn´t need it anymore (she married someone the day before).

Seriously, I don´t see where she outwitted Holmes. Well, she found out what Holmes wanted, but she wrote herself that she was warned against him long before Holmes was even employed to get the picture. So she knew she had to be careful, didn´t she?

Then, there was Adler in the BBC series. She certainly was intelligent, but I didn´t like the fact that she used her sexuality to get what she wanted. I also didn´t like the scene where she was completely naked. Apparently it is still thought that women have power over men just because they have breasts and a vagina, but I´m certain that this is utterly wrong and more of a... kink.
OK, have your kink, I don´t care, I have my own.
But saying Irene is a strong woman just because she is the Dominatrix? *shakes head*

Yes, Lara and I completely agreed on everything regarding Irene. Lara also said that Mark Gatiss is often refered to as misogynist because of Sherlock. Looking at the female characters, some might think that because there are only three reoccuring ones. And I like all of them, they all have distinct characters. But maybe the problem is that there are ONLY three female characters, and the fourth one occuring only once is Irene, and I already talked about her.

Please don´t get me wrong, I love Sherlock. It is a brilliant series, one of the very few good ones. I also think it should have been on prime time and much more advertised for here in Germany. But just as Lara, I wish for a strong female character I can relate to. The series is placed in the present time, and there were made some many other adjustments already, so how about you give us another one?

This is also the reason why I was so disappointed by Elementary. I watched the first episode with Lara yesterday. It was so boring. And Sherlock and Watson weren´t Sherlock and Watson. Give them other names, and the show would be great. And how about giving us more than five minutes to introduce the characters? How about focusing more on them instead of the case (which was a ridiculous one)?
When I first heard about the series I was angry as the Americans purposefully copied Sherlock although they didn´t get permission to redoe the British series. And because they made Watson a woman I thought they just did it to actually make it a love story.
But apparently the latter is wrong (at least for now) and I could forgive them the first offence if it was actually Sherlock Holmes, which it isn´t. In my opinion.
But I think both characters could be interessting and Lucy Lui´s character is strong and intelligent, and sadly we lack that a bit nowadays.
As Anita Sarkeesian said, we need more Veronica Marses in our television shows! And Joan Watson would be one of them.

And this raises another issue I had about "The Hobbit". I truely liked the film. It was a fun one. But when I sat in the train back home, I had the strong desire of there being a female character except for that elf woman whose name I´ve forgotten as soon as it was said (I have the strong impression that she was just there for decoration).
I know that the book the film is based on is very old and that one would have never sent a woman out to have adventures at that time, but still I was sad about that fact. I love those fantasy films and books where the characters go out and have an adventure, that´s why I thought I should see The Hobbit (and maybe give LOTR a try). But the non-woman fact is quite sobering.

Did I ever tell you about when I was a child? In kindergarten I just had one good friend who was so thick headed that I did everything she wanted because otherwise she would have got angry and left me alone (I was never really self-aware, and the crappy friends I had over my life didn´t help to improve that). She always wanted to re-play Disney films, and I liked that, too, but I always had to play the male characters as she wanted to be the leading female character.
We were young girls, of course we sought a role model in every female character in every film we saw. We wanted to be like them, we learned from them.
And just on that evening in the train on monday I realised that even in Disney films there are too few female characters, and suddenly I understood why even there being only the two of us there still were not enough female characters to look up to and divide between us.

It is so sad, and I wish it was different. I want to watch a film an think "Well, that is someone I would like to be!". Because, this is what I do when I like a film or series very much. I think of being one of the characters. Maybe that is why there are so many Mary-Sue fanfiction out there. Because we lack interesting female characters which we can relate to.

I don´t say that there aren´t a lot of films with female characters in it, but the ones I can think of are mostly chick-flick ones. And there is just one other series I can think of that´s cast is mainly women (and is a good series).

That´s my opinion. I would love to hear your opinion on that, as I recently tend to see misogynists everywhere (according to someone).


Posted by: slashbabe (slashbabe)
Posted at: 18th January 2013 14:56 (UTC)

Um ganz kurz auf deinen letzten Satz einzugehen: Wenn man irgend etwas neu kennenlernt/für sich entdeckt, sieht man es immer eine Zeitlang überall und wundert sich darüber warum man es vorher nie gesehen hat.
Es ist als wäre diese Sache vorher überhaupt nicht da gewesen. Und plötzlich ist es überall. Natürlich stimmt das nicht. Aber ich finde dieses Phänomen an und für sich faszinierend. :)
Es ist gut wenn du es zur Zeit überall siehst. So kannst du dich damit auseinandersetzen udn wirst mit der Zeit lernen das Wichtige von dem nicht so wichtigen zu unterscheiden.

Posted by: Sarah (girl_with_cow)
Posted at: 20th January 2013 20:30 (UTC)

Ja, als ob es vorher nie dagwesen wäre, genau so fühlt es sich an! So als ob ich vorher blind war und jetzt die Erleuchtung hatte...
Faszinierend schon, aber ich merke dass es für manche Menschen um mich rum dann doch schwer ist (;

Posted by: slashbabe (slashbabe)
Posted at: 18th January 2013 15:13 (UTC)

Ein wenig ot, aber sehr interessant zu lesen: http://bitchmagazine.org/article/fan-tastic-voyage

Posted by: Rosa Prufrock (VictorianDoubt)
Posted at: 19th January 2013 21:44 (UTC)

Hi! :)
Here's Rosa, from Uni! *waves shyly*
I have to say, that I totally share your opinions on Irene! I can't really remember what I thought when I read "Scandal in Belgravia", but I think you're right about the BBC's Irene. Thanks to tumblr I kind of knew the fandom's opinions on her before even watching the episode, and everybody seemed so very fascinated by her, but after watching the show I didn't quite understand. Like you I was disappointed by the naked scene (and actually the whole dominatrix thing), which shows nothing else than her using her sexuality to overpover men. :/
I'm not sure though if it makes sense to call Mark Gatiss a misogynist because of Sherlock - the show is meant as a adaption of the original novels, and there aren't more or even stronger women in them, which of course is more a general phenomenon of the Victorian age than of someone being a misogynist. ;)

So you didn't like Elementary? I haven't seen any of it yet, but I definitely want to give it a try! I read that the cases were quite boring, as you wrote, but that Sherlock was better in being really clever without being an asshole. ;) I'm not saying that Sherlock is an asshole, definitely not (!!) but for sure he's quite a showoff and never skips an opportunity to tell other people how stupid they are, which I find quite annoying after a while. (NOT only because he can't stop picking on poor fluffy Anderson! xD)

Well, this comment turned out to be a lot of blaah, but whatever. I always use many words to say not so many things. ;)

All in all, what I wanted to say: I like your entry!! Thumbs up!! =)

Posted by: Sarah (girl_with_cow)
Posted at: 20th January 2013 20:44 (UTC)
Union Jack Love

Hi! Nice to see you around here :)

About Irene: There was a thought I had before which slashbabe pointed out to me after I posted this entry: Irene being completly naked prevented Sherlock from reading anything from her appearance. This is actually very clever. But, well, I still didn´t like that scene that much.
And yeah, the Dominatrix thing, not that appealing.
I agree with you, I think it is a bit too much to call Gatiss a misogynist. Based on the not-enough-females-theory you could actually call most male producers/directors a misogynist.

Yes, I didn´t like it, but you should definitely watch an episode and make your own judgment. And as I said, the characters were good as far as I know, but the first case was really....stupid. Seriously stupid, worse than most CSI cases.

You do love Anderson, don´t you XD

Don´t say that, I liked your comment :) . Very insightful. Thumbs up (;
And thanks for the thumbs up :D

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