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ninja-librarian:

aspiringwarriorlibrarian:

geekandmisandry:

Also how can Arthur Conan Doyle write a character like Irene Adler 1891 and have her 1. Outsmart Sherlock Holmes and get away with it and 2. Be in no way a damsel or love interest to Sherlock.. But every modern retelling not only has her be a sexual /love interest character but she is posed as being very very smart… But never smart enough to just outwit him, get away with it and move on? Women can be smart, sure, but no one is allowed to be smarter than Sherlock.

It’s been over 120 years and Irene is, at her best, never as decently treated as the original.

Arthur Conan Doyle: Here’s a story about male insecurity where the police underestimate her for being a woman and feel the need to get her because she’s a woman and Sherlock is ultimately beaten by a woman and in a bit of character development accepts it and acknowledges her intellect.

Sherlock fans: Uh no way Sherlock is smart Sherlock is so so smart she must have used her feminine wiles or her sexy things or her love to undermine him but he gets her in the end i feel a strange catharsis at changing this ending but I’m sure Doyle always meant to be this way, it just feels right.

Half of the reason that Adler was able to out-wit Holmes was because Holmes was too narrow-minded. Holmes is smart and has knowledge of many subjects, but he also strongly relies on social order and norms to solve crimes. He’s even says in A Scandal in Bohemia that:

“When a woman thinks that her house is on fire, her instinct is at once to rush to thing which she values most. It is a perfectly overpowering impulse, and I have more than once taken advantage of it … A married woman grabs at her baby; an unmarried one reaches for her jewel-box.”

Holmes uses this social norm and order to stage an attack and find out where Adler hid the photo in her house. He drops his guard and is so proud of himself because he knew that this would work, he knew that if he created disorder,  “natural” order would attempt to counteract that disorder.

Adler defies those social orders and norms: she is an untitled American woman who earned her own money through a career as an opera star, instead of relying on a husband or family to have financial security; she outwitted Holmes because she cross-dressed and indicated that she frequently did so, allowing her to have a lot more freedom roaming around London on her own terms, and her stage career aided that so that she could act like a man easily; and she didn’t care one bit about her reputation or being a “pure” woman, had several boyfriends, and was known for being an “adventuress”. More importantly, she had the ability to defy those social norms while simultaneously being able to present herself as the ideal respectable and under-estimable Victorian-era woman.

Adler literally defeats Holmes by dressing in drag then happily goes off with her new husband whom she loves very much. And Holmes respects that and is thoroughly impressed. Not only does he respect that, he realizes that he was on the wrong side of things, that he shouldn’t have agreed to take on the case for the King of Bohemia. This is the exchange that follows after Holmes, Watson and the King read Adler’s letter.

“Would she not have made an admirable queen? Is it not a pity that she was not on my level?”

“From what I have seen of the lady she seems indeed to be on a very different level to your Majesty,” said Holmes coldly

Holmes takes Adler’s side and realizes that the photograph is her protection from the King, not something she intended to use as a weapon against him. Adler never exploited the King to get what she wanted, only kept it as a safeguard of her own happiness. She made sure she had a way of ensuring that she alone guided her future.

Irene Adler is “the woman” to Sherlock Holmes, not because she was sexy or he was in love with her. She was a reminder that real life doesn’t always follow what social norms and order are to be expected, that people shouldn’t be taken on face value or respected just because of their title or apparent respectability and ability to follow social order and norms, and that there are two sides to every story.

Take a lesson from Sherlock Holmes, people. Doyle knew what he was doing. If we’re going to keep making him roll over in his grave from creating Sherlock Holmes media, please, at least respect him and Irene Adler.

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