Venomous Bite

My primary blog

2013-03-02

Sherlock Meets Irene Adler - BBC Sherlock

One of the most memorable encounters in television history, as Irene Adler (Lara Pulver) meets Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) for the first time in the BBC Sherlock episode "A Scandal in Belgravia."


I think I was inspired by this episode when I had the dream about the Lady Jorana. The antagonist in my dream, a woman of uncommon beauty and great power, could put any man off his stride simply by showing her face or smiling - moreover, the woman knew about this seductive power - was, in fact, counting on it.

I couldn't even begin to analyse the Lady Jorana dream, but I think I can put some thought behind the character of Irene Adler; why the original by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was so controversial back then, and why Lara Pulver's depiction of a 21st century Irene Adler is still controversial today.

I think it's about power. Women in the 21st century are still actively fighting for equality, despite what a lot of men are saying. In particular, male supremacists who insist that now women have achieved equality they don't need to struggle any more.

Anyone can tell from a cursory examination of any current newspapers that the supremacists' insistence is, at the very least, woefully premature. Slut shaming, rape, cultural expectations of women to have babies, and paradoxically the shaming of single mothers ("Who's the father?"), and the war on women in the United States and pretty damn much everywhere else on Earth, from mandatory transvaginal probes for rape victims to brutal stoning of female adulterers and priests of every religion spouting crap about how women would not be raped if they "dressed less sluttily" or "didn't look like they were gagging for it," would suggest that the struggle for equality is far, far from over - that it might indeed have only just begun.

I think that this probably raised a Daily Mail stink when it came out because of what it represented - a woman in control, wielding power, not being meek and mild and submissive, and moreover being independent and self-sufficient, without needing to have a man in her life. I think that the outrage from the press over this scene appearing on TV is, if nothing else, the strongest proof needed that the struggle of women has a long way to go.

By way of wrapping up this rambling train of thought, I'd like to quote a Mexican saying I overheard once - La casa no se reclina sobre la tierra, sino sobre una mujer. "The house does not rest upon the ground, but upon a woman." Some of the strongest people I have ever had the privilege of meeting have been women; those spirited women have often inspired me with their strength and courage. They have earned my trust and respect, and what help and encouragement I can offer them; I only hope that I am worthy of theirs.

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"And if we have unearned luck, now to scape the serpent's tongue, we will make amends ere long. Else the Puck a liar call ..."

So speak.