Nearly every time I see someone accusing Moffat of sexism, I must headdesk.
Doyle wrote in a time when women were socially restricted, and he nudged a few of those barriers by making Irene Adler an intelligent adversary for Holmes.
Does no one else see that Steven Moffat did something fairly similar? Female sexuality is strongly looked down upon, (we call it “sluttiness”) whereas it’s often praised in males or otherwise seen as a mild annoyance (we call it Dean Winchester). We’re fine with John having gone through a number of girlfriends that he can’t tell apart. We’re fine with Sherlock walking around in nothing but a bedsheet that almost falls off, and even Mycroft is only peeved. But Irene Adler walks into a room completely nude? Sound the alarms! Call the police! This one’s dangerous!
There’s still the complaint about Irene Adler falling for Sherlock. But you have to admit, she does a pretty good job of hiding it. We know she uses her sexuality to manipulate others and get her way, so everything up to the end of the episode could easily pass as part of her strategy. Heck, the conclusion of the episode may have been part of her plan as well. And must we forget that stoic Mr. Holmes fell for her, too? And it was far more obvious in his behavior than in hers? And since Sherlock isn’t used to having such emotions, she uses this to her advantage? And they fell for each other for the same reasons? Not to mention they’re practically the same character, just on different ends of the social spectrum.
In other words, I thought BBC Sherlock’s portrayal of Irene Adler was fantastic. At first, she may come off as another “sexy female villain”, but as the episode progresses it becomes clear she is far more of an intelligent individual than a simple sexual object. And for goodness’ sake, Sherlock doesn’t feel threatened because a woman may defeat him, but because someone may defeat him. I tip my metaphorical hat to Steven Moffat before handing it over so he can sign it.