Gender Switching

A new trend in reading/re-writing the classics (apart from zombifying them), is ‘gender switching’. Kate Harrod recently wrote this in an article about gender switching for the UK Guardian:

“It’s so much fun, fiddling with other people’s creations. Fanfics, mashups, sequels, slash: it’s a game anyone and everyone can play. The TV and film industries do it too, upending the genre, plot and time period of their originals with the insouciant ease of Holmes texting Watson on his Blackberry. Next year, the movie adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies will add the shuffling undead to the mix.

But, as with song covers, one of the easiest ways to change something is simply to turn he into she and vice versa. I’ve been genderswitching out-of-copyright stories all year, and marvelling at the results. Here, for example, is Shirley Holmes:

“I had seen little of Miss Holmes lately. My marriage had drifted us away from each other. My own complete happiness, and the home-centred interests which rise up around the woman who first finds herself mistress of her own establishment, were sufficient to absorb all my attention, while Miss Holmes, who loathed every form of society with her whole Bohemian soul, remained in our lodgings in Baker Street, buried among her old books, and alternating from week to week between cocaine and ambition… “

Thus writes Dr Jane Watson, about to embark on an exciting new adventure with irascible genius Shirley Holmes in a fictional universe just a fingersnap away from Conan Doyle’s original.

For one thing, in this universe, Conan Doyle’s London is startlingly female. Seriously, it’s as if the late Victorian era didn’t actually contain any men, except for the occasional stolid servant or nervous abandoned husband. “Why are there so many women in this story?” I kept thinking – and then realised how depressing it was that even women assume fiction should be male-dominated. I’m now desperate to see a TV adaptation with Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley as Holmes and Watson. Julia Sawalha can be Lestrade. Tell me you can’t picture it.”

Read more from this article here.

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