“She was awesome until she fell in love - then she just became another weak-willed token female baddie with Love as a Tragic Flaw.” - lots of people
By this standard, you think Michelle Obama isn’t a role model. You also can’t admire Marie Curie, or Barbara Bush, or Hilary Clinton. You really can’t admire Hilary - not only did she love a man, but she let him sleep around and still stayed with him.
Strong women can love, too. If you want to promote strong female characterization, you should allow them the same rights as men. Is Arwen a terrible role model? If Aragorn had been female, you would object to him being in love with her. You would have insisted that her elf lover go off on the ships and leave her. Is Eowyn weak for loving Aragorn? Isn’t the whole point of her something like you can be female, choose who you love, still function in spite of it, and love isn’t the be-all and end-all of your existence and you can still be a badass? Likewise, Irene is a strong woman, and should be allowed to love - her love hardly defines her.
Also remember she’s a sexually confident woman. She’s used to being able to get and have anyone she takes a fancy to. She’s gay, but this doesn’t stop her going after men who have something she wants. She likes detectives, and detective stories, and believes that brainy is the new sexy. She is so attracted to brainy that it can make her go against her gender preference.
Now let’s think about that. I know of very few males on Tumblr, and I don’t think any of the ones I know were born with a penis. Most people reading this, then, will be female. Think about how you feel about a penis: that little tube of meat hanging off the front of a guy’s body, the spout he pisses through. Now think about how you feel about another woman’s vagina: that extra hole hidden under the fur, near where she pisses, and the dark, squelchy, wet place inside. Chances are you find at least one of the two more appealing, and the other vaguely foreign, frightening, and off-putting. Imagine what you’d have to feel for another human being to make you really want to go against that preference. And now think about feeling that for someone who has NO interest in sex, who didn’t even twitch when he saw you naked. And then what it would be like to want him so much that you’ll make a play for him in front of his flatmate. The last time you asked someone out on a date, did you ask them in front of a group of people? Did you ask in front of just their best friend? The last time you asked someone flat-out to have sex with you for the first time, was there anyone else around? Why not?
And now let’s imagine you’ve just finished a really big project at work, the kind of thing that’s kept you up till 3am on many nights, it’s suposed to win you a big promotion, set up your retirement fund, take care of you for the rest of your life. It’s been months of planning and tightrope-walking, and finally it’s working out, but then at the last second, someone finds a flaw. It’s a mistake you made right back at the start. And it’s just ruined the entire project. Your presentation is over, all that time, your entire career has just ended and you’re not sure you have a home to go to, but that’s fine because you might be going to jail instead. Or maybe someone is going to kill you now. You don’t even know. Everything has just fallen apart. Would you not beg for your life? This is not just losing your job and house, but also being cut off from everyone you know, no family or friends, homeless, people trying to kill you. I am willing to bet that nearly every single one of you would beg. If you wouldn’t, it’s only because you’re too weak to be able to do it. Irene is not the type to beg - that is absolutely clear, and yet while standing in her enemy’s house, in the ruins of her defeat that was within seconds of being a triumph, she begged. That is in no way a weakness.