The Game of Thrones and Women
By isabelehernandez on April 12, 2014
There has been a lot of heated debate regarding the ever popular television series called "Game of Thrones". According to some viewers the show is a blatant feminist project, devoid of empowered or respected women. As someone who has read numerous theory papers about feminism and where it originated from, placing so much emphasis on a television show is rather forced. However, I believe in giving an objective opinion and the only way to do this is by breaking down the narrative into sections.
Starting at the base of it all, namely the setting of show, which is a medieval fantasy land where magic and dragons are a dime a dozen. Given all the magical creatures, there is still a hint of reality regarding the kings and politics. Now in realistic terms, women didn't have any rights back then. Their power and control over men came in the form of sexuality. In essence, their power was hidden. The use of magic and dragons begs the question why couldn't women have had more empowering characters? Well the answer is quite simple; the writer didn't want it that way. Just imagine if every writer and director is placed within the boundaries of providing non-discriminating material. It will prove to be very difficult and there won't be any creativity.
Secondly we come to the characters. Feminists are focusing heavily on scenes such as Daenerys getting raped by her new husband, the leader of the Dothraki. This happens after she is sold off. Keeping in mind that her husband Khal is a ruthless leader who only sees women as trophies, it's not surprising that he "raped" her. Can anybody honestly say that they expected him to be soft and gentle? Later on he dies and she continues to live, which speaks heavily to the importance of her character as supposed to his. I don't discard the fact that there is a lot of nudity and sexual violence, but we have to consider the context of the characters.
What about the women who choose to play the characters? They don't mind walking around naked and simulating violent sex scenes. If they truly had any objections towards the script then why are they even participating? It's rather redundant to argue that something is feminist while quite a few women are involved. These women weren't forced by gunpoint to play the characters and they also knew full well what the storyline entailed.
Last but definitely not least, everyone has a right to imaginative expression. I'm not supporting any discrimination, but just like the actresses in the show, nobody is forcing the feminists to watch. In one article I read regarding this specific topic, the writer said "it's promoting sexual violence and rape in pop culture". If this is true then expect to see a wave of teenagers dressed up as kings and knights running around and raping everyone they see. I probably missed the headline because "Game of Thrones" has finished shooting the 4th season.
I won't dispute that there are several moments in history, and even in present times, where feminists have more than enough reason to make waves, but a television show? Really? I honestly don't know where people find the time to look for discriminating factors in entertainment. For those who are unaware about the concept of a compelling story, the driving force is conflict. If a story fails to draw a reaction from the viewer or reader, whether it is good or bad, then the story will ultimately suck. This is why "Game of Thrones" has such a big following. There are numerous conflicts that cater to a wide audience.
There is a definite line to be drawn between actual female discrimination and just too much time on feminist hands. The feminist theories I have studied spoke about women's rights in the real world. Not once did they point to a movie or show and branded it as feminist. It would seem the new-age feminists are desperately digging for something that just isn't there. "Game of Thrones" is a fictional story with a "love or hate it" approach, nothing more. If we allow it to become a political platform then we might as well remove 90% of shows on television. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but if you don't like it then don't watch it.
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