Game of Thrones – 100% Sexist

Being partial to horror, I was disappointed that they killed off King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) so soon. In the beginning, he was a petulant teenager, but he had matured into such a fine sadist! I enjoyed the intrigues and, of course, Peter Dinklage, but it’s getting quite repetitive. Game of Thrones is the series everybody has been raving about. It’s the adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s fantasy novels (which were probably written just to be made into a series) about the struggle for the throne of two houses (Lannister and Stark), plus some woman with dragons. It’s very loosely inspired by the War of the Roses between the House of York and the House of Lancaster so it has medieval flavour (=what popular culture believes is medieval). I’ll make just one sociological-historical point.

Sexism: in the first season in particular, women are mostly naked and used for sex. Women are shown fully naked, while male nakedness is mostly limited to their naked torso. The pathetic excuse that it’s set in a (fantastic) medieval time doesn’t cut it for two reasons: firstly, the programme is aimed at a 21st century’s audience not a medieval one; secondly, it disregards completely medieval gender structure. The ‘medieval’ setting tends to be more what we today think the Middle Ages were like than an accurate representation. In medieval Christian Europe, women had the option of not being a wife and mother, and therefore dependent on a man, by becoming nuns. Today, we might regard that as giving up one’s freedom, but it really wasn’t so then. Suddenly, celibacy provided the vehicle for selfhood. Nuns could become powerful abbesses. This is totally absent in Game of Thrones.

In contrast, Game of Thrones’ character of the sorceress merely incarnates the male fantasy of the lustful satanic witch. Women are ‘the body’ and even their power comes from the use they make of it. The magic of the sorceress has nothing spiritual. Women are reduced to sex, even powerful queens, like Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), whose power lies in the family name and her children, heirs to the throne. Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clark), the ‘mother of dragons’ never quite cuts it. She first gets sold to a man by her own brother. She later gains her husband’s affection by playing porn diva and somehow falls in love with him (yeah, right). Once the husband is killed and she is in charge, she is portrayed as a power-hungry teenager. She’s mostly lucky rather than skilful and wise and always counselled by two men.

There is an attempt at having some stronger female characters, like Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), who can play warrior largely because she’s pre-pubescent, and Talisa Maegyr (Oona Chaplin), who’s killed off pretty quickly. The only real female character with wits and character is Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg), who is old and therefore cannot be sexual (in Hollywoodland) and is relegated to few lines in nine episodes.

For the ‘honest’ and fun trailer of Game of Thrones, watch this.

This entry was posted in body, fantasy/supernatural, Game of Thrones, gender, TV and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Game of Thrones – 100% Sexist

  1. anabbloggin says:

    Although I do agree that the series is pushing it on the boob and rape department (way more of that in the series than the books, and that’s saying something), I must say that you missed one female character that is strong in more ways than one, and is probably the only person in the whole story that deserves the title of Knight: Brienne of Tarth. Also, Ygrette, a strong woman in a harsh world. Meera Reed also qualifies, an expert huntress, tracker, a pretty good fighter. Osha, again, a formidable woman, an intelligent, loyal and strong woman.

    These women, or what is good about them is somewhat evident in the series, but more in the books (Brienne and Ygrette might be the exception, they are well represented in the series imo).

    I have issue with the amount of rape going on, such as Jaime raping Cersei, never happened in the books and they fucked up Jaime’s redemption arc in the series because of this, or the scenes in Craster’s keep. Also, the actress that plays Osha told D&D she could let her pubic hair grow naturally, as would befit a Wildling, but D&D would have none of that, they wanted her without hair. So yeah, the series to me is sexist especially because they are making things even worse for most the female characters.

    In the books, and season 5 and beyond, we will see more strong female characters, such as the Sand Snakes (Obara, Nym, Sarella, Tyene), we also have Maege Mormont, and the women of Bear Island… Also, women of the past, plenty of strong women in the history of ASoIaF such as Nymeria, and even Lyanna Stark.

  2. yes, I’m only commenting on the TV series so far. The problem with Brienne (so far) is that she has renounced being a woman. She dresses like a man and acts like a man. Talisa and even Shae are much stronger characters, but with little air time. Margaery is also interesting, but so far underdeveloped. As I mentioned, I find it enjoyable and my posts are not reviews, but sociological notes. I hope it gets better on gender, though! 🙂

  3. Mian says:

    Cersei isn’t shown naked, and Drogo really is. I think this shows more what power does to characterization,and how clothing is representative of power (sadly, but true).

    We do see the Septas, and the Silent Sisters — both religious orders of women. That’s the thing about the TV show, way too much to talk about everything.

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