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Do D&D hate feminity?

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Just quick for the record, I'm not insisting he answer my question it's alright (not that I'm in a place to insist on anything to begin with, lol).


Just to expand on this particular question a bit, there are two related escapist power fantasies that humans tend to have . the notion that "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" (all too often not the case IRL; Nietzsche himself ended up being a counterexample), and the fantasy of finding unprecedented strength in a helpless terrifying situation - such as being overpowered or tied up somewhere.

Just remembered a scene from Legend of the Seeker where a female protagonist is tied to a chair by the villains, and (I think for the first time) manages to use mystical energy powers to defeat the bad guys and free herself.

I'm sure there's some other movies out there where a similar thing happens in a rape situation - or, in accordance with Nietzsche's meme phrase, the trauma makes a stronger person out of the victim; not at some later point when she pulls herself up by the bootstraps, but perhaps right then and there.


However, one would still have to distinguish between an escapist fantasy, or 2) some naive writer thinking that's how it actually reliably works irl, and of course 3) someone with some kind of shady sexist ideology or mindset conveying the notion that "women need rape/trauma to become strong", which is what the accusation here seems to be.

I doubt Risto would have the nuance for that though.

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18 minutes ago, StepStark said:

I'm sorry for interrupting discussion but I'm not really sure what you're trying to prove here. All of them WERE changed because of those traumatic events which happened to them, and that is actually consistent with real life. Traumas change people. Actually, Tyrion in the show isn't really changed, but that's due to Weiss and Benioff's incompetence. The rest were hugely changed.

And also, are you actually saying that the show made mistake by making Sansa change after being raped by Ramsay? Do you think that they should left her unchanged? Or that they should made her worse after the rape?

And just to be clear I think that that entire plot with Sansa in WF was one of the stupidest things I ever watched, and she never should be there to marry Boltons, but somehow it seems that you're actually defending it even if you are trying to attack it.

They were changed, but they didn't become a better versions of themselves. Trauma impacts people, that is for sure, but if you use the narrative of violence or sexual assault in order to put just another ordeal in a story that is essentially about growing and becoming empowered then there is something very wrong in the way how you perceive the said empowerment. 

Rape can't or shouldn't be used as something a female character has to go through so we would start perceiving female character as sympathetic, more astute or more politically savvy. And that is what happened with Sansa.

Sansa should not have been married to Ramsay that is for sure. Rape couldn't have happened for the sake of shock or worse to become a tool that would make Sansa "better version of herself"

24 minutes ago, StepStark said:

I think that he asked you legitimate question. If you don't have the answer then admit it, instead of implying that something's wrong with his question. Victims usually become more sympathetic after they're hurt and that goes for any victims, not just rape, but about more valuable or simply stronger I also can't think of such examples where some female character became more valuable or simply stronger after she's been raped. There may be such films but they certainly aren't that often.

It is entire culture of using rape as a plot tool in order to demonstrate female strength. Not so long ago, Jessica Chastain spoke about these practices and the necessity of them in portrayal of what Hollywood would refer to as strong female character. It doesn't matter whether the character gets more sympathetic and when rape is used to cast "positive light" on the person (like Claire Underwood of "House of Cards" or Mellie Grant of "Scandal"), when you have totally unlikable female character and then they just add the touch of rape in order to make , what essentially boils down to, "better image". Then there are countless examples of rape being used as a motivation for revenge (and this one has becoming more and more prevalent that some producers have complained that almost 30% female-oriented movie scripts at one point contained the element of rape and abuse)

Simply, female strength and intelligence can't be tested with rape and abuse for us to be convinced that the said character is able to do great things. That is the main issue here. That rape is so often used in storytelling as plot device for all sorts of reason. Finally, I will return to what Chastain has said on topic:

 

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13 minutes ago, Risto said:

It doesn't matter whether the character gets more sympathetic and when rape is used to cast "positive light" on the person (like Claire Underwood of "House of Cards" or Mellie Grant of "Scandal"),

Ok, you cited 2 examples of what could actually be examples of what you're claiming; that's a start eh - maybe I'll go check them out, I don't watch either show though, I only saw the SNL spoof with Lena Dunham.

 

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when you have totally unlikable female character and then they just add the touch of rape in order to make , what essentially boils down to, "better image". 

Ironic how GoT is actually a counterexample to what you're describing here - Sansa went from unlikeable/stupid to likeable and acceptably smart, when? In S5 at Ramsay's? Nope it was at the end of S1, where there wasn't any rape. And of course it made sense in the story.





Anyway, these two... answerable... bits aside, Risto is simply a typical political ideologue with distorted perception and a blurry, confused thought process.
The best reaction would be to simply handwave it away (after the 1st couple attempts at discourse didn't work), however unfortunately this is also "typical" on this forum, the GotGifsMusings blog and raelly this entire GoT criticism network.

So what can you do

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43 minutes ago, Risto said:

Rape can't or shouldn't be used as something a female character has to go through so we would start perceiving female character as sympathetic, more astute or more politically savvy. And that is what happened with Sansa.

Are you saying that rape must never be used in such a way? Or in any way?

If you are saying that, then that is just wrong. Just like anything rape can serve the story and make it stronger, or it can be used for shock, spectacle and perversion. Same thing with murder or any other trauma that is frequently used for dramatic purposes.

Theon pretty much became a better person because of all that suffering he's been through. That's true for both show and the books. In the show it was done in the only way Benioff and Weis know, which means pathetically and for the lowest common denominator, but the fact remains that suffering improved him as a person. And in the books it was done masterly. So are you saying that the books are wrong for making Theon improved through extreme suffering?

Edited by StepStark

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48 minutes ago, Risto said:

It doesn't matter whether the character gets more sympathetic and when rape is used to cast "positive light" on the person (like Claire Underwood of "House of Cards" or Mellie Grant of "Scandal"), when you have totally unlikable female character and then they just add the touch of rape in order to make , what essentially boils down to, "better image".

If I don't remember wrong, Clair Underwood was raped years before. It's part of character's background story. And that doesn't really count. And on top of that, she doesn't become more likable or stronger because of rape.

I don't watch "Scandal" but it looks like the same thing there, she was raped when she was kid, so it's part of her background story, so again it's not similar to what you described and called a frequent trope. Cops being divorced because their ex couldn't cope with their job is that kind of thing, but again, that almost always happens off screen and before the story actually starts, so it's not really something that authors use as a narrative tool to show character's progression. It's frequent and stupid, but I don't see how is that relevant to the discussion here about a very particular case of on-screen rape.

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13 minutes ago, StepStark said:

Are you saying that rape must never be used in such a way? Or in any way?

If you are saying that, then that is just wrong. Just like anything rape can serve the story and make it stronger, or it can be used for shock, spectacle and perversion. Same thing with murder or any other trauma that is frequently used for dramatic purposes.

According to the particular ideological/ emotional mindset you're dealing with here:

1) No, rape can't be used for spectacle or perversion; "shock" is also too sensationalist and profane for this subject matter; especially if it's "cheap shock value".

2) Rape is an inherently offensive act to put into a movie; so when it's to be done, it's only with sufficient justification of educating the audience about rape, solid artistic justification for including it in the story, and trying to avoid any "unfortunate implications" (i.e. what the plot could appear as to an emotionallly invested viewer, while not really being that - case in point this discussion).

If it's done for profane reasons like 1), it's offensive and wrong;
and if there's a plot hole somewhere, the "art" or "realistic depiction" justification falls apart and all that remains is the wrongness and offensiveness of it; the writer, no longer concealed by things like "plot structure", is now fully exposed as having consciously made the decision to include a rape scene in his work where he didn't have to.


So that's kind of the key for understanding this opposing view, and all its seemingly irrational arguments; well, they ARE irrational, but the notions that drive them become clearer.
 

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16 minutes ago, StepStark said:

Are you saying that rape must never be used in such a way? Or in any way?

In general, we could all benefit from stories without rape. But as it is one of those ugly realities, it has to be part of the art. I don't have issue with rape in general, although as I said, we could have less violence on TV/media, but the rape too often becomes a plot device for the sole purpose of challenging woman's strength, both physical and emotional. There are shows and movies that have dealt with said topic with much grace. GoT hasn't. Naming the said episode with "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken" while, not referring to it, but having Ramsay bending Sansa on the bed and raping her, seems like a truly bad joke. In short, it's important how a writer deals with it. 

10 minutes ago, StepStark said:

If I don't remember wrong, Clair Underwood was raped years before. It's part of character's background story. And that doesn't really count. And on top of that, she doesn't become more likable or stronger because of rape.

Actually she does. The Ice Queen has been turned into relatable woman. Even in-universe, they have been using it.

Same goes for Mellie Grant. The reveal of rape was used to make Mallie more relatable. That is the thing. The rape served as a tool to make these women more humane, just like it was a necessary obstacle for Sansa to become "empowered young woman". And that, with abuse (and Sansa experienced a lot of those too) becomes something that many writers, intentionally or not, use in demonstrating the women's strength. It is not that it can't show woman's strength, it can but it is just a drop in sea of situations writers can use as challenges women face.

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3 minutes ago, Risto said:

In general, we could all benefit from stories without rape. But as it is one of those ugly realities, it has to be part of the art. I don't have issue with rape in general, although as I said, we could have less violence on TV/media, but the rape too often becomes a plot device for the sole purpose of challenging woman's strength, both physical and emotional. There are shows and movies that have dealt with said topic with much grace. GoT hasn't. Naming the said episode with "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken" while, not referring to it, but having Ramsay bending Sansa on the bed and raping her, seems like a truly bad joke. In short, it's important how a writer deals with it. 

I'd say that we could all benefit from less political correctness in evaluating art. Rape certainly doesn't have to be part of the art. Many horrible crimes from the history didn't find their way to art. Nothing is really necessary when it comes to art. But if rape happens to be part of some particular work of art, then it has to be evaluated in the same way other bits and points of that same work are evaluated.

I agree that GOT didn't deal with rape responsibly, but GOT is the kind of show that doesn't deal with anything responsibly. Worse things than rape happen to characters in GOT and I can't remember any of those things that was dealt with responsibly.

Responsibly doesn't necessarily means with grace, because sometimes very ungraceful depiction of some crime can be the main purpose (like "Irreversible" movie, for example).

3 minutes ago, Risto said:

Actually she does. The Ice Queen has been turned into relatable woman. Even in-universe, they have been using it.

Same goes for Mellie Grant. The reveal of rape was used to make Mallie more relatable. That is the thing. The rape served as a tool to make these women more humane, just like it was a necessary obstacle for Sansa to become "empowered young woman". And that, with abuse (and Sansa experienced a lot of those too) becomes something that many writers, intentionally or not, use in demonstrating the women's strength. It is not that it can't show woman's strength, it can but it is just a drop in sea of situations writers can use as challenges women face.

If I remember right, Clair's rape was revealed in her TV interview in the first season. How it was reacted to in-universe was the main point of it, as I remember. It showed that the audience felt sympathy toward this woman, even though she really isn't someone who deserves sympathy. She is someone who'd use even rape to make people sympathize with her, and it's clearly depicted as immoral. That's something entirely different from what you mentioned as some sort of frequent trope.

I'm not watching "Scandal", but from your description it also sounds more similar to "House of Cards" than GOT.

So even if there is a trope of using rape in background stories for female characters (though two examples hardly make trope), Sansa rape is obviously something very different from that.

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When I re-read the books last year, I surprised to see that Arya wasn't anti-woman. I guess her onscreen portrayal ("most girls are idiots") had colored my memory.

I think the biggest problem with how D&D portray women is that violence is always equated with empowerment. Dany and Cersei kill innocent people and burn holy temples, and that shows that they're legitimate rulers. Sansa feeds Ramsay to the dogs, which means that she's finally a Strong Woman. Brienne's worth is measured solely by her ability to win a fight. Arya prefers to kill strangers rather than sew, which makes her smarter than all those dumb girls who don't know how to use a sword. 

Game of Thrones will always be remembered as a pop culture phenomenon, and probably for it's scale and cinematography as well, but aspects such as this are going to be pretty embarrassing when people look back on the show thirty years from now. 

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21 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

 

I think the biggest problem with how D&D portray women is that violence is always equated with empowerment. Dany and Cersei kill innocent people and burn holy temples, and that shows that they're legitimate rulers.

Only in-universe - Cersei is a sympathetic villain and certainly not written as a hero to root for LOL; and Dany is supposed to be flawed and in need of reasonable advisors keeping her in check.

21 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

Sansa feeds Ramsay to the dogs, which means that she's finally a Strong Woman. Brienne's worth is measured solely by her ability to win a fight.

So her good character traits have no value in the script or to other character at all huh?

21 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

Arya prefers to kill strangers rather than sew, which makes her smarter than all those dumb girls who don't know how to use a sword. 

What she thinks isn't necessarily what the message to the viewers is supposed to be - she's portrayed as often being wrong, as has been covered in this thread (by me) several times.

21 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

Game of Thrones will always be remembered as a pop culture phenomenon, and probably for it's scale and cinematography as well, but aspects such as this are going to be pretty embarrassing when people look back on the show thirty years from now. 

You've no idea what the political climate is gonna be 30 years from now on, it's a bit unpredictable right now if you haven't noticed.
Either way, most of the arguments you just listed don't hold up.

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1 hour ago, Pink Fat Rast said:

Only in-universe - Cersei is a sympathetic villain and certainly not written as a hero to root for LOL; and Dany is supposed to be flawed and in need of reasonable advisors keeping her in check.

So her good character traits have no value in the script or to other character at all huh?

What she thinks isn't necessarily what the message to the viewers is supposed to be - she's portrayed as often being wrong, as has been covered in this thread (by me) several times.

You've no idea what the political climate is gonna be 30 years from now on, it's a bit unpredictable right now if you haven't noticed.
Either way, most of the arguments you just listed don't hold up.

I didn't come up with any of these arguments.This is something that's been discussed by many critics of GOT for the past several seasons. It's not about whether or not I think Brienne is defined by her physical strength or if Dany is a badass--it's how the tone of the show is colored, and an inference of how the showrunners intend for the audience to react.

And no, I don't know what the political climate will be in thirty years. That's the point of a prediction--you make a guess based off of the material you have now and how you suspect it will change over the course of time. There's always a margin of error. 

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1 hour ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

I didn't come up with any of these arguments.This is something that's been discussed by many critics of GOT for the past several seasons.

Problem is, some of those "critics of GOT" are crayyyyyyyyyyyy - and then they get together in echochambers, start relying on what the others are saying and it gets worse;
essentially what you just described. You can read like the moral/political sections on Gitfismusings, and then just believe them and start "citing" them on message boards - problem is they're not entirely reasonable, so it might be best not to :o

Best look at what's really on screen and then see how some particular critique matches up..

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It's not about whether or not I think Brienne is defined by her physical strength or if Dany is a badass--it's how the tone of the show is colored, and an inference of how the showrunners intend for the audience to react.

That sounds a bit too abstract and wishy-washy for a conclusion like "wow really embarassing how they depict women on this show".

And I don't even see how that makes sense - the fact that she's a big fighter man-woman is obviously what distinguishes Brienne among the other characters; but her qualities as a person etc. are every bit as emphasized, so what kind of "inference" about her "only being valuable for her fighting" is there supposed to be?

It's not what's on screen, and it's not the impression the viewer gets from the show in any other way either.
What does that even mean, "only valuable through fighting"? As a person? To the audience, or some of the douche characters in-universe?


 

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And no, I don't know what the political climate will be in thirty years. That's the point of a prediction--you make a guess based off of the material you have now and how you suspect it will change over the course of time. There's always a margin of error. 

Problem is, current political climate isn't moving in a unified direction - it's more of a crazy back and forth pendulum and polarization; can't tell if it's gonna swing to "the left" or "the right" at what point in the future.

And even if, in some general, good sense, things will "continue" shifting to the left - it's entirely possible that unreasonable thinking like "this female character is sort of tomboyish, therefore the movie is saying feminine women are bad" is gonna be left by the wayside and people will be more embarassed by these kinds of over-the-top reactions than the particular material.
Or maybe they will in 30 years, but then in 34 years that's gonna become trendy again, and in 37 years it'll fall out of fashion once more.

Edited by Pink Fat Rast

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1 hour ago, Pink Fat Rast said:

Problem is, some of those "critics of GOT" are crayyyyyyyyyyyy - and then they get together in echochambers, start relying on what the others are saying and it gets worse;
essentially what you just described. You can read like the moral/political sections on Gitfismusings, and then just believe them and start "citing" them on message boards - problem is they're not entirely reasonable, so it might be best not to :o

Best look at what's really on screen and then see how some particular critique matches up..

 

I mentioned them because I have read the critiques and generally agree with them. 

We're just going to have to accept that we have different opinions on this. 

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This is a complex question, but I think the first thing that has to be acknowledged is that there is a difference in the way that femininity is portrayed in books when compared to the show. I think others are correct in pointing out that what Martin does is far more nuanced. He manages to create a patriarchal society that is realistic without degrading female characters and femininity. Yes female characters do face sexism, but Martin's writing is not sexist. It's a fine balance and he pulls it off well (though there is perhaps a conversation to be had about the times that he falters).

The show, however, does make distinct choices that create an environment of toxic masculinity. I think this is what a lot of people pick up on. Part of the problem is the extent to which the show sexualizes women. The show runners have said that they use graphic sex scenes to create an animalistic atmosphere, but it is applied unevenly. Emilia Clarke has spoken about the degree to which she and other women are required to be fully nude in comparison to the men in the cast. It's worth reading her comments, if you aren't familiar. 

Another problem, as others have said, is the prevalence of rape scenes. In particular, rape scenes that were consensual in the book but made rape for the show. My biggest problem with this is that they are almost certainly done for shock value, as the story lines don't actually change from having a consensual sex scene made rape. For instance, in the books, Dany expressly tells Drogo that she wishes to have sex with him. (The argument can and has been made that she still isn't old enough or free enough to consent, but that is imposing our cultural norms on a world inspired by another time in history. For most of history, women were not given a say in who they married and large age gaps and young brides were the norm. In Westeros, teenagers marrying and consummating is the norm, so that's the standard by which we should judge that interaction. Obviously in our world, it would be a big no no). However, in the show they chose to show Drogo using force, being unconcerned about Dany's comfort and feelings, and Dany being emotionally distressed by the encounter. And yet, they don't change Dany and Drogo's relationship accordingly. Everything else happens exactly the same. She still grows to love him, Moon of My Life, My Sun and Stars, etc. I think it's very clear that when you treat consensual sex and rape as if they are interchangeable, there's a problem. The same can be said for the interaction in which Jaime rapes Cersei. These instances conflate sex and violence to a worrying degree. If you aren't willing to explore the affect that rape has on the characters that experience it, don't do the rape scene. It really isn't hard to grasp. Drogo raping Dany and Jaime raping Cersei are two of the scenes I hate most in the entire show, because not only am I morally opposed to presenting those encounters in that way, it just doesn't make any sense in the story. Drogo raping Dany confuses their relationship and loses part of Drogo's arc. A significant part of AGOT is seeing that the so called "savage" was actually more compassionate to Dany than her brother, the Western Prince, when you learn that Viserys was going to rape Dany. Drogo's morality and his genuine care for Dany keeps him from becoming a racist stereotype, and shows that while Dothraki culture might seem strange and harsh, Westerosi culture is just as flawed (though they try to hide it and act as if they are superior to the Dothraki "savages"). When they had Drogo rape Dany while speaking broken English it was a huge step back. Then they just ignored the fallout and acted as if the choice they made wouldn't have fundamentally impacted the story. Jaime and Cersei are even more perplexing. Hearing the show runners talk about it makes me think that they don't have any idea what consent is. Also, it just doesn't make sense for Jaime's story arc of redemption. 

To me, it's okay to talk about rape in literature and film. But it needs to be a sincere exploration of the experience, how it affects the individual, how it is treated in their society, and how that relates to the treatment of rape in our society. Yet this so rarely happens. Most often it's badly written scenes like these included for shock value or as the result of a deep misunderstanding of what consent is and why it matters. An example of what not to do:

Most people are familiar with the famous upside down kiss in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man, between MJ and Peter Parker. But rewatching that movie as an adult, I realized that the bad guys that Spidey saves MJ from weren't just generic bad guys. Walking though a dark alley alone at night, MJ is chased by a gang of men who make kissing noises at her and tear off her clothes. The implication is clear: this is an attempted gang rape. Of course Spidey shows up to save her and MJ, sans her coat and soaking wet with her see through shirt on precariously, begins to flirt and laugh with Peter as she is filmed in a highly sexualized and objectified way. 

This is dangerous for several reasons. It promotes the mythical rape, perpetrated by strangers in a dark alley. While these crimes do happen, most rapes are actually perpetrated by people the victim knows. Yet because we don't think of this as rape, those victims are often not believed. Secondly, MJ has just been through an extremely traumatic experience, but it she laughs and flirts and compliments Spider-Man, making it clear that the attempted rape scene was about showing what a hero Spider-Man is, rather than talking about an important issue. Just like in GOT, the director threw in a rape/attempted rape for shock value rather than a sincere exploration of how it affects the female character who was just attacked. This is just one of the examples of problematic rape scenes that comes to mind. Previous posters are correct in noting that they are terrible trope in Hollywood -- so common that we often don't even think about them.

To be clear, I still love GOT and I love ASOIAF even more. The show does some important things and the books do even more. But we still need to talk about the problematic aspects of both, and I'm glad that so many people are willing to have a polite and honest conversation about this.

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6 hours ago, Rhae_Valarie said:

This is a complex question, but I think the first thing that has to be acknowledged is that there is a difference in the way that femininity is portrayed in books when compared to the show. I think others are correct in pointing out that what Martin does is far more nuanced.

A question the complexity of which hasn't been fully captured by this thread's title, eh? But there's only so much nuance one can pack into a short thread title i suppose :o

 

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He manages to create a patriarchal society that is realistic without degrading female characters and femininity. Yes female characters do face sexism, but Martin's writing is not sexist. It's a fine balance and he pulls it off well (though there is perhaps a conversation to be had about the times that he falters).

Questions of "balance" aside, telling between in-universe sexism (particularly female on female types) and sexism within the writing, is something lots of people on this thread seemed to have difficulties with.

 

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The show, however, does make distinct choices that create an environment of toxic masculinity. I think this is what a lot of people pick up on. Part of the problem is the extent to which the show sexualizes women. The show runners have said that they use graphic sex scenes to create an animalistic atmosphere, but it is applied unevenly. Emilia Clarke has spoken about the degree to which she and other women are required to be fully nude in comparison to the men in the cast. It's worth reading her comments, if you aren't familiar. 

Are the books equalist on that one? Martni joked about his South Park song how if you read his books you#d know he was "more on the boobies, not weenies, side of the equation".

But maybe, sure.

 

 

 

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Another problem, as others have said, is the prevalence of rape scenes. In particular, rape scenes that were consensual in the book but made rape for the show. My biggest problem with this is that they are almost certainly done for shock value, as the story lines don't actually change from having a consensual sex scene made rape.

This matters when talking about the effects on a character who's then seen later - as you point out further in this post.

However, with passing characters who aren't really shown later (like Craster's wives), this isn't really a criticism - the notion that if it hadn't been included, or shown, that wouldn't have affected the plot or character arcs, and therefore it shouldn't have been shown or "doing it for shock value" is wrong, is simply invalid.

 


 

 

 

 

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For instance, in the books, Dany expressly tells Drogo that she wishes to have sex with him. (The argument can and has been made that she still isn't old enough or free enough to consent, but that is imposing our cultural norms on a world inspired by another time in history. For most of history, women were not given a say in who they married and large age gaps and young brides were the norm. In Westeros, teenagers marrying and consummating is the norm, so that's the standard by which we should judge that interaction. Obviously in our world, it would be a big no no). However, in the show they chose to show Drogo using force, being unconcerned about Dany's comfort and feelings, and Dany being emotionally distressed by the encounter.

This is how their further encounters are in the book as well, so the difference isn't as significant as it could've been.

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And yet, they don't change Dany and Drogo's relationship accordingly. Everything else happens exactly the same. She still grows to love him, Moon of My Life, My Sun and Stars, etc. I think it's very clear that when you treat consensual sex and rape as if they are interchangeable, there's a problem.

X and Y ending up leading to the same destination, doesn't mean X and Y are supposed to be the same.

if the relationship already starts out "lovingly" and then becomes even more romantic, there's less of a progression betwee point A and point B..
If it starts out "lovingly", but then becomes kind of rougher when the routien sets in, the turning point then has more of a "return to day 1" vibe.

And if it starts out rough and rapey, that's the most progression out of these three scenarios.
And the show clearly treats that as a progression..

 


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The same can be said for the interaction in which Jaime rapes Cersei. These instances conflate sex and violence to a worrying degree. If you aren't willing to explore the affect that rape has on the characters that experience it, don't do the rape scene.

That scene was shot as consensual and then re-edited into rape (due to some kind of miscommunication or the editor got high or something), so it's clear why it doesn't have too much of an effect on their later scenes.

Either way, Jaime and Cersei are a special case - this sort of thing may already have happened before, and maybe Cersei is into that to some degree. the editing didn't manage to turn it into "100% rape" and still showed bits of her responding, so it looks like she's not entirely sure if she wants it or not, or whether Joffrey's corpse is the only/main problem here.

Also, she's already messed up mentally, so the kind of effect it would have on her isn't necessarily clear - she does angrily chastise Jaime for freeing Tyrion later on, and S5 is all about her recklessly trying to hold on to power.

So, if anything, they kind of managed to get away with accidentally showing a consensual sex scene as rape[/i] due to the plot specifics and the general decadent context obscuring the lack of effectss (with a bunch of messed up things that might as well have been the effects).

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It really isn't hard to grasp. Drogo raping Dany and Jaime raping Cersei are two of the scenes I hate most in the entire show, because not only am I morally opposed to presenting those encounters in that way, it just doesn't make any sense in the story. Drogo raping Dany confuses their relationship and loses part of Drogo's arc.

Well, Drogo's "arc" (and Daenerys' as well) goes from point A to point B, and this only increases the dstance between A and B - so one could say it enhances it rather.

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A significant part of AGOT is seeing that the so called "savage" was actually more compassionate to Dany than her brother, the Western Prince, when you learn that Viserys was going to rape Dany.

Well, Viserys doesn't try that in the show, and by the time of his death scene you're already rooting for Drogo who's become more likeable than him, and has more compassion for Daenerys at that point - so the overall effect is the same.


And other characters like Tywin, even more representative of the "civilized Westeros culture2, are shown to be as condoning of rape as it gets, so it's not like the whole "these savages aren't really worse than the civilized ones" pattern gets lost in the show.
 

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Drogo's morality and his genuine care for Dany keeps him from becoming a racist stereotype,

There are plenty of "racist stereotypies" that do involve some level of morality and compassion - the big thing always is that it's conditional and can dissipate if his customs or dominance is defied etc.

Same with white criminals and mobsters, really, so I don't see the point in focusing on "race" here.


The only valid starting point for discussing potential racism, would be the way the Wildlings are depicted as much better people than the Dothraki - except for the Thenns of course.
But you didn't bring that up, so.

 

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and shows that while Dothraki culture might seem strange and harsh, Westerosi culture is just as flawed (though they try to hide it and act as if they are superior to the Dothraki "savages").

As pointed out, this still comes across - with other characters, with Viserys too.

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When they had Drogo rape Dany while speaking broken English it was a huge step back. Then they just ignored the fallout and acted as if the choice they made wouldn't have fundamentally impacted the story. Jaime and Cersei are even more perplexing. Hearing the show runners talk about it makes me think that they don't have any idea what consent is. Also, it just doesn't make sense for Jaime's story arc of redemption. 

Jaime wasn't supposed to have turned into a 100% good guy anyway - however the perplexing parts would be due to them trying to cover up their error and act like it was all intentional.

 

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To me, it's okay to talk about rape in literature and film. But it needs to be a sincere exploration of the experience, how it affects the individual, how it is treated in their society, and how that relates to the treatment of rape in our society. Yet this so rarely happens. Most often it's badly written scenes like these included for shock value or as the result of a deep misunderstanding of what consent is and why it matters. An example of what not to do:

Most people are familiar with the famous upside down kiss in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man,

These high standards that you're setting here, only apply to fiction like GoT - which, itself, claims to aspire to such standards: realism, showing the consequences of actions and events, accurate representation of (historical) reality etc.


Spiderman is on the polar opposite of that spectrum, it aspires to no such thing and makes no claims about being responsible realism - with the sole exception of "showing what it's like to struggle with school and money while still being a vigilante superhero" but even that part is mostly played for comedy.

Spiderman and most superhero movies are good examples of fiction that's all about style and escapism and has little to do with educating audiences about harsh realities of anything.

 

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between MJ and Peter Parker. But rewatching that movie as an adult, I realized that the bad guys that Spidey saves MJ from weren't just generic bad guys. Walking though a dark alley alone at night, MJ is chased by a gang of men who make kissing noises at her and tear off her clothes. The implication is clear: this is an attempted gang rape.

That happens a lot in superhero movies - even Batman Forever did that.

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Of course Spidey shows up to save her and MJ, sans her coat and soaking wet with her see through shirt on precariously, begins to flirt and laugh with Peter as she is filmed in a highly sexualized and objectified way. 

This is dangerous for several reasons.

I'm not sure to what degree Shae's statement (that no woman would want any sex stuff with the rescuer after an attempted rape) is true, but even if it's 100% in all cases - Spiderman is pure fantasy and isn't supposed to adhere to such rules.

so the Sam Gilly thing is worth a look - this one, nah.

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It promotes the mythical rape, perpetrated by strangers in a dark alley. While these crimes do happen,

Since they do happen, they aren't mythical.

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most rapes are actually perpetrated by people the victim knows.

Are you saying that in a crime ridden area, where being attacked and mugged is a real danger, being raped is still highly unlikely?
If it's about as likely as other types of attacks, there's no reason why it shouldn't be shown in a movie that focuses on criminal street violence.

You might as well say "most thefts happen by way of contract frauds or people ripping each other off", that doesn't mean Spiderman shouldn't be shown stopping armed robberies.

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Yet because we don't think of this as rape, those victims are often not believed.

I'm not aware of anyone "not thinking of that as rape".

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Secondly, MJ has just been through an extremely traumatic experience, but it she laughs and flirts and compliments Spider-Man, making it clear that the attempted rape scene was about showing what a hero Spider-Man is, rather than talking about an important issue.

Yes, exactly - that movie isn't about "talking about important issues", it's about a fantasy take on those issues.

However, the notion that him being a hero "matters more than her" isn't really true - she's really happy rather than distressed, which is just as important.

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Just like in GOT, the director threw in a rape/attempted rape for shock value rather than a sincere exploration of how it affects the female character who was just attacked. This is just one of the examples of problematic rape scenes that comes to mind. Previous posters are correct in noting that they are terrible trope in Hollywood -- so common that we often don't even think about them.

Well in this case we've got a whole arc based around a form of the stockholm syndrome - arguably, that's the reason for her being as zealous and bloodthirsty as she still often is.
the whole "dragon destiny" thing was a source of inner strength for her even before taming Drogo, and the first time he started ranting about invading Westeros she was smiling lovingly while he was talking about sacking and raping all the villages - and now, unless dissuaded, all slavers are bad by default, and all Westerosi are acceptable targets.

However if more other consequences should've been shown in addition to that (or this part should've been done differently), you can argue for that as well.

Edited by Pink Fat Rast

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I am a woman, but I think that's a strange thing to ask in relation to the context of the story. ASOIAF has a very historical feel to it, like it could actually be part of medieval history and you wouldn't be surprised about the portrayal of women in that setting either. I'd find it very unrealistic to portray it any differently just because it's expected these days to show things in the most respectful way. It's just the way it is in that setting and that's okay, actually a lot more interesting than adhering to PC guidelines. I don't think that's anything you should hold against the writers. Besides, at the very least you have women in Brienne, Arya, Dany, Cersei, Olenna and more recently also Sansa that really kick ass so there's that. 

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5 hours ago, Pink Fat Rast said:

A question the complexity of which hasn't been fully captured by this thread's title, eh? But there's only so much nuance one can pack into a short thread title i suppose :o

 

Questions of "balance" aside, telling between in-universe sexism (particularly female on female types) and sexism within the writing, is something lots of people on this thread seemed to have difficulties with.

 

Are the books equalist on that one? Martni joked about his South Park song how if you read his books you#d know he was "more on the boobies, not weenies, side of the equation".

But maybe, sure.

 

 

 

This matters when talking about the effects on a character who's then seen later - as you point out further in this post.

However, with passing characters who aren't really shown later (like Craster's wives), this isn't really a criticism - the notion that if it hadn't been included, or shown, that wouldn't have affected the plot or character arcs, and therefore it shouldn't have been shown or "doing it for shock value" is wrong, is simply invalid.

 


 

 

 

 

This is how their further encounters are in the book as well, so the difference isn't as significant as it could've been.

X and Y ending up leading to the same destination, doesn't mean X and Y are supposed to be the same.

if the relationship already starts out "lovingly" and then becomes even more romantic, there's less of a progression betwee point A and point B..
If it starts out "lovingly", but then becomes kind of rougher when the routien sets in, the turning point then has more of a "return to day 1" vibe.

And if it starts out rough and rapey, that's the most progression out of these three scenarios.
And the show clearly treats that as a progression..

 


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That scene was shot as consensual and then re-edited into rape (due to some kind of miscommunication or the editor got high or something), so it's clear why it doesn't have too much of an effect on their later scenes.

Either way, Jaime and Cersei are a special case - this sort of thing may already have happened before, and maybe Cersei is into that to some degree. the editing didn't manage to turn it into "100% rape" and still showed bits of her responding, so it looks like she's not entirely sure if she wants it or not, or whether Joffrey's corpse is the only/main problem here.

Also, she's already messed up mentally, so the kind of effect it would have on her isn't necessarily clear - she does angrily chastise Jaime for freeing Tyrion later on, and S5 is all about her recklessly trying to hold on to power.

So, if anything, they kind of managed to get away with accidentally showing a consensual sex scene as rape[/i] due to the plot specifics and the general decadent context obscuring the lack of effectss (with a bunch of messed up things that might as well have been the effects).

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Well, Drogo's "arc" (and Daenerys' as well) goes from point A to point B, and this only increases the dstance between A and B - so one could say it enhances it rather.

Well, Viserys doesn't try that in the show, and by the time of his death scene you're already rooting for Drogo who's become more likeable than him, and has more compassion for Daenerys at that point - so the overall effect is the same.


And other characters like Tywin, even more representative of the "civilized Westeros culture2, are shown to be as condoning of rape as it gets, so it's not like the whole "these savages aren't really worse than the civilized ones" pattern gets lost in the show.
 

There are plenty of "racist stereotypies" that do involve some level of morality and compassion - the big thing always is that it's conditional and can dissipate if his customs or dominance is defied etc.

Same with white criminals and mobsters, really, so I don't see the point in focusing on "race" here.


The only valid starting point for discussing potential racism, would be the way the Wildlings are depicted as much better people than the Dothraki - except for the Thenns of course.
But you didn't bring that up, so.

 

As pointed out, this still comes across - with other characters, with Viserys too.

Jaime wasn't supposed to have turned into a 100% good guy anyway - however the perplexing parts would be due to them trying to cover up their error and act like it was all intentional.

 

These high standards that you're setting here, only apply to fiction like GoT - which, itself, claims to aspire to such standards: realism, showing the consequences of actions and events, accurate representation of (historical) reality etc.


Spiderman is on the polar opposite of that spectrum, it aspires to no such thing and makes no claims about being responsible realism - with the sole exception of "showing what it's like to struggle with school and money while still being a vigilante superhero" but even that part is mostly played for comedy.

Spiderman and most superhero movies are good examples of fiction that's all about style and escapism and has little to do with educating audiences about harsh realities of anything.

 

That happens a lot in superhero movies - even Batman Forever did that.

I'm not sure to what degree Shae's statement (that no woman would want any sex stuff with the rescuer after an attempted rape) is true, but even if it's 100% in all cases - Spiderman is pure fantasy and isn't supposed to adhere to such rules.

so the Sam Gilly thing is worth a look - this one, nah.

Since they do happen, they aren't mythical.

Are you saying that in a crime ridden area, where being attacked and mugged is a real danger, being raped is still highly unlikely?
If it's about as likely as other types of attacks, there's no reason why it shouldn't be shown in a movie that focuses on criminal street violence.

You might as well say "most thefts happen by way of contract frauds or people ripping each other off", that doesn't mean Spiderman shouldn't be shown stopping armed robberies.

I'm not aware of anyone "not thinking of that as rape".

Yes, exactly - that movie isn't about "talking about important issues", it's about a fantasy take on those issues.

However, the notion that him being a hero "matters more than her" isn't really true - she's really happy rather than distressed, which is just as important.

Well in this case we've got a whole arc based around a form of the stockholm syndrome - arguably, that's the reason for her being as zealous and bloodthirsty as she still often is.
the whole "dragon destiny" thing was a source of inner strength for her even before taming Drogo, and the first time he started ranting about invading Westeros she was smiling lovingly while he was talking about sacking and raping all the villages - and now, unless dissuaded, all slavers are bad by default, and all Westerosi are acceptable targets.

However if more other consequences should've been shown in addition to that (or this part should've been done differently), you can argue for that as well.

Firstly, I'm not making an argument about Craster's wives, just the main characters I referenced.

Secondly regarding the progression of Dany and Drogo's relationship, I do not think that a relationship that started with rape would ever have evolved into anything but abusive. So I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on that one. My point in talking about Drogo as a racist stereotype is simply to point out that the choice to make the scene consensual does have a larger affect on the character and shouldn't be able to be changed without consequence.

I guess I don't consider my standards for depiction of rape very high. And as someone who is obsessed with superhero films I can tell you that the best of them often deal with important themes and philosophical questions, the same as fiction like GOT does. Captain America, Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, etc. They are not only about style and escapism, and just because lots of superhero films make the same mistake as Spider-Man does not mean that it is okay. Spider-Man is not pure fantasy, in fact the reason that Spider-Man is so popular is that he faces real world problems and has flaws, as do the characters in his stories. For more on this, go read some interviews by Stan Lee on the character. At the end of the day, I don't think MJ needs to be a victim in order to make Spidey a hero. He's already a hero.

 And I am completely correct in referring to this as a mythical rape. Go to Wikipedia, look up Rape Myths, it'll be the fourth or fifth one listed.

Also, you are at once arguing that almost raping MJ is okay because it is realistic for that situation, and then saying that her reaction is okay because a superhero film isn't supposed to be realistic. So do you think realism matters or not?

Also, I brought up "people not thinking of that as rape" to show that these depictions do have real consequences. In fact, there are many people who will blame a victim of date rape for "putting herself in that position", etc. Because society focuses on stranger rape, which is statistically unlikely, it puts a burden on those who have survived date rape. There is a lot of interesting scholarship on the subject, it's worth looking into.

The shows depiction of Dany and Drogo is not similar to Stockholm syndrome. Girls Like Us by Rachel Lloyd is a terrific book dealing with women who have been sold into the sex industry and developed loving yet abusive relationships with their pimps (Stockholm syndrome). Their similarities to Dany's situation are striking, but the depiction of their relationships could not be more different. The relationship the show chose to portray is a loving and intimate relationship as in the book, but one that started with rape. I personally find this unacceptable. Also, the idea that you can "tame" your abuser is unsupported by fact, but it is the reason many women stay in abusive relationships.When shows depict women changing abusive men, it sends a potentially dangerous message, one that is also incorrect.

And as far as Jaime and Cersei is concerned, I am not into debating degrees of rape. It isn't about if she "looks like she wants to" or if she resisted at first and then gave in, or whatever else. If she said no and he continued to force her (which is what happened) it is rape (even by Westerosi standards). There is no 50% rape or 100% rape or anything. There is consensual sex, where the person says yes and participates fully. And there is rape, where the person did not consent. Poldark is another example of a show that tried to say, well she resisted at first and then when he kept going she decided she was into it. No. That is rape.

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5 hours ago, dragonlords said:

I am a woman, but I think that's a strange thing to ask in relation to the context of the story. ASOIAF has a very historical feel to it, like it could actually be part of medieval history and you wouldn't be surprised about the portrayal of women in that setting either. I'd find it very unrealistic to portray it any differently just because it's expected these days to show things in the most respectful way. It's just the way it is in that setting and that's okay, actually a lot more interesting than adhering to PC guidelines. I don't think that's anything you should hold against the writers. Besides, at the very least you have women in Brienne, Arya, Dany, Cersei, Olenna and more recently also Sansa that really kick ass so there's that. 

You think it's very realistic to the setting that women are only "empowered" through murdering people and/or burning stuff while being sassy (sometimes after marrying their enemies and legitimizing their rule over their ancestral home for revenge (??) because you need to marry your enemy and be raped and abused in order to get empowered!), while everyone, especially any "empowered" women, despises traditional feminine things like knitting or wearing dresses (booo!)? And it's also realistic for 150 cm tall, 45 kg teenage girls to become the best knight on thr continent without getting any training fir it, other than a couple of months of non-knightly sword training years earlier and then some time sweeping floors? Also, it's realistic for prostitutes and even sex slaves (!) to offer customers sex for free just because they like them?

Boy, do you have some weird ideas about the Middle Ages, or what.

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1 hour ago, Rhae_Valarie said:

Firstly, I'm not making an argument about Craster's wives, just the main characters I referenced.

Secondly regarding the progression of Dany and Drogo's relationship, I do not think that a relationship that started with rape would ever have evolved into anything but abusive. So I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on that one. My point in talking about Drogo as a racist stereotype is simply to point out that the choice to make the scene consensual does have a larger affect on the character and shouldn't be able to be changed without consequence.

I guess I don't consider my standards for depiction of rape very high. And as someone who is obsessed with superhero films I can tell you that the best of them often deal with important themes and philosophical questions, the same as fiction like GOT does. Captain America, Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, etc. They are not only about style and escapism, and just because lots of superhero films make the same mistake as Spider-Man does not mean that it is okay. Spider-Man is not pure fantasy, in fact the reason that Spider-Man is so popular is that he faces real world problems and has flaws, as do the characters in his stories. For more on this, go read some interviews by Stan Lee on the character. At the end of the day, I don't think MJ needs to be a victim in order to make Spidey a hero. He's already a hero.

 And I am completely correct in referring to this as a mythical rape. Go to Wikipedia, look up Rape Myths, it'll be the fourth or fifth one listed.

Also, you are at once arguing that almost raping MJ is okay because it is realistic for that situation, and then saying that her reaction is okay because a superhero film isn't supposed to be realistic. So do you think realism matters or not?

Also, I brought up "people not thinking of that as rape" to show that these depictions do have real consequences. In fact, there are many people who will blame a victim of date rape for "putting herself in that position", etc. Because society focuses on stranger rape, which is statistically unlikely, it puts a burden on those who have survived date rape. There is a lot of interesting scholarship on the subject, it's worth looking into.

The shows depiction of Dany and Drogo is not similar to Stockholm syndrome. Girls Like Us by Rachel Lloyd is a terrific book dealing with women who have been sold into the sex industry and developed loving yet abusive relationships with their pimps (Stockholm syndrome). Their similarities to Dany's situation are striking, but the depiction of their relationships could not be more different. The relationship the show chose to portray is a loving and intimate relationship as in the book, but one that started with rape. I personally find this unacceptable. Also, the idea that you can "tame" your abuser is unsupported by fact, but it is the reason many women stay in abusive relationships.When shows depict women changing abusive men, it sends a potentially dangerous message, one that is also incorrect.

And as far as Jaime and Cersei is concerned, I am not into debating degrees of rape. It isn't about if she "looks like she wants to" or if she resisted at first and then gave in, or whatever else. If she said no and he continued to force her (which is what happened) it is rape (even by Westerosi standards). There is no 50% rape or 100% rape or anything. There is consensual sex, where the person says yes and participates fully. And there is rape, where the person did not consent. Poldark is another example of a show that tried to say, well she resisted at first and then when he kept going she decided she was into it. No. That is rape.

The "well it's a superhero/fantasy/SciFi story, so it doesn't have to be realistic" is one of the stupidest and most annoying arguments people use in defending bad fiction. It conflates the realism of the setting and psychological realism. A story may have magic or dragons or time travel or superpowers, but that doesn't mean that 1) it doesn't have to stick to the established rules of its universe and, even more importantly, 2) that it doesn't have to realistically portray the behaviour and emotional responses of humans or human-like people (unless a character is actually supposed to have an alien mindset because of its species - in which case, this needs to be explained/established). A story where characters act in unbelievable ways is simply bad.

Speaking of superhero fiction: look at Jessica Jones, the Marvel Netflix show - it's a very thoughtful exploration of the emotional consequences of rape and abuse.

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