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Damon_Tor

GoT and Feminism: What Happens Now?

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So I feel like GoT has built up a considerable feminist fanbase, much of that because of Daenerys.

So what happens now?

This episode reinforces the worst stereotype of women as leaders: that they're prone to emotional, irrational decisionmaking with potentially ruinous consequences. The idea that a female President or Prime Minister would order a nuclear strike because she's "on her period" is a very real problem with how we see women as a society, and here we have Daenerys, ordering the Westerosi equivalent of a nuclear strike because she's having an irrational emotional response.

Also, Brienne breaking down sobbing when Jaime left her. WTF was that? Is that the last we see of Brienne? Is that the conclusion of her character arc, getting pumped and dumped by a Chad and weeping about it? REALLY?

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So the last positive female characters we have left are:

Sansa?

...

Anyone else?

Someone's going to say Arya, but this is still the person who thought it was okay to bake a man's sons into a pie and feed them to him, then poison every male member of his family.

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You're missing the fact that there are so few characters AT ALL. Feminist support shouldn't invalidate a plot just because you think women should be portrayed doing no wrong.

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3 minutes ago, Damon_Tor said:

So the last positive female characters we have left are:

Sansa?

...

Anyone else?

Someone's going to say Arya, but this is still the person who thought it was okay to bake a man's sons into a pie and feed them to him, then poison every male member of his family.

"No women are portrayed well!" And you dig all the way back to Arya dishing out revenge to claim that she is portrayed negatively. Nice try. We've just seen an episode of good Arya trying to save a good woman and her good daughter from the slaughter perpetrated by one woman and many thousands of men. "Look, a woman is portrayed badly there! SEXISM!" Is this really how your mind works? Talk about laser focus on digging up what you want to see and ignoring everything else. Even thousands of killers are ignored to look at just one woman being bad.

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I don't think there's a feminist fan base around Dany alone. That was never it for me. There is, quite definitely, a feminist theoretical lens from which this story can be analyzed that still holds. It's certainly not about "women should be portrayed doing no wrong." That kind of misses a bunch of overarching themes, which in both the books and show have been introduced, about women and power.

The two things that stick out to me most that can be analyzed using feminist theory are: 1) women holding subversive spaces of power. Tradition is not part of it. It's about creating new ways to wield power. Arya and Brienne are perfect examples of this. And 2) you don't create radical change through traditional, patriarchal paradigms. The same system that oppresses people can't be used to then undo that oppression. You tear it all down and start over. That happened last night. No more King's Landing. No more Iron Throne. A whole new way to rule is beginning.

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Posted (edited)
44 minutes ago, Damon_Tor said:

So I feel like GoT has built up a considerable feminist fanbase, much of that because of Daenerys.

So what happens now?

This episode reinforces the worst stereotype of women as leaders: that they're prone to emotional, irrational decisionmaking with potentially ruinous consequences. The idea that a female President or Prime Minister would order a nuclear strike because she's "on her period" is a very real problem with how we see women as a society, and here we have Daenerys, ordering the Westerosi equivalent of a nuclear strike because she's having an irrational emotional response.

Also, Brienne breaking down sobbing when Jaime left her. WTF was that? Is that the last we see of Brienne? Is that the conclusion of her character arc, getting pumped and dumped by a Chad and weeping about it? REALLY?

1. Daenerys went nuts because of plot convenience, and because her family are inbred nutters. Not because she's a woman.

2. Cersei is a bizarre and (until AFFC) genuinely interesting case of a misogynistic woman who nevertheless obsesses about her family. A product of Tywin's terrible parenting, not a comment on female leaders.

3. Brienne has genuine reason to be upset. She's developed a strong emotional attachment to Jaime - and vice versa - until plot convenience decided that Jaime ought to completely undo his previous character development.  

Edited by The Marquis de Leech

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10 minutes ago, Jarl Halstein said:

Are you just virtue signaling or do you actually believe this?

Mostly I'm trying to provoke a conversation. Devil's advocate, so to speak. I'm actually pleasantly surprised by the face-heel turn in a show I had thought had run out of twists, though I have quibbles about the manner in which it was done.

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4 minutes ago, The Marquis de Leech said:

3. Brienne has genuine reason to be upset. She's developed a strong emotional attachment to Jaime - and vice versa - until plot convenience decided that Jaime ought to completely undo his previous character development.  

1

I agree that none of that undoes the power that Brienne holds and has shown throughout the show. Having human emotions is not weakness.

I disagree, however, that Jaime's previous character development was undone. I actually thought his ending served that character development perfectly.

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2 minutes ago, Damon_Tor said:

Mostly I'm trying to provoke a conversation. Devil's advocate, so to speak. I'm actually pleasantly surprised by the face-heel turn in a show I had thought had run out of twists, though I have quibbles about the manner in which it was done.

There are always going to be people (it's usually the same kind of people) who throw fits the minute the word feminism is mentioned. There are reasons for that, but I'll just say that "men are shown as bad too!" totally misses the point. But so does being upset about Dany and Cersei, specifically. This was never about those two particular characters.

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11 minutes ago, SeanF said:

A woman has the right to be as bad as a man.

No man has an atrocity on this scale in the series. This is the worst thing anyone has ever done, book or show. Ramsay has done nothing this bad, or Joffrey or the Mountain or Tywin or Roose Bolton or any Khal. The Nightking himself doesn't likely have this kind of body count.

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Any genuine feminist long abandoned the show long before the present development.

I mean, rape literally used and referenced as character development? Case closed.

This show has been misogynistic since at least the first 'sexposition scene'.

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6 minutes ago, Wildling Queen said:

You tear it all down and start over. That happened last night. No more King's Landing. No more Iron Throne. A whole new way to rule is beginning.

Doubtful in a pre-industrial country.  Kings Landing can be rebuilt.  Dany will take over now, however long or short her reign may be.  When she dies there will be temporay chaos then the strongest will take over and contiune the cycle. Maybe the north and dorne stay independant but they are still monarcy's as well.  The vast majority of average joe's have to spend to much time farming to support thier familes to care who's in charge or what type of government they have. 

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45 minutes ago, Damon_Tor said:

This episode reinforces the worst stereotype of women as leaders: that they're prone to emotional, irrational decisionmaking with potentially ruinous consequences. The idea that a female President or Prime Minister would order a nuclear strike because she's "on her period" is a very real problem with how we see women as a society, and here we have Daenerys, ordering the Westerosi equivalent of a nuclear strike because she's having an irrational emotional response.

I don't think Dany's actions were brought on by an irrational emotional response. I think she made a conscious decision to use extreme fear to demonstrate her power and solidify her rule. It may seem irrational to observers (Jon and Tyrion and most of the audience, including myself, were like wtf), but I believe she thought her actions were rational and serving a purpose.

49 minutes ago, Damon_Tor said:

Also, Brienne breaking down sobbing when Jaime left her. WTF was that? Is that the last we see of Brienne? Is that the conclusion of her character arc, getting pumped and dumped by a Chad and weeping about it? REALLY?

I didn't take that scene as Brienne being upset that Jaime was "dumping" her - as someone else mentioned, I thinks she genuinely cares about him (not just romantically, but as a person) and the fact that he is basically riding off to his death is upsetting to her. There's no shame in being emotional about that. 

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1 minute ago, Damon_Tor said:

No man has an atrocity on this scale in the series. This is the worst thing anyone has ever done, book or show. Ramsay has done nothing this bad, or Joffrey or the Mountain or Tywin or Roose Bolton or any Khal. The Nightking himself doesn't likely have this kind of body count.

Ramsay flays people as a form of recreation;  Tywin and Ser Gregor torture and abuse countless peasants in the Riverlands.  Walder Frey murdered hundreds of people at a wedding celebration. 

Daenerys fits in.

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1 minute ago, Bradam said:

Doubtful in a pre-industrial country.  Kings Landing can be rebuilt.  Dany will take over now, however long or short her reign may be.  When she dies there will be temporay chaos then the strongest will take over and contiune the cycle. Maybe the north and dorne stay independant but they are still monarcy's as well.  The vast majority of average joe's have to spend to much time farming to support thier familes to care who's in charge or what type of government they have. 

King's Landing is a symbol. Tearing it down is symbolic and a reference to the destruction of traditional paradigms of power.

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1 minute ago, Damon_Tor said:

Mostly I'm trying to provoke a conversation. Devil's advocate, so to speak. I'm actually pleasantly surprised by the face-heel turn in a show I had thought had run out of twists, though I have quibbles about the manner in which it was done.

Devil's advocate. Ah.

I forgot Dany's brother Viserys Targaryen, who was far more crazy than she was. He was every bit the son of the Mad King. Torturing Dany by twisting her nipples and beating her, threatening her, making demands on the Dothraki - presented as despicable as D&D could possibly make him. Remembering Viserys and the Mad King actually make Dany's snapping at King's Landing more believable, though they had to add an intro to remind everyone that Targaryens are crazy, since they hadn't kept that in  the story in a good way.

As for good women, there's Brienne. Theon's sister Asha Greyjoy. There was Catelyn Stark, betrayed and murdered by men. The prostitute Ros tortured to death by Joffrey. The Go Grrrl Sand Snakes and their mother - misdirected but clearly meaning well, until killed by a man.  The innocent women north of the Wall. The Go Grrrl Ygritte. The Red Priestess - mercilessly focused, but clearly doing it all to save the world from the Endless Night, which she did help with. Missandei. And more, I'm sure. Especially all the constant female victims killed or chased by men.

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2 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

This show has been misogynistic since at least the first 'sexposition scene'.

If I recall correctly, the first sexposition scene was Viserys and Doreah in the bath. Which certainly portrayed Viserys as misogynistic, but we clearly weren't supposed to be endorsing his view.

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