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GoT and Feminism: What Happens Now?

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20 minutes ago, SeanF said:

In terms of sheer horror, it is on a par with what Aegon, Visenya, and Rhaenys did in Dorne.  Therefore, it is not at all unprecedented. 

Nonsense.  Nothing remotely similar is described in Dorne. The first time they went to Dorne they hardly encountered any people, let alone targeted and slaughtered smallfolk. Even with all their attacks on the seats of the lords of Dorne, there is no indication of anything like what Dany did. And unlike Aegon and his sisters, Dany has been put forth as being especially concerned with the smallfolk. She just inexplicably committed the greatest massacre of innocent smallfolk in Westerosi history.

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3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

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'.

I was gonna say. This show has never been feminist. So I don't get some anti-sjw saying people should be pleased by how many female characters the show has and empowers. Really? Badass moments for no reason and with no substance is not feminist; it's bad writing and pandering. It's pretty clear these writers can only write one type of woman and it's not a 3-dimensional one. And that wouldn't suddenly change now at season 8.

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4 hours ago, Damon_Tor said:

considerable feminist fanbase, much of that because of Daenerys.

Political issues shouldn't influence the storyline.

Daenerys is just a character. Not place for feminism in a medieval world.

We need a lot less so-called political correctness and feminism and more pragmatism and realism. True equality is reached if the gender is no topic anymore. We can have good or evil characters, no matter whether male or female.

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I really don't regard Dany as being particularly "feminist", to be honest. She's got to where she is through dragonfire, force and coercion. She's far too reliant on her lizards of mass destruction, her behaviour has been teetering on the brink of tyrannical for quite some time. I think it was the wine-seller's daughter that did it for me, in the books. Besides, any ruler who must rely on having fire breathing monsters to enforce their rule can only ever be a tyrant. Burning human beings isn't fun, liberating or "badass". It's just awful. As for her meaningless "break the wheel" nonsense ... it was just pointless. She didn't want to "break the wheel", she wanted to stop the wheel in such a position that she was permanently on top. That's not how wheels are broken! 

Meanwhile, we have characters like Sansa Stark who has had to learn the hard way, without magic, to survive and thrive in this world. She's survived captivity, beatings, abuse and endless humiliation without ever losing her innate sense of doing the right thing. And she's managed to grow fast and strong. Yet, she's spat on and reviled by almost the entire fandom because she's just not blatantly "kickass" enough. She's far more empowering, IMO, that watching the over-hyped, over-powered magic lady walking through fire... again. 

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3 minutes ago, Ellimental said:

I really don't regard Dany as being particularly "feminist", to be honest. She's got to where she is through dragonfire, force and coercion. She's far too reliant on her lizards of mass destruction, her behaviour has been teetering on the brink of tyrannical for quite some time. I think it was the wine-seller's daughter that did it for me, in the books. Besides, any ruler who must rely on having fire breathing monsters to enforce their rule can only ever be a tyrant. Burning human beings isn't fun, liberating or "badass". It's just awful. As for her meaningless "break the wheel" nonsense ... it was just pointless. She didn't want to "break the wheel", she wanted to stop the wheel in such a position that she was permanently on top. That's not how wheels are broken! 

Meanwhile, we have characters like Sansa Stark who has had to learn the hard way, without magic, to survive and thrive in this world. She's survived captivity, beatings, abuse and endless humiliation without ever losing her innate sense of doing the right thing. And she's managed to grow fast and strong. Yet, she's spat on and reviled by almost the entire fandom because she's just not blatantly "kickass" enough. She's far more empowering, IMO, that watching the over-hyped, over-powered magic lady walking through fire... again. 

Hear! Hear! on Sansa over Dany. She was right to do everything she did in regards to Dany. Dany basically using the Northern Armies as her own Mafia muscle was the breaking point for her, and rightfully so.

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12 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

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'.

I wholeheartedly agree that rape has been used as a plot device and that some of the scenes that featured rape were exploitative. However, Sansa's comment about how she'd have remained a little bird forever if not for what happened to her didn't bother me as much as it did a lot of people. I worked with rape survivors for years and the sentiment was so familiar to me. I heard many of them say the same thing, in essence, by saying that it was horrible but it made them who they were today. It was never about spinning rape into a positive or saying it was necessary. It was about taking power and meaning back from the perpetrators and contextualizing the experience.

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Game of Thrones already had so many problems from a feminist perspective before The Bells that it doesn't matter. That's not to say I think it's a 'bad show' for having these problems, which are the same problems a lot of shows have in this regard. I just mean that long before The Bells aired, this wasn't a program that was being shown in Womens' Studies classrooms, at least not as an example of what a feminist program would look like.

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Posted (edited)

Honestly, I feel that the show's characters are a net positive for feminism, no matter how they end or what they do. They are real people and not defined by their sex for the most part. Sure, you can't escape that entirely, but even Cersei who is obsessed with thinking she is held back by her sex is a real person and has her own agenda and agency.

But yeah - for me it comes down to one question: Are they real and believable people? For the most part, I have to say yes. The writing is very problematic in a lot of ways, but overall, the characters rise above it.

to clarify - I am not just looking at the female characters through this lens. Are the men and women both being portrayed realistically, if so, good job. 

Edited by Gertrude

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I always find it hilarious when the show is talked about for not being feminist enough, when in many corners of the internet it is hated for being an SJW feminist lovein. Both sides cannot be correct. 

There was a period in the show where almost all of the female characters were heroic badasses, and there was still constant criticism. 

Why should all popular media be viewed through the lens of internet politics, it tends to spoil my viewing

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Spoiler

 

Sorry - but what a bullshit OP.

You can't push the cry-baby SJW/PC world we are being forced to live in onto a purely fictional world that was the product of one mans imagination. Disney tried that...didn't work too well for them.

Either grow a set or slither back to your safe space.

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7 hours ago, Wildling Queen said:

I wholeheartedly agree that rape has been used as a plot device and that some of the scenes that featured rape were exploitative. However, Sansa's comment about how she'd have remained a little bird forever if not for what happened to her didn't bother me as much as it did a lot of people. I worked with rape survivors for years and the sentiment was so familiar to me. I heard many of them say the same thing, in essence, by saying that it was horrible but it made them who they were today. It was never about spinning rape into a positive or saying it was necessary. It was about taking power and meaning back from the perpetrators and contextualizing the experience.

It is one thing to try to make sense/live with what happened to you and quite another to use rape as 'empowerment' or 'character building' for a character who is actually not raped by the character she is raped in the show.

Also, quite frankly, if rape was such great character building why the hell didn't we get some male rape/sexual abuse in GoT? I mean, Theon would have been ideally suited for that kind of thing. But, no, men in similar situations don't get raped.

Overall, though, even George's world is pretty shitty from a feminist perspective. Yes, he describes real people in a realistic fantasy world. But it was his decision to make it as patriarchal as it is - which one can and should criticize in principle. After all, this is a fantasy series, which means the author should actually be able to explain why the hell he felt he had to make his world as shitty as it is.

Much worse, though, is that he made it completely about royalty and nobility. The only societal view we get in both books and show is the point of view of privileged pricks. In that sense the world as presented is actually much worse than the average soap opera depicting the day-to-day (love) lives of aristocrats or rich people. There one usually also gets the stories of servants or employees who fall in love with a family, etc.

The only commoner we sort of have as a POV is Areo Hotah (and he is also a foreigner). Davos is a knighted commoner who is completely part of the noble society now.

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20 hours ago, The Marquis de Leech said:

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.

Actually, I believe it was the introduction of Tyrion. They explain the Lannister sibling relationships with Tyrion and Rod in bed

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20 hours ago, Wildling Queen said:

For whom is there social harmony right now?

Not many people. The mega rich, I guess. The corporation owners that are profiting from degrading Western working conditions across the board. Western Society is fucked,  it's in total cultural decline.

Note that I think it is as wrong to blame modern feminism for this decline as it is to blame any of the many extreme political ideology's that are forming. They are all symptoms of societal collapse, not causes. If there has to being a single root cause it would be rampant greed and self interest.

When I first started watching GoTs, I thought it may be heading towards making a point on this stuff - but nah, disappointed by contemporary mainstream storytelling (which is also in serious decline) again.

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

It is one thing to try to make sense/live with what happened to you and quite another to use rape as 'empowerment' or 'character building' for a character who is actually not raped by the character she is raped in the show.

While I agree, you could compare it to Theon. His ordeal, being tortured and having his genitals cut off, was also used as character building in some ways. 

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2 hours ago, Heartofice said:

While I agree, you could compare it to Theon. His ordeal, being tortured and having his genitals cut off, was also used as character building in some ways. 

I'm not sure about that. Don't really recall Theon's arc in the show, but I'd say that Theon's arc in the book is basically depicting the other destruction of a personality and then, it part at least, the restoration of that personality. Reek-Theon does in no way grow as a character, and while the eventual result there might be less vapid a creature was pre-Reek Theon - who is really just an empty-headed ass in the books - he is not likely going to grow as a character, merely coping with what happened to him. Just like Arya doesn't even remotely 'grow' as a character in the books because she survives gruesome situations, etc.

But I honestly meant actually 'proper rape' like him sucking some dick or having to suffer an anal rape. That's the kind of thing you rarely see in TV/cinema even in shows/movies that gladly and repeatedly depict women who are raped. And you can also extend that to talk about rape, etc.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

It is one thing to try to make sense/live with what happened to you and quite another to use rape as 'empowerment' or 'character building' for a character who is actually not raped by the character she is raped in the show.

Also, quite frankly, if rape was such great character building why the hell didn't we get some male rape/sexual abuse in GoT? I mean, Theon would have been ideally suited for that kind of thing. But, no, men in similar situations don't get raped.

Overall, though, even George's world is pretty shitty from a feminist perspective. Yes, he describes real people in a realistic fantasy world. But it was his decision to make it as patriarchal as it is - which one can and should criticize in principle. After all, this is a fantasy series, which means the author should actually be able to explain why the hell he felt he had to make his world as shitty as it is.

Much worse, though, is that he made it completely about royalty and nobility. The only societal view we get in both books and show is the point of view of privileged pricks. In that sense the world as presented is actually much worse than the average soap opera depicting the day-to-day (love) lives of aristocrats or rich people. There one usually also gets the stories of servants or employees who fall in love with a family, etc.

The only commoner we sort of have as a POV is Areo Hotah (and he is also a foreigner). Davos is a knighted commoner who is completely part of the noble society now.

Shitty societies are more interesting to read about than pleasant ones.  I love reading about the Ancient World.  I would absolutely hate to be transported back there in time.

Edited by SeanF

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45 minutes ago, SeanF said:

Shitty societies are more interesting to read about than pleasant ones.  I love reading about the Ancient World.  I would absolutely hate to be transported back there in time.

Oh, well, it is still a conscious decision of the author to make it a completely shitty misogynistic and racist society - like Westeros (the racism is really ugly in FaB with the way the court and Kingslanders view the Rogares!) - and to tone down that somewhat. I mean, Westeros would have worked just as well with equal primogeniture everywhere, I'd say, and it could have been a less elitist society had there been some wealthy commoners - like merchants, craftsmen, etc. - among the POVs. Not to mention the abysmal effect of the absurd concept of 'bastard names' - this thing even influences the concepts and discourse of the readers. If the characters ostracize certain people with those shitty names the reader actually mimics that behavior, also seeing distinctions between Snows and Starks, etc.

Any author writing fantasy in our days cannot complain why he creates a world where racist and misogynistic clichés and stereotypes are reinforced.

I mean, there is no reason why all the Westerosi should be white, nor is there any why the foreign ruling dynasty has to be 'whiter' still. Those are all conscious decisions on George's part there wasn't really a need for.

Granted, one can say that this world was invented back in the early 1990s and not around 2020. Sexual plurality grew much more prominent in the more recent publications. Jon Connington is our first gay POV, and there are many gay historical Targaryens, and even cross-dressing Lannister kings and Golden Company officers. But the world as depicted still sucks.

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