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From Pawn to Player: Rethinking Sansa VIII

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Okay, I have been trying to respond to some of these posts for a while and one time lost my post and then keep getting called away (darn real life!) and now we are back to the "this thread is moving so fast it's hard to keep up" mode.

So, I'll just get some of my thoughts down quickly, but I haven't read to page 10 yet.

First, Kittykatknits, why not put this on LJ too, unless it is too much to follow both. It's hard enough keeping up with this thread much less add others.

As to your questions:

1. Why do we think that Sansa's method of resistance is so often minimized? Is it because she is featured in a fantasy series?

2. What is it in Sansa's arc that prevents readers from seeing a feminist message? Why do so many persist in believing that all the messages about women do not somehow apply to her?

3. Why does the idea of a sexual awakening for Sansa make so many readers uncomfortable?

4. Thoughts on Martin's depiction of Sansa, whether positive or negative?

I thought Winter's Knight made some really great points. They pretty much express how I feel but I wanted to make a more specific point about passive resistance. A few others commented on this as well. When I think of passive resistance it reminds me of another fractured fairtyale, Ella Enchanted. Ella is really spunky and I find the way she tries to rebel against her gift/curse of obedience to be a wonderful expression of passive resistance. For example when her mother calls to her to come downstairs she says, "Fine, but I'll take my own sweet time about it," so she starts to walk really slowly. I don't really understand why this is not viewed as powerful with Sansa as she definitely has her own subtle ways of resisting. Maybe they are too subtle?

Winter's Knight, what you said here:

"Feminist" is still a dirty word unless associated with easy-to-grasp concepts like women wanting to take on masculine roles. Acknowledging Sansa-a feminine girl who likes doing girly things- as having a feminist awakening would be difficult since traditionally speaking, "womanly" skills have little value.

This is a really great point. Truly feminine, girly girl pursuits are definitely not the ideal in today's society. Also, thank you for the link to the Thor review. I have not seen that yet myself but based on what I read here, I'd like to real soon. And speaking of the heterosexual female view, go see Magic Mike :drool:

As for why the idea of Sansa's sexual awakening makes people so uncomfortable, while I do think there's an element to it of this being a revolutionary thing, I also wonder if it's as simple as that she is still so young. I admit, thinking about the sexual awakening of a 13 year old girl does make me quite uncomfortable. I just really keep in the forefront that this is fiction and age up the character in my head.

Lady Lea, love the "Clueless" references here!

"You've seen the posts here where people talk about her like she's the Regina George of Westeros (even though, actually, I think she's way more of a Cher Horowitz - especially if she gets Mya and that one guy together!! - and Cher is a sweetheart)."

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Lady Lea, love the "Clueless" references here!

"You've seen the posts here where people talk about her like she's the Regina George of Westeros (even though, actually, I think she's way more of a Cher Horowitz - especially if she gets Mya and that one guy together!! - and Cher is a sweetheart)."

Haha! I'm a huge Mean Girls and Clueless stan sooo ;)

Everytime I read that bit about how Varys told the Tyrells all about Sansa and how her favourite food was lemoncakes I just think about that scene in Mean Girls when everyone is describing Regina George: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3J9T91r0p0E

Sansa Stark... How do I even begin to explain Sansa Stark?

Sansa Stark is flawless.

She has two dragonfly necklaces and an amethyst hairnet

I hear her hair is insured for ten thousand dragons

I hear her sister is an assassin... in Braavos

Her favourite song is Florian and Jonquil

One time she met the Knight of Flowers on a tourney... and he told her she was pretty

One time she touched the Hound in the face. It was awesome

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Haha! I'm a huge Mean Girls and Clueless stan sooo ;)

Everytime I read that bit about how Varys told the Tyrells all about Sansa and how her favourite food was lemoncakes I just think about that scene in Mean Girls when everyone is describing Regina George: http://www.youtube.c...h?v=3J9T91r0p0E

Sansa Stark... How do I even begin to explain Sansa Stark?

Sansa Stark is flawless.

She has two dragonfly necklaces and an amethyst hairnet

I hear her hair is insured for ten thousand dragons

I hear her sister is an assassin... in Braavos

Her favourite song is Florian and Jonquil

One time she met the Knight of Flowers on a tourney... and he told her she was pretty

One time she touched the Hound in the face. It was awesome

\

LOL :laugh:

She said Gregor was no true knight

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Okay, I have been trying to respond to some of these posts for a while and one time lost my post and then keep getting called away (darn real life!) and now we are back to the "this thread is moving so fast it's hard to keep up" mode.

So, I'll just get some of my thoughts down quickly, but I haven't read to page 10 yet.

First, Kittykatknits, why not put this on LJ too, unless it is too much to follow both. It's hard enough keeping up with this thread much less add others.

As to your questions:

1. Why do we think that Sansa's method of resistance is so often minimized? Is it because she is featured in a fantasy series?

2. What is it in Sansa's arc that prevents readers from seeing a feminist message? Why do so many persist in believing that all the messages about women do not somehow apply to her?

3. Why does the idea of a sexual awakening for Sansa make so many readers uncomfortable?

4. Thoughts on Martin's depiction of Sansa, whether positive or negative?

I thought Winter's Knight made some really great points. They pretty much express how I feel but I wanted to make a more specific point about passive resistance. A few others commented on this as well. When I think of passive resistance it reminds me of another fractured fairtyale, Ella Enchanted. Ella is really spunky and I find the way she tries to rebel against her gift/curse of obedience to be a wonderful expression of passive resistance. For example when her mother calls to her to come downstairs she says, "Fine, but I'll take my own sweet time about it," so she starts to walk really slowly. I don't really understand why this is not viewed as powerful with Sansa as she definitely has her own subtle ways of resisting. Maybe they are too subtle?

Winter's Knight, what you said here:

"Feminist" is still a dirty word unless associated with easy-to-grasp concepts like women wanting to take on masculine roles. Acknowledging Sansa-a feminine girl who likes doing girly things- as having a feminist awakening would be difficult since traditionally speaking, "womanly" skills have little value.

This is a really great point. Truly feminine, girly girl pursuits are definitely not the ideal in today's society. Also, thank you for the link to the Thor review. I have not seen that yet myself but based on what I read here, I'd like to real soon. And speaking of the heterosexual female view, go see Magic Mike :drool:

As for why the idea of Sansa's sexual awakening makes people so uncomfortable, while I do think there's an element to it of this being a revolutionary thing, I also wonder if it's as simple as that she is still so young. I admit, thinking about the sexual awakening of a 13 year old girl does make me quite uncomfortable. I just really keep in the forefront that this is fiction and age up the character in my head.

Lady Lea, love the "Clueless" references here!

This post may be TMI and fuelled by one mojito too many..

Elba: you got me thinking back on my own sexual awakening at twelve. I grew up in the Middle East, and was in Saudi Arabia at that time: they're not big on sex-ed or porn down there and dial-up connections made downloading impossible. Segregated classes ruled out the traditional trial-and-error method as well, so I resorted to fanfiction for smut.

Looking back, I blush at how quickly I figured out an avenue for release as well as how quickly I figured out my queer identity.

My basic point being, that thirteen is not at all too young for a girl's dragon to awaken.

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This post may be TMI and fuelled by one mojito too many..

Elba: you got me thinking back on my own sexual awakening at twelve. I grew up in the Middle East, and was in Saudi Arabia at that time: they're not big on sex-ed or porn down there and dial-up connections made downloading impossible. Segregated classes ruled out the traditional trial-and-error method as well, so I resorted to fanfiction for smut.

Looking back, I blush at how quickly I figured out an avenue for release as well as how quickly I figured out my queer identity.

My basic point being, that thirteen is not at all too young for a girl's dragon to awaken.

you go girl! ;) Smutty fanfiction was my crack when I was that age, too.

Nah I totally don't think she's too young either, but I guess a lot of people do. For some, it's probably because they're older readers, for others it could be because they come from more puritanical/conservative societies, and for others because they're used to the "age of consent" threshold which in some places is 16 or even 18 (something which is totally foreign to me but most people in this forum seem to think is the norm everywhere). And others, I guess, are still stuck with the image of Sansa as a naive little girl.

But even without the five year gap, Sansa's older now than Dany was at AGOT, right? Or the same age? And GRRM played her and Drogo completely straight. So I don't think he's really going to care about readers saying "she's too young" now.

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Hm, I have to be away from the computer and this wonderful discussion takes place! Sansa is one of my favorite characters, and Dany is another. I like being able to discuss Sansa with others of those who like her character and are fascinated by her arc.

So why the love for Arya and not Sansa? I read a great book called Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity by Julia Serano. It's OK to be a "strong, empowered woman" but not a traditionally feminine one, as feminine qualities are still very much looked down upon. TV Tropes calls this "Real Women Don't Wear Dresses." I think Arya and Asha Greyjoy represent a certain type of fantasy women that many readers like. Sansa is perceived as too traditionally feminine. She's also too pretty, likes nice things, likes to embroider (she likes crafting, o noez!), etc.

To add to this, we first glimpse her from Arya's viewpoint, establishing Arya as the underdog who is not as good as her beautiful, intelligent, accomplished sister. She gets all the sympathy. During the rest of GoT we see Sansa behaving very naively, as if life was like her fantasies. Never mind all the heedless, foolish things others have done or will do (Ned and Robb, I'm looking right at you); Sansa can't be forgiven for her "crimes" because she's a foolish little girl. Large parts of the fandom have gone all Cersei on her. I think a lot of people can't get beyond the GoT characterization of Sansa. For me, to see her grow and mature from GoT through AFFC is one of the most rewarding of all the story arcs.

Readers tend to be harder on female characters in general - I observed that in the Harry Potter fandom. Pity poor Ginny Weasley! It is internalized misogyny on the part of the readers.

I think that one of the reasons I like Sansa so much and can identify with her is that I am a "Sansa" type. I like traditionally feminine things, and I like to read, and substitute chocolate cakes for lemon cakes, and cats for wolves...and I had a lot of her "life is a fairy tale" worldview as well. I don't think I could ever stick anyone with the pointy end. But a wall of courtesy, that I can do! Sansa's weapons are no less formidable because they are not as tough and flashy - read man-like - as Arya's and Asha's.

A short bit on her sexual awakening because I have to wrap up: she's had her period and is by the standards of her universe, a grown woman so why should she not have a sexual awakening? I think this is part of another double standard, it is easy to accept that teenage boys are sexual beings but not girls, who should be "pure" at least until they get older (and then use their sexuality to the benefit of men).

More thoughts on how Sansa was written (to be the "different" Stark it seems) and what that may mean later.

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I think this is part of another double standard, it is easy to accept that teenage boys are sexual beings but not girls, who should be "pure" at least until they get older (and then use their sexuality to the benefit of men).

More thoughts on how Sansa was written (to be the "different" Stark it seems) and what that may mean later.

KRBD, you've hit on a pertinent point here that I wanted to explore. I think there's a section of the readership that finds female sexuality threatening and this directly influences their appreciation of a character undergoing a sexual awakening. Look at the reaction of Dany having sex with Daario, would this even have been an issue if she was a man? Denying Sansa's awakening is easy because women aren't supposed to actively desire. Let's keep a lid on that until she's married and/exploited and this aspect of her development is no longer under her control, then we either sympathise with her victimhood or read it as duty and be done be with it.

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Long story short: Feminism as envisioned in the popular imagination features placard bearing women (the more "butch" looking the better), marching along a street demanding everything from equal pay to the right to breast feed in public. Very little appreciation is given to how a woman becomes a feminist, and this I think is in play here. I like to think that feminism comes to a woman, not the other way around, and that's because most often times we experience inequality in very personal, private ways, which conflicts with our sense of identity and self worth. This is what happens to Sansa, through her imprisonment, abuse and forced marriage/betrothals. Readers are looking for big/bold/brash acts, when really and truly the path to equality and independence is started in moments like the bedding scene where Sansa rejects Tyrion. This is why I love Audre Lorde's essay on erotic power, because she makes that case for an inner enlightenment and satisfaction which necessitates political change and progress. How could Sansa ever be able to defeat LF if she has no concept of what freedom means for herself?

I was thinking about some of the discussion I had been seeing elsewhere and it seemed that the views of feminism that I am seeing are second wave feminism just as you say. Marching in the street, equal protection amendment, burning bras, equal rights for equal work are all things associated with the second wave of feminism. And those are good things, we should all want those things, men and women both. I sure do, ask me about women's right to breatfeed in public. I got lots of opinions about that and could talk until your ears bleed. But there is so much more. I think feminism is much more about looking at the "isms" within our culture and seeing how they are interconnected. It's much more about understanding how a woman is denied agency and how she may be treated. I also think that second wave feminism is limiting as it fails to address the true challenges of patriarchy, it fails to show how both men and woman are hurt. Rather, it focus on an equal treatment within an existing system. A system that is flawed. Should the focus not be on examining that system, addressing the interconnected "isms", and seek to change it? It goes back to the idea of erotic power because to address that system. one must first understand their role and and make the connection for themselves before seeking a larger change.

To bring all this back to Sansa, I could go on why particular interpretations of the wedding night between Sansa and Tyrion bother me but I'll attempt to be brief. Those who say that any/all agency or "reprieve" that Sansa has are due to Tyrion are also taking on the role of Tyrion, if that makes sense. By making this statement, we are in danger of also becoming the patriarchy and denying Sansa's voice, her ability to express herself, her ability to defy and act wiith the tools she has and with the means available to her. At this point, the reader is not merely the reader, but also a passive oppressor.

First, Kittykatknits, why not put this on LJ too, unless it is too much to follow both. It's hard enough keeping up with this thread much less add others.

As to your questions:

1. Why do we think that Sansa's method of resistance is so often minimized? Is it because she is featured in a fantasy series?

2. What is it in Sansa's arc that prevents readers from seeing a feminist message? Why do so many persist in believing that all the messages about women do not somehow apply to her?

3. Why does the idea of a sexual awakening for Sansa make so many readers uncomfortable?

4. Thoughts on Martin's depiction of Sansa, whether positive or negative?

I thought Winter's Knight made some really great points. They pretty much express how I feel but I wanted to make a more specific point about passive resistance. A few others commented on this as well. When I think of passive resistance it reminds me of another fractured fairtyale, Ella Enchanted. Ella is really spunky and I find the way she tries to rebel against her gift/curse of obedience to be a wonderful expression of passive resistance. For example when her mother calls to her to come downstairs she says, "Fine, but I'll take my own sweet time about it," so she starts to walk really slowly. I don't really understand why this is not viewed as powerful with Sansa as she definitely has her own subtle ways of resisting. Maybe they are too subtle?

I might still bring this discussion over to LJ, it would be to much for me to keep up on two discussions at the same time. I brought them up here based upon discussions in either threads. So much of what I was reading felt very pertinent to the character of Sansa as well as our reading and undertanding of the text. I wanted to see if the best place to address them was within this thread.

I agree with you on passive resistance. Summerqueen in the fervor thread talks about this quite a bit. Sansa may not be able to actively defy but she still managed to let her lack of consent be made very clear to him. Tyrion recognized it too. It's very similar to Sansa's thoughts back in GOT, "they can make me look, but they can't make me see". It's very much a different version of this sentiment here. They are forcing her to do this but they can't make her agree to it or consent. Tyrion can not get anything but the most minimum access to her body.

"Feminist" is still a dirty word unless associated with easy-to-grasp concepts like women wanting to take on masculine roles. Acknowledging Sansa-a feminine girl who likes doing girly things- as having a feminist awakening would be difficult since traditionally speaking, "womanly" skills have little value.

This is a really great point. Truly feminine, girly girl pursuits are definitely not the ideal in today's society. Also, thank you for the link to the Thor review. I have not seen that yet myself but based on what I read here, I'd like to real soon. And speaking of the heterosexual female view, go see Magic Mike :drool:

As for why the idea of Sansa's sexual awakening makes people so uncomfortable, while I do think there's an element to it of this being a revolutionary thing, I also wonder if it's as simple as that she is still so young. I admit, thinking about the sexual awakening of a 13 year old girl does make me quite uncomfortable. I just really keep in the forefront that this is fiction and age up the character in my head.

Lady Lea, love the "Clueless" references here!

"You've seen the posts here where people talk about her like she's the Regina George of Westeros (even though, actually, I think she's way more of a Cher Horowitz - especially if she gets Mya and that one guy together!! - and Cher is a sweetheart)."

I think the type of feminine that is most highly valued within our culture is that which seeks to adapt to the patriarchial world we live in. Seeking to change it is much more threatening. Hence, "equal pay for equal work" is not a threatening statement. Yet, demanding change to how work is performed can be. I should not that I speak from a US perspective in some of those statements, it's quite posible that this is less so in other countries.

I'm also a big Clueless fan and I think you are right. Sansa is very like Cher, a charater I really like. And Cluess is based upon a Jane Austen work too. :)

This post may be TMI and fuelled by one mojito too many..

Elba: you got me thinking back on my own sexual awakening at twelve. I grew up in the Middle East, and was in Saudi Arabia at that time: they're not big on sex-ed or porn down there and dial-up connections made downloading impossible. Segregated classes ruled out the traditional trial-and-error method as well, so I resorted to fanfiction for smut.

Looking back, I blush at how quickly I figured out an avenue for release as well as how quickly I figured out my queer identity.

My basic point being, that thirteen is not at all too young for a girl's dragon to awaken.

There was no internet when I was 12, unless anyone here remembers the days of Prodigy? But, I used to babysit for a woman who had these books on female fantasies that she used leave lying around her house all the time. I used to read them after the kids were in bed at night. Mind. Blown. I happened to be twelve at the time.

But even without the five year gap, Sansa's older now than Dany was at AGOT, right? Or the same age? And GRRM played her and Drogo completely straight. So I don't think he's really going to care about readers saying "she's too young" now.

I did a whole bunch of research into Sansa's age and the story time line. If I did my math right (and it's decent if), then she is 14 at the furthest point of events in Dance. But, Martin may still pick up the events of the story when she is still 13 or I could be wrong. Either way, she is at least Dany's age when she married Drogo.

Readers tend to be harder on female characters in general - I observed that in the Harry Potter fandom. Pity poor Ginny Weasley! It is internalized misogyny on the part of the readers.

I think that one of the reasons I like Sansa so much and can identify with her is that I am a "Sansa" type. I like traditionally feminine things, and I like to read, and substitute chocolate cakes for lemon cakes, and cats for wolves...and I had a lot of her "life is a fairy tale" worldview as well. I don't think I could ever stick anyone with the pointy end. But a wall of courtesy, that I can do! Sansa's weapons are no less formidable because they are not as tough and flashy - read man-like - as Arya's and Asha's.

A short bit on her sexual awakening because I have to wrap up: she's had her period and is by the standards of her universe, a grown woman so why should she not have a sexual awakening? I think this is part of another double standard, it is easy to accept that teenage boys are sexual beings but not girls, who should be "pure" at least until they get older (and then use their sexuality to the benefit of men).

More thoughts on how Sansa was written (to be the "different" Stark it seems) and what that may mean later.

Yes, I do believe that readers are harder on female characters. I brought up a few days ago the idea of unconscious bias which I think is very similar to what you are referring to here. I do not believe that readers are deliberately sexist. I do not believe they are deliberately behaving in mysognitistc ways. However, we all bring our internalized views, our cultural content to the reading. We live in a patriarchy and we live in a world that internalizes sexism. It seems logical that we would bring this to our reading, even if it is not intentional.

KRBD, you've hit on a pertinent point here that I wanted to explore. I think there's a section of the readership that finds female sexuality threatening and this directly influences their appreciation of a character undergoing a sexual awakening. Look at the reaction of Dany having sex with Daario, would this even have been an issue if she was a man? Denying Sansa's awakening is easy because women aren't supposed to actively desire. Let's keep a lid on that until she's married and/exploited and this aspect of her development is no longer under her control, then we either sympathise with her victimhood or read it as duty and be done be with it.

I was also thinking of Dany and Daario when reading KRBDs post. I have noticed that the two instances of female sexuality are denied. This is done to Sansa by denying and pretending it does not exist. Dany's is made irreleveant by criticizing her choice. We continue to see this denial of Sansa by the assumption repeated so often that she will end up in a politically arranged marriage, that she will marry HtH, or the idea that she will be paired off with a favorite male lead for her. Sansa experiences this like no other female character in the series.

ETA: Holy guacamole Batman, this was my 2000th post. How'd that happen?. LOL, it's still less than 10% of Lyanna Stark. Better start typing some more.

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Happy 2000th post Kittykat!!!!!!!! :) And you made it in the Sansa thread, a fitting place to celebrate your excellence.

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To bring all this back to Sansa, I could go on why particular interpretations of the wedding night between Sansa and Tyrion bother me but I'll attempt to be brief. Those who say that any/all agency or "reprieve" that Sansa has are due to Tyrion are also taking on the role of Tyrion, if that makes sense. By making this statement, we are in danger of also becoming the patriarchy and denying Sansa's voice, her ability to express herself, her ability to defy and act wiith the tools she has and with the means available to her. At this point, the reader is not merely the reader, but also a passive oppressor.

Yes, and you know I found it all to be a bit sad honestly. I don't know if you picked up on the sense of incredulity that Sansa might have actually been empowered in this scene outside of any given authority by Tyrion, and I think that says a lot about our own social interactions and how women have been taught to view themselves (or not) as agents of power. Male privilege is so pervasive and persuasive that even when it is in the process of breaking down and breaking apart, people still can't realise it, and will actually actively deny the reality. Very few men will be willing to give a woman the freedom to reject them, and certainly not within the confines of a marriage. In failing to recognize how Sansa is the one who comes to this total rejection of Tyrion, there's an attempt to silence her even when Martin clearly wants her voice to be heard, however softly or hesitantly she might speak.

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Happy 2000th, Kitty! May you continue to make this forum a better place :)

Yes, I do believe that readers are harder on female characters. I brought up a few days ago the idea of unconscious bias which I think is very similar to what you are referring to here. I do not believe that readers are deliberately sexist. I do not believe they are deliberately behaving in mysognitistc ways. However, we all bring our internalized views, our cultural content to the reading. We live in a patriarchy and we live in a world that internalizes sexism. It seems logical that we would bring this to our reading, even if it is not intentional.

Oh they are harder on female characters alright. I'd say most of that is internalised sexism, but for a lot of people, no, there's just no excuse. I mean, if you go around calling female characters bitches and whores and saying that they should be made into sex slaves, be raped or disappear from the story, and that only one type of woman has a place in fantasy, plus all that other stuff we see, I'd say your sexism is more than just an unconscious bias.

Of course, we can't even point that out before someone says we're "crying sexism", "people can't dislike female characters without being called sexist", we're "oversensitive feminists". So original.

This fandom (and this forum) have a really bad rep everywhere, you know. There are blogs dedicated to collecting the most horrible posts here. Mention this forum in ONTD and you'll get 200 people commenting "ugh" and "the worst". It's NOT normal. I don't remember ever being part of a fandom like this before. Harry Potter wasn't like this, so I don't think it's a fantasy thing. Well, Doctor Who is a little like this, though not as nasty. With Arrested Development you get people going "GIRLS like Arrested Development???" but that's as far as it goes.

ETA: man, that fervor thread has really taken a turn for the worse. yikes

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Hey all! I am really enjoying this discussion so much. I really do appreciate that this is a "safe" place to put down these thoughts. I am a bit embarrased to admit that except for this thread, whenever I post somewhere else here on W.org I always, always think twice about it and how it will be perceived.

This post may be TMI and fuelled by one mojito too many..

Elba: you got me thinking back on my own sexual awakening at twelve. I grew up in the Middle East, and was in Saudi Arabia at that time: they're not big on sex-ed or porn down there and dial-up connections made downloading impossible. Segregated classes ruled out the traditional trial-and-error method as well, so I resorted to fanfiction for smut.

Looking back, I blush at how quickly I figured out an avenue for release as well as how quickly I figured out my queer identity.

My basic point being, that thirteen is not at all too young for a girl's dragon to awaken.

you go girl! ;) Smutty fanfiction was my crack when I was that age, too.

Nah I totally don't think she's too young either, but I guess a lot of people do. For some, it's probably because they're older readers, for others it could be because they come from more puritanical/conservative societies, and for others because they're used to the "age of consent" threshold which in some places is 16 or even 18 (something which is totally foreign to me but most people in this forum seem to think is the norm everywhere). And others, I guess, are still stuck with the image of Sansa as a naive little girl.

But even without the five year gap, Sansa's older now than Dany was at AGOT, right? Or the same age? And GRRM played her and Drogo completely straight. So I don't think he's really going to care about readers saying "she's too young" now.

Winter's Knight I appreciate your candidness and life story. Thanks! But I wanted to clarify that I agree with you that Sansa is old enough for a sexual awakening in real life terms. My own personal story at 14 I was babysitting for a couple and I noticed "The Joy of Sex" on their book shelf. It made for some eye opening reading after their kid was asleep. But when I say that her age makes people uncomfortable, I think it's because of us as older readers now reading about it. And then when you throw in the actual perviness of characters like LF and near rape by Marillion, not to mention the bedding scene between Sansa and Tyrion, it just feels so uncomfortable to read about.

I was thinking about some of the discussion I had been seeing elsewhere and it seemed that the views of feminism that I am seeing are second wave feminism just as you say. Marching in the street, equal protection amendment, burning bras, equal rights for equal work are all things associated with the second wave of feminism. And those are good things, we should all want those things, men and women both. I sure do, ask me about women's right to breatfeed in public. I got lots of opinions about that and could talk until your ears bleed. But there is so much more. I think feminism is much more about looking at the "isms" within our culture and seeing how they are interconnected. It's much more about understanding how a woman is denied agency and how she may be treated. I also think that second wave feminism is limiting as it fails to address the true challenges of patriarchy, it fails to show how both men and woman are hurt. Rather, it focus on an equal treatment within an existing system. A system that is flawed. Should the focus not be on examining that system, addressing the interconnected "isms", and seek to change it? It goes back to the idea of erotic power because to address that system. one must first understand their role and and make the connection for themselves before seeking a larger change.

Yes, I completely agree! I just want to say right now that I really dislike that dumb phrase "equal pay for equal work." It is just a platittude that sounds great in theory. It means nothing on its own as it totally fails to recognize the underlying issue that for the most poart women and men do not do equal work. How many female construction workers do you know of?

I agree with you on passive resistance. Summerqueen in the fervor thread talks about this quite a bit. Sansa may not be able to actively defy but she still managed to let her lack of consent be made very clear to him. Tyrion recognized it too. It's very similar to Sansa's thoughts back in GOT, "they can make me look, but they can't make me see". It's very much a different version of this sentiment here. They are forcing her to do this but they can't make her agree to it or consent. Tyrion can not get anything but the most minimum access to her body.

I think the type of feminine that is most highly valued within our culture is that which seeks to adapt to the patriarchial world we live in. Seeking to change it is much more threatening. Hence, "equal pay for equal work" is not a threatening statement. Yet, demanding change to how work is performed can be. I should not that I speak from a US perspective in some of those statements, it's quite posible that this is less so in other countries.

I'm also a big Clueless fan and I think you are right. Sansa is very like Cher, a charater I really like. And Cluess is based upon a Jane Austen work too. :)

There was no internet when I was 12, unless anyone here remembers the days of Prodigy? But, I used to babysit for a woman who had these books on female fantasies that she used leave lying around her house all the time. I used to read them after the kids were in bed at night. Mind. Blown. I happened to be twelve at the time.

I did a whole bunch of research into Sansa's age and the story time line. If I did my math right (and it's decent if), then she is 14 at the furthest point of events in Dance. But, Martin may still pick up the events of the story when she is still 13 or I could be wrong. Either way, she is at least Dany's age when she married Drogo.

Yes, I do believe that readers are harder on female characters. I brought up a few days ago the idea of unconscious bias which I think is very similar to what you are referring to here. I do not believe that readers are deliberately sexist. I do not believe they are deliberately behaving in mysognitistc ways. However, we all bring our internalized views, our cultural content to the reading. We live in a patriarchy and we live in a world that internalizes sexism. It seems logical that we would bring this to our reading, even if it is not intentional.

I was also thinking of Dany and Daario when reading KRBDs post. I have noticed that the two instances of female sexuality are denied. This is done to Sansa by denying and pretending it does not exist. Dany's is made irreleveant by criticizing her choice. We continue to see this denial of Sansa by the assumption repeated so often that she will end up in a politically arranged marriage, that she will marry HtH, or the idea that she will be paired off with a favorite male lead for her. Sansa experiences this like no other female character in the series.

ETA: Holy guacamole Batman, this was my 2000th post. How'd that happen?. LOL, it's still less than 10% of Lyanna Stark. Better start typing some more.

Congrats on 2000 posts!

For the record, I found most of Dany's sex scenes with Drogo really uncomfortable and did not like them.

Yeah Clueless is a great movie in its own right, but the fact that it is based on "Emma" is just icing on the cake. It's interesting that we should bring up Clueless and Jane Austen in this discussion now as both the movie and a recurring theme of Austen's is a woman's agency to choose her man within the confines of the society in which she lives. I mean when Cher is questioned about why she won't date any of the high school boys and she says, "Well, you know how picky I am about my shoes and they only go on my feet," that's funny yes, but wht she's saying is I want to pick a guy who I find worthy and these high school boys just don't do it for me.

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Yeah Clueless is a great movie in its own right, but the fact that it is based on "Emma" is just icing on the cake. It's interesting that we should bring up Clueless and Jane Austen in this discussion now as both the movie and a recurring theme of Austen's is a woman's agency to choose her man within the confines of the society in which she lives. I mean when Cher is questioned about why she won't date any of the high school boys and she says, "Well, you know how picky I am about my shoes and they only go on my feet," that's funny yes, but wht she's saying is I want to pick a guy who I find worthy and these high school boys just don't do it for me.

My life motto tbh.

But I think she's more like Cher than like Emma if that makes sense.

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Yes, and you know I found it all to be a bit sad honestly. I don't know if you picked up on the sense of incredulity that Sansa might have actually been empowered in this scene outside of any given authority by Tyrion, and I think that says a lot about our own social interactions and how women have been taught to view themselves (or not) as agents of power. Male privilege is so pervasive and persuasive that even when it is in the process of breaking down and breaking apart, people still can't realise it, and will actually actively deny the reality. Very few men will be willing to give a woman the freedom to reject them, and certainly not within the confines of a marriage. In failing to recognize how Sansa is the one who comes to this total rejection of Tyrion, there's an attempt to silence her even when Martin clearly wants her voice to be heard, however softly or hesitantly she might speak.

Yes, I had picked up on some of that. The view seems to be that Sansa's agency can only be gained through Tyrion, as if that is her only path to empowerment, negating what Sansa has via her own authority. I could not agree more on male privilege. Martin is very clearly wanting to give Sansa a voice here, to make statements that we can tell are not granted by Tyrion. His reaction - as if he had been hit- confirms this. He was offering a reprieve. She was rejecting that, first with a question to judge his reaction then nodding her head, again asserting her desires which are quite contrary to the suggestion of a temporary reprieve.

Oh they are harder on female characters alright. I'd say most of that is internalised sexism, but for a lot of people, no, there's just no excuse. I mean, if you go around calling female characters bitches and whores and saying that they should be made into sex slaves, be raped or disappear from the story, and that only one type of woman has a place in fantasy, plus all that other stuff we see, I'd say your sexism is more than just an unconscious bias.

Of course, we can't even point that out before someone says we're "crying sexism", "people can't dislike female characters without being called sexist", we're "oversensitive feminists". So original.

This fandom (and this forum) have a really bad rep everywhere, you know. There are blogs dedicated to collecting the most horrible posts here. Mention this forum in ONTD and you'll get 200 people commenting "ugh" and "the worst". It's NOT normal. I don't remember ever being part of a fandom like this before. Harry Potter wasn't like this, so I don't think it's a fantasy thing. Well, Doctor Who is a little like this, though not as nasty. With Arrested Development you get people going "GIRLS like Arrested Development???" but that's as far as it goes.

ETA: man, that fervor thread has really taken a turn for the worse. yikes

You are absolutely right. I dismiss those comments as nothing but ignorant hate speech. It's the subtle attacks, the "attack the messenger" statements, the unconscious that I think are ultimately more dangerous really. People are much less likely to recognize what is really being said or to nod agreement as it is easier to do that than looked at what else is taking place or find the hidden message underneath.

I'm pretty ignorant about other fan bases or boards really. What is ONTD?

Winter's Knight I appreciate your candidness and life story. Thanks! But I wanted to clarify that I agree with you that Sansa is old enough for a sexual awakening in real life terms. My own personal story at 14 I was babysitting for a couple and I noticed "The Joy of Sex" on their book shelf. It made for some eye opening reading after their kid was asleep. But when I say that her age makes people uncomfortable, I think it's because of us as older readers now reading about it. And then when you throw in the actual perviness of characters like LF and near rape by Marillion, not to mention the bedding scene between Sansa and Tyrion, it just feels so uncomfortable to read about.

Yes, I completely agree! I just want to say right now that I really dislike that dumb phrase "equal pay for equal work." It is just a platittude that sounds great in theory. It means nothing on its own as it totally fails to recognize the underlying issue that for the most poart women and men do not do equal work. How many female construction workers do you know of?.

I must echo this WK, thank you for telling your story! Elba, looks like finding books while babysitting is fairly common? :)

Yes, I see what you mean by her age. She's had an unusual awakening, to put it mildly. Perhaps in this context, it makes people even more resistant to what is happening?

I also agree on that phrase. It reduces something very complex to a pithy statement.

For the record, I found most of Dany's sex scenes with Drogo really uncomfortable and did not like them.

Yeah Clueless is a great movie in its own right, but the fact that it is based on "Emma" is just icing on the cake. It's interesting that we should bring up Clueless and Jane Austen in this discussion now as both the movie and a recurring theme of Austen's is a woman's agency to choose her man within the confines of the society in which she lives. I mean when Cher is questioned about why she won't date any of the high school boys and she says, "Well, you know how picky I am about my shoes and they only go on my feet," that's funny yes, but wht she's saying is I want to pick a guy who I find worthy and these high school boys just don't do it for me.

I agree about Dany's scenes with Drogo. I never really agreed with Martin that this should be a love story. I guess I disagree with authorial intent here. So does that make my interpretation wrong? <sarcasm>

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Happy 2000th, Kitty! May you continue to make this forum a better place :)

Oh they are harder on female characters alright. I'd say most of that is internalised sexism, but for a lot of people, no, there's just no excuse. I mean, if you go around calling female characters bitches and whores and saying that they should be made into sex slaves, be raped or disappear from the story, and that only one type of woman has a place in fantasy, plus all that other stuff we see, I'd say your sexism is more than just an unconscious bias.

Of course, we can't even point that out before someone says we're "crying sexism", "people can't dislike female characters without being called sexist", we're "oversensitive feminists". So original.

This fandom (and this forum) have a really bad rep everywhere, you know. There are blogs dedicated to collecting the most horrible posts here. Mention this forum in ONTD and you'll get 200 people commenting "ugh" and "the worst". It's NOT normal. I don't remember ever being part of a fandom like this before. Harry Potter wasn't like this, so I don't think it's a fantasy thing. Well, Doctor Who is a little like this, though not as nasty. With Arrested Development you get people going "GIRLS like Arrested Development???" but that's as far as it goes.

ETA: man, that fervor thread has really taken a turn for the worse. yikes

Oh HELL YEAH. This thread and the LJ comm and my own LJ are the only places I really feel safe posting about my love for the books. All the Sansa hate and Dany hate makes me ill and I do not want to engage it. :crying: And the misogyny in general. If a woman is simultaneously attractive and "traditionally feminine" yet behaves like a woman in power or *gasp* rejects a guy who is something of a reader stand-in for many of the male posters (I am convinced) she is a BITCH or a Silly Little Girl. I hate to think of the ideal woman being Cersei *shudder*. Now I understand the Arya/Asha Greyjoy love because I am fond of them, too, as well as Meera Reed. But I don't love them because they are "more like men" or "not girly" whatever that means.

I highly recommend Julia Serano's book, especially the third section on "Putting the Feminine Back into Femininity" and "The Barrette Manifesto." Quote from Serano: Many of us reject all the inferior meanings and connotations that others project onto femininity - that it is weak, artificial, frivolous, demure and passive...In a world that is awash in antifeminine sentiment, we understand that embracing and empowering femininity can potentially be one of the most transformative and revolutionary acts imaginable. (Bolded text mine. Does Serano's description of the negative connotations of "femininity" sound like complaints about a certain character we know?)

I don't think this misogyny is a fantasy thing, either. I am a Harry Potter fan and never heard half this much anti-woman sentiment, even with regards to Ginny Weasley (a favorite fandom punching bag). I'm also a fan of the Earth's Children series and there is little to no misogyny there (albeit it's a tiny fandom, made up of mostly adults, and it's an explicitly feminist series).

WRT Dany and Dario - I admit to getting a little impatient with that - not because of Dario himself but because I did NOT like the Meereen storyline at all. I was utterly uninterested in Meereen and wanted Dany out of there ASAP. She could have brought Dario with her. ;) I think Dany deserved to have sex on her own terms with a man who attracted her - about damn time. She was married off to Khal Drogo when she was about 13 and that was always a squick-out for me. I appreciate that love grew between them, but it just seemed so brutal. Dany is another female character who is wanted for her claim, and in her case her dragons, and not just for herself.

Now I'm thinking, if Sansa escapes LF and goes somewhere I want her to go to DORNE and live with Ellaria Sand and her snakelets for a while and get to know a culture where women enjoy much more equality and sexual freedom. Ellaria worships a Lysene love goddess - Sansa can add that to her Old Gods. She can learn that she doesn't have to get married to have good sex. I do want her to have a husband and children, more than anything, but I want her to know what it's like to be loved for herself, not wanted for a claim.

I really should write a post for LJ, partly to introduce myself and partly to muse on some of the things I posted here...

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My life motto tbh.

But I think she's more like Cher than like Emma if that makes sense.

Ha ha. Sure, I mean both Cher and Sansa had crushes on guys who turned out to be gay, right?

Based on the rest of the discussion though, I am guessing a lot of the Fervor thread is where much of the negative vibe is coming from right now. I have thought about checking out that thread every day that I come on here but in the back of my mind I knew it would get into the hate speech so I've stayed away. Is it worth it? Should I bite the bullet and check it out or save myself the aggravation?

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Ha ha. Sure, I mean both Cher and Sansa had crushes on guys who turned out to be gay, right?

Based on the rest of the discussion though, I am guessing a lot of the Fervor thread is where much of the negative vibe is coming from right now. I have thought about checking out that thread every day that I come on here but in the back of my mind I knew it would get into the hate speech so I've stayed away. Is it worth it? Should I bite the bullet and check it out or save myself the aggravation?

Omg! It's true! Oooh I'll definitely be rewatching Clueless today.

And, no, not worth it. Save yourself, Elba!

Kittens, I wish I could like your post twice. Thanks for the book rec! And if you post something on LJ send us a link, alright? :)

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I made a spacewhere we could discuss safety, and culture, and all that jazz, so we could focus on interpreting Sansa here. I hope that's OK.

I just looked. Great topic! I'll be piping in with some thoughts.

Ha ha. Sure, I mean both Cher and Sansa had crushes on guys who turned out to be gay, right?

Based on the rest of the discussion though, I am guessing a lot of the Fervor thread is where much of the negative vibe is coming from right now. I have thought about checking out that thread every day that I come on here but in the back of my mind I knew it would get into the hate speech so I've stayed away. Is it worth it? Should I bite the bullet and check it out or save myself the aggravation?

It's up to you if you want to poke in. I'll say that v.2 is milder than the original thread, at least I think so. The whole thing was a very tough read for me, some posts left me really upset to the point where I walked away from my computer completely for awhile. But, I also made a point of reading it to see what other arguments and points others were making. Not because I agree, but because it is important for me to know where my opponents are at. That's the only value of checking it out that I can think of. So, it's up to you. But, it will not be an easy read.

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Omg! It's true! Oooh I'll definitely be rewatching Clueless today.

And, no, not worth it. Save yourself, Elba!

Kittens, I wish I could like your post twice. Thanks for the book rec! And if you post something on LJ send us a link, alright? :)

I just posted a "hi" on LJ (I'm chrysantza over there). Definitely read "Whipping Girl!" It's chock full of great insights. I'm re-reading it now with Sansa-centric and ASOIAF-fandom centric eyes and nodding my head. Femininity gets the short end of the stick, and so I would add does motherhood (in much of the fandom). In HP fandom, Molly Weasley also got a lot of flack for being a stay-home mom. Not nearly the flack that Catelyn does, however - Molly had a lot of defenders.

I think Sansa can be strong - strong enough to be Queen of the North (or of Westeros) or similar on her own terms, not just because some man puts her on the throne. She can do it by keeping her essential Sansa nature of kindness, lovingness, compassion and maternal instinct, not by killing people left and right and stepping up to the throne over the dead body of her cousin Sweetrobin (or any of her friends). Now if she wants to rid the realm of Littlefinger, she can be my guest; if she wants to rid the realm of Freys and Boltons, ditto. Note I said "rid the realm" not "kill." What sweeter punishment for Cersei to be sent to the Silent Sisters for life, or Littlefinger to be deprived of his ill-gotten gains and sent to Sheepshit Manor and left to contemplate what he's lost and will never get back?

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