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Misogyny argument - Catch 22


Mladen

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One of the most brilliant posters on the board, Apple Martini, on a recent thread about one of the most discussed female characters, gave quite astute definition of this board's perception of misogyny. According to Apple:

Disliking a character who has a vagina, unless it's a vagina-possessing character who goes against a vagina-possessing character whom you like more (read: Arianne Martell's not-so-sparkling opinion of Dany), automatically makes you a misogynist, no matter what your actual reasons for disliking that character are.

Apple was sarcastic in her unique way, but I can't get the feeling that she, yet again, nailed it. In the past few weeks, there is disturbing amount of posts regarding so-called "misogyny argument". Basically, misogyny argument is type of post where the author, lacking any efficient counter-arguments, names you a misogynist just because you dislike, or criticize female character. Naturally, if this was couple of individual posts, nobody would be bothered, but when it becomes a trend, that each thread about Daenerys, Cersei, Catelyn, Sansa, and the rest of female gang of ASOIAF ends with someone pointing finger into someone else and calls him misogynist, then we do have a problem.

Misogyny certainly isn't something that we should take lightly. many societies around the world which some of us come from have issues with this. Tragically, all around the world we are witnessing inexcusable violence over women, and diminishing the term misogyny and stipulating it because you lack arguments is something we should all fight against...

But, this thread isn't meta-analysis of the boards. I am not interested in what some of you think about this or that group of people, or this or that member of the boards. I am interested in origin of those arguments, and their possible roots in ASOIAF. I would like to see the reasoning in ASOIAF for these arguments? Is it Martin's deconstruction of many fantasy tropes regarding gender issues? With so many great female characters, and some great subtle feminist slogans in it, how come that some views on certain characters can be seen as misogynistic? What is in certain characters, like in the holy trio of misogyny arguments - Dany, Cat and Sansa that propel such meaningless argumentation? Does patriarchy of the world of ASOIAF influence us, and possibly distort our opinions? Do we really hate female characters?

Before we start, please keep discussion polite, evade and ignore offenses, and please stay on topic...

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Misogyny is one of the reasons why female characters are far more hated than most male characters, in pretty much every fandom. Catelyn, Sansa, Daenerys, Skyler White, Lori Grimes many of them suffer from this type of hatred. Please note that I don't think that this is the main reason why these characters are hated. However, just because misogyny is one reason among many, that doesn't mean that people who have valid reasons for disliking a female character are misogynistic or sexist. In fact, many, if not most, of the posters that I know who dislike some of the aforementioned characters, are in no way, misogynistic or sexist.

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Misogyny is one of the reasons why female characters are far more hated than most male characters, in pretty much every fandom. Catelyn, Sansa, Daenerys, Skyler White, Lori Grimes many of them suffer from this type of hatred. Please note that I don't think that this is the main reason why these characters are hated. However, just because misogyny is one reason among many, that doesn't mean that people who have valid reasons for disliking a female character are misogynistic or sexist. In fact, many, if not most, of the posters that I know who dislike some of the aforementioned characters, are in no way, misogynistic or sexist.

I would agree with that if someone doesn't provide some good reasoning. You know: I hate this and that character because of that and that... But when someone gives you all of that, and you throw that argument, it's a bit strange, don't you think? I mean, characters in ASOIAF are not clearly divided between those we love and those we hate. And perhaps the problem is there. Perhaps, confrontation of different opinions and views produce such heated arguments.

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Misogyny is one of the reasons why female characters are far more hated than most male characters, in pretty much every fandom. Catelyn, Sansa, Daenerys, Skyler White, Lori Grimes many of them suffer from this type of hatred. Please note that I don't think that this is the main reason why these characters are hated. However, just because misogyny is one reason among many, that doesn't mean that people who have valid reasons for disliking a female character are misogynistic or sexist. In fact, many, if not most, of the posters that I know who dislike some of the aforementioned characters, are in no way, misogynistic or sexist.

I definitely agree with this — there are people who take issue with the aforementioned women for sexist reasons. My annoyance comes when a poster writes off any criticism of a female character as sexist-based, unless that female character is going up against a more popular female character (again, see Arianne and Dany). Then she's, apparently, fair game.

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I would agree with that if someone doesn't provide some good reasoning. You know: I hate this and that character because of that and that... But when someone gives you all of that, and you throw that argument, it's a bit strange, don't you think? I mean, characters in ASOIAF are not clearly divided between those we love and those we hate. And perhaps the problem is there. Perhaps, confrontation of different opinions and views produce such heated arguments.

I agree. I mean, I've seen misogynistic hatred of Dany, Sansa, Catelyn and Cersei, but not from any respectable or decent poster. I think it's offensive, when someone pulls out the misogyny card just because people don't agree with their opinion and assessment of a female character.

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The Unholy Fuckness of the fandom. Thats basically my name for it. I absolutely loathe that argument especially since it ends up accusing someone of being a sexist jerk because one doesnt find a character possessing a vagina as anything less than rainbows and sparkly awesome. Its all in the replies, to be honest. If some people bothered reading why a poster has a negative opinion of [insert lady character here] they would often find that that character's lady parts are rarely if ever put into question.

That isnt to say that there arent jerks out there who flat out hate what a female character does because they are...female. And that shit sucks. Who gives a flying monkey damn about Dany's sex life? The fact that she gets criticized for that just boggles the mind. Same deal with Cersei. I dont hate her for sleeping around at all. Hell, i dont give a fuck about that. Its the fact shes a horrible person. If she had a dick, id hate the character just the same. Poor Sansa catches hell for being a little girl half the time. I didnt warm up to her until much later and this had to do with me not quite getting her as a person, and that her flaws were pretty glaring at first. I got no beef with Cat.

I find it pretty sexist to assume someone doesnt like a female character because they are female. Like big time. When people bring that up out of left field, it really tells me a lot about that person. Ewww. Why cant we remove the genital part for a minute and look at a character for their actions and ideas? Novel idea, i know but it is possible!

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Not gona touch this with a 3 foot imp pole....

In all seriousness:

My most hated char of course was King Turd Joff and I like most if not all of the female chars and at least understood Cersei. In fact the epic would not be what it is without all the chars.

I'd like to point out one of the unintended consequences of GRRM's work, the resurection of the "C Word." Never really saw it used much, now i'm seeing it on youtube etc

Very well written post and most people who feel they are on the losing end of arguements tend to resort to name calling. It happens alot in reference to these chars, i think, because when reading we spend time in their bodies and minds and become very attached and staunch supporters of said chars. This also comes from how dangerous Planetos is, your fav can die at any time.

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That isnt to say that there arent jerks out there who flat out hate what a female character does because they are...female. And that shit sucks. Who gives a flying monkey damn about Dany's sex life? The fact that she gets criticized for that just boggles the mind. Same deal with Cersei. I dont hate her for sleeping around at all. Hell, i dont give a fuck about that. Its the fact shes a horrible person. If she had a dick, id hate the character just the same. Poor Sansa catches hell for being a little girl half the time. I didnt warm up to her until much later and this had to do with me not quite getting her as a person, and that her flaws were pretty glaring at first. I got no beef with Cat.

I couldn't agree more. When you see that some people actually hold some things against certain characters, you get that strange feeling in your mouth. But, when there is well-constructed criticism of a character, than I don't see the point of it. I am especially bothered when we go into threads with Dany... On a thread yesterday, it needed less than a dozen posts for someone to mention misogyny as argument... And the misogyny argument is usually so broad, that it is almost impossible to see the real intention behind it. Interesting thing about this type of argument is that it can be devastatingly offensive. So, while we can all agree that misogyny is not fruit of our imagination, we should also not give her center piece of every debate...

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Personally, I think these posts do a good job at explaining SOME of the hate Dany receives, and why she receives it. I disagree with some of it, but overall I think these posts explain it well.

Right, that's for the most part what I'm saying. But let's bluntly described who Dany is the in her first few chapters: a beautiful, blond, thirteen-yr-old virgin who fucks a champion warrior and loves it. Now, as most readers are not champion warriors (sorry), this isn't exactly a fantasy for most. But you have to see how this is a very powerful sexual image, how it taps into a deep-seeded psychological element in human nature. right? am i completely crazy? and then, yes, as you say, through the rest of the series she develops into a very strong, often very clever, sexually independent character, who rejects the brave and noble suitors, instead doing what most male characters in the books do and takes lover she actually wants, who worships her and who she pretty much dominates, all while waging a campaign of liberation while prepare to storm the kingdom. so, no, she's clearly not a 1-dimensional object of sexual fantasy written to please the fanboys. But people obviously have strong reactions to her, much of which are based in their sexual psychologies, which GRRM intentionally tapped into.

Haha well ludicrous is a pretty strong word, but okay: I think you've had a pretty skewed read if you think Dany is never smart. Compare her adaption to the dothraki to Viserys's- no cleverness there? She conquers three eastern cities, which had stood untaken for hundreds or thousands of years, with barely any casualties. she navigates the greedy and ambitious of Quarth and the house of the undying while all there intended to trap and exploit her. She enters negotiations with the Yunkai slaver and conceals the fact that she speaks perfect high Valyrian (her third language. how many do you, or most characters in the series, speak?) while most would have arrogantly strut into Astapor declaring their noble identity in the language. She steals 8,000 unsullied from a veteran slaver. She holds a throne in Meereen despite hundreds of wealthy and powerful individuals attempting to sabotage her rule, all while maintaining the liability of justice and mercy, rather than simple killing all the nobles and letting her dragons kill whatever they want, which she easily could have.

Now I didn't say she doesn't do anything stupid. She does a lot that is stupid, obviously. You could point to a hundred mistakes, though none quite as big as the mistakes that Ned or Robb or Stannis or Tywin or almost every other character makes, many of which lead to their demise. Keep in mind she is 13 to start the series, and that her mistakes and development are an important part of the story.

Also, I'd point out that there are many on this site that seem to confuse cleverness with ruthlessness- those who will praise the Tywins and the Littlefingers or even Roose Bolton because they "get what they want" or "know how to survive" or "play the game so well" etc. Just remember that it's easy to come out on top when you're not holding yourself to any moral standard, while your opponents are. Cersei is willing to kill people and endanger children and lie and bribe while Ned is not. Does that make Cersei more clever than Ned? Does Roose Bolton really outsmart Robb? What I find so impressive about Dany, like Robb and Oberyn and a few others, is that she is willing to jeopardize or delay her safety and victory to do or not do something that they think is fundamentally right. justice and mercy are a strategic liability, for sure, but those who can succeed while still fighting for a cause, those are the heroic characters, in my book.

As for dominating Daario- maybe dominating is a strong word, but he does betray and kill the other captains for her, then she fucks him when she pleases, then she marries a rich guy for politics, stops fucking Daario, then sends him off to be a prisoner hostage for weeks, which he agrees to do out of devotion for her...I'd say she's got Daario pretty whipped.

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My most hated char of course was King Turd Joff and I like most if not all of the female chars and at least understood Cersei. In fact the epic would not be what it is without all the chars.

LOL! King Turd. In the wider fandom, Joff is easily the Number One Most Hated Character Ever. Hes like..the Umbridge of the ASOIAF fandom. Umbridge is so hated in the Harry Potter fandom, shes the only character without a fanbase! Seriously, everyone in HP-verse has a fanbase. Even Voldemort. But not Umbridge. Shes just so nasty, no one likes her. Joff is our Umbridge. Even Viserys gets a small bit of love. Not Joff though.

In the wider fandom, a lot of people are conflicted about Cersei. They either love her or hate her or love to hate her, or just dont quite get whats going on with her. Misogynistic stuff gets tossed at her feet, but i think her Walk of Shame really puts everything in perspective about that business. In fact, im willing to bet that was GRRM's intent with that whole chapter. Cersei is being punished for something that isnt criminal. Her being a woman. His statement here is more about how unfair it is that such things are leveled at her feet. It isnt about pointing and laughing at Cersei's womanhood. Not at all. Cersei, as nasty as she is, didnt deserve that. She deserves to be punished for the horrible things she did do. Like having people sent to Qyburn, etc.

I think Cat and Sansa get the brunt of the sexist accusations. :/

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