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Misogyny argument - Catch 22


Mladen

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I have seen some mysogynistic comments on the forum e.g blaming the victim when it comes to domestic violence. But I agree some people cry mysogynist because they've run out of reasonable arguments. We all have our favourite characters, some fans defend their faves more fervently than others and cannot accept any flaws being pointed out in them. These folks tend to respond by accusing someone of being a misogynist, or by trying to justify a completely abhorrent act committed by their fave. I think problems begin when people see their faves as perfect, when none of them in asoiaf are, that is one of the joys of grrm's writing - no one in real life is perfect after all, it would make for a boring world and a boring story!

I may not have read enough fantasy to judge this (ahem... lotr) but I think It's incorrect to accuse grrm of writing prototypical females, if they are then I don't think his male characters are any less prototypical either.

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I have seen some mysogynistic comments on the forum e.g blaming the victim when it comes to domestic violence. But I agree some people cry mysogynist because they've run out of reasonable arguments. We all have our favourite characters, some fans defend their faves more fervently than others and cannot accept any flaws being pointed out in them. These folks tend to respond by accusing someone of being a misogynist, or by trying to justify a completely abhorrent act committed by their fave. I think problems begin

The reverse is where people seek to justify bad things being done to unpleasant people (eg Robert's treatment of Cersei). In either case, I think it usually has less to do with misogyny than with being highly partisan.

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Haven't read Dune either, but LoTR's women I don't think were badly written; they were all just minor characters.

Well the thing is that Éowyn and Galadriel are the two main female characters that have a more active part in the plot and even they are minor in comparison to the male characters.

Rosie and Arwen are important mostly because they are loved by Sam and Aragorn but they barely appear in the books.

The female characters in Tolkien's stories remind me of a quote from Neil Gaiman's Sandman,

"There aren't any women in these stories," says Charlene Mooney. "...We're just pretty figures in the backround to be loved or lost or avoided or obeyed or...whatever."

Also Tolkien had a rather anachronistic view on women's role in society. In regards to the relationship between men and women he thought that

“Women really have not much part in all this”

And as it has been mentioned already there is also the problem with Susan, from Narnia books. She no longer has place there because basically she has discoevered her sexuality.

Neil Gaiman wrote an incredibly interesting story about Susan's exclusion from Aslan's world and J.K. Rowling has expressed her disaproval of Susan's treatment.

It should be noted that Tolkien and CS Lewis were good friends and they were raised in a society and era that expected from women to perform their tasks as wives, mothers and daughters and not having a more active role on society. Having a female character embarking in an adventure along with hobbits, men, a dwarf and an elf was unlikely.

Nevertheless, contemporary fantasy authors such as Gaiman, Rowling and of course GRRM, often have strong female heroines in their stories who are actually something more than just background characters.

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Talking of misogynistic, when CS Lewis wrote that Susan Pevensie is no longer a friend of Narnia, because she now expects nothing but invitations or lipsticks or nylons or whatever, well I do have a problem with that, as do many others, I believe.

I've always viewed that as a case of someone losing their religious faith.

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I suppose I've noticed that in ASoIaF fandom and other fandoms as well. Disliking a woman character doesn't inherently make one a sexist or possessing of internalized misogyny. But there are always going to be testy stans that will cry misogyny at any criticism, fair or not, regarding their favorite character. Meanwhile, this behavior tends to only occur when their own favorite character is the subject of criticism. I get the bias, and I'm sure I exhibit such behavior without even intending to do so, but that shouldn't be a default argument.

For one, I love the character of Cersei, but I certainly don't think *everyone* has misogynist reasons for disliking her. However, I've seen posters on this board hate her for her personality, her use of sexuality to meet her objectives, or daring to have sex partners that weren't Robert or Jaime. She's a monster, certainly, but I mean hate for fair reasons like the hits she put on children, whipping a black teenage girl, enabling the abuse of Sansa Stark, allowing Qyburn to exist, etc.

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I've always viewed that as a case of someone losing their religious faith.

That is the argument many people give. The point is, loss of religious faith can happen to anyone. But this happening to someone because someone was introduced to sex, seems offensive in many ways. The argument sounds weak if you notice that Lucy stayed a friend till the end, but then her relation imo was the most special with Aslan.

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I really think Cersei is of that idiotic perception (along with some readers) that to be a strong woman you need to have manlike-qualities.

I think it might be a bit unfair to say that her perception is idiotic. The women in this series live in a world where men very clearly hold the power. It's not much of a stretch for those women to feel like strength/power and masculine characteristics are linked.

This is one of the things I think GRRM does so well in this series. He writes female characters who live in a male-dominated world and have the same internal and external struggles that women in the real (male-dominated) world face. Even IRL Western culture, women associate male-ness with power. What I love about the female characters in ASoIaF is that some gain control of their lives by breaking out of their gender roles (Arya, Brienne, Asha) while others manage to work within those roles (Sansa, Cat, Cersei).

Our real world and the world of ASoIaF are both steeped in misogyny. If we want to honestly judge these characters, as well as judgements of these characters, we have to ask ourselves which standards we are holding them to in order to make those judgements. If we hold the female characters to radically different moral standards than we do the males then it may stand to reason that the judgement is misogynist.

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Basically, she "lost faith" by discovering nylons and lipstick. Somehow, nobody lost faith by discovering football and cigars. Of course, as Neil Gaiman pointed out, there wasn't much time for stockings and lipstick after her entire family died suddenly.

I think it might be a bit unfair to say that her perception is idiotic. The women in this series live in a world where men very clearly hold the power. It's not much of a stretch for those women to feel like strength/power and masculine characteristics are linked.

I agree, Cersei's perceptions are very natural. No wonder she'd rather be a man, I'd much rather be a man in Westeros as well. It's just that she's so heartless she doesn't feel any sympathy with other victims of unjust society and totally willing to help abuse other women.

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