The Fallacy of Game of Thrones's ‘Women on Top’ Part 1
Also known as “Sexism & S6 Part 1,” for those who like repeating series.
Months ago before Game of Thrones
(GoT)’s sixth season aired, many of us here at Fandom Following were a
bit horrified by the show’s EW Magazine marketing campaign. As a happy
refresher for those who don’t remember, these were the magazine covers
with “DAME OF THRONES” written in big letters and promises of “WOMEN ON
Okay, maybe some of us were more than “a bit” miffed.
For me, GoT’s fifth season was almost defined by its misogyny, a conclusion I came to after writing a nine-part essay series detailing the sexist tropes and storytelling conventions used by showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss, and their staff writers Bryan Cogman and Dave Hill (all of whom will be referred to as the monolithic “D&D”), which utilized the framework of ambivalent sexism. This framework allowed for the conclusion that while I strongly believe D&D have no malicious intent towards women and may even think their narrative is progressive, the results and implications of their writing betrays a sexist lens:
“But the thing is, I don’t have to assign malice in this case. Look at the pattern. These sexist tropes used in the Season 5 narrative are a product of D&D’s writing…they are all the result of alterations to the source material.
So there is simply no other explanation for their liberal employ than that this must be how D&D think men and women act, or that this is what they find to be entertaining. Which means that they understand human behavior from a fundamentally sexist position. Because they are sexists™.”
Too often, complains about GoT’s sexism are dismissed with the “but that’s how it was back then!” argument. However, as I also explained in my pre-Season 6 piece “The ‘sexism debate’ about Game of Thrones is anything but crushed,” there is a difference between a sexist setting and a sexist narrative, and my problem with GoT is firmly the latter.