I’ve heard the term ‘sexist’ thrown around one too many times of recent and it’s high time I bored absolutely nobody who will read this. Just gonna’ point out now that I do not condone rape or sexual assault in the slightest, I do identify as a feminist and egalitarian at heart, nobody murder me.
A while back there was a big controversy about the Tomb Raider trailer seemingly depicting a rape scene. In the end it turned out he was going to kill her but that didn’t stop a misguided uprising of well intentioned ‘Social Justice Warriors’ or SJW’s. Depiction of a woman being sexually assaulted, at least in my eyes is not sexist. It’s the way the story tells it.
Let’s take Game of Thrones television adaptation as an example. I’ve known one or two well meaning commentators to label it sexist because it ‘glorifies’ rape. I’d say it’s a feminist text if I ever saw one. Westeros is a very clearly defined patriarchal society, but it’s the way the characters are written that portrays the true message behind the text. The characters in the text presented as moral betters and role models are progressive in this society. Tyrion, a very popular character and seen as the pillar of equality on the show, is supportive and kind to women, protecting Sansa from his brutish antithesis King Joffrey who abuses and kills women for entertainment and is presented to the audience as objectively evil and certainly not a role model. Characters like Arya and Brienne display combat prowess that could match their male counterparts and characters like Catelyn and Cersei show intelligence and unyielding strength while preserving their maternal side. Yes I did have to look up all their names to see how they’re spelt.
Of course the ‘Social Justice Warriors’ do have a natural counterpart which ranges from equally well meaning people who seek equality and might worry feminism goes to outspoken misogynists. Both exist and both are radically different. One is all seeking equality and misunderstood. One is composed of people who apparently don’t care for equal representation of the genders and would rather see the patriarchy restored. I anticipate their concern with this blog would be ‘It sounds like the men are being presented as the bad guys here’. And you know what? They do a little bit. But the primary role model male characters like Eddard Stark and Tyrion Lannister are pretty straight up guys. Eddard is show as the walking definition of honour and supports his daughter Arya’s choice to pursue mastery of sword fighting and Tyrion is progressive in the sense that he refuses to rape when it’s called upon him. And a few other things. Trust me, he’s great.
Game of Thrones would be sexist if the audience were encouraged back characters like Joffrey and the terrible brother Viserys and look down upon the women with progressive agendas as evil. That’s how this works folks. This has basically just become a mini essay about why Game of Thrones isn’t sexist. My apologies. In summary, showing rape isn’t sexist. Showing rape as not a terrible thing and something the good guys are well into is a bit more on the sexist side and needs a bit more of look into.
Well that was probably boring. Start as you mean to go on I guess. My apologies to my wonderful girlfriend, probably the only person who will read this, who is nothing if not patient with me.