candyjack wrote:I agree with the bolded part, but I don't see how he's treating the show as a trite morality tale, nor how his words can be equated to "arguing that all women are obliged to do X in this situation," as you implied.
If it wasn't the assumption he was under, then the point of his argument would be rather irrelevant. If he wasn't operating under the premise that this show was saying what was wrong and right for women, then there'd really be no point whatsoever for bringing it up. Well, more precisely, he discussed how the show was trying to reinforce gender roles, but what I just said in that last sentence is
precisely what a gender role is. It's a statement about what a person of a given gender ought to do under a certain set of circumstances. So I am failing to see how I'm distorting or misrepresenting his views. I respect that you think that I am committing an error in reasoning, but I am afraid that I don't agree given my understanding of what he said.
candyjack wrote:I can't comment on the rest of that paragraph because I haven't watched the show to that degree, but please bear in mind that the reason I dropped the show is exactly the utter absurdity of the Daenerys-Khal affair (beside the bizarre amounts of screen time dedicated to sex scenes that don't contribute anything to the story).
Well, that is kind of important. Remember, we're talking about the notion of gender roles in the whole show and what the whole story has to say about gender. So far, you've convinced me that you didn't like one storyline, which according to your sensibilities, lacked verisimilitude. Now I happen to disagree that one semi-weak plotline this makes the entire
show not watchable, but that's a separate discussion.
It's important because:
There may not be a formula for what makes a person fall in love, but it isn't hard to distinguish between feasible and unfeasible love. The point of that argument is, as you seem to admit in your following paragraph, that it's related to the question why Daenerys has sex with Khal Drogo. [...] Again, it's hard to conceive why she would make this choice in the first place since the show doesn't give us any reason, and it becomes especially problematic considering the violence she would realistically face from Khal if she were to make another choice. Her willingness to have sex with Khal merely veils the fact that the alternative is being raped and losing power. I suppose it's very convenient to fall in love with your rapist so that you don't have to deal with the severe emotions that are likely to arise otherwise, but it does beg the question as to how much of that choice can be attributed to her free will. She supposedly chose for Khal out of love for him, but if that love isn't realistic, it comes off as a hackneyed attempt to cover up the fact that it is sex slavery beneath the surface.
Okay, I don't really fully agree with this (or at least not to this extent) and I think that you're being overly dismissive of what is arguably one of the best shows of all time, but for the sake of argument, let's suppose I concede to this entire point and agree with it.
So what do we conclude from this? Remember, the thing that you thought I was unfairly chastising him on was about his claims regarding the notion that Game of Thrones reinforces gender roles (and additionally that all TV female characters get power solely through conforming to "male culture"), which I said was unthoughtful and intellectually oafish. Even if I cede all of the above, there is no straightforward, logical jump from that admission to "Game of Thrones reinforces gender stereotypes and roles."
Okay, so "GoT had an outrageously unbelievable plotline that involves a girl falling in love with her rapist." Is that somehow supposed to be reinforcing... what? That women are supposed to gain power through their sexuality? Most presumably that he was interpreting this to mean that the show was reinforcing the stereotype the "correct" female gender role is to let men take their natural gender role as the domineering alpha male who gets what he wants when he wants. He was vague on the specifics, only to state clearly that Game of Thrones was reinforcing gender roles, although I don't think it takes deep insight to understand that this is what he meant.
But did the show actually say that? As I've said before, it'd be pretty difficult to casually pin Joss Whedon or Alan Moore with the label of a misogynist or of reinforcing gender stereotypes, but they have both had either literally the same (Moore) or very similar (Whedon) plotlines in their works. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I don't think anyone would. More to the point, just because a female character happens to do something in a show does not mean that the show/author is condoning this stereotype. For instance, during that same season but a different plotline (SPOILERS), there's a female character who manipulates her boyfriend into killing several people. I notice that no one bothers to say, "AH! Look at that, GoT is reinforcing a gender stereotype where women manipulate people with sex to get what they want." I doubt anyone bothered to mention this because no one actually thought that the GoT writers were arguing that this was moral behavior, and thus such an argument would have been completely off point. And that's because we're trained to think, "This character is bad. Therefore, they do bad things." and the opposite, "This character is good, therefore they do good things." That, I think, is why some people got really pissed about certain character choices in the show --because many people naively watch TV shows like "Watch what the good people do. It's the behavior a person should do if they want to be good." Part of what makes GoT so compelling (and indeed many modern dramas, such as the Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Dexter, etc) is that the characters --all of the characters-- are morally ambiguous, just like most people in real life are.
Beyond this, of course, I'm failing to address the other parts, like the ridiculous carte blanche
, across-the-board, sweeping assertion that "Women who achieve power are almost always given a flaw or some kind of emotional weakness their male counterparts do not have [...] and have to acknowledge their gender to make it okay that they win. Women also often have to conform to a male world to achieve power in popular TV." There's a lot of bold, unclear if not very vague, gender studies 101-level observations, but without (by my esteem) real sophistication or reflection. Even in GoT, this claim rings extremely hollow; to get back to a previous point, you guys would know this if you watched the show more fully. Instead you didn't like some of the plotlines so you chose to stop watching them. That's fine, but then don't attack the show --which you have not watched in full so you certainly cannot claim to have a deep understanding of the characters and the storylines-- or use it as alleged clear-cut example of reinforcing gender stereotypes. Firstly, this reminds me of the ridiculous debates a decade ago that used to go on these forums regarding "Is Harry Potter Evil?" To your credit, you've at least seen some GoT, but most of the people on that thread knew that they hated Harry Potter and knew it was evil --but damned if they had ever read the books. Secondly, there are such
better examples of reinforcing gender stereotypes in modern cinema or TV, why not use those as the cases in point?
Now don't get me wrong, as I said from my first post, I'm very much on the feminist side of these issues. Para's post is completely spurious by my personal estimation and I am glad that Keening_Product made some attempt to oppose the rather blind cultural analyses of Para. But rather than filling his post to the brim with quite bold declarations about shows he's barely watched, I would have preferred a much more serious analysis of the errors in Para's reasoning/analysis (which, again no offense to Para, but his post was abound with).
that's a far, far cry the show is conveying messages like "Women should appease their rapists", "Women have weaknesses that men don't have", or "Women can only gain power by conforming to men's wishes."
Again, nobody is asserting such things in the first place.
I'm sorry, but I'm not really sure I follow you here, candyjack. Maybe you should remind yourself very quickly of what Keening_Product said before you continue to defend it, but here's a relevant snippet from his post:
"Women who achieve power are almost always given a flaw or some kind of emotional weakness their male counterparts do not have (there are a few shows on women in power in US politics at the moment that seem to fit that based on the trailers) and have to acknowledge their gender to make it okay that they win. Women also often have to conform to a male world to achieve power in popular TV - that dragon woman in Game of Thrones, for example. The only way she settles into her life as a sex slave is by learning how to please her rapist. Women in that show especially achieve power through sex and conformity, not through any strong personal willpower."
He literally just said all three of those in the above. Perhaps you interpret this differently, but the statements seem quite forthright.
Just to reiterate, I'm not trying to make this personal either, nor I don't mean any personal offense to Keening_Product or yourself, but I am genuinely exasperated by overly simplistic versions of feminism that make it easy for people to dismiss the importance of egalitarianism and gender equality.