I took time away from my stack of Harlequin romance novels and my daily gossip rag – all filled to the brim with scintillating sex scenes – to read what passed for The New York Times’ review of the forthcoming ‘Game of Thrones’ series by one Gina Bellafante.
I know, I know, I’m a girl – what reason could I possibly have for wanting to read about and, God forbid, watch a show that is blatantly “boy fiction patronizingly turned out to reach the population’s other half?”
Well, for one, I’m incredibly excited about this show. And secondly, I was expecting an actual review from a respected publication such as The New York Times. Said review made mention of no plot, character or actor!
The joke’s on me, I guess, and by the looks of it the rest of the female population that has been looking forward to this adaptation of the George R. R. Martin novel. Yes, not only are we an apparent phenomena for actually wanting to watch this series for reasons other than saucy sex scenes, but for reading fantasy novels too. Even though, I was recently at a convention featuring GRRM where I found countless female guests and con goers alike that were just as excited about his presence at the con as the men there were, if not more so.
“While I do not doubt that there are women in the world who read books like Mr. Martin’s, I can honestly say that I have never met a single woman who has stood up in indignation at her book club and refused to read the latest from Lorrie Moore unless everyone agreed to “The Hobbit” first.”
Where does this woman live? And, really Lorrie Moore is the obscure female literary reference you’re going to use to support your thesis that “women don’t read fantasy and sci-fi?” What closet have you been hiding in for the last decade, sister?
Even if you don’t move in the most geek-centric of circles, who has honestly never met, known or heard of a woman reading something genre? Or writing it, for that matter? After all the work being done by awesome and proud geek girls around the globe to gain the respect and understanding we deserve, it turns out we’re just in it for the nudity.
Amy Ratcliffe said it in her reply to the Times piece, and I have to agree: Jason Momoa without a shirt will not make me switch off, no sir, but that’s not the enticement that will keep me watching from week to week. And, really, wouldn’t these sexier scenes be more for the guys? Blades, blood and boobs – wouldn’t that be the perfect triple threat for male viewing?
“The true perversion, though, is the sense you get that all of this illicitness has been tossed in as a little something for the ladies, out of a justifiable fear, perhaps, that no woman alive would watch otherwise.”
“No woman alive”. Wow, that seems just a tad excessive a remark to make about the series. If we can’t keep up with the plot and the many characters, “If you can’t count cards, please return to reruns of ‘Sex and the City.’”
That’s right, ladies, no need to tune in if we simply can’t wrap our little heads around it.
The main thing I find shocking about all these sweeping remarks is the fact that the piece was written by a woman. Aren’t we all supposed to be in this thing together? Whatever happened to the Woman’s Movement? Girl Power in the 90’s? In one fell swoop, she’s cast us all alike. So much for us all being special and individual little snowflakes, eh? Bellafante backtracks a little bit with her admission that she doesn’t fully “doubt” the existence of geek girls into fantasy stories, it’s astonishing that such misogynist generalizations have been made by a sister.
Being a geek girl is hard enough with so much being male orientated and having to fight for our recognition without fellow femmes telling us we’re even more marginalised than we first thought.
What kind of message is this sending to us girls who don’t believe that we should wear pink, and boys blue. What about girls like Katie from last year’s Star Wars bullying incident? Was there not a massive outpouring of love and hope for this geek girl? Did it not prove that girls can like boy things and vice versa?
What are girls reading that review supposed to take from it? If they happen to enjoy a scantily clad scene or two does that mean they’re not watching it for the story? For the action, the characters or perhaps to see one of their favourite novels come to life before their eyes?
Only in language nuances does a thing have a gender. Riding a bike can be done by anyone. Comics don’t discriminate. Nor does writing, eating, swimming, flying a plane or falling in love. In a society of growing openness and understanding, how can someone state that a show that happens to feature swords and brutal fight scenes, “rejects no opportunity to showcase a beheading or to offer a slashed throat close-up”.
What’s so wrong with that, I have to ask?
Already today I’ve watched a movie that featured lots of fighting and plenty of blood. I don’t feel any less of a woman. These things labelled as being “for men” aren’t strictly so. I should think that Ms. Bellafante, being a woman, would not want to dismiss the vast array of interests we all share, and disagree, on. Why close off a barrier we’ve just made some headway in raising? It could just as equally be said that men would have absolutely no interest in watching When Harry Met Sally because it’s a chick flick. Or Mean Girls (guys love that movie, by the way.)
I should think that writing for The New York Times of all papers, Ms. Bellafante would have more sense to actually write a review of the series, since it’s kind of in the title, and not simply insult and patronise, what in my experience of online buzz is, most of the series in question’s most awaiting viewers. Despite Ms. Bellafante’s implication that I will not enjoy it, I will be watching Game of Thrones and I know tons of other fellow geek girls that can’t wait for the bloodshed, sweeping landscapes, as many characters as the series cares to throw at us and , yeah, maybe even a steamy scene or two. Trust me, we can keep up – it is the 21st Century, after all.
Sarah Louise is a Senior Contributor to Geek Girl on the Street. She has spent half her life obsessed with all things Whedon and has been writing, doodling, geeking out and generally confusing folk for even longer. SarahXxXLouise | @SarahXxXLouise