Anyone who knows me and/or reads my blog knows that I despise people who find racism and/or sexism in everything they see. I find it absolutely ridiculous, and in all honesty, the practice itself is far more racist/sexist than the things it claims to be are.
Now, I am a huge fan of a Song of Ice and Fire (AKA Game of Thrones). But alas, even the genius that is George RR Martin cannot escape the scrutiny of those crazy ism-hunters. I have heard people say it is racist for depicting the foreigners as savages. I have heard people say it is sexist for depicting the women as inferior, or the badass women as ugly or plain (which apparently implies that ‘real’ women can’t be badass). Well to them I say “Pf! Stop picking and choosing things to pay attention to that fit your obsession with discrimination, and start appreciating the series as a whole, for what it is.
A Song of Ice and Fire is set in an alternate world, in a time period much like the Medieval era on Earth. And it’s a fairly well-known fact that women weren’t treated as men’s equals in the past. They were basically men’s property, and they certainly didn’t have the same career opportunities as women do now. So why should a fictional story set in a land similar to that era depict women as though they were from the 21st century? Hello? Anyone? I take it you’re all coming up blank right about now? Eeexactly. It shouldn’t. Although… A Song of Ice and Fire actually treats its women pretty damn well for that era. We’ve got the loving mother Catelyn who will do anything for her family. We’ve got the loving mother Cersei who will conspire like hell for hers. We’ve got the badass child assassin Arya on a slippery slope into chaos. We’ve got the pirate-like Asha who is married to her axe. We’ve got the priestess Melisandre, manipulating a king into following her path. We’ve got the Queen of Thorns Olenna, who is an absolute master at conspiring for power. We’ve got the Khaleesi Daenerys who is a favourite for the Iron Throne. We’ve got Brienne, who is one of the truest knights of Westeros, despite not being a knight. “But Brienne is ugly!” They say. “She can’t be an example of a feminist character! Brienne is ugly and therefore all badass women are ugly and and that means that real women cannot be badass because badass women are ugly and mannish and therefore only men can be badass!” Oh really? Firstly – have a raised eyebrow. Secondly – what’s wrong with masculine women? Thirdly – oh how bloody wrong you are. Because we’ve also got Dacey, a beautiful and elegant warror, Ygritte, a flame-haired wildling, and the fucking Sand Snakes. And what do you call Asha, Melisandre, and Daenerys, if not both feminine and badass?
Oh, and before I move on to the racism part of this, I would just like to have a quick word with all Sansa-haters. I don’t care if you hate her because she’s too weak and therefore not feminist enough. I don’t care if you hate her because she’s a whining bitch and should be doing more to help herself and her family. Whyever you hate her, just get the fuck over it. Okay, I admit it – I used to hate her too. But then her story got interesting, and she wasn’t just an antagonist to Arya anymore. And I realised something. In the beginning, when there wasn’t really much personal conflict, Sansa was just a normal tween girl. And later on, when she was caught up in everything, and either kept silent or lied about her feelings, she was just surviving. Sansa is a good character, a good female, and a smart, strong girl.
Now to the alleged racism. Here’s the thing – it doesn’t exist. You show me a bunch of savages from across the narrow sea? I show you a bunch of savages from beyond the wall. And then casually remind you about the not-so-local civilised folk from across that same sea, or down in Dorne.