Three years ago, I wrote a piece about why I hate Game of Thrones and when I look back on that now, I find myself cringing at the thought of it. And not because I was wrong, I still feel that all of the points I made are true to the first few seasons of the show; the episodes are primarily naked women being forced into submissive sex by angry men desperate to assert their power. And despite my desire at times, to have it removed from the site, it’s something I felt passionate about at the time.
But what bothers me about the piece now, is that I lacked patience. We, as women, are often very good at sitting back and watching the world around us. We are good at being resilient in situations in which having resilience is the only power we are unknowingly given. We are smart creatures, initiative, bold. Just like so many of the main female characters in this show; Daenerys, Sansa, and Arya have all dealt with oppression, sexism, abuse (in all its forms) and they have come out on top (pun most definitely intended).
These women have gone from being beaten down by the laws of the world they live in, to using that anger and resentment in order to fight back and regain their power. Not just to assert their authority, not just for pissing contests, and not through the oppression of the opposite sex, but to achieve something.
I watch this show now and I feel proud to be a woman. I feel empowered that it’s the women leading armies, making the rules and being respected by the very men who once controlled them (most of the time). I feel inspired that these women have not let the unfair nature of their world and the small-mindedness of those who inhabit it, keep them locked cages so readily made for them.
I feel liberated and I feel hopeful.
I will not deny that the show still has some issues with using the female body as decorative wallpaper and I will not deny that there is an uneven balance in the media in general when it comes to exposing male and female bodies (a debate for another time!)
But this show only serves alongside the world we live in today. A world which may, in so many ways, seem millions of miles away from that portrayed through our screens, but in reality, is not that dissimilar. Women are still underestimated, we are still largely only appreciated for what we possess on the outside; how we can please men or our ability to stay silent and accept the way things are, rather than for our minds, our voice, our intuitive.
Our ability to challenge an unfair system.
And what GoT shows, quite powerfully, is that we as women do not sit back and continue to let ourselves be oppressed, demeaned, abused and sexualized.
We fight back.
Eventually, we rise.