Rape in Television: Game of Thrones Vs. Outlander

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  • #5197
    KahunaDrake
    KahunaDrake
    Participant

    Kind of late but I had this in my mind for a while.

    So The Mary Sue refuses to do recaps of Game of Thrones episodes because of the brutalization of women but are silent as hell regarding the extremely graphic rape/torture of a main male character in Outlander.

    Its not just Mary Sue, though. It seems like everyone gets angry when a female is sexually assaulted in Game of Thrones but people are either silent or commend the rape scene in Outlander even though Jamie suffered far worse and graphic ordeal than Sansa did.

    To me, this reeks of double-standard.

    Rabid ecstasy, 1997

    #5203
    natnatno1
    natnatno1
    Participant

    I can’t really speak for the Outlander scene, as i haven’t seen it, but as for the Game of Thrones rape scene, I really don’t see what all the controversy is about. Sansa was raped, yes, but you need to look at the context. It wasn’t a random scene that was just thrown in, like how rape is usually shown in films and TV nowadays, but it was important for the characters. It was important for Reek, because it helps him to form a bond with Sansa, because they went through the ordeal together, and this in turn helps him to become strong enough in spirit to save and escape with Sansa later on. It was important for Sansa, because it represents her complete loss of innocence and sacrifice of self, and helps her character to become stronger. She knew that it would happen- “Every wedding needs a bedding” as Walder Frey remarks- and yet she chose to marry Ramsey anyway. It was a sacrifice she was making because she believed that in the long run, she and Littlefinger could get vengeance for the betrayal of her family and the invasion of her home by destroying the Boltons from within. It was important for Ramsey, because it shows just how sick and psychotic he really is, and makes the audience hate him even more. This was more than just “another rape scene.” Game of Thrones has featured rape before, but there was nowhere near as much controversy in comparison despite those scenes having much less significance to the story. Also, a side note, Sansa got off way easier than her book counterpart. The woman who marries Ramsey in the book (an Arya look-alike named Jeyne Poole) was forced into bestiality with the dogs in addition to the rape and violence that is shown in the show (at least it’s implied). Hell, I think she got off easier than Theon/Reek if I’m honest. Ramsey is one sick mofo.

    In reality, all of the controversy that stemmed from that scene seemed to be from people who have never seen the show, and have no idea or understanding of any of the situations, context and story of the series, but just heard there was a rape scene and thought “Why, that’s diabolical! I’m gonna voice all of my un-informed and unfounded opinions on Twitter and call anyone who disagrees with me and/or watches the show a woman-hating moron!” These type of people need to realise that rape is a very REAL thing, and to never show it or imply it on screen is almost the same as denying that it ever happens.

    And as for the “brutalisation of women,” (and speaking as a female myself) Game of Thrones is one of the most female empowering things on television. I can’t even think of all of the strong, realistic female characters on the show- Dany, Arya, Cersei, Brienne, Margaery, Ygritte, Catlynn- the list goes on. Yes there’s a lot of boobs in the show, and some women are treated in a very sexist way by other characters, but that’s reality for that type of time period and universe. And what about all of the men that get torn apart, heads smashed in, melted, burned and flat out tortured? Also, coming back to the whole rape thing, does anyone remember when Theon was almost raped by another man way back in season 3? Is anyone up in arms over that? No, I didn’t think so…

    Well, that felt good to get off my chest 😛

    - There was a signature here... it's gone now...

    #5204
    CineMax
    CineMax
    Participant

    “To me, this reeks of double-standard.”

    I’d like to say I’m surprised, but I’m really not. Especially considering that most of these “pop-culture critics” tend be of the feminist persuasion and only view the entertainment media as a handy tool to spread their ideology.

    Not only that, but you also gotta question the sanity of some of these people when they view EVERY SINGLE FEMALE CHARACTER as an extension of themselves. E.g. If a female character gets slighted or injured over the course of the story (regardless of whether said injury was afflicted, say, as a result of the heroine’s than righteous actions…) — this is immediately perceived as an attack on all women everywhere by the writer.

    Sansa Stark is a good example of this. Naturally, Ramsey Snow is an unrepentant psychopath and a sadist. We’ve known this for a very long time. However, so has Sansa; as well as probably everyone else in Westoros. However, she still agreed to go through with Little Finger’s plan so that she can one day rightfully reclaim Winterfell as her own. And as we know from her previous “marriage” with Tyrion Lannister, in the GoT universe (just as it was in the real world) it’s customary to “consummate” the marriage right after the wedding.

    So, either way, if she were to play the role of a good wife, she would’ve had to have sex with him regardless. And remember: Sansa is no longer the fragile little flower that she was for previous couple of episodes. So, all things considered, it’s nice to see that she actually survives being Ramsey’s personal fuck-toy and even makes a daring escape at the end of the season.

    But nah, let’s just ignore all of these nuances. A (fictional) woman has been harmed in a (fictional) story. Sound the outrage alarm, my sisters! Huh… what’s that? Plenty of men were injured far worse in GoT before? Oh, who gives a shit about them! SANSA IS IN DANGER! :/

    #5205
    natnatno1
    natnatno1
    Participant

    SANSA IS IN DANGER! :/

    Maybe she should call Jack Snow for help? 😛

    - There was a signature here... it's gone now...

    #5206
    V-Tundra
    V-Tundra
    Participant

    I think the entire problem occurs the moment people think “writers are attacking females”. Have you seen any of these writers attack a woman on real life? Have you seen any writer rape a woman on broad daylight? It’s just pathetic people insinuate that works “attack” a certain community. Granted, there are a few pieces of TV or movies that are designed to attack people, but this is frigging Game of Thrones and Outlander, who is gonna feel offended by these shows? Dragons?

    As surprising as it is, I think rape in a character makes it stronger. It gives a greater development and a greater struggle, it makes it stronger and more brave; just like in real-life (somewhat). Those who have been raped take the incident as a life experience and get stronger, they become fighters and are cautious for others.

    I agree with Cinemax, ignore the nuances.

    "The universe is one big joke, and the joke is on us"

    #5210
    Mr.K
    Mr.K
    Participant

    Kind of late but I had this in my mind for a while.

    So The Mary Sue refuses to do recaps of Game of Thrones episodes because of the brutalization of women but are silent as hell regarding the extremely graphic rape/torture of a main male character in Outlander.

    Its not just Mary Sue, though. It seems like everyone gets angry when a female is sexually assaulted in Game of Thrones but people are either silent or commend the rape scene in Outlander even though Jamie suffered far worse and graphic ordeal than Sansa did.

    To me, this reeks of double-standard.

    Ain’t she a egotistical bitch. I wonder why women get beat up in Game of Thrones… Oh wait, here’s a quote from George R.R. Martin that explains everything!

    “The books reflect a patriarchal society based on the Middle Ages. The Middle Ages were not a time of sexual egalitarianism. It was very classist, dividing people into three classes. And they had strong ideas about the roles of women. One of the charges against Joan of Arc that got her burned at the stake was that she wore men’s clothing-that was not a small thing. There were, of course, some strong and competent women. It still doesn’t change the nature of the society. And if you look at the books, my heroes and viewpoint characters are all misfits. They’re outliers. They don’t fit the roles society has for them. They’re ‘cripples, bastards, and broken things’-a dwarf, a fat guy who can’t fight, a bastard, and women who don’t fit comfortably into the roles society has for them (though there are also those who do-like Sansa and Catelyn).

    Now there are people who will say to that, ‘Well, he’s not writing history, he’s writing fantasy-he put in dragons, he should have made an egalitarian society.’ Just because you put in dragons doesn’t mean you can put in anything you want. If pigs could fly, then that’s your book. But that doesn’t mean you also want people walking on their hands instead of their feet. If you’re going to do [a fantasy element], it’s best to only do one of them, or a few. I wanted my books to be strongly grounded in history and to show what medieval society was like, and I was also reacting to a lot of fantasy fiction. Most stories depict what I call the ‘Disneyland Middle Ages’-there are princes and princesses and knights in shining armor, but they didn’t want to show what those societies meant and how they functioned.

    I have millions of women readers who love the books, who come up to me and tell me they love the female characters. Some love Arya, some love Dany, some love Sansa, some love Brienne, some love Cersei-there’s thousands of women who love Cersei despite her obvious flaws. It’s a complicated argument. To be non-sexist, does that mean you need to portray an egalitarian society? That’s not in our history; it’s something for science fiction. And 21st century America isn’t egalitarian, either. There are still barriers against women. It’s better than what it was. It’s not Mad Men any more, which was in my lifetime.

    And then there’s the whole issue of sexual violence, which I’ve been criticized for as well. I’m writing about war, which what almost all epic fantasy is about. But if you’re going to write about war, and you just want to include all the cool battles and heroes killing a lot of orcs and things like that and you don’t portray [sexual violence], then there’s something fundamentally dishonest about that. Rape, unfortunately, is still a part of war today. It’s not a strong testament to the human race, but I don’t think we should pretend it doesn’t exist. I want to portray struggle. Drama comes out of conflict. If you portray a utopia, then you probably wrote a pretty boring book.”

    So… You were saying, Mary Sue?

    But nah, let’s just ignore all of these nuances. A (fictional) woman has been harmed in a (fictional) story. Sound the outrage alarm, my sisters! Huh… what’s that? Plenty of men were injured far worse in GoT before? Oh, who gives a shit about them! SANSA IS IN DANGER! :/

    Yet books like Fifty Shades of Grey gets defended by feminists for being “empowering” for men and women DESPITE the female lead getting abused for no moral reason. That and the women who were behind the seats that I sit while watching the 50 Shades film hated it to death and ironically, the same women from those seats thanked me for making fun of that crap film. I think feminists should get their heads off their asses and realize that a stereotypical “strong empowered sugarcoat” female character won’t resonate with a lot of ladies these days.

    "The world is merciless and it's also very beautiful."

    #5217
    V-Tundra
    V-Tundra
    Participant

    I just hate when people get angry about stuff that happened hundreds of years ago. It’s somewhat like the PETA and Black Flag incident. (For those of you who don’t know, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is set on the late years of the golden age of piracy, early 18th century to 1730; and there’s a section of the game where you can hunt whales and sharks for money. So PETA went full-sand-in-vagina mode demanding they removed it because it “incited the hunting of whales”. Yeah, virtually hunting whales in a virtual world is just as bad as doing it in real life).

    But even when justified it’s a representation of the way of life of the said time era, people still get mad about it saying (It was a period with no empowering females ergo it’s justified for the discrimination and underestimation of the female populace), so in conclusion, there’s no way to convince this people.

    "The universe is one big joke, and the joke is on us"

    #5218
    Shinra Kuroki
    Shinra Kuroki
    Participant

    I’m really glad I came to this forum. I was a little hesitant since I haven’t seen GoT nor Outlander. While reading, the idea of Moff’s Law kept popping into my head. For those who don’t know what Moff’s law is, here’s a link: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MoffsLaw

    If you don’t feel like reading the link, Moff’s law basically states that a cry to stop “over analyzing” a piece of work is just an attempt to derail the conversation and should be ignored. I thought for a little bit about it, finding myself agreeing with it, but at the same time feeling like something wasn’t quite right. It was then I had a little epiphany; I realized when I would usually say “stop over analyzing X”, it’s usually to someone who isn’t analyzing media anymore, they’re engaging of some pseudo-science of feelings equal causation. You can analyze media and try to be more objective in your analysis by pointing out over used tropes and themes, but the second someone starts equating the uses of tropes to real life tragedies is when they have stopped analyzing and have gotten on a soap box to preach their dogmatic religion. I would state that “correlation doesn’t equal causation” to these critics, but they have failed to even prove that there is a correlation. In terms of the scientific method, all this “Social media critics” have done is made up a hypothesis and then didn’t test it in any meaningful way. Any “problematic” trope that you know who has covered, I can make an equally valid hypothesis that that trope is good for women’s portrayals in media and good for society.

    To bring this post full circle back to the topic at hand, it seems that any assertion that GoT is harmful to women is a meritless accusation with no tangible evidence. The Mary Sue needs to rethink how it thinks on a fundamental level, since their site reeks of bias, double standards, and double think. Any one can analyze media, but those who do it through a the narrow lens of a narrow ideology, probably shouldn’t analyze media. It seems when you let ideologues “analyze” media, all you get is buzz words and bias confirmation, followed by an unhealthy dose of out cries for censorship.

    "Now, I’ve forgiven the world and myself, too. I teach myself to smile again. One day I’ll get there, I know I will. Even if it takes me not nine, but nine hundred lives." -Susan Ashworth from The Cat Lady

    #5219
    KahunaDrake
    KahunaDrake
    Participant

    It’s like Walk Among the Tombstones all over again:

    Women being harmed (offscreen): OMGsofuckinhorriblestahp!

    Men being killed graphically (onscreen): meh.

    Jamie’s torture: 2 episodes

    Sansa’s rape: like 10 seconds (most of it offscreen).

    Rabid ecstasy, 1997

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