Game of Thrones and the Objectification of Women


A few months ago I was sick and spent 12 hours watching the entire first season of Game of Thrones. I went in with pretty high expectations and came away disappointed. Now that the second season has premiered I’ve decided to go back expand on my thoughts. I expect most people to disagree with me but I went in expecting top tier television. Expectations can be a terrible thing, but Game of Thrones does not compare to The Wire, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Homeland in my opinion. I truly respect what they’re able to pull off with a television budget and it’s definitely well made. There are some really great moments, but I have a really big problem with this show that really doesn’t allow me to connect with it. Game of Thrones constantly objectifies women.

Maybe you think, “He’s being too serious about a fantasy TV show,” but the way people are represented within the media is an incredible important factor when it comes to the way I watch any kind of media. Maybe you’ll argue, “The show is just a representation of the time.” It’s a valid argument. The problem is the naked women all over this show are meant to titillate, not critique. I don’t think a scene from season 1, where two prostitutes spend the entire scene getting each other off, moaning and breathing, until their loud climax is meant to critique anything about the way men treated women. It’s sexy though right? I don’t really get what the show is trying to say about women because the show actually has many strong female characters. Daenerys Targaryen and Arya Stark are by far my favorite characters. Daenerys is a great character but her story is full of misogyny. She falls head over heels for the man who buys and rapes her. Then seeks advice from other women when she wants to improve her skills in the bedroom because that’s the only way to gain his respect. Blah. And Arya is still a girl. Why can’t a full grown woman rebel against her predetermined gender roles? It almost feels like the show is implying women are either whores or strong, but even the strong women need men or dragons. And we all know dragons don’t exist in the real world.

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13 thoughts on “Game of Thrones and the Objectification of Women

  1. kim says:

    Keep watching! (there’s tons MORE strong women in the new season…)

  2. rae says:

    i thought i was the only one who felt this way – thank goodness i’m not! whilst i agree the way the women were treated is an important factor that needs to be portrayed, most of the scenes could have done it without the nudity. you only have to go online to see men putting the nudity as of the positive aspects of the show to realise that many of the scenes have indeed been done to titilate the audience. it disgusts me quite frankly, and i don’t know if i can ever respect any of the actresses that have taken part.

    • anon says:

      Why would you not be able to respect the actresses that have taken apart? It’s their fault that they finally got a great role and it requires nudity? Actresses are people too, you know. I bet they had a lot of internal struggle before finally deciding that they would show their bodies. It’s tough in this world as an actress, because it seems as though any juicy parts out there require you to show everything, and I find it messed up that that’s okay. So don’t belittle the actresses for it, because it really isn’t their fault.

      • Leelu says:

        It’s not the actresses fault for agreeing to go butt naked in movies???? There’s something terribly wrong with saying that!

        Actresses absolutely should take responsibility for their affect on society, especially when it comes to portraying the ways women should be viewed.

        In many of those roles, where they are asked to take clothes off , they are perpetuating and giving in to the sick idea that women have to bare their flesh “for the good of society”.

        There are many amazing actresses who stand firm on this issue and refuse to go nude.
        They realize what effect this has on society and perception of women.

        How can you say that? These women don’t bear the full brunt of responsibility but they sure as heck deserve a healthy serving.

      • Leelu says:

        I’m sorry. Did you really say… Actresses are people too? Because I thought they were glazed donuts. Thank you for the clarification.

  3. sally says:

    I think you both make important points that come back to Sean’s argument of pointing out the blatant and disgusting sexist depictions of woman. It bothers me that even still it seems to be an acceptance of it. I watched the first episode and was horrified that I had heard such praise for the show. Maybe its acceptance or as far as I know very little protest of it shows how prevalent sexism and gender roles are still in our society. Either way it makes me cringe.

  4. […] Sean, an independent filmmaker whose posts often include critiques of the way films represent different people voices his concern, “I have a really big problem with this show that really doesn’t allow me to connect with it. Game of Thrones constantly objectifies women.” https://indiesunchained.wordpress.com/2012/04/05/game-of-thrones-and-the-objectification-of-women/ […]

  5. Sarah says:

    I had the same reaction to the show. People try to defend the degradation of women on GOT by saying that even the prostitutes have mulit-dimensional characterization. If that’s how they want to justify it, so be it. Just because a prostitute is humanized, doesn’t mean that it’s still not blantanly perverse to depict this type of portrayal of women for “entertainment”. When it comes down to it, not one women on the show is shown in a positive light. I’m appalled by how many people can so easily swipe such distasteful bigotry under the rug.

  6. Leelu says:

    Can we just please be honest here? This show uses blatant nudity to gain ratings.
    Women’s bodies are splayed and sprawled out for everyone to see 24/7 in magazines at the grocery store, on computers, billboards… Everywhere.

    Intimacy between couples goes down as porn use goes up. More than half of divorced couples in therapy report porn as a reason for divorce.

    GOT shows flashes of boobies with the frequency of strobe light flashes.

    If they keep it up, call my doctor, ill be laying on the floor seizing.

    Enough already with boobs and ass.
    Enough.
    Tasteful sex scenes when relevant to the plot are lovely and can be enjoyed by both sexes.

    Gratuitous boob and rear end is just ridiculous and laughable. Women don’t like seeing boobs and ass every five seconds with or without a husband/bf/partner nearby.
    It reminds us how society sees us. In parts. In jiggly bouncy fleshy parts that will one day sag. (And then we might as well jump off a cliff right???)

    Booby booby booby. It starts to seem less sexy and more absurd.
    Keep flashing it premium networks….
    Nothing wrong with turning women into things right?

  7. Jeff says:

    “Can we just please be honest here? This show uses blatant nudity to gain ratings.
    Women’s bodies are splayed and sprawled out for everyone to see 24/7 in magazines at the grocery store, on computers, billboards… Everywhere.”

    Yup, that’s fine. Beauty is good…

    “Intimacy between couples goes down as porn use goes up. More than half of divorced couples in therapy report porn as a reason for divorce.”

    I agree, marriage is going out of date. Wonderful. Porn is far less taxing and works in wonderfully around my schedule. I am ashamed to say that i did sercombe to media pressure when i was younger and ended up in a long term relationship, but that’s because i grew up in a word without solid male role models like Robert Baratheon ( i am of course joking-ish). My point is that marriage or the kind of intimacy that i think your describing is about as inherently moral as a HP Compaq LA2306x, a mediocre monitor by anyone’s standards. It’s just a very long standing tradition which previously had biological and social imperative. It really isn’t necessary anymore. Call me an optimist, but i think our species is getting too good to be ascribing a moral imperative to aspire to such a relentlessly stale lifestyle choice.

    “GOT shows flashes of boobies with the frequency of strobe light flashes. If they keep it up, call my doctor, ill be laying on the floor seizing.”

    Practically unworkable, but certainly something for the mind map.

    “Enough already with boobs and ass.
    Enough.
    Tasteful sex scenes when relevant to the plot are lovely and can be enjoyed by both sexes.”

    Your lack of insight into the male psyche is fairly jarring… The purpose of a graphic sex scene in a television show is vastly different to the purpose of some of the obscenities i expose myself to in the dead of night. A graphic sex scene contributes to tone as it makes you feel slightly uncomfortable because its an emotive area for most of us. Its the same way we use gore, or puppies in danger. While it utilities these emotions we are of course constantly aware that it is not us experiencing them…. Therefore i am about as likely to enjoy a sex scene from GOT (in a sexy way) as i am to start screaming in agony watching gore, or rounding up the neighborhood dogs while watching anything from the 90’s.

    “Gratuitous boob and rear end is just ridiculous and laughable. Women don’t like seeing boobs and ass every five seconds with or without a husband/bf/partner nearby.
    It reminds us how society sees us. In parts. In jiggly bouncy fleshy parts that will one day sag. (And then we might as well jump off a cliff right???)”

    I allays cringe when i see women use ‘society’, ‘us’ and ‘boobs’ in the same sentence. More than anything i appeal to your sense of originality.

    “Booby booby booby. It starts to seem less sexy and more absurd.
    Keep flashing it premium networks….
    Nothing wrong with turning women into things right?”

    It’s meant to seem absurd… half of the sex scenes in GOT are on a slave-master basis! If you find that sexy then my god i have a lot of websites to recommend.

    Women are already things, so are men.. its fine

  8. Random says:

    I just started watching this show (currently in the middle of the first episode of the first season). It got to me when, in this episode, Viserys said something about letting all the men of Khal’s army fuck her if that meant that he could get home again. So I don’t get it, what is Viserys sacrificing . So his sister is a means to an end (essentially). I think that scene was when I just said wtf. I didn’t think that I would have an issue with nudity in this show but now after watching one episode all I can think of is how women are being portrayed in this and how many people (men and women) are able to watch this. I’m still probably going to watch all the episodes and see how I feel about the show afterwards. I’m being hopeful that the first episode is a bad portrayal of how the entire show depicts women.

  9. Kurt F says:

    Loser! !!!!!

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