I know this is hard to imagine, especially for readers of my blog, but there are some people still out there who don't think females are allowed to like "boy stuff." You know, stories with swords, spaceships or aliens. But one thing I did not expect was the New York Times to perpetuate gender stereotypes. Guess what? I was wrong.
A "review" was posted by NY Times writer Ginia Bellafante of the upcoming HBO series Game of Thrones. For those not familiar, it's an adaptation of the A Song of Fire and Ice book series by George R. R. Martin. Now, I have not read the books but I'm excited about the series since I've been a long-time fantasy lover and anything with armor and swords gets me excited. But according to Bellafante, seeing as how I'm a female, I would never want to read those books or watch the television series.
The show has been elaborately made to the point that producers turned to a professional at something called the Language Creation Society to design a vocabulary for the savage Dothraki nomads who provide some of the more Playboy-TV-style plot points and who are forced to speak in subtitles. Like “The Tudors” and “The Borgias” on Showtime and the “Spartacus” series on Starz, “Game of Thrones,” is a costume-drama sexual hopscotch, even if it is more sophisticated than its predecessors. It says something about current American attitudes toward sex that with the exception of the lurid and awful “Californication,” nearly all eroticism on television is past tense. The imagined historical universe of “Game of Thrones” gives license for unhindered bed-jumping — here sibling intimacy is hardly confined to emotional exchange.
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. 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. “Game of Thrones” is boy fiction patronizingly turned out to reach the population’s other half.
"Boy fiction?" What the hell is "boy fiction?" And since when do television producers put sex into a show in order to draw in more women? I thought that was what they did to get MEN to watch. But there I go, generalizing, just like Ms. Belafante.
I could go on for a long time about how close-minded Belafante sounds or how limited her social circle seems to be since she doesn't know one woman who's read and *gasp* enjoyed The Hobbit but I won't because that basically says it all right there. But what I really wanted to do was highlight some of the amazing pieces that have gone up since this ridiculous article went live. Most are by talented female writers I know, one is from a male friend and co-worker at Newsarama who had a great deal to say and a few are from strangers. Either way, take a gander at the shockwave this NY Times "review" has caused.
- Is Game of Thrones 'boy fiction?' via NYMAG.com
- New York Times Sets Feminist Movement Back With Game Of Thrones Review via Geek Girl on the Street/Bleeding Cool
- Why Is the Fact of Women Liking Sci-Fi and Fantasy So Hard To Believe? via Teresa Jusino
- Response to the NY Times Game of Thrones Review via Geek Girl with Curves, Amy Ratcliffe (the beautiful woman pictured above who happens to be sitting on the THRONE from the series)
- Today in New York Times navel-gazing via Reason.com
- 'Game of Thrones' Is Not 'Boy Fiction' via ThinkHero.com
- NYT says fiction is gendered, Geek Girls unite to tell them, "NO." via Carnival of the Random
- Game of Thrones & the New York Times: Game Over. via Pop Culture Academic
- To Ginia Bellafante Regarding Your "Review" Of Game Of Thrones. [Rant] via Geek Girl Diva
- A Live Woman Who’d Gladly Watch A Game of Thrones (Even Without the Sex Scenes) via GeekMom.com
- Really, why would men ever want to watch "Game Of Thrones"? via io9.com
- Hey NY Times - Geek Girls Really Do Exist! via Newsarama (quotes from myself and Ratcliffe)
The really funny thing about all of this is it comes on the heels of an interview I did with MSNBC.com earlier this week titled "Geek girls power viewership for sci-fi/fantasy TV," specifically discussing how these types of shows appeal to women and that networks need to start opening their eyes to that. And yes, Game of Thrones was the main talking point.
NY Times, perhaps it's time to hire some female writers with a bit more range and knowledge of the world.
Feel like telling them how you feel? Write a letter to the editor.