So last night I only just got around to watching the finale of this season of Game of Thrones. And what a trip it's been! We see now a set up where almost every important action-guy type male character is dead or sidelined (except Jon Snow) and women have become the principal players everywhere.
This, I noticed, has led to renewed questions of whether Game of Thrones is a feminist fairy tale or not. Last season, Feminism was busy horribly condemning Game of Thrones as terrible sexist misogyny. This season, where women did a lot of the ass kicking, it's suddenly a feminist masterpiece. I found it very interesting to see that depictions of women murdering large numbers of men seems like proper feminist values to some of these commentators, like they've taken their masks off.
Of course, some are more sophisticated than that, like this Washington Post piece which claims that Game of Thrones has strong feminist characters but that the real theme of the world is how hard it is to escape the evils of 'misogynist culture'. The argument made is that there are a lot of great empowered women in GoT now, but that they're forced to do horrible 'misogynist' things, because the fundamental problem being the culture itself.
Now, aside from the fact that this sounds like a standard Maoist rallying cry for "let's create Utopia by tossing away the entire old order!" (never mind that the part they try to downplay is that the tossing away will require the deaths of millions, and the new utopia will be enforced by a total ban on human freedom), I found something else very interesting in that line of argument: it lays bare the nonsensical nature of what modern Third-Wave Feminism has come to describe as "misogyny".
Cersei is "misogynist" because she is mean to other women, killed a lot of women and men, let her son torture people, etc.
Daenerys is "misogynist" because she killed a bunch of people, in spite of her promises of wanting to do things a new way has always had to use violence to obtain power, and has been quick to either run away or fall back on old ways of power-mongering when anything threatens her utopian daydreaming.
Sansa is "misogynist" because she is still relying on the old system of allegiances of the patriarchal system and because she let the northern lords put Jon and not her on the throne of the "King in the North".
Melisandre is "misogynist" because she encouraged people to be burned at the stake in the name of a god.
Olena Tyrell is "misogynist" because she wants nothing more than revenge and to see Cersei destroyed for the death of her entire family.
Arya wasn't mentioned in the WP article but I'm sure she's "misogynist" too. And of course, the women of Dorne are pretty well monsters.
The point of this, and what I'm getting to here, is that the article lays bare the truth of what it means when a Third-Wave Feminist talks about "patriarchy" or "misogyny": they just mean human evil as it is.
The shitty part is that they've decided that all human evil must be given a masculine gender.
The thing they're having trouble handling, in Game of Thrones, is that it lays bare the nature of human evil; it's not a heroic tale of perfect heroes and totally dastardly villains, like we're used to from classic fantasy. It's not even a story of of a world that might be grey but the hero is fundamentally really good. It's a series that defies all conventions of fantasy by presenting its characters as totally flawed, imperfect, utterly HUMAN, as anyone in our real world is.
When Feminists say "Misogyny", what they're really doing is trying to transfer the true, utterly inescapable nature of all fundamentally flawed humanity over to being the fault of one gender.
Which is not just stupid, and monstrous, it is impossible. But most of all, it's ironic: the movement that claims to despise gender roles has given evil a gender role. And in so doing, made it clear what they really despise: not men (well, yes, obviously they despise men or they wouldn't assign ALL HUMAN EVIL to the masculine gender), but more profoundly they despise humanity itself. They hate the idea that it's not just men's fault, and that we cannot create a Perfect Utopia in this world when we magically get rid of the Bad Things, because our human nature demands that instead we create progressively improved systems of actually dealing with human imperfections we will never get rid of (you know, systems like capitalism, rule of law, democracy, and government: all the things they call the 'patriarchy', which are not actually the source of all evils but the best method so far devised to mitigate human imperfection).
So here's my prediction: in the upcoming two seasons, sooner or later, you are going to see some of the same Feminists who are praising the 'strong female characters' we see in GoT today end up howling with outrage of how 'sexist' or 'anti-woman' GoT is. Because for GoT to be what it is, unless the producers end up utterly betraying the entire nature of the story in order to placate the demands of totalitarians, it will now HAVE to show "strong female characters" being complete pieces of shit, like human beings often are. And worse still, being complete pieces of shit AT EACH OTHER. Because there is no Big Bad Male left for them all to hate.
Excepting the Ice King of course, but if the producers just put aside the whole of the last 6 seasons (and books) to turn the endgame of GoT into a fairy tale that ends with all the women teaming up and becoming besties to kill the Ice King and make feminist utopia where all the big bad men have been pushed away and culture is remade so that everything will be better because people won't be human anymore, that still ends up proving my point, better even than the alternative (of feminist writers squealing about the women characters on the show being awful to each other), because it shows just how impossible their arguments and flawed their fundamental philosophies really are.
Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Quiete + Peterson's Balkan Delight