Essay about Construction of Feminine Gender Roles in Game of Thrones

Essay about Construction of Feminine Gender Roles in Game of Thrones

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“Tears aren’t a woman’s only weapon. The best one’s between her legs. Learn how to use it.”

In the following essay I will seek to establish the construction of feminine gender roles in ‘Game of Thrones’, the HBO television adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s series of novels ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’, which is played out in the fictional kingdom of Westeros. Consequently I will analyse these feminine gender roles from a materialistic viewpoint and discuss how a number of characters, principally female (since we will see how patriarchy is the favoured practice in Westeros), both conform to and reject preconceived ideas of gender performance and representation. To begin with it is necessary to establish an understanding of what ‘gender’ is. “Gender is the range of physical, biological, mental and behavioral characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between, masculinity and femininity. Depending on the context, the term may refer to biological sex (i.e. the state of being male, female or intersex), sex-based social structures (including gender roles and other social roles), or gender identity” (Urdy 1994). Martin himself acknowledges De Beauvoir’s (1973) suggestion that gender is unnatural, ‘a social construction’, “I regard men and women as all human- yes there are differences, but many of those differences are created by the culture that we live in, whether it is the medieval culture of Westeros, or 21st century western culture” (Salter 2013). The characters portrayed and developed in ‘Game of Thrones’ are no different in that they too are subject to the culture that has been created around them and the experiences by which they progress “as De Beauvoir puts it, consciousness exists one’s body, which, in the context of ...


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...e phallic ability, he is mocked and almost genderless by conforming to neither the male nor female expectations of King’s Landing. Smith (2004, p. 23) maintains that “when the body is conceived as a cultural locus of gender meanings, it becomes unclear what aspect of this body are natural or free of cultural imprint”. Varys is left almost genderless because he does not conform to the usual binary, anything that shies away from traditional gender roles in Westeros is not considered normative, it is a marginalized phenomenon.
While some fans maintain that ‘Game of Thrones’ is feminist, I doth protest; there is not a single female character who possesses or demonstrates a power that is not mitigated by their gender as females. “Gender may be “chosen” only from within the parameters of culturally available terms which always pre-exist the subject” (Smith 2004).



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