A Spanking of Monkeys. More on GoT

I’ve written before about my distaste for Game of Thrones and how it makes me sad because I want to like the story. Quite a few people have found my blog for searching for “I hate Game of Thrones” or something similar. And this morning, I read a great blog entry discussing the problem with female nudity in the show, which you may read here: Game of Thrones, Tits, and Female Bodies as Wallpaper. In short:

Game of Thrones is not different in this respect, it’s use of female bodies is pretty much identical to that of every shitty (and “good”) piece of media that thinks women (or at least those of us who look a certain way) were put on this planet so that men can sit back and “enjoy” their appearance.

But so much more than that. I think I was most struck by the author’s discussion about the actresses and how for a lot of them it could be a make or break opportunity, but you have to be naked.

Getting naked as a job is a complicated topic, but this is not really what these women do anyway. They’re actresses. They act. Game of Thrones, as one of the most popular shows in the past couple of years, is probably the best a beginner British actress can do right now. Many of these women are very new to acting, some of them having Game of Thrones be their first big role, and so there is something pretty disturbing about the situation this creates. Let’s see, you’re an aspiring young actress, and you’re offered a role in the most expensive TV show of all times, that people talk about nonstop and that will make you a star (and probably pretty wealthy) overnight, and where you will actually get to play an interesting character, with depth and all of that good stuff. The only thing is… you have to be naked. A lot. So, you can agree to be naked and become all of these things, or you can say no, keep your clothes on and spend the next so and so years auditioning for students’ short films and not earning enough money to cover even the bus fare to the set and back.

Thinking of it in that way really made me feel icky.

But here is one thing that sits wrong with me. But granted, I’m no historian.

So, the women of GoT are supposedly shown naked a lot because that’s the harsh truth, because in the world that the show portrays, this is the reality women live in.

GoT obviously takes place in a fictional world, but it’s based on our Middle Ages, right? And I feel like it’s just our common knowledge that in the Middle Ages, life for women sucked. I probably shouldn’t take my history lessons from Cracked or Wikipedia, but it’s a place to start, and they tell me this wasn’t exactly the case.

Life sucked for everyone.

the funny thing about back-breaking and often dehumanizing labor is that it has a weird way of equalizing people

Beer brewing was done mostly by women. Women helped in their husbands’ businesses. Abbesses ruled over mixed gender monasteries. Women artisans formed guilds. Women had property rights.*

But this isn’t the narrative we’re told. And we’re expected to believe that women were always treated like crap or property because that’s just so believable to us.

*This is not to say that life was great in the middle ages. It just looks like it was more equally bad.


About emmawolf

I'm a freelance writer living in Baltimore with my husband, son, and two cats. I'm working on editing my first novel. I love reading, traveling, and the cello.
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4 Responses to A Spanking of Monkeys. More on GoT

  1. Muriel says:

    You might be surprised, but I agree about the nakedness in the series.
    What I can’t quite agree to is

    Thinking of it in that way really made me feel icky.

    Not because I’m of the opposite opinion, but because I’m unsure.
    On the one hand: To every job, there are things you have to do if you want to get them, and you have to decie whether to do them, or not get the job.
    Why is getting naked special? It’s not even a very bad thing, objectively speaking.
    On the other hand: There is not objective way to tell how bad something is, and in our society, getting naked has certain connotations, especially for women, so there.
    I tend to think that this is the actual problem, and the fact that some actresses have to do it if they want to further their career is not, but I’m unsure.
    What do you think?

    • emmawolf says:

      I think I feel: yes, in every job, there are things we have to do that we don’t really want to do. (I could tell you personal stories about this….oh boy!) But that doesn’t always mean objectification, which I think is worse than the things I sometimes have to do that I don’t like. And getting naked isn’t always objectification.

      The way I think society currently is, there are “certain connotations” and power issues. A man getting naked isn’t the same as a woman getting naked. At the Oscars, no one sang a song “I saw your pee pee.” Yes, I think this is the actual problem, but an actress having to get naked to further her career is a symptom of the problem. I think they are intertwined.

      • Muriel says:

        I could never quite get the whole objectification thing. Objectification is one person seeing another not as a person but a means to an end, is that about right? I don’t get how that is the core problem here. You can do that to a person without the slightest problem. I do it. I usually like when other people do it. Now I’m not the standard for what is good and right, I’m just saying.
        I see lots of problems with how our society treats women, but I’m not convinced objectification is one of them, or is the right term.
        But that’s a side issue, and I think you’re right that female nakedness in art is often a symptom of the core problem(s), and they are certainly intertwined.
        By the way: Great choice of title.

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