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May 16, 2013

Slate: Stop Saying Women Don't Like 'Game of Thrones' Already

WASHINGTON —

"Game of Thrones" is one of the most outrageously enjoyable shows on television right now, not least because of its incredible roster of female characters, from medieval Girl Scout Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) to court manipulator Lady Olenna Redwyne (Diana Rigg). But what's incredibly not-fun is how much stupid writing the show has inspired about female television watchers, and what we like or don't like.

The latest attempt to explain "Game of Thrones" in relation to All Ladies comes courtesy of Thrillist's Renata Sellitti in a piece entitled "Why Girls Hate Game Of Thrones: The reasons she throws shade on your medieval man show." Her arguments include such gems as "We hate gross things. Know what's gross? Screwing your sibling," in reference to the relationship between twins Cersei and Jaime Lannister, girl-trolling like "It's hard to follow," or nerd-baiting, including "It reminds us of the kids that used to play magic cards in the cafeteria. And people who go to Renaissance festivals." At least Sellitti has the originality to attribute new obnoxious ideas to all women who watch television, though she doesn't reach the heights of originality scaled by The New York Times' Ginia Bellafante. Bellafante suggested when the show premiered in 2011 that the incest and prostitution plotlines were "tossed in as a little something for the ladies, out of a justifiable fear, perhaps, that no woman alive would watch otherwise."

This kind of treatment of women as if they're narrow, fantasy-averse, or pervy, makes me want to slowly and carefully lower my forehead to my desk repeatedly in imitation of "Mad Men's" Peggy Olson (to use a Sunday night prestige show reference Bellafante might appreciate). Bellafante may not have ever 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," and Sellitti may believe that "Eating a giant drumstick and drinking out of a goblet is cool, just not every Sunday night for three months straight." But there's something bizarre about the inability to imagine that some women dig stories about swords and sorcery, even to the extent that we'll strap on custom costumes ourselves, not just gather in front of the television on Sunday nights to watch other people wear them.

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