Friday, April 15, 2011

The Saturday Review: Ginia Bellafante's Review of Game of Thrones

Editor's Note:  It feels kind of weird to do a review of a review, but it needs to be addressed.

HBO's newest series is "Game of Thrones", a huge film-quality production based on the epic sci-fi/fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, written by George R. R. Martin.  It's extremely popular in the sci-fi/fantasy community and has spawned trading card, role-playing, and board games.  Obviously, geeks are excited about the series, and that includes girl geeks, of course.

But, New York Times reviewer Ginia Bellafante doesn't seem to be convinced that girl geeks even exist.  Repeatedly throughout her review of the "Game of Thrones" pilot, she returns to the idea that female viewers will be scarce.  She makes a point of saying that the show's sexy undercurrent is a deliberate move to cull a female fanbase.
"'Game of Thrones' is boy fiction patronizingly turned out to reach the population's other half."
 "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."
Basically, Miss Bellafante's position is that the only way women would watch something like "Game of Thrones" is if it included romance/sex scenes and that those scenes are there exclusively "for the ladies".  Because men aren't interested in sex at all, right?

All of the women I am friends with are girl geeks and a number of them play World of Warcraft (or other MMORPGs), read sci-fi/fantasy novels, and yes, watch sci-fi/fantasy themed movies and television shows.

It's always disheartening when journalists don't do their research, especially when it would take fifteen minutes of perusing the internet to find out that there is a HUGE girl geek community, with a large portion of that community devoted to sci-fi and fantasy.  Bellafante goes on to say:
"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 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."
To which I say to Miss Bellafante, clearly you are in the wrong book clubs*.

*Please read this article, by MSNBC's Susan C. Young and this response to Bellafante's review by awesome geek girl blogger Amy Ratcliffe over at Geek With Curves.  Now these are women I would start a book club with!

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