Feminist fantasy aficionados respond to Sadt Doyle's scathing blogpost on Tiger Beatdown.
The first one is by Alyssa Rosenberg from thinkprogress.org. Here's an excerpt:
It strikes me as oddly myopic to read a novel where literally every character makes grave strategic miscalculations as arguing that women’s bad decisions are caused by their lady bits. What’s interesting about A Song of Ice and Fire is that it depicts a world where norms and rules of engagement are shifting, rendering outcomes unpredictable for men and women alike. There is no man who seems like a more gifted rule or powerful strategic thinker than any given woman in Westeros or Essos, except perhaps Doran Martell and Varys, neither of whose plans have come to fruition yet, so it’s a bit too soon to tell. But it is telling that Sady entirely omits from her analysis Ygritte, Jon Snow’s lover, who keeps him alive when he’s failing to integrate with the wildlings; Melisandre, who is the most powerful religious figure in the novels and the only advisor who manages to keep her ruler on a trajectory that’s both strategic and moral; the Sand Snakes, powerful, aggressive Dornish women who are setting out to set various parts of Doran’s plan in action; Asha Greyjoy, by far the most strategically intelligent person in the Iron Islands; and Meera Reed, who manages to keep Bran, Hodor, and her brother alive on their quest to find the three-eyed crow; that she ignores that Brienne of Tarth is the highest living exemplar of chivalric ideals.
A world where women are perfectly safe, perfectly competent, and society is perfectly engineered to produce those conditions strikes me as one where we can’t tell any very interesting stories about women’s struggles and women’s liberation. If we tell ourselves stories in order to live, it doesn’t strike me that we do ourselves any favors as active feminists by leaching depictions of sexual violence, women making bad decisions, and institutionalized sexism from our fiction, or by dismissing entire swaths of consumers or modes of consuming fiction.
The second is from GeekMom.com. Here's an excerpt:
Eddard Stark is betrayed, jailed and beheaded. Jaime Lannister, the best knight of the realm, loses his sword hand. And that’s a perfectly deliberate act performed by a mad and cruel torturer.
But they’re grown men, aren’t they? Well, Joffrey Baratheon, the boy king, aged thirteen, dies in horrible pain caused by poison. But Joffrey’s evil, isn’t it? Well, Bran Stark, aged seven, a nice, loveable, boy who enjoys climbing above all, becomes permanently crippled.
But they’re not humiliated like women are, are they? Okay, stop kidding here. The most tortured and humiliated character in the entire series is obviously Theon Greyjoy. I don’t think anyone having read A Dance With Dragons can deny it. He was physically and psychologically tortured by the cruelest character in the series, Ramsay Bolton. Theon is tortured to the point where he forgets his name and renounces all dignity. But he isn’t sexually tortured? Yes, he is. Believe me. Don’t ask.
Even the “forced wedding” matter is a problem for male characters as well as female. Robb Stark, a strong, positive, male character, is booned to marry some girl for political reasons. He weds another one. And you know what? He’s murdered for it. He is, not the girl.
Keep an eye out, for I'm sure there will be others in the near future. . .