The Soapbox: On Women Hating “Game Of Thrones”

“Game of Thrones” is one of my favorite shows on TV, not just right now, but of all time. I must be some kind of magical unicorn, because by virtue of the fact that I have a vagina — I literally just double-checked and, yep, still packing lady parts — I am supposed to hate “Game of Thrones.” This is according to Thrillist’s Renata Sellitti, who wrote an article about why women “hate” the show and offered advice for how “Game of Thrones”-loving men can entice their girlfriends into watching it with them. It is, as you might expect, the biggest pile of direwolf excrement I’ve seen on the internet this week. I am tempted to print out her article, pull down my smallclothes and make water all over it, that’s how bad it is. I’m breathing wildfire I’m so pissed. As Cersei Lannister would say, if she were a woman of the 21st century, BITCH, PLEASE.

Now, I don’t disagree that there are certainly some women out there who hate “Game of Thrones.” (I just don’t happen to know any of them so they clearly weren’t in Renata’s control group. … She polled a wide variety of women in order to determine that basically all of us hate the show, right? I’m sure she did.) But there are also some women who hate “The Bachelor,” “The Real Housewives” franchise and whatever other female-targeted TV shows likely litter Renata’s DVR queue. (I’m not hating on your boob tube choices, girl, I watch those shows too.) And there are certainly men who hate “Game of Thrones,” possibly even for some of the reasons Sellitti claims women are turned off by the show. Oh, yes, the reasons. Let’s review and refute them, shall we?

1. Women hate gross things like incest. While I wouldn’t say I love incest, like it’s not on my top 10 favorite things of all time, I have personally gone on record as finding it to be a compelling plot twist not just on “Game of Thrones,” but “Dexter” as well. Also, the incestuous relationship between Cersei and Jaime Lannister is supposed to be at least somewhat repulsive. That’s why they keep it a secret from everyone, duh.

2. The show is hard to follow because of the sheer volume of characters and twisting plot lines. “Game of Thrones” is absolutely a difficult show to track. Hell, I read the first two books aloud in a British accent  because doing so stopped me from reading too quickly and missing something important. I still mix up Tywin Lannister and Davos Seaworth, although that may just be because the lighting on the show is so dark and they’re both balding. “Game of Thrones” is one of the more complicated but brilliantly written shows on television — for everyone! — but it’s not just men, as Sellitti suggests, who are willing to put their brains to work in order to fully enjoy it. In fact, for many of us female fans, this is our version of a good time.

3. “Game of Thrones” reminds women of those gross lame loser nerds who used to, like, play Magic the Gathering at lunch. Actually, “Game of Thrones” reminds me of this lame loser girl who used to work on her “Star Trek” novel on Friday nights instead of hanging out with kids her own age, oh wait, THAT WAS ME. Renata is right — “Game of Thrones” is nerdy as hell, but for a variety of reasons that my boo Wil Wheaton has already beautifully explained, nerds fucking rule. And men don’t have a monopoly on nerd culture. Geek girls unite!

4. There are too many naked chicks. And only men and, ew, lesbians like looking at naked women, amiright? While I agree that the ratio of naked women to naked men on “GoT” skews in favor of masturbatory fodder for teenage boys, and I would love more full frontal man action — in order of preference, Jaime Lannister, Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister, thank you – ultimately, I am totally cool with looking at “topless wenches in loin cloths.” They’re hot.

5. There’s lots of violence, like dudes getting their hands and nipples and balls chopped off. I think Renata’s final reason for why women hate “GoT” is actually an extension of number one in that its point seems to be that women — sorry, girls – don’t like gross stuff, in particular gratuitous violence. Sure, some women don’t. I am 1000 percent sure that if I had tried to make my mom watch that Theon Greyjoy torture scene on Sunday, she would have puked. She has a sensitive stomach. But I know men who are just as turned off by “gross” violence. Besides, those of us who watch the show and can handle the beheadings do so because the violence is a realistic aspect of the world George R. R. Martin has imagined and each act of violence somehow pushes the story along.

Now let’s say you’re one of those normal women like Renata who hates incest, nerds, naked women, blood and stuff that makes your brain hurt — how might the man in your life convince you to watch this disgusting cesspool of boy geekery?! By emphasizing the romantic relationships (ladies be lovin’ love, heyyyy) and gay BFFs (ladies be fag hags, heyyyy) on the show, of course! Also, downplay the incest, because remember, EWW GROSS, and play up how cool Peter Dinklage is. Although I suspect Renata doesn’t dig people of Dink’s stature (he probably reminds her of, like, an Ewok, which is so nerdy), I agree that Dink (and his character Tyrion) is one of the best parts of “Game of Thrones.” And BONUS, ladies, he’s a sex symbol.

If all else fails, Renata advises, distract her with “Mad Men,” because women love Don Draper. Except me. I fucking hate Don Draper. And “Mad Men,” in different ways, is as complicated as “GoT,” but perhaps the various nuances of that show are going over Renata’s head. But I digress.

Seriously, though, there are plenty of great reasons to watch “Game of Thrones,” whether you’re a woman or a man. But that’s another post entirely…