Honestly, I could care less about Game of Thrones. I’ve never read the books, as I’m not really a broadsword/dragon kind of a girl, and Lord of the Rings makes me go “meh.” But as a sci-fi/fantasy fan from way back, I took offense to this review of the upcoming Game of Thrones series on HBO. And it’s written by a woman, no less! It bothers me when women “speak for the group” when it comes to culture, as if women think en masse. I recently had a good female friend tell me, in response to my positive review of Sucker Punch, that “I'm sorry, but other than girls who read comic books (and I don't think the girls in this movie did), I don't know any who would choose to escape into a fantasy where they're beaten-up strippers/samurai warriors with large guns.”
First of all, “girls who read comic books” or enjoy SFF are more than you probably think. And secondly, there’s the assumption that all women think the same way. Regardless of whether a woman is a fan of such things, who’s to say that something like this wouldn’t speak to a woman. Who says that all women respond to flowers and romance and never respond to darkness and violence? Or sex, for that matter.
Anyway, I wrote a letter to the editor at the NYTimes that I hope gets published. It went a little something like this:
I’m a 31 year old woman and a sci-fi/fantasy fan since I was a little girl. I’m a huge fan of sci-fi like Star Trek, Fringe, and Doctor Who, fantasy like Buffy The Vampire Slayer, the ultimate sci-fi/fantasy blend that is Star Wars, and I write for several websites including PinkRaygun.com, which is a geeky site that caters specifically to women. All the fans of Game of Thrones that I know are female. It saddens me that a female reviewer would paint all women with the same brush. “I can honestly say that I have never met a single woman who…” Ms Bellafante clearly has a homogeneous group of friends! Most people do. Doesn’t mean she should sell limited experience as fact. Why has she never met such a woman? Because those women start their OWN book clubs where reading SFF is par for the course!
- Teresa Jusino
New York, NY
Lately, I’ve been writing a lot about gender inequality with relation to the sci-fi and pop culture I enjoy. For some reason, it’s become the thing I need to be the most vocal about right now, probably because I’m working on a novel that deals very heavily with women being very vocal about what they think about the patriarchy. (note: “vocal” is an understatement) Also, I’ve reached an age (31 going on 32 in July) where I’m willing to take less shit. The thing is, when I decided to write about, for example, how the way Amy Pond was treated in the latest Doctor Who minisodes because of the skirt she was wearing was sexist, I thought people would think it boring. I wrote my article anyway, because it was something I needed to get off my chest, but I figured readers might be like “Feminism…YAWN.”
Boy was I wrong.
And then there was the time I decided to praise Sucker Punch as a positive film for women. In two parts.
As it turns out, feminism is a hotter topic than I thought, and made more people want to talk to me. Which is good. Engaging over an important topic is good. Even if one sometimes needs to engage with an internet troll or two.