Game of Thrones, rape culture and feminist fandom

Ferreday, Debra Jane (2015) Game of Thrones, rape culture and feminist fandom. Australian Feminist Studies, 30 (83). pp. 21-36. ISSN 0816-4649

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Throughout its run, HBO's adaptation of George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire book series, retitled Game of Thrones (GoT), has attracted controversy for its depiction of nudity and graphic sex and violence. But a particular recent scene, in which a brother rapes his sister, caused outrage in media and fan commentary. This article considers the scene in question, and feminist responses to it, in the context of wider cultural debates about rape culture and the media representation of sexual violence. Following Sarah Projansky's argument that rape is a ‘particularly versatile narrative element’ that ‘often addresses any number of social themes and issues’, I read GoT and its online fan responses alongside literary theories of the fantastic, to examine how dominant rape culture discourses are both reproduced and challenged in fan communities. In particular I argue that fan narratives both reproduce discourses of masculinity and futurity that contribute to rape culture, but also provide a potential space for change through speaking out about silenced experiences of trauma.

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Journal Article
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Australian Feminist Studies
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20 Oct 2016 08:58
Last Modified:
15 Sep 2023 04:18