Geek Girl Con 2012 on Game of Thrones

by | August 29, 2012
filed under Feminism, Pop Culture

daenerysby Jarrah Hodge

The only panel at Geek Girl Con I was disappointed with was “Women in Westeros: Is Game of Thrones Sexist?”. Here’s the panel description from the programme:

The world of the HBO series Game of Thrones and the George R. R. Martin book series is a dangerous (and, given the frequent lack of clothes, chilly) one for women. Westeros itself is clearly sexist – but are the show and books? What’s the line between glorification of sexual violence and critique? How do the books’ and show’s treatment of other socially disadvantaged groups, like the disabled and gender nonconformists, compare?

It sounded great and it was the only GoT panel on the agenda so I even skipped the Buffy musical episode sing-along to go to it. Both panelists had contributed to a collection called Beyond the Wall: Exploring George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Firewhich I jwill hopefully review here at some point soon. To be fair, panelists Brent Hartinger and Caroline Spector were left without a moderator at the last minute and they hadn’t planned to run the session themselves, but it wasn’t any lack of organization that got to me. Rather, it was the cop-outs used to try to justify the amount of sexual violence depicted in Game of Thrones.

Maybe I should back up and tell you where I’m coming from. I got into Game of Thrones through the HBO series and I’ve only read the first book but I found the writing really addictive and I do plan to read the others. My general opinion going into this was that the series’ amazingly strong and complex women characters make up for the (at times gratuitous, I feel) rape and misogyny the women characters are subject to. I consider myself a Game of Thrones fan, though a critical one. But I think if you’d done a random sample of convention attendees you’d have found diverse opinions on the show and books. Before the panel I went to lunch with some other feminists attending GGC and there were only two out of six of us willing to watch GoT. The others drew the line at watching that much rape, which I can totally understand.

So back to the panel. I got my hackles up almost right away when the panelists decided to poll the room, asking everyone to raise their hands if they think a) Game of Thrones is hopelessly, unnecessarily sexist; b) Game of Thrones is great but has some issues; or c) Game of Thrones has no problems at all. I put my hand up in group B but I have to give huge props to the only guy (the only person, actually) in the room who raised his hand in group A and was put on the spot to explain why. Even at a safer convention like GGC it can be intimidating to criticize any aspect of geek culture in a room of fans, especially when you’re dealing with issues like sexual assault.

Both panelists also fell in the B group. On the side that it’s justified I appreciated Caroline Spector’s assessment that the sexual violence in the plot increases as society and order degrades and that it is used to make even worse villains of the rapist characters.

“He’s making a far broader statement than these individual incidents… it shows how everyone is oppressed by this culture,” Spector said. Brent Hartinger pointed out that as this degradation of order occurs so too does oppression of the other minorities, including the poor and disabled.

“I think he [George R. R. Martin] is making a profound allegorical statement about the US in the last century,” agreed Spector.

“I think it’s clear…where George R. R. Martin’s sensibility lies, and it lies with the underdog…with the outsiders and the oppressed,” added Hartinger.

I thought those were interesting and good points, but what about the brothel scenes in the TV show that aren’t even in the book? What about the scene with Joffrey and the two prostitutes in Season 2? Hartinger pointed out he found a rape scene in every single chapter of A Feast for Crows. Was that all really necessary to show that social degradation hurts women?

On the show, Spector said, “It’s TV, what do you expect?” and that was what got me up to the mic to point out that while I agreed with the panelists’ assessment of what George R. R. Martin was trying for, saying “what do you expect?” is a cop-out. “I do expect more,” I said, pointing out that I’m a fan and I got that characters like Joffrey were villains the first time I saw them abuse women – I didn’t need the other times.

Spector withdrew her comment and tried to make the discussion on the show a bit more nuanced, noting that she thought Cersei was one character that was improved and given more agency in the show (also agreed). Hartinger also raised the problematic aspects of Daenerys’ relationship to Khal Drogo. While it’s not clear in the show, in the book she’s thirteen when she’s married off to him and raped by him. Even though she later comes to find he’s not as bad as she thought he was, Hartinger noted it’s “messy and complicated”.

Unfortunately, the panelists also continued to defend the series by defending Martin. I guess that’s understandable given that at least Spector knows him personally, but it made it difficult to get past feeling like any critique was an attack on a basically good guy.

“The worst I’d say about him is that he’s a little insensitive,” said Hartinger, referring to the way Martin depicted sexual violence, clarifying that Martin probably didn’t consider how it would feel to have survived rape and then read that.

I wanted more than that. I don’t think it does any good to bring George R. R. Martin’s feelings or character into the discussion. What’s important is the impact on the audience, which I think goes far beyond women who have survived rape. It doesn’t take having been raped to understand what that kind of violence means for a woman. It doesn’t take having been raped to be disturbed or triggered by reading it or watching it.

The final defence of GoT that bothered me is the classic defence of anything problematic in fantasy literature: it’s okay because it’s based on history.

“We have to remember he’s not writing from 21st century sensibility,” Spector said of Martin.

Basically the argument is that since the fantasy world is based on a real time when sexism and racism and other forms of discrimination were common, it’s almost a requirement that you leave all these elements in.

I beg to differ. Writing is a craft. There were no dragons or shadow assassins or zombie wall people in human history. Writers make a choice to add those things in and they can choose, if they so desire, to make their world a one without rape.

If fantasy literature is required to adhere to history it can never have subversive potential as it will always romanticize the inequalities of the past. As Sady Doyle says of GoT:

“The impulse to revisit an airbrushed, dragon-infested Medieval Europe strikes me as fundamentally conservative — a yearning for a time when (white) men brandished swords for their King, (white) women stayed in the castle and made babies, marriage was a beautiful sacrament between a consenting adult and whichever fourteen-year-old girl he could manage to buy off her Dad, and poor people and people of color were mostly invisible.”

That’s how it’s been but I believe the genre has more potential than that.

I’m not saying there should be no sexual violence in literature, but that it has to be for more than titillation or shock value. As much as I agree with Spector and Hartinger that rape serves a plot purpose in GoT (to show societal degradation and to create irredeemable villains), I have trouble buying the argument that those objectives required up to one rape per chapter.

So for next year’s GGC I’d love another GoT panel, even with the same contributors, as long as it’s one that makes a commitment to take an honest look at the fandom and not to go for the easy outs.


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  • Brent Hartinger

    Hi Jarrah:

    Thanks for the comments about our panel, and in the end you may be right about there not being a wide enough range of views (although I think it’s hard to find someone who writes or thinks extensively about a book or TV series who isn’t, on some level, a fan: in most cases, if you find something is offensive, you don’t read it).

    That said, I think you’re simplifying my personal perspective (I can’t speak for Caroline, who I don’t know). I may have made the comment you quote — “the worst you can say about Martin…” (although, as you note, I learned ten minutes before the panel there would be no moderator and I was, therefore, the de-facto moderator). But I think I bent over backwards during the panel to give legitimacy to the idea that it WAS possible to find the work(s) offensive, even deeply so. I validated that repeatedly.

    In fact, I had the audience conduct a thought experiment: if the books were written by a woman and almost every chapter included a scene of a violent rape of a man, would the world view it (and the author) differently? In that case, would accusations of men-hating simply be shrugged off (as accusations of sexism usually are for GoT)? As I said during the panel, I really, really doubt it, and that that speaks to the casual acceptance of rape and sexual violence against women in our culture. I really believe that.

    With regards to the books and show, I also clearly identified myself as a member of the “the violence is problematic but ultimately not disqualifying camp” and even noted that I ultimately stopped reading the series because of the non-stop sexual violence against women.

    Anyway, I’m not trying to sound defensive here, and I totally respect your right to have any opinion you want about anything, even things I said. But I do think my actual perspective, even as I stated during the panel, isn’t nearly as straight-forward as you describe.

    Carry on! :-)

  • jarrahpenguin

    Thanks so much for your response, Brent. I actually forgot about the thought experiment you did but I agree that it was interesting and at least I think it would be considered extreme and misandrist if a woman wrote a book involving sexual violence against men in every chapter.

    Sorry if you felt your perspective wasn’t fully represented – I think like you said that if there had been a moderator it could have been more clear, to me at least.

    I think another issue honestly that wasn’t your fault was the length of the panel – all the panels dealing with problematic representations just felt a bit short and with GoT there are so many different characters that deserve in-depth analysis. Maybe you don’t need more/different panelists, just more time and a moderator.

    Anyway thanks again for your response and clarifying where you were coming from – I very much appreciate it and look forward to reading Behind the Wall hopefully soon.

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  • Daniel

    ” While it’s not clear in the show, in the book she’s thirteen when she’s married off to him and raped by him.” I’m sorry, but where does it she was raped by Khal Drogo? If you haven’t read in the first book she actually consents to Khal Drogo when he asks “No?” She replies with Yes before guiding his hand to… And so fourth. Drogo is seen as being gentle but firm in the book…

  • RC

    I have several points up for discussion. Rather than crafting a cohesive story around them, I’ll just point them out in order:

    1. “Before the panel I went to lunch with some other feminists attending GGC and there were only two out of six of us willing to watch GoT. The others drew the line at watching that much rape, which I can totally understand.”

    Obviously anyone is free to watch or not watch what one wants. Still, I think this stands more like a charge against the series than just a revelation of personal preference. And that’s where I disagree. Just like I don’t like Disney’s much no more because they sugarcoat everything, I understand GoT can be too much. Depiction, though, is not glorification. Also, the relatively pervasive culture of rape apparant in the series is at times discomforting leading one to consider how advances made in society should not be taken for granted, and they go a long way to show that all too common glorification of times past (as in Disney’s arthur) fails to take into account the real horrors of these times. The unwillingness of so many feminists to see these depictions as anything but offensive is, in my view rather shallow. Discomforting doesn’t automatically equate to bad.

    2. ““I do expect more,” I said, pointing out that I’m a fan and I got that characters like Joffrey were villains the first time I saw them abuse women – I didn’t need the other times.”

    I understand your point. But think about it like this: murder, sadism and torture are right up there with rape. I very quickly understood that all resonate well with Joffrey. Yet if you stick to making your point and then, for essentially political reasons, stay away from reiterating it, you aren’t doing your story any good. If portrayals of Joffrey would have quickly moved away from all the horrible things he indulges in, not much would be left as these things define his character. A character that, in this story, we can not be allowed to forget about. As the king, we, like the inhabitants of westeros, are forced to be face him for what he is, and dislike him the more we see him. And this is not just a theatrical tool, it is also the reality of victims of supression. It does not matter that you ‘got it’, because he is not dead, this is what he is and he is central to the story. You’ll have to keep getting it until he’s dead, basically, and I think that makes far more sense in terms of storytelling than the political cop out of giving a summary at the start of the series and a death note at his passing.

    3. ““The worst I’d say about him is that he’s a little insensitive,” said Hartinger, referring to the way Martin depicted sexual violence, clarifying that Martin probably didn’t consider how it would feel to have survived rape and then read that.”

    It must also feel terrible to be burned and watch the hound and all that fire. Or to have been tortured and watch the scenes with Greyjoy (I find these recent scenes discomforting to say the least). I’m not saying I don’t care about all that, but I will say that it can’t be an argument against GoT. To frame that as harsh or brutal is, I think, a real cop out. If you’ve been raped and are understandably sensitive about it, you’re not forced to watch a mature, realistic and violent depiction of medieval struggles. If you came home from a war with PTSS, nobody forces you to watch Saving Private Ryan. The argument is essentially an entitlement argument and this is why it fails. Even if terrible things happened to you, it doesn’t entitle you to have a rape-free, violence-free or burn-wounds free Game of Thrones. No one was entitled to Game of Thrones. The fact is, it’s good for other people that they are able to enjoy it, free of trauma as they are. That does NOT mean I don’t care about the plight of those with trauma, I just don’t think their sensitivities can constitue a valid criticism against how the show was made. It wasn’t made as trauma rehabilitation and it doesn’t have to be.

    4. “I beg to differ. Writing is a craft. There were no dragons or shadow assassins or zombie wall people in human history. Writers make a choice to add those things in and they can choose, if they so desire, to make their world a one without rape.”

    Yes and no. Of course, writers are free to depict a fantasy world that is rape free (at one extreme of that spectrum, enter disney). But the fact that the reality is that rape was, is and likely will remain more prevalent under more barbaric circumstances is a fact that ties in with human nature. The medieval world wasn’t free of rape, murder or torture just like the world of today isn’t. I think the thrill of fantasy (and sf) is to imagine the impact these things would have on a ‘real’ human society. At least, that is what it is for me and this is why I much prefer the new Batman over the old, and look forward to the new Man of Steel. While still undeniably fiction, their stories seem more rooted in reality and therefore I feel a stronger connection to them. Of course, these stories are still rape free, but the point remains: realism can be gritty and more often than not is shunned for commercial reasons. I think the move towards realism as made in GoT is sometimes very discomforting, but it adds to the series appeal as serious television. Discomfort, again, is not necessarily bad, and depiction is not gratification. If the show is going to be ‘realistic’ in terms of violence and power struggles, but 21th century civilized about sexual relationships, I feel that would be off. Yes, the show would still be entertaining, but I don’t think it would be better. I don’t even think it would be better for the battle against rape. To put that in perspective, think about this: which movies are more anti-war, those that force us to watch the horrors of war or those that tell the (often heroic) story without all the gore and terror.

    5. (I’m going on and on, but this is my last point)
    “In fact, I had the audience conduct a thought experiment: if the books were written by a woman and almost every chapter included a scene of a violent rape of a man, would the world view it (and the author) differently? In that case, would accusations of men-hating simply be shrugged off (as accusations of sexism usually are for GoT)? As I said during the panel, I really, really doubt it, and that that speaks to the casual acceptance of rape and sexual violence against women in our culture. I really believe that.”

    I think the above is complete and utter nonsense, though I’m willing to accept that the author is honest about this. The reason that a man-rape per chapter would be considered off has nothing to do with ‘casual acceptance of violence against women’ at all. Nothing.

    There is a very large and important difference between accepting (historical) reality as it is and making moral judgements about it. The same, I think, goes for accepting the reality that men are not women.

    I understand that especially passionate feminists (be it men or women) can get this blurred, also because sexists often do the same. For example, they portray their clearly ‘sexist’ interpretation of gender differences as ‘the real difference’. On the feminist side I’ve seen some argue things to a point where I feel they incriminate everyone who acknowledges ANY possible on-average difference between the sexes. That is clearly nonsensical too.

    This point is nonsense because of the above. While the rape of men does occur, the REALITY is that it wasn’t nowhere near as prevalent as the rape of women in medieval Europe. The reasons, I’m afraid, have to do with the REAL differences between the sexes as well, I feel I shouldn’t have to go into that.

    If the book had one man-rape per chapter, it could never be because it was a gritty, realistic portrayal of medieval times. It would have to be deliberate to the extreme. As such, it is completely sensible that allegations of personal / political reasons for the inclusion of these elements into the story would be more prevalent. That has nothing to do with the casual (moral) acceptance of rape and everything with a (I’m afraid largely correct) perception of what medieval reality was. No matter how disgusting you think that reality was.

  • jarrahpenguin

    Hi RC,

    I really appreciate you taking the time to craft such a thorough and respectful response. This was almost a year ago that I attended the panel and I’ve had a chance to read and watch more of and about GoT. For example, I read Beyond the Wall, which was the book both the GGC panelists wrote in, and I review that here: http://www.gender-focus.com/2013/01/03/fallwinter-2012-books/#more-3328

    Basically I’d say my current attitude towards GoT is one of ambivalence. I still think the sexualized violence in the show is too much to the point of being unnecessary. I respect your point about reinforcing Joffrey’s character but I think his recent scene around Ros’ death is a case in point of where the show has gone even beyond the book to create extreme, graphic sexualized violence. There may be some people who can compartmentalize that but at that point I decided I was no longer going to be able to continue watching.

    However, on the plus side I do very much appreciate the diverse, nuanced women characters. And I agree with what Hartinger wrote in his Beyond the Wall essay about the way Martin champions the other “underdogs” and “outsiders” like Tyrion.

    I would also appreciate not getting into an argue about biology but for the record I do have to absolutely disagree with you about rape being a natural outcome of innate differences between men and women.

    Getting back just briefly to the critique of GoT, I’m not saying people need to boycott the show or the books. I just think people should (and probably do, mostly, by now) have fair warning. Also really as with all media, I think people should have the tools to think critically about what they’re watching, so I try to foster that from my one particular perspective and hope people are also seeking out other sources.

    As I said in my review of Beyond the Wall, Caroline Spector and others who say the prevalence of rape is part of a bigger, potentially progressive message about social dissolution may very well end up being proved right by the time the series is over, and I’ve got my fingers crossed.

    • RC

      Hi Jarrah,

      Thanks for your reply as well. I can understand your point of view and I definitely don’t feel any animosity towards it, but I do differ in my view of things.

      First, Ros’ death was horrific indeed. But by stopping to watch the show you’ve probably also missed the torture of Greyjoy by Ramsay, and these scenes, depicting the actual torture (and not, after it is over, the done deal), are at least equally horrific. Point in case being, the show is rather graphic and violent in general. While I can understand people have specific sensitivities, it does strike me as odd to single out sexualized violence to the degree some have done. “I can’t watch a show with this much rape” is odd to me when apparantly watching a show with that much violence would be no problem.

      Second, I think we misunderstand each other if you take my words to mean “rape is the natural outcome of differences between man and woman.” I certainly didn’t say that – I said rape has historically been more prevalent in more barbaric circumstances and I see no reason to assume that this correlation is accidental.

      I find it telling that you don’t want to get into an argument about biology – neither do I – but it goes to show (we agree on this it seems) how tired that discussion is. Still, that doesn’t mean I concede to the ‘no differences at all’ point of view, as I think that is just completely disconnected from reality. It is that point of view that leads Brent to see the reactions to his thought experiment as ‘a sign to the casual acceptance of rape towards women’, which I think is utterly ridiculous given the REALITY that rape of men has been and is much rarer than rape of women, which can be explained by REAL differences between men and woman as well (you don’t have to be ‘sexist’ to admit that even if women were mentally equally prone to rape, they’d still be less strong on average and have more trouble acting things out physiologically – so the difference in the amount of cases really is to be expected).

      When I say that men rape more women than the other way around, and when I state that historically rape has been more prevalent in barbaric circumstances and there are no real reasons to think this correlation is accidental or of the past, I think I’m sticking very much to facts.

      Part of the animosity between people arguing these points (which I’m happy to say I’m not feeling now and I very much appreciate that) seems to come from the fact that factuality gets mistaken for morality. When I say what I said above, I DEFINITELY completely DON’T mean that this says anything good about rape, and it says NOTHING about how I think rape should be seen morally and how it should treated by society.

      The reason people often seem to assume otherwise is, I think, because people think so much of what is ‘natural’. Point in case: when I say there is a correlation between barbaric circumstances and rape, I seem to be saying it is ‘natural’ to humans, and since we (for some reason) all must assume ‘natural’ equates to ‘excusable and good’, this is not an acceptable outcome.

      I think that reasoning, though, is very problematic. Whatever is natural definitely isn’t necessarily good (contemporary evidence for example does suggest rape exists in the animal kingdom), and this leads to these situations were everybody starts denying reality, attacking each other and the discussion grinds to a halt.

      Rape is more prevalent under barbaric circumstances. Culture has an important influence (though rape certainly has been prevalent in cultures that openly condemn it – just an example being the culture of the Catholic Church), but ceterus paribus the point stands and I don’t see how you can deny that.

      What you seem to deny is the fallacy that by stating this reality, I must mean rape is natural (the natural outcome of differences between man and woman) and therefore excusable.

      You may be right partially, in that IF I were tot be questioned about this (I never touched upon this in my previous post), I might indeed find it likely that the explanation of the FACTUAL correlation between barbarism and rape has something to do with differences between men and women. I find an unwillingness to consider that almost dishonest.

      What I WOULDN’T suggest though is that man and woman, in sufficiently barbaric circumstances, always resolve to raping each other. Individual, cultural and social factors play large enough roles that in a good number of instances it might not happen at all.

      My summarized view on this, though, is that I think that ON AVERAGE, men are more likely to be inclined to rape women than the other way around. This may be predominantly to the fact that it is undeniably easier for them to actually pull it off. More controversially you could suggest psychological gender differences play a role too. Controversial here refers mainly to the degree in which you assume they do, because it seems much more natural to assume that they play A role (no matter how small) than to hardline that they mustn’t.

      I also think that societal progress has worked against rape. That is to say, having laws and penalties against it and having come to a point where it is openly, collectively condemned is likely to disencourage rape to some degree. That means the reverse is also almost naturally true: if society erodes to a point where no laws are upheld, there are also no laws against rape. When people struggle to stay alive amidst violence and have to watch their children starve, moral outrage over rape is relegated to the background. That doesn’t mean anyone would automatically condone it, but society would no longer have the means to stand up to it in public discourse because, well, there would be no public discourse.

      Barbaric circumstances, unless specific conditions exist to counteract it, lead to more rape, because to some extent it IS natural – natural in that it did and does occur without us having to stage it over a wide range of cultures and a wide range of times. But as I said before, ‘natural’ isn’t ‘good’, and a pet peeve against ‘natural’ doens’t help discussion.

      In my view, the largest achievement of civilization and the preceeding philosophic discourse (that shaped the zeitgeist) is that it allows us to controul our darker potential. I mean why is it so unreasonable to assume that a species that is capable of systematic genocide and deviously ingenous torture may have some tendencies for rape as well? I think mountains of evidence supports that view. We have a moral duty to stay away from it, precisely because it does exist.

      • jarrahpenguin

        Hey again,

        I appreciate your clarification – sorry if I misunderstood. I guess just a couple things in response. Just super briefly on the nature/nurture thing: I’m totally willing to acknowledge both play a role. However, I think exactly what roles those are are still being worked out and there is a tendency for media to leap all over studies that appear to show innate gender difference when there is still a lot we don’t understand about the structure of the brain and the impact of hormones. For example a lot of studies on infant gender development study levels of fetal hormones through taking samples from the placenta, but there is no real way of knowing how much of the hormones are impacting the fetus’ brain or how yet. Cordelia Fine also notes what she calls “file drawer phenomenon” where studies that don’t show a difference basically aren’t considered interesting and aren’t published.

        Anyhow, so overall I’m not saying there are never differences, just that we need to be always questioning. There are scientists like Anne Fausto-Sterling who have spent their career doing this.

        Ok, so to your point on natural vs. good. That’s a good clarification. The issue is that unfortunately there are people now who do say because they believe rape is natural (in their view, linked to an evolutionary drive or the less sophisticated “boys will be boys” argument) that it is inevitable. That belief underlies a lot of the rape jokes and threats we see really every day that contribute to a difficult environment for women to make their voices heard (the recently-concluded #FBrape campaign or the Facebook Sexism Tumblr are just two campaigns that have compiled tons of examples of this kind of rape humour).

        So I don’t think it’s wrong to say if you take our society back there was more rape and that rape laws were less enforced. There was obviously a lot of work leading to even where we are today in terms of making rape more legally unacceptable. What I don’t entertain is others’ idea that there is an evolutionary imperative to rape (this article does a good job summarizing the counter-arguments to that “caveman theory” http://feminspire.com/debunking-the-caveman-excuse-why-rape-is-not-natural/) or that an argument about men’s nature can ever be used to justify rape now.

        So just to finish, on the issue of rape vs. non-sexual violence. To me one is not worse than the other. I know what happens to Theon and I know the torture that has happened to other characters. I think the key difference is the cultural context in which we watch the show. In Western society most of us are not going to go out and end up getting tortured, but the threat of rape is unfortunately something that affects women’s lives daily.

        It manifests in little ways like how we hold our keys between our fingers as we’re walking home in case we need them as a weapon, how we’re told not to wear certain clothes in case we’re found to be “asking for it”, how fashion ads joke about or glamorize our beaten or dead bodies (http://www.wgac.colostate.edu/what-is-rape-supportive-culture). A UK Home Office survey found 36% of people think a woman should be held fully or partly responsible if raped while drunk…so basically there’s still work to do on attitudes.

        So not all women are going to watch rape on TV in the same way but I’d argue that for some women like me it’s harder to see the amount of rape in shows like GoT and for it not to play into that larger context.

    • RC

      Hi Jarrah,

      I just read through some other articles on the site (I really stumbled upon your article by accident and responded impulsively) but I just want to say I think your activism is both commendable and necessary. I really do agree with pretty much your entire cause.

      As someone who is not an activist, an active feminist or a woman, though, I do sometimes feel alienated by those who are, and sometimes it can be frustrating that speaking out against that tends to lead to accusation of misogny. That matters to me because I do consider myself philosophically engaged and I’m passionate about discussion, so from time to time I do tend to get caught up in this topic just as in many others. It also matters because I feel that, supporting the feminist cause, I should rarely feel alienated. If I do, of course it should lead me to wonder if my point of view does indeed have its flaws, but often, I also find that it’s just because people are stretching things too much. In those cases I don’t see my arguing against that as arguing against the cause, but rather as supplying what I feel is necessary feedback to keep it connected.

      I’m enjoying the discussion.

      • jarrahpenguin

        And thanks again. I’m all for constructive discussion!

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