There's a review in the New York Times about the upcoming HBO series, Game of Thrones, and it features some very important information that I feel obliged to pass along. Pay attention. Are you ready?
Girls Don't Like Fantasy Novels
The NYT says it, so it must be true. Ginia Bellafante tells us ladies that (a) it's really hard to keep track of all those characters, and (b) if we can't remember who is who, we should just watch Sex and the City. Because apparently our ladybrains hurtz if we have to remember all those names and people and stuff. Not only that, there's lots of sexytimes going on in Game of Thrones, and that's probably the only reason women will watch it. Bellafante thinks that's the only reason I watched Spartacus and The Tudors -- who cares about silly things like story and plot when we can have zee romance?
Specifically, she says, "The true perversion, though, is the sense you get that all of this illicitness has been tossed in as a little something for the ladies, out of a justifiable fear, perhaps, that no woman alive would watch otherwise. While I do not doubt that there are women in the world who read books like Mr. Martin’s, I can honestly say that I have never met a single woman who has stood up in indignation at her book club and refused to read the latest from Lorrie Moore unless everyone agreed to “The Hobbit” first. “Game of Thrones” is boy fiction patronizingly turned out to reach the population’s other half."
Ok, let me 'splain you something here, Ginia Bellafante. This is offensive on so many levels, but I'll break it down so it won't tax your brain any more than an episode of Gray's Anatomy would (see what I did there?).
Anecdotally speaking, I dig well-written fantasy and sci-fi. I also dig well-written mystery, thrillers, romance, and historical fiction. I don't need my main characters to end up in a happy-ever-after for it to be a story that keeps my attention.
Yes, there are women who don't like fantasy/scifi, and who would prefer to read romance and nothing else. But to assume we're all like that BECAUSE we're women is just as sexist as assuming that guys think only with their dicks, and that they're too stupid to comprehend anything beyond their next game of Halo Reach. And guess what -- there are dudes who DON'T read scifi or fantasy.
I love cute shoes, and I like swordfights. I like sparkly things, and I like to shoot stuff. I love Jane Austen's novels, and I'd rather watch Gladiator than pretty much any other movie on the planet. I'm allowed to be a mishmash of all kinds of things, because unlike you, Ginia Bellafonte, I don't stereotype myself based upon some antiquated notion of what Girls Are S'posed to Do.
I might watch Game of Thrones, I might not. Haven't read the books, might someday, don't know. But regardless, don't insult me by assuming that my poor little ol' brain can't handle keeping track of all those characters, or that I can't understand fantasy because I'm a chick. Because if being a female reader means I'm stuck plodding through Nicholas Sparks, Jodi Picoult, and all those Oprah Book of the Month novels, then I'll happily give up my ladycard.