GAME OF THRONES: DOMINATE CULTURE AND GENDER

Cultural hegemony is an idea created by Marxism philosophy. It is the idea that there is a dominant culture that influences and has power over the culture of society. When referencing the ideas of cultural hegemony with the show Game of Thrones we have to look at the idea of a dominant group having president over another group. Cultural hegemony is represent in the show through gender and culture.

SPOILERS BELOW

 

 

            It is clear when watching the game of thrones that there is a dominant race, that race being white. All major characters in the show are white and any ethnic characters are slaves, barbarians, whores, cheats, and pirates. My first outrage with this is why all of the powerful characters are white. Is this an example of white privilege?

The idea of this show is that many people believe that they have the right to the iron throne and they battle for it. However why are none of the warriors ethnic? The first show of ethnicity in the show is with the Dothraki culture. The Dothraki are a powerful native clan. Now this could be considered a plus for ethnic cultures because they have a non-white group showing power. However this power does not come from the idea of royalty, riches, or anything else you many descried as power. This power comes from the idea of fear, people fear the Dothraki because they rule with the ideals of rape and murder. They are savage barbarians who believe in men being the dominant gender and women are only useful for sex. This gives the general public the idea that any ethnic group can only represent a barbaric mindset. The show continues to have little roles for ethnic characters.

Three black characters were introduced into the show in the 3rd season two were slaves and one was a high rich noble. Many believed that the black character as a noble would be a great stepping-stone to have successful ethnic character. However that was not the case. The black noble was discovered to be considered an evil character wanting to force Daenerys into marriage and taking over the population with force. The noble now tainted with the idea of being an evil character was killed. I find it surprising that any sort of chance an ethnic non-white character has of gaining a major role is tainted. I first believed that this was a problem with the author of the novel however; he came out with a statement saying that “It is true that we’ve lost several black characters who appear in the novels” (Martin). This brings up the question, is it the media that surprises ethnic characters? If so why? Game of Thrones is just one example of a show that has dominant white characters. The problem is why can there not be a show with dominate ethnic characters?

This Cultural hegemony is not only represented with race and culture but also with gender.

 Many people praise the show for having Daenerys Targaryen as a dominant female character. She is a role model for many women being that she is independent, strong, and determined. Her goal is to revenge her father’s death and gain what is rightfully hers, the iron throne. However, I disagree strongly with the majority’s idea. Before this dominant female character was created she was first very submissive. Daenerys was being used as a pawn to gain an army. Her brother sold her to the Dothraki for the use of marriage. During that period there were many scenes of her being forced to have sex with her husband and also scenes of her nude. During these episodes it is clear that the dominant culture is male. Daenerys was sold by a male (her brother) to a male (Dothraki leader) in order to please a male (have sex). Once her husband died Daenerys’ independent female role came through she ousted her brother and took control of the Dothraki to help her complete her goal. My outrage with the show is that in order for her dominant character to form she has to be represented as submissive first. She has to be raped, sold, and have her breasts displayed on the screen. However, when we discuss the male characters in the show none are put through this. Why can’t we have a dominant female character from the beginning? Why does she have to be nude? This problem is not only with the character Daenerys but with most woman in the show. The majority of female characters in the show have been nude at some point and not only nude but in a whore house working for men.  Media seems to portray females as sexual beings and prizes and that is wrong, again Game of Thrones is just one example and in order to change we need to address this issues with all shows.

 references:

http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/Daenerys_Targaryen

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_hegemony

http://www.themarysue.com/grrm-thrones-race/

http://www.racialicious.com/2011/04/19/can-i-just-watch-a-game-of-thrones-in-peace-brown-feminist-fan-rant/

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2 Comments

  1. I really love your article! I never watched Game of Thrones before, but I can see that there are a lot of aspects of cultural hegemony. I strongly agree with you, I was always curious of why women couldn’t be the solid dominant character at first. I don’t think I have seen a movie or a TV series that does not show any exposure of women’s body parts. Women were mostly showing, emphasizing breasts and minimizing clothes on media. Why? Why can’t women be seen as who she is? This is will be a continuous problem and a question that our media needs to find an answer to, because women shouldn’t be obliged to expose parts their of body just for popularity. Therefore, we can still see that male dominance is still prominent in media and society. It is just depressing to see that nudity of women in media is being standardized and most audience will feel awkward if a women is fully dressed. I don’t think there is going to be a change for a while since nudity of women in media started building its identity from ever since and it will be the hard stereotype to break.

  2. I’ve never watched Game of Thrones either and honestly, after reading your critique of this show I can tell that I wouldn’t enjoy it. This is yet another example of the commoditization of women in the media. With women viewed as objects to be simply used and abused sexually, and then thrown away, females lose self-esteem and feelings of worth. Clearly the portrayal of men in this show is not identical to all men in society, but I truly believe that this representation gives men a bad reputation. Watching shows like this makes me feel men, believing that some males are similar to those in these television shows. It’s terrifying as a female to know that some people view your body as something that can be bought and then thrown away.
    Great analysis!

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