An Examination of Audience Perceptions of Sexual Violence and Misogyny in Game of Thrones™

Ariella Thompson

Abstract


This research examines how representations of sexual violence and gender based discrimination equate to misogynistic perceptions.  Game of Thrones™ (GoT) has been branded wildly misogynistic by critics yet is often praised for its strong female characters and feminism by fans.  This research responds to calls to seek audience views about sexual violence and misogyny in GoT.  Using a qualitative, inductive approach, ten participants were shown clips from GoT, framed with quotes from the literature, and afterwards were asked to discuss their responses.

This research suggests that audiences respond negatively to obvious incidences of sexual objectification of women.  Participants justified the sexual violence and misogyny in GoT as ensuring historical accuracy or realism. Audiences believe representations of rape can have a prosocial value. The findings raise questions about men’s perceptions of internalized misogyny. This work provides new information on audience perceptions of misogyny and sexual violence in GoT.

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