Maisie Williams Talks Feminism And “Pitchfork” Wielding Game Of Thrones Haters
“You are either a normal person or a sexist”
There’s been an ongoing debate over Game of Thrones’ attitudes towards women for a while now with everyone from US Senators to feminism-focused sites like The Mary Sue condemning the show’s representation of female characters, as well as scenes of sexual assault (one in particular) that were seen as overly gratuitous by many.
Whatever your opinion on George R.R. Martin’s writing and the TV adaptation, the debate puts female cast members in a tricky position. The show features a whole bunch of awesome, empowering female characters but the actors who play them are often asked about feminism and whether they can legitimately identify as feminist while still appearing in the show because of some of its more controversial moments.
For Maisie Williams, aka Arya Stark, this conflict makes her feel a bit stuck. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly she said she’s afraid to speak up on the issue because, “you all got pitchforks and you’re ready to kill us!” She says that people are so ready to be angry and create a backlash on this issue that the pressure to say the right thing makes her scared to say anything at all.
Williams says she understands why Thrones might upset people, as “the themes are very dark. I get it that people don’t want to watch scenes like that. I understand, and you shouldn’t have to.” But she points out that, “that’s the show that we’ve made, and I have no control over what’s written.”
To chastise Maisie for starring in arguably the biggest show in the world when she has no control over its content seems a little harsh to us and her opinions on feminism are quite insightful. She revealed in the interview that the first time she even heard about feminism was during the first season of the show (when she was just 13), and when it was explained to her she thought simply, “isn’t that just like, everyone?”.
She continues that, “You are either a normal person or a sexist,” and that we should be labelling people who don’t believe in gender equality rather than those that do. She says that although, “I believe in equality and I know I have more power than the average person to reach people,” she’s often afraid to say it for fear of a backlash.
She’s just “trying to do the best [she] can,” and finds it upsetting when so many people on social media are so prepared to bash her and the other female cast members from the show for attempting to use that voice to do some good.
We think that rather than making judgements about female Thrones cast members, it’s important to listen to what they have to say as people, totally independent of their characters. Surely any women in the public eye who are willing to speak up about gender equality deserve nothing but support and encouragement? No backlash here, Maisie.