TW: SLURS, VIOLENCE, MURDER, ABLEISM
So these people decided to comment on this video (by yours truly) which is about the death of Shae in Game of Thrones, and sexism in the fandom. Furious that I had blamed misogyny and a hatred of female characters and thus women for the overwhelming and disproportionate aggression and hatred shown towards show!Shae, they unleashed their displeasure in the comments section.
Besides the fact they are the highest form of hypocrisy (and this lot are only the first comments I spotted, there are a ton more along these lines), this is indicative, in my mind, of a much larger societal problem which nobody is apparently allowed to discuss online (especially if they are a woman) lest they get branded ‘crazy’ or ‘PC’ or ‘reverse sexist’.
There are a lot of people out there that think women that betray a man sexually, deserve to die. That’s the truth of it. At the core, a woman loses her humanity, her right to life, any value as a person, the moment she betrays a man.
It’s about male entitlement. It’s about ownership of female sexuality. It’s about the possession of women and seeing women as objects instead of people.
I agree that betraying Tyrion wasn’t nice, but let’s be real here, show!Shae protected Sansa Stark while she was still about, she tried to shield her from Cersei and Joffrey, she genuinely loved Tyrion, she endured verbal abuse from him (which we, as viewers, understood from Tyrion’s perspective, but there was no way of her knowing his true motives), she was constantly put down because she was a sex worker, she was a sympathetic character.
Quotes from actress Sibel Kekilli on Shae and her motives:
"Shae is clever, she’s not stupid. That was the reason she never believed his words [after the wedding to Sansa] — not until that final point. She was like, “Oh, come on, you don’t mean it. You’re just afraid of your father, your family.” But Tyrion changed his behavior toward her. He was colder to her, from episode to episode, and in the second or third episode this season, she could see how tender and lovely he was to Sansa. Of course, he felt responsible for Sansa, but it hurt Shae very much. And so, as we say in German, it was “the last drop in the glass” when he tells her, “You are a wh*re. You can’t bear my children.” He stepped over the line. She was so loyal. For four years she was there for him — even when no one else was by his side. She took care of Sansa, even after he married her. She got hurt — and at a certain point, you don’t think anymore, you just react emotionally.”
"She said at the end of Season 2, “Come with me to Pentos!” But he didn’t want to go. I really think Shae is not someone who fell in love often, but if she does, it’s 100 percent. She was ready to die for him, to go through hell, but at the end she’s a low-born, so when he says, “You’re a wh*re, go away, I don’t want you here,” she’s essentially left to be what she was before she met Tyrion — a prostitute.”
"I try to understand why she’s behaving like that. She got hurt very much, and all her hopes just disappeared into the wind. Like an earthquake, the foundation she was building on their relationship was just broken. And at that moment, it was revenge, and I really understood that. After years of being loyal, cleaning [chamber] pots for his wife, being treated like a dog, she’s like, “I’m here for revenge. And I wouldn’t be here if you, Tyrion, had left the country with me. You forced me somehow to do this.” And did she have a choice, anyway? If Cersei wants something, if Tywin wants something, she’s a woman without family, she’s on her own. She didn’t have a real choice to say, “No, I’m not going to this trial.” It was revenge, but it was also blackmail and coercion.”
"Cersei or Tywin would’ve said, “We found you. You have no choice. Testify or die.”
“Don’t hate Shae! She’s a poor girl, low-born, and she’s not a victim — but in this kind of world, the life is tough. [Laughs] And she loved, truly, Tyrion. I really mean it!”
Show!Shae was not an evil or cruel character. Book!Shae was more shady (what a phrase!), but the majority of people rejoicing in Shae’s murder are not book readers. They just got a kick out of seeing a woman that betrayed a man punished in such a brutal way.
That’s what this is about.
These misogynists online love seeing women punished. They relate it to their own lives and fantasies. They see themselves as Tyrion, the good-guy outcast that we are all rooting for, and they see Shae as every woman that has ever betrayed them or turned them down.
Suddenly she becomes a b*tch, a c*nt, a wh*re.
She ceases to matter. She is the bringer of her own demise. She did this to herself.
Does it not frighten people that they think like this? Should the fact they can strip a woman of her humanity like that not worry us more?
It certainly worries and frightens me.
People say: "It is just a show"
But it is not just a show. We know that from real life. We know that sex workers suffer abuse and violence and even murder, and society will blame them for those acts. We know that women that turn men down and ‘betray’ them will often ‘pay’ with their lives. (See the Santa Barbara Shooting and the response to that). We know that a woman can do so much good, and then suddenly make one mistake and be torn down in a way that men absolutely are not. We are held to different, higher, almost impossible standards, simply in order to be given basic human respect.
This is a societal problem.
I will never stop talking about misogyny in media, because it is indicative of misogyny in real life. These people (mostly men) think it is safe for them to air their foul and violent beliefs when it comes to a fictional woman, because nobody can hold them to it, right? It’s not real.
But I would not trust any single one of these people.
Any person that thinks Show!Shae deserved what she got, deserves to be seen as what they are, which is a misogynist, and a frankly dangerous human being.