Fantasy Genre is just for Boys? NOT!
An unfortunate, illiterate New York Times contributor, by the name of Ginia Bellafante, had a few things to say about the genre of Fantasy while reviewing the HBO adaptation of George R.R. Martin‘s ‘Game of Thrones‘:
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. (bolding inserted by me)
Let me be clear, I have not seen nor previewed the ‘Game of Thrones’. I’m always excited to see how good science fiction and fantasy gets adapted to the visual medium. However, I get frustrated by people who reject the unfamiliar out of hand. Ms. Bellafante clearly has no desire to expand her literary horizons. That is her choice, but to paint the entire female population with her brush, well that’s just plain ignorant.
I get the fact that she is has been sobbing into her pillow because of the terrible demise of Carrie and her crew, with the death of ‘Sex in the City‘. The fact that Mad Men won’t be returning until next year. Apparently all the hipsters in the city need to have something to whine about.
Ms. Bellefante has the gall to claim that HBO is in the business of providing class and education to the masses. That HBO and it’s ilk are the purveyors of ‘real-world sociology’.
Really? Real-world sociology? HBO stands for Home Box Office. It’s purpose is entertainment, not a social engineering project.
Bellafante goes on to say:
“Game of Thrones” serves up a lot of confusion in the name of no larger or really relevant idea beyond sketchily fleshed-out notions that war is ugly, families are insidious and power is hot. If you are not averse to the Dungeons & Dragons aesthetic, the series might be worth the effort. If you are nearly anyone else, you will hunger for HBO to get back to the business of languages for which we already have a dictionary.
She is missing the point of entertainment. It is ALL fantasy, regardless of the setting. You can take the intrigues of the ‘Game of Thrones’ and plop it done in Italy and you have the story of the Borgia’s. Middle Earth was the Industrial Revolution and the loss of innocence. Ms. Bellefante must not have read Shakespeare or Homer when she was slogging through college to get her degree. Literature is filled with fantasy and dreams. Visions of the future and the fantastic. Of course, based on her ‘real-world sociology’ observation, I’m fairly certain her reality is sadly diminished.
The genre of Science Fiction and Fantasy is an equal opportunity market. The noted authors are both talented men and women. Their fans are equally divided.
Girls and Women read and write fantasy and science fiction. We wouldn’t have it any other way.