disneykingdom asked: mulan or
"God I really love Game of Thrones but I hate Sansa. I mean I’m a feminist, and Arya is so badass and is finally doing what she wants, fighting people and all, but Sansa just keeps saying the exact same thing and walking around in those dresses." - girl from lab
Hm. So apparently it would be “badass” for Sansa to sass her sadistic betrothed who had her father’s head chopped off in front of her who gets men to beat her and strip her. That wouldn’t get her sexually assaulted or murdered, not at all. She’s just so passive and pathetic and weak and boring to watch.
And yeah Arya’s having a great time watching her family get systematically killed off, constantly fighting for her life, living in constant fear of being discovered, and suffering from severe PTSD as a preteen, which she happens to share with her “boring” sister who’s now under the protection of a sexually abusive manipulative bastard galore.
The Stark sisters’ lives are so much fun!
(And for the record, Arya tells herself to “be strong like her lady mother” aka Catelyn Tully/Stark, who espouses family, duty, and honor and has long, red hair and is decidedly feminine. Arya admires women a great deal, despite the fact she finds it hard to behave like a typical well-born girl should and it’s just silly that people consider her a feminist icon because she has short hair and kills people.)
Finally a post that defends both sisters instead of trashing one in favor of the other.
I often wonder at Sansa getting hate for conforming her behavior and being more passive in order to survive in King’s Landing, especially when this is used as a comparison to her sister. If Arya had been put in that situation, she would have done the exact same thing. We know this because she did the exact same thing during her time in Harrenhal. She didn’t fight her way out of captivity. She submitted, endured beatings, and did as she was told. She became a sheep and a mouse.
I know that Arya is considered a fan favorite, but way too many who claim to be her fans don’t seem to understand her at all. She isn’t some big bad warrior who goes around stabbing people and doing exactly what she likes.
And I’m tired of problematic views on what is feminism being used to prop up one Stark sister over the other. Arya isn’t a feminist icon because she has short hair (which she didn’t choose for herself) or because she has been forced to kill to survive. She can be considered a feminist icon because:
- she takes pride in being female, and corrects anyone who says otherwise.
- she has a high opinion of women whether they are warriors/fighters like Queen Nymeria and Wenda the White Fawn or proper ladies like Catelyn, Lady Smallwood, and Sansa.
- she believes that, “The woman is important too!”
"If Arya had been put in that situation, she would have done the exact same thing. We know this because she did the exact same thing during her time in Harrenhal”
Yes, excellent. Cosigned all the above.
Oh man I would have started screaming if I heard that girl say that about Sansa though. Like okay lady let’s make you an 11-13 year old survivor of physical/sexual/psychological abuse in a strange land where your captors are the family who support your torture and killed your parents and at least one sibling. After a lifetime of lessons in sewing and courtesy probably it’d be fine if we just gave you a sword and said “forget your trauma, forget the fact that you have absolutely nowhere to go and no one to go through, cut your way through this intentionally selected group of the alleged best warriors in the realm and then through the rest of the city, the gold cloaks, and the numerous armies of rapist murderers patrolling all of your surroundings. Lol isn’t it funny when fictional children do what they can to survive so that numb-skull idiots can talk shit about them for it?
And once again, I’m not worked up about Sansa Stark hate because she’s a fictional character I care too much about. I’m worked up about Sansa Stark hate because the things shitty people say about her are literal mirrors of the things shitty people say about real life feminine young women and real life abuse victims. If you hate this child in this book because she wears dresses and doesn’t stand up to armed and dangerous fully grown men who abuse her and hold physical and political power over her, what the fuck kind of person are you? Do you know that there are real repercussions of that attitude running rampant in our society in the form of violent oppressive misogyny and victim blaming and rape culture?
So I wrote this post a while ago when I got into an argument with a girl in my late night bio lab about Arya and Sansa Stark. It ended in me saying she should develop some empathy for both characters and her calling me dramatic and claiming I was overreacting (traditional accusations hurled at girls when they’re disagreeing with something for the record) and our lab being highly awkward. I’m bringing it back because of the recent post that boiled leather made about “Arya Stark and the Bad Fan" which compares the response of some of her fans to those of Walter White, Don Draper, and Tony Soprano.
First of all, Arya Stark is about as far from those downright sociopathic antiheroes as possible. She is a preteen victim of sexual abuse and is on the run for her life and has watched her entire family die, and is forced to use severe detachment techniques and commit violent actions in order to survive. But, although I think the article is wrong is saying that Arya is anything like those infamous antiheroes, I definitely think there are bad fans of Arya Stark; not those who necessarily glorify her behavior, but those that greatly minimize her trauma and attempt to claim her extremely tragic arc and the fact she’s forced to kill terrible people in order to survive, as a sign of her being “badass.”
And, I would say that the comparison makes sense in that Arya has certain coded as masculine traits while Sansa has certain coded as feminine traits. Sansa is much more sensitive to social norms and fashion than Arya is at the beginning, and Arya does enjoy roughhousing more than Sansa. But, since both very clearly identify as female (Arya shuts down anybody who dares call her a boy), I think it falls short, especially since after AGOT the sisters aren’t even in contact with each other and it’s extremely irrational to be comparing the two when the situations they’re in are so vastly different and they would most likely behave the same way as well.
The point is that when people are bad fans, they not only misunderstand the character they’re throwing under the train, but they also clearly don’t value or understand the character they’re claiming to love. Walter White can’t be a role model for making meth and threatening his wife, Don Draper can’t be a role model for his chronic infidelity and alcoholism, and to treat them as such while deriding their wives is blatantly wrong. And Arya Stark should not be your role model because she has a prayer of people she wishes dead and is being forced to ~weaponize her sexuality (which is disgusting since she’s 11 years old).
But unlike her supposed counterparts, Arya Stark is a hero at her core: she’s the plucky little girl who chased cats in earnest around the Red Keep, who ran off into the woods to pick her father a ragged bouquet of flowers, who never cared whether anybody was high born or low and judged them for their actions and the way they treated others, who appreciated women no matter whether they were as feminine as her mother or warrior queens like Visenya and Rhaenys Targaryen, and who has a very strong moral code of justice which ironically enough would make her a good ruler, even though she doesn’t wish for power at all and only wants to return to her family (whom she believes to be entirely dead). And Arya’s bad fans that miss these aspects of her character and instead concentrate on the aspects of her personality and life that are fully not of her own choice are doing a major disservice to a character they claim to love.