So I never mentioned Sady Doyle's George R.R. Martin piece
in part because I didn't think it warranted the attention. Doyle clearly wanted to skewer the series. She makes some good points, she makes some funny points, and she also misses the mark.Alyssa Rosenburg had a thoughtful response
. To this I'd add that I have a problem with Doyle's pre-mockery of her respondents, and specifically her portrayal of them as 'nerds upset that she doesn't like their toys.'
For the record, when you begin a blog post with sentences like "George R.R. Martin is creepy," you are not talking about toys
. Last time I checked, Martin was a person.
The fact that Doyle then uses this "toys" rhetoric to justify deleting critical comments is disturbing. I don't have a lot of respect for the author of an article about rape who a) objectifies others b) uses this objectification to deny that she is actually talking about Real People and c) silences her critics rather than allowing their voices to be heard.
But reading Doyle's article did make me wish that I could point to a couple scenes of male rape in the GoT books, or in "gritty" high fantasy in general. It's not as though men don't get raped. They *particularly* run the risk of getting raped in war. But it's not a problem society likes to acknowledge in real life or in fiction.
Which brings me to this very interesting article in the Guardian: The Rape of Men
Twenty-one per cent of Sri Lankan males who were seen at a London torture treatment centre reported sexual abuse while in detention. In El Salvador, 76% of male political prisoners surveyed in the 1980s described at least one incidence of sexual torture. A study of 6,000 concentration-camp inmates in Sarajevo found that 80% of men reported having been raped.
Not only does male rape happen, but all indicators point to it happening a lot
in war. But it's almost never reported. The reasons for this are steeped in patriarchy's construction of masculine power, and can have consequences that differ from those facing female rape victims.
Often, she says, wives who discover their husbands have been raped decide to leave them. "They ask me: 'So now how am I going to live with him? As what? Is this still a husband? Is it a wife?' They ask, 'If he can be raped, who is protecting me?' There's one family I have been working closely with in which the husband has been raped twice. When his wife discovered this, she went home, packed her belongings, picked up their child and left. Of course that brought down this man's heart."
In short, I think Martin's overdue to address male rape in Westeros. We've had at least one man get sexually tortured and mutilated, but so far male rape hasn't even been threatened.
(Or has it? Those books are so damn long I might have missed something.)