As for the men, well, they aren’t asked to bare all very often, if ever. By my count, it has happened only once, to actor Alfie Allen (brother of pop singer Lily) who plays the turncoatish and arrogant Iron Islander Theon Greyjoy. But Allen’s nude body is not presented as pleasurable eye candy; viewers are not persuaded to desire him but to despise him. And the man straight female fans are arguably most likely to want to see disrobe, Kit Harrington’s Jon Snow, is likely to remain bundled up in the animal skins and iron armor favored by his military brotherhood, the Night’s Watch.
Said one Twitter user, @Aurelia_Nicole, “I understand sex as a currency in Westeros but I need it to be a bit more egalitarian.”
Anna Holmes is a contributing columnist for the Style section. She is the founder of Jezebel.com.
Like the writers of “SNL,” I’m trying to have a sense of humor about “Game of Thrones” — or, at the very least, look on the bright side of all the breast-baring. It’s a great source of unintentional humor, for starters. I can often tell by the sort of dress a female character is wearing whether she is likely to disrobe. (If it has buttons, they will come undone.) I marvel at the semi-medieval society’s standards for personal grooming, which seem to anticipate the Brazilian waxes of the late 20th and early 21st centuries: I call the pubic hair pattern so often seen on Westerosi women “the King’s Landing Strip.”
Yet there is something wearying and numbing about the series’ relentless oogling of the female form. It’s a constant reminder and reinforcement of the fact that pop-culture creators make content mainly for heterosexual men and then, maybe, for everyone else. They get tiring, these continued nods to the male gaze. (The implication is either that women aren’t watching or that the women who are watching have no interest in erotic eye candy of their own.) They’re also alienating, particularly when the sex seems to serve no purpose other than to titillate. My cluck-clucks of disapproval are as much about the situating of women as sex objects as they are my own sudden and reluctant prudishness.
To read previous columns by Anna Holmes, go to wapo.st/anna-holmes.