Do shows like Game of Thrones deserve criticism for their depiction of sexual violence, or is their portrayal justified, given the setting of Westeros as a brutal world were violence is the common place?
There’s an interesting debate to be had here about the responsibilities of show writers/directors toward how they handle sensitive topics and staying true to the fictional world they operate within.
There's a fine line between violence and sexual violence in particular being shown in context and becoming gratuitous voyeurism and, in my opinion, Game of Thrones has stepped over this line many a time. Yes, of course we all know that the world in which the stories are set is a violent one, reflecting our own middle-ages in that respect, when life was cheap and a self-appointed 'Elite' could determine someone's fate almost at a whim, but I am still of the opinion that there are far darker horrors lurking within the mind than can ever be successfully portrayed on screen. Sometimes a suggestion of violence can be more menacing than the act itself - less is more. Game of Thrones sells itself on its barbarism, so the writers/directors are somewhat obliged to stay as true as possible to the source material, but I do wonder just how often boundaries are being deliberately pushed just to see what they can get away with. – Amyus4 years ago
An interesting argument. Game of Thrones is a go-to for promoting sexual violence; however, shows like Sons of Anarchy and Outlander have had more graphic sexual assaults and yet they are not mentioned in the debate (in general, not specifically yours). It might be interesting to investigate. – AGMacdonald4 years ago
Apart from shows, it would be better to even consider films like 'Blue Valentine' here. – Vishnu Unnithan4 years ago
Censorship of sexual violence doesn't appear to be the best course, as we have seen how censorship can actually limit the amount of awareness and information about sensitive topics. I think TV and movies provide a platform to start discussions and communication about sexual violence. This something that happens more than we would like to think, even in modern times. Perhaps the question is not whether or not to show it, but rather how can it be shown in a way that doesn't glorify sexual violence. – KRawlyk4 years ago