In shades of the Emma Watson controversy from a few months ago, it’s no surprise to hear Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke talk about the abuse she’s recieved from radical feminists because she happens to do nude scenes. After all, the Dworkinistas argue that women are forced into such, that porn in particular is misogynistic violence.
It’s an attitude I find hypocritical. Feminism used to be synonymous with “women’s liberation”, ie. giving women the same rights and freedoms as men. If a man can choose to go into porn or do a nude scene on a TV show, surely a woman can. Her body, her choice. The fact that proponents of this have to call themselves “sex-positive feminists” is a reflection of the splintering of the feminist movement. Merely calling yourself a “feminist” is no longer good enough. You have to qualify it with whatever special interests you have within the sphere.
So why be against a genre which allows women so much freedom? It’s not like incidences of sexual assault in clothing-optional industries go unpunished, nor are they as frequent as the opponents claim.
And if you don’t like it, why not just live and let live? There are a lot of things I don’t like but I’m not calling for them to stop.
It is my belief that writers should write what they want, how they want.
There is a misconception prevailing in some circles that, for example, a writer who writes a racist character must be racist themselves. They twist our works into manifestations of subconscious bias. And I find this ludicrous coming from a background of literary criticism.
Firstly, they fail to realise that writing is by and far a left-wing profession. I have yet to meet a writer who is openly on the right. The left wing almost always depicts the racists, the sexists, the homophobes, the general bigots, as the bad guys. That’s most likely what they’re doing here.
Secondly, to suggest that a writer is bigoted for writing a bigoted character is a baseless attack on their integrity intended to pigeonhole them into writing “acceptable” characters. Let’s say a protagonist is a reformed racist skinhead who spent twenty years in jail for murdering a black man. The character struggles with his new life and trying to expunge racist thoughts from his head. This is a fantastic, gritty, realistic character but they’d still think that the author is racist for writing about his battle. The very best characters have layers of good upon bad upon good upon bad, skeletons either in or out of the closet. If these people had their way, we’d only be writing characters who wouldn’t seem out of place in a 14 year old’s Undertale fanfiction*.
So don’t let anyone shame you for what you write. There should be no limits to the greatest gift of them all- the imagination.
*This is not a dig at fanfiction, a hobby I strongly support in order to help the creative mind blossom. In fact, I have an old essay on the subject in which I argue this very point.