04.18.11 // GeekGirlCon Responds to the NY Times and Bellafante’s Review of Game of Thrones

To the Editor at the New York Times:

We at GeekGirlCon, a Seattle nonprofit for geeky women, take exception to Ginia Bellafante’s statement that “no woman alive” would be interested in George R. R. Martin’s “boy fiction” and watch HBO’s Game of Thrones. Her generalization of women and our lack of interest in the fantasy genre is uniformed and untrue.

GeekGirlCon is dedicated to fighting the marginalization of girl geeks and the stereotype perpetuated in this review: that fantasy and sci-fi is for boys only and too complex for women unless it has romantic overtones. Please know there are many, many women reading and enjoying the “boy fiction” as is–bloody, gritty, layered, and complex–without need of Sex and the City-style sex and shoe shopping.

If Ms. Bellefante would like to meet smart, accomplished women, who demand fantasy titles in their book clubs, we invite her to Seattle on October 8-9th for the first annual GeekGirlCon.

For Geek Girls everywhere,
Erica McGillivray
President GeekGirlCon

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14 Responses to “GeekGirlCon Responds to the NY Times and Bellafante’s Review of Game of Thrones”

  1. Lessa says:

    How dare she! George R. R. Martin’s books are some of the best Fantasy fiction out there! I love that he sugarcoats NOTHING in that series and it’s bloody, raw and intense.

  2. Marissa says:

    Bravo!

  3. Spy Kitten says:

    Well said

  4. froggibabey says:

    Seriously? I LOVED those books, and was so thrilled when I saw the previews… until I noticed they were HBO :(

  5. Crazy Lisa says:

    BLARG! This makes me so angry to be discriminated in this way as a woman who loves this book and has been practically peeing her pants from the moment HBO said BOO about making a show of it. Thanks for this AWESOME response!

  6. Tarah says:

    What kind of an idiot is this woman? Does she not know anything about the Wars of the Roses upon which this is based? And it’s also nice to know that I need to be spoonfed brand names and matinee idols instead of seeing complex multi-year storylines with strong female characters.

  7. Maggie says:

    Oh, but her assumptions are so ancient:

    My mom heard them in the 20s and 30s as she read her Doc Savage books. The librarians at my town library kept trying to convince me to put aside my stack of SF books and “Here, try this Nurse Somebody book, dear.” I heard “I’ve never met a girl who reads science fiction!” freshman year of college (1966). And, back in the early 1980s, when I asked a button-maker at Norwescon to make an “I was a nerd before it was popular” button for me, he refused because, everyone knew, girls couldn’t be nerds.

    Sigh.

    I look forward to hearing more about the October con — will there be a track from dinosaur Geeks?

  8. Staci says:

    Agreed! Given her biases, I’m surprised she was asked to/chose to review Game of Thrones at all. Heaven forbid she learn that some of us like reading Steven Erikson too! (Now wouldn’t THOSE books make a great series.)

  9. AVT says:

    Clearly Bellafante has no concept of girl geeks, nor the fact that even women are capable of appreciating good story and character. Its as sickening as the suggestion we’re unable to appreciate H.P. Lovecraft or Lord of the Rings, because apparently all we read are romance novels and dramas about schoolmarms.

  10. [...] to claify, I have not read the books, and I already, as part of GeekGirlCon, responded to the ‘women don’t read fantasy’ review in the New York Times. Puppies! Clearly, this was my favorite part of Game of [...]

  11. jessica says:

    This is the kind of pandering that some women stoop to in order to be accepted into the boys clubs of literature and journalism. The author of this article clearly does not think of herself in the fashion she describes the women she is imagining watching the show. It is condescending and uninformed at the very least, insulting and mean spirited at worst.
    It sounds as if she has never read the books if she thinks the sex was just slapped on top, like some sugary icing to attract adolescent girls longing for Spartacus (and who can blame them? woof!)
    I grew up on Sci Fi. Up until now my only confrontation with any discrimination between male and female geeks/nerds was when I approached a male professor in Art Collage. He was teaching a Sci Fi Illustration class. When I asked if I could add it to my schedule, He looked shocked and then said “cool, yeah we’ve never had a girl before. Some fantasy art would be ok.” I was so mad I responded with “So if a woman paints a battle in deep space, it’s fantasy and when a man paints women with boobs in zero G the size of his own head, held in place by a string bikini made of computer chips, holding a ray-gun it’s Sci Fi?
    Maybe Geek Girl Con is long overdue.

  12. Rena says:

    I was so annoyed by that review that I ended up writing three posts about it. (Which I’ve scheduled a few days apart on my blog.) She reminded me of a few of my (female) relatives who basically acted as if I had two heads because I liked fantasy and science fiction.

  13. Ruby says:

    Bellafante is utterly disdainful towards her own sex, which is wasteful to us, the female readership at large, in light of the fact that she doesn’t know the first thing about women. Especially not literate women.

    The Times is usually a little savvier than this with their reviewers. Why they would allow her column space when she so clearly despises the genre that she is reviewing and knows so little about it that she has fallen back on attacking women and their tastes and capabilities in order to generate enough filler to make a column of it is beyond understanding.

    Next time, NYT, FIND SOMEONE MORE BROADLY LITERATE THAN THIS. And I DO intend the pun.

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