The naked hypocrisy of Game Of Thrones’ nudity

I’m not familiar with the show, but (according to a Straight Dope I once read) they shaved and wore merkins back in the days of yore.

The pandering is kind of painful.

Look, this isn’t the 80’s. The pervert audience has a whole internet to fap to. HBO doesn’t need tits to sell its make believe dragon fairy magic dorkfest.


Not in any kind of historically accurate way. It’s a mishmash suggestive of all kinds of different times and places. It’s medieval and roman and renaissance all in the same room. At what modern salon does Petyr Baelish get his hair gel?


I hate to be That Guy, but like, Game of Thrones isn’t set in our world’s “past” just because the setting looks like it, at least in part.

So the idea that we’re trying to apply 21st Century American body values on it is a little misplaced, especially when one of the southern lands is basically described as Orgy Town. Much like people in modern times style themselves after other regions that exist right now in other parts of the world (Brazilian Wax, for example), there’s logic to suggest that women in Winterfell just want to feel a little bit like a Sand Snake, at least downstairs. At least the whores probably are supposed to put out that sort of effort, much like porn stars or models here or whatever.

I can agree with the concepts that the nudity is too gratuitous mostly, but you’re putting it in a container of your own creation, rather than applying actual logic to the situation. I mean look, it’s not Earth. They have Winter that lasts for a decade, Summer that can last even longer, Dragons, Magic killer shadow babies, zombies and the thing that you can’t deal with are boobs and girls with a trim bush? It seems a bit like searching for a problem.

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You make some good points!

That’s the crux of the matter, isn’t it? The show is very definitely depicting the objectification of women, but is it doing so to reinforce the sense of a grimly unjust and patriarchal world, or is it celebrating objectification as a desirable fantasy? i.e. is the viewer intended to feel comfortable or uncomfortable with the objectification?

It’s an impossible question to resolve, because it’s so damn subjective. One feminist can look at a nude scene and see male gaze pandering, where another might see a dark but poignant observation about the subjugation of women in Westeros. It’s not about the scene itself, it’s how it makes you feel.

But shows like GOT take advantage of this ambiguity to try to get away with “celebratory objectification” while claiming that it’s not intended that way. And since nobody can really prove anything when it comes to art, they can play right at the edge between celebration and critical depiction. This way they can reap the commercial benefits of pandering while maintaining a claim to artistic integrity.

I do think that the depiction of patriarchy as an oppressive reality in GOT is a valuable and legitimate thematic element, and that includes objectifying nudity. I don’t feel right condemning it as strongly as the article does. But it is kind of annoying when watching the show to have to question “is that woman naked because it means something, or just because the producers know that I like seeing tits?”


I learned from this article (because it was stated numerous times word for word) that to women “dick is abundant and low value.”


I disagree that HBO has made it a staple. Newsroom, VEEP, Silicon Valley have no nudity to speak of or intense sexual scenes. True Detective had two types of nudity/sexual situations…some were plot driven such as the naked victim’s body on display as they walk through the crime scene, and others were character driven like the scene between Harrelson’s character and his mistress or Rusty and Maggie during their moment of her infidelity.

Even Sex in the City who’s story clearly revolved around singles sexual encounters and relationships was not gratuitous in how they approached nudity and sexual situations.

So I do not pin this on HBO as a whole…But I do pin it on Game of Thrones production.

Wha? Of course it was fanservice, but why need that be a bad thing? That’s the whole point of sexual objectification, no? The scenes with dude-on-dude action were also there for the same reasons, but with a different target. It’s a show that exists to wallow in debauchery as much as anything else (as are the books).


historically, many different cultures removed pubic hair

HBO doesn’t need tits to sell its make believe dragon fairy magic dorkfest.

It might not need to, but what’s wrong with just wanting to? If it’s not for you, fair enough, you don’t have to watch it, but feel free to complain away, and I’ll feel free to complain about your complaining.


Which means the X-rated shots are equal for a mere one 5-minute segment in a multi-year show. Why do you think ONE male shot makes up for the hundreds of female shots we’ve seen?

No, we cannot.

If they started showing full-frontal males the same number of times as they showed women with their shirts off, would you consider that equal? One erogenous zone each, right?

The equivalence is: half-naked man=fully-clothed woman.


while there is male nudity, i wouldn’t say there’s “plenty” – i could handle a lot more, personally.


Glad to see this article! I wish more people were talking about this issue. The “naked hypocrisy” is definitely a problem–and not just with “Game of Thrones,” which I’ve written about several times elsewhere:


Why do you think ONE male shot makes up for the hundreds of female shots we’ve seen?

I don’t. And there’s been more than one male full frontal, 2-3 at least I’d say, I haven’t been keeping count.

One erogenous zone each, right?

The equivalence is: half-naked man=fully-clothed woman.

No, you’re comparing apples and oranges here. Penises and vaginas are roughly equivalent, breasts don’t really have a male equivalent though. There’s hasn’t been a shortage of shots of naked men, not half naked men, fully naked men, they just don’t go in for a close up of their junk, which they don’t do for the women at all either, so they’re pretty consistent there.


I’m not against nudity. I’m against dumb and adding nudity just for the sake of, is dumb. I would like it if they added a laugh track to every nude scene, ya know, self-mockery.

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I quit reading at “historically inaccurate”.


The question is not whether it’s plausible that women in Westeros could coincidentally have the same beauty standards as today. We get that it’s not real, so yeah, you can make up anything you want. And that’s exactly the point.

The question is why, when almost everything about the world deviates from modern times, this particular thing (female beauty standards) is conspicuously unchanged. The creators have put so much detail into the culture, magic, folk lore, environment, politics, religion, customs, etc of this world that it becomes a unique and alien place. So when women’s body standards and pubic grooming are just straight out of 21st century porn, it’s fair to ask: why?

I’m not here to answer that question, just to point out that your rebuttal is simplistic, unhelpful, and a tired refrain of those who want to avoid critical engagement with fantasy as a genre.


Honestly I couldn’t agree more. My girlfriend and I stopped watching it after the first season because the whole show is just gratuitous. She hated all the gory violence and I thought the nudity was pointless most of the time. I’m not opposed to nudity but when it feels like porn instead of dramatic television I become uncomfortable with calling it a great show.


This is why I refuse to watch the filth.