emily // 21 // w&m 2015 enjoys female tyrants, their pet mark antony's, and when people on the internet give her the surname adama. currently into asoiaf, bsg, and the newsroom.
I’ve been doing some thinking about victim-blaming in re: Sansa. We know that her House is “honorable,” however one deems to define that. Brandon died tried to save his father, who came to defend Lyanna’s honor, and then Ned and Robert and Jon rose up to honor their memory… so on and so forth. Westerosi society is built upon this false notion of honor and chivalry and knighthood, where men (and women) manipulate this notion and bastardize it and use it when convenient and disregard it when they can.
It would have been “honorable” for Sansa to push Joffrey off that bridge. Or to act like Arya would have in Sansa’s position and get herself beaten, or raped, or thrown in the Black Cells. And the thing is, that’s what the dudebros and neckbeards wanted from Sansa—to make some courageous (in their eyes, it would have been, no doubt, but I think Sansa has courage just by survival which is… going to be the point here) gesture and die nobly because of it. An act of honor, of valour.
Instead she just… survives. She keeps her head down, and plies the Lannisters with false platitudes and makes courtesy her armor and tries to keep herself from getting more hurt than she already is. She doesn’t fight back or make some honorable gesture because it would be stupid in the terms of her survival.
So does this mean there’s no honor in bare-bones survival? To be made small and dehumanized, and to still endure? To be beaten and not to flinch? To take abuse with a smile and a curtsey? Does that not take unbearable strength of body and mind? Absolute control and discipline?
How is there no honor in what Sansa does—she perseveres, remains disciplined and unbreaking. She does not break, not even when faced with rape and certain death.
She has honor. But the dudebros can’t even fathom it, because they have never been made small. Been reduced to what lies between their legs. If they are physically attacked, they can fight back. They are listened to. Their opinions are valued. So they victim-blame. Because if they could speak up without consequence, why can’t Sansa? If they don’t have to take abuse, why does she? If they can fight back, in a system that is designed to work for them, why can’t she?
And they have no capacity for empathy or the ability to understand what it means to be a woman in both Westeros and in the 21st century.