FEMINIST CONVERSATIONS: ‘Game Of Thrones’ Maisie Williams, And Chloe Grace Moretz

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We’re back at it again with another installment of our Feminist Conversation series which was created with the intent to share in-depth definitions and perspectives on feminism, in a way that is enlightening and less threatening than the way it is often portrayed out in the big, bad, world.

The more we discuss how feminism applies to our lives today, perhaps the more we can cultivate a shared understanding that the 2016 version of feminism is not the same as the 1970s. Our contribution to this discussion is to share the perspectives of certain celebrities whose voices hold a lot of influential power in today’s pop culture-driven world.

Just look at the amount of talk surrounding the black female identity after Beyonce released ‘Lemonade‘!

In this edition, ‘Games Of Thrones’ star Maisie Williams shares how themes of the show and being in the public eye shaped her view on feminism, and actress Chloe Grace Moretz who explained that her own family experiences led her to become a passionate advocate of equality and interested in politics.

Since the ‘Game Of Thrones’ Season 6 premiere, there has been a lot of discussion around how it will change the way women are viewed, especially after previous controversies showing rape scenes and public shaming of a major female character’s sexual secrets (which her male partner did not have to endure). The first episode seemed to position women from a different strength, which many in the media took notice of right away. Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark, was asked about the feminist conversations around the show and her thoughts on the movement.

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She was first asked whether she was a feminist at the age of 12 when she show initially began, but now she has a much better grasp on what it actually means.

“[W]hen someone explained it to me…I remember thinking, ‘Isn’t that just like everyone?’ And then I realized everyone is not a feminist, unfortunately. But I also feel like we should stop calling feminists ‘feminists’ and just start calling people who aren’t feminist ‘sexist’ – and then everyone else is just a human. You are either a normal person or a sexist,” she declared in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.

“On the show specifically, it’s always been a constant debate because women are treated badly on the show, and they’re treated well on the show,” she added.

She goes on to talk about how there are a number of aspects of the show’s story lines which fans fans very angry, including the death of certain characters, and animal cruelty. Maisie believes it can be hard for someone like her to take a stand and speak out because GOT can be so polarizing and elicit so many strong emotions from fans.

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“Once people are angry about something, you start worrying about saying the right thing instead of just saying what you mean. It’s very easy to have an opinion. Everyone’s got one. But it’s very difficult to speak up about difficult subjects when people are angry with you. People say: ‘Why don’t you speak up!’ [and I’m thinking], ‘Because you all got pitchforks and you’re ready to kill us!’ It’s scary if you say something wrong,” she said.

Thankfully, she is not going to let the fear get the better of her, explaining while people have the right to be angry and feel a certain way toward themes portrayed in the show (such as rape and abuse) she too will not stay quiet about issues she cares about, including feminism.

“I sometimes really worry about speaking up about feminist subjects out of fear of being bashed by women on social media. And there’s something not right there. Yeah, sometimes it’s men too. But there are women who are just nasty. I’m trying to do the best I can. I got a voice. I believe in equality and I know I have more power than the average person to reach people. And I just get petrified in case people are rude,” she said.

Changing attitudes is never easy, but it is important for people with elevated public platforms like Maisie Williams to speak out for the many people who do not feel they can.

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Actress Chloe Moretz is one young woman who is determined not to be silenced for her choices. In a recent interview with Nylon magazine, she candidly shared her family history and why this has played a huge part in the issues she advocates for today. Growing up with a single mom and her brothers, Chloe says her mom made sure her kids grew up entrenched with the knowledge about equality.

My mom was a single mom, so I’ve been a feminist since birth. I think feminism is about strong women being who they want to be and fighting for equality on all accounts. It’s not about men being demolished to bring women higher up in the world. I think that’s incredibly misconstrued,” she said, speaking to the very aspect that many confuse with feminism today.

Chloe says it wasn’t just her progressive mother who led the way in terms of shaping her views on equality, but also seeing how her two brothers, who are both gay, were treated growing up. It made her all the more passionate about equality.

Back when my mom was in college, when things were more taboo, she had lots of gay and trans friends, people of all shapes, sizes, and colors. So we were a very open household. My mom tells us people asked her, ‘Why are you letting your son run around in a pink Power Ranger costume?’ Her answer was: ‘Because he wants to wear it, and it makes him smile. Why would I take that away from him?’”

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Her brothers came out while she was in middle scho0l, which is a time in any young person’s life that is already filled with so much anxiety around sexuality and bodies. To see her siblings have to struggle with the added factor of coming out made her realize why equality is important.

The problem is we live in a society where we have to say the words, ‘I’m coming out.’ No one should care what your sexual orientation is, what color your skin is, or if you’re a man or a woman. People would call them the F-word, and I would get so angry. It was really hard to see my brothers be hated on or bullied, so I stood up for them,” she recalls.

“We shouldn’t be using these terms to create more labels and segregate us further apart than we already are. At a young age, I was motivated to fight for gay rights, women’s rights, minority rights—all human rights.”

This history has made her unapologetic about publicly declaring her support for Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, despite the polarizing and often misogynistic media narrative surrounding her and anyone who supports her. Here’s why Chloe has decided to support the former Secretary of State:

I read up on all of the candidates and Hillary is the best—male or female. Hillary’s giving us real answers to real questions for once. And I think she’s one of the first candidates we’ve had in a long time that isn’t lying to us in that sense. I think she’s an amazing role model, and I like her ideas for education reform and college loans—higher education should be as accessible as a high school education. You shouldn’t have to pay 15 years of your life back to a bank to pay off a student loan,” she said.

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She has watched the political debates (tuning into broadcasts in between takes on set) and even encouraged her friends to do the same, as it is the easiest way to hear a candidates’ perspective on an issue.

As an actress, not every role she takes on is necessarily going to carry a strong feminist theme, however she does make it known that her upcoming appearance in Seth Rogen’s ‘Neighbors 2’ is “decidedly feminist” due to the inclusion of female writers and a very pro-female stance.

If any of the women ever feel there’s something inappropriate, we speak up, and they will never push the boundaries with us—they’ve been really respectful,” she revealed.

And finally, when asked about her opinion on girl squads, Chloe explained that while she is all for sisterhood, the media-perpetuated notion of a “girl gang” doesn’t turn her on at all. Here’s why:

I agree with having a good core group of friends, but the issue I have with squads is it creates exclusivity. I was never included in those things when I was a kid…so now I go out of my way to be nice to people and make them feel included,” she said.

This is why we love our Feminist Conversations series, because it delves into the many nuanced aspects of the movement and the reasons why women and men choose to call themselves a feminist. Stay tuned for our next installment!

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