Jeremy Podeswa, Daniel Sackheim, Jack Bender, Mark Mylod and Miguel Sapochnik have been announced as the directors of “Game of Thrones” Season 6, with each helming two episodes each next year. That means a total of zero of next year’s ten episodes will be directed by women. As was the case for Season 5.
Meanwhile, the fantasy series is currently embroiled in controversy on account of its treatment of female characters. Star Emilia Clarke was recently asked about the show’s violence against women and, as Vulture predicts, every other cast member will likely be asked the same question leading up to Season 6. The Mary Sue has stopped covering the show in protest of its casual over-reliance on sexual assault as a narrative shortcut. Women and Hollywood’s TV columnist Sara Stewart shared that this past season of “Game of Thrones” will be her last. Many fans feel similarly to Stewart and The Mary Sue, saying enough is enough: Rape should not be treated like a hack plot device.
Amanda Peet, who is married to “Game of Thrones” co-creator and co-showrunner David Benioff, called criticisms of the show’s misogyny “really misplaced.” She argued, “They write some of the greatest female characters that are on television.”
We don’t disagree with Peet’s second point, which is a major reason why some of us choose to stick with the show. We do, however, feel as though the show’s creative team isn’t taking the charges leveled against them seriously. If they are truly invested in offering great female characters, why not also invest in great female talent behind the scenes? There hasn’t been a female director on the show since Michelle MacLaren in Season 3.
The second season of “Transparent” is a perfect illustration of how the “Game of Thrones” team doesn’t have to be so stuck in the old ways. The Amazon series’ 10-episode sophomore season will include only one cis male director Jim Frohna, with the rest helmed by series creator Jill Soloway, Andrea Arnold for two episodes(!), indie filmmakers Marielle Heller and Stacie Passon and finally Silas Howard, (who is trans.)
Soloway has suggested that Hollywood’s male bias is the result of “guys… holding on so tightly to male protaganism because it perpetuates male privilege.” From this position, Soloway explained, these men “can point: ‘She’s old, she’s hot, she’s not, she’s old, she’s fat, she’s someone I want to bone, she’s past her prime, that person’s black, queer, fat.’ That pointer is a powerful thing. That white cis male gaze is like a lifeguard chair, it’s a watchtower — I’m way up here naming things. And they are NOT GIVING UP THOSE LOOKOUT SPOTS EASILY.”
“In fact,” she continued, “they won’t even cop to the fact that they have that privilege.” The solution? “Instead of waiting for these guys to change, STORM the gates, grab hands with each other, RUN like red rovers at the lifeguard chairs, snarl at the bases like wild, starving beast dogs, boost each other up those watchtowers and pull those motherfuckers down.” It’s nice to see Soloway giving other women opportunities to, in her words, shoot from their pussies — and work towards destroying watchtowers in doing so.