Maisie Williams On Feminism & Game Of Thrones' Treatment Of Women

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Maisie Williams, when she was first being interviewed, didn’t know what a feminist was. The actress, who plays Arya Stark on Game of Thrones, was initially confused by the question. Williams, now 18 but then around 12, didn’t know the specific meaning of the word.

“And then someone explained it to me,” she tells EW. “And 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.”

Williams says that although the show has been criticized for problematic depictions of women, that she feels the men get an equally unfair shake.

“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 tells EW. “But it’s the same as the boys and the girls and the men and the animals. The themes are very dark. I get it that people don’t want to watch scenes like that. I understand, and you shouldn’t have to. But that’s the show that we’ve made, and I have no control over what’s written.”

While she understands the outrage around the show, she’s sometimes hesitant to speak on it.

“I’m going to say this in this interview, but I wouldn’t say it with anyone else: I sometimes really worry about speaking up about feminist subjects out of fear of being bashed by women on social media,” she tells EW. “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.”

Strong material creates strong opinions. Especially when the material is as sensitive and controversial as that presented on Game of Thrones. But Williams has given us a reminder that the more popular and willing to offend a show might be, the more people are willing to argue about it.

You can read the rest of her interview here.

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