Many fans (including this one) turned on Game of Thrones this season, complaining that the show had gone too far in its misogyny. The rape and abuse of women (not to mention the unnecessary nudity) had some high profile watchers like Sen. Claire McCaskill tuning out after five seasons.
But actress Amanda Peet, who is married to Game of Thrones co-creator and showrunner David Benioff, is defending the drama. She says critics of the series, which is based on George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire books, should instead focus on the strength of the characters.
“I think it’s really misplaced. They write some of the greatest female characters that are on television,” Peet told the Wrap. “It’s a misogynist world, this world that George R. R. Martin created, but we have to experience it without thinking that people are condoning this.”
She went on to say that the powerful women on Game of Thrones actually have an impact on the plot—which Peet argues can’t be said of many of other shows.
“It’s much more insidious to have middling, ancillary female roles where the women are not part of the plot — where they don’t advance anything,” she said. “Wife roles, girlfriend roles, there are very few of those in Game of Thrones. If someone takes their clothes off and it’s a massive part of the plot? So be it.”
Peet currently stars in another HBO show called Togetherness, which is trying to combat the sexualization of women in media in its own way. The show’s creators, brothers Jay and Mark Duplass, deploy a rule they call “balls equality“: “For every boob that shows up, there should be a testicle to go with it.”
Read more: How TV Sex Got Real