Gender affects leadership style on "Game of Thrones," especially Daenerys Targaryen's, says political scientist


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    Christina Fattore

West Virginia University - Eberly College of Arts and Sciences

With tens of millions of viewers each week, HBO’s award-winning series “Game of Thrones” features characters and themes that have become cultural touchstones.

Christina Fattore at West Virginia University’s Eberly College of Arts and Sciences is available to comment on how the show, which will end this weekend, intersects her fields of study. Fattore is an associate professor of political science and a faculty associate in international studies and women's and gender studies.

“Daenerys Targaryen has become a feminist icon, and her storyline is very similar to a central question in international relations: do women rule differently than men and, more specifically, are they more peaceful?" Fattore says. "Many viewers were disappointed to see her vengeful rage after her best friend and closest advisor was executed. However, women leaders have been known to adopt male characteristics once they gain power, and research has shown us that they are just as likely as men to engage in military actions.

"At the same time, women leaders are more open to criticism because of their likeability when compared to men. Daenerys has not become a disappointment or an anti-feminist by using all means to reach the Iron Throne. Instead, she is much like any leader who will strategize in order to ensure success, even if it means destroying a city and murdering thousands of innocents, if they could be construed to be supporters of her enemies.” 

Christina Fattore can be reached at Christina.Fattore@mail.wvu.edu or 304.293.9538.

Note: Additional WVU scholars are available for comment on "Game of Thrones."

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