A FORMER Hollywood screenwriter has launched an attack on violent TV shows and books such as the hugely popular Game of Thrones over their treatment of women.


Scottish-based Alexandra Sokoloff has said that crime writers and filmmakers are 'brutalising' women for entertainment, and has called for other artists to speak out against the trend of female victimization.

The US-born author moved to Stirling a year ago after meeting her partner, crime writer Craig Robertson.

She has since attracted a global fanbase for her 'Huntress' series, which features strong female protagonists. But the author believes that other the books, films and TV series have 'got away with' romanticising and sexualising violence against women for decades.

Game of Thrones has won huge critical acclaim for gritty portrayal of the medieval fantasy world created by writer George RR Martin.

But it has also been criticised for the level of violence depicted each week, including the rape of one female character by her brother, and for other grisly scenes.

While millions of people tapping into the series around the globe and the rise of electronic publishing, Sokoloff said that the creative industries are well placed to harness its power to create a new culture of gender equality.

Other programmes to have been criticised for their treatment of females include the US detective series True Detective, that starred Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson

She said: "It is possible to be successful and look at gender truthfully. Matthew Weiner's Mad Men and David Milch's Deadwood show misogyny for what it is, in all its ugliness.

"As authors, we have the power to change views but rarely use it. Once more of us do, even Hollywood may be pressured to follow."

Ms Sokoloff, a former screenwriter for Disney, Sony and Fox, left her job following the success of the 'Saw' series of films which attracted box office success but were slammed as 'torture porn'.

The films depict a serial killer who murders people with a series of increasingly inventive and gruesome traps, with violence taking the centre stage over plot, character and story.

Ms Sokoloff said that she turned her back on screenwriting because of the influence of the films, which meant she was asked in script meetings to write rape and torture scenes against women.

Her novels turn the genre on its head and feature a female vigilante who avenges societal evils, and are now attracting the attention of Hollywood studios as well both female and male readers.

The writer said: "I worked in the LA county prison service after leaving college and saw first-hand what was happening. Eighty per cent of the women were there for prostitution, essentially for being trafficked as children, yet there was little attempt to jail the men committing the crimes against them.

"In my books, I wanted a female central character who is doing violence, but the people she targets are monsters that no one could have much sympathy for.

"It was a way to explore what good and evil really are, even though in real life, very few women actually resort to killing.

"The books allow me to turn the gender issue on its head and depict it from a new perspective, in the form of suspense thrillers. I do not subject my readers to rape or torture. For me real crime is bad enough without people dancing around it or exploiting it."

Ms Sokoloff's next novel, Cold Moon, the third book in the 'Huntress Moon' series, was published for ebook yesterday and is due to be published in book form in July.