Yara Greyjoy herself appeared on the UK's SkyNews and gave a solid interview about her work on Game Of Thrones.
Whelan was first asked about how she likes playing Greyjoy.
"I enjoy playing her. It's a lot of my qualities just with the volume turned up a bit. I don't murder people, obviously."
Adam Boulton, the SkyNews anchor interviewing her, then brought a question to the forefront that caused Whelan to give a hearty sigh:
"One of the arguments about Game of Thrones is, 'Does it empower women or does it objectify them?'"
"I feel like it's empowering," Whelan began.
I certainly do. For me, playing Yara.
The question I'm asked most often is, 'What's it like to play such a strong female character?' And I think it's such a redundant question because women by default are strong, and independent and free, and all the sort of spectrum of emotions as are men.
But men are never asked, 'What's it like to play a strong man.'
This sentiment is not only true, but has been being expressed at LEAST since the '90s.
Joss Whedon, lead writer on Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, said that interviewers ask him "Why do you write strong female characters?"
The only response he has is "Because you're still asking me that question."
Joss Whedon's Equality Now speech www.youtube.com
And in general, men seem to not have a solid grasp on "strong female characters."
As Whelan said, women are, by default, strong.
Men are so bad at this, in fact, that there are whole workshops dedicated to basically "making sure you write your women as people."
A test exists for female characters in fiction called the "Sexy Lamp Test."
The "Sexy Lamp Test" basically says—if your female character can be replaced by a sexy lamp and the plot of the story will remain untouched; you have not written a person. You have written a sexy lamp.
Gemma Whelan is right. Women are inherently strong.
When men generally learn to consider women as real people, they will stop asking this question.