Monday, April 30, 2012

The Walking Women

If you haven't already seen series one and two of The Walking Dead and don't want it ruined for you then I suggest you skip this post. There's other ones there in the circles on the sidebar a bit further down that are about girls jumping out of cakes and Catwoman and fashion in Star Trek and all kinds of other stuff. Try some of those instead!

As you probably know by now, I quite enjoy a zombie tale or two, even though they scare the actual pants off me. I've been voraciously tearing my way through The Walking Dead comic series, whispering "Oh noooo!" to myself and quietly whimpering in fear as I turn the next page. If it was a pop-up book I'd probably have a heart attack. So naturally, the Bear and I watched the first two seasons of the TV show. Which I also enjoyed quite a lot, and yet there was something bothering me. Something other than Carl aka The Dumbest Child in the World aka "For Fuck's SAKE Carl!", who, incidentally is actually kind of cool and not the least bit annoying in the comic.

The something in question here is the bloody rampant sexism in the show. It's something that creeps into the comics too, which I have to say I didn't really notice while reading, but looking back on it there are quite a few instances of patriarchal bullshit. Such as Glenn remarking that there's "not that many women to go around". What the hell, Glenn? Women to go around? The women you speak of are participants in surviving the goddamn zombie apocalypse, just like you, not inanimate supplies or tins of beans to be distributed amongst the menfolk, you fuck. And I actually like Glenn. Most of the time. Although in the TV show, he did ask Dale if all the (understandably frazzled - what with the impending threat of zombies wanting to eat their faces) women were on their period at the same time, because, y'know, bitches be crazy and all.

Shut up Glenn.

Among those women survivors is Lori Grimes, wife of group leader Rick and mother to "For Fuck's SAKE Carl!". Comic book Lori undergoes something of a transformation, as at first she looks to be decidedly Native American but eventually morphs into a more Caucasian version of herself.

She's Rick's voice of reason and while she's not a particularly stand out character, she's not even half as awful as TV show Lori. TV show Lori is nagging, self righteous and generally an allstar pain in the hole. She gets up in everyone else's business and berates Andrea for having the cheek to not do all the washing up, childminding and laundry with all the other wimmin and wanting to guard the camp and shoot zombies in the face. Because it's not like EVERY DAMN PERSON in the camp should be learning to defend themselves and evenly dividing the group's duties between them. Oh no, according to Lori "the men can handle it anyway, they don’t need you". Go fuck yourself, Lori.

Andrea's a total badass in the comic books. She becomes the best shot in the group and keeps them all safe in her role as a superhero sniper. However, in the TV show, she has Dale confiscate her gun because he's decided she can't be trusted not to top herself, while For Fuck's Sake Carl!, a ten year old idiot, is allowed to carry a gun. She has angry sex with Shane, who is the kind of person who tried to rape Lori earlier on in the first series and then she shoots Darryl after mistaking him for a zombie. OH THAT SILLY WOMAN.

Further instances of the TV show females being lame include Carol clinging to her abusive husband and once he's killed off, clinging onto Darryl like a barnacle with very short grey hair and opts out of making any sort of decision when the group is trying to vote on what to do with their prisoner. Maggie entered the show swinging a baseball bat at the undead while galloping along on horseback, like a zombie-slaying superstar and now she's a hysterical mess, flinging Lori's morning after pills at her in in a rage shouting "Here's your abortion pills!" as part of a grim little pro-life slant. I mean, yes, she and Glenn got jumped by an undead bastard while on their run to the chemist, but that outburst and subsequent storyline (Rick being super angry at Lori for even considering the abortion attempt) rang pro-life to me. And if a zombie apocalypse isn't reason enough not to go through with a pregnancy then I'm fucked if I know what is.

There IS a ray of hope though. A katana-wielding, bandana-wearing, stone cold ass-kicking ray of hope. When Andrea was scrambling through the woods in the finale of the second series, she was saved from being an imminent zombie snack (zombie bag of Tayto, perhaps) by a mysterious hooded figure leading two armless, jawless walkers with chains around their necks. The hooded figure in question here is Michonne, and her entrance is super exciting, as she and Andrea are easily the strongest female characters in the comic series.

Danai Gurira has been cast in the role, so hopefully she'll be able to pull off Michonne's immesurably cool and devastating approach to zombie chopping and generally taking care of business.

Because this here on the left is how awesome Michonne is.

Somehow I don't see Lori lecturing Michonne on how she's supposed to be washing socks with her and Carol instead being amazing at decaptitating walkers. All that being said, I really do enjoy the show, the zombies are brilliantly done and spectacularly scary and I do like the fact that the storyline veers away from the comics from time to time, otherwise there'd be no surprises for the readers. I just wish the writers would cop the fuck on when it comes to the female characters and with Michonne and her giant can of whoop-ass, hopefully that's what will happen.


  1. Zombie bag of tayto... brilliant.. I Love the Walking dead, basically cause I love to scare myself, its not just the women who are idiots though the men are too

  2. It's true there's plenty of dopey male moments on the show, but I just get a very sexist vibe from it overall, especially compared to the comics. Still, I can't wait for the next series!

  3. Bah ha ha ha- "like a barnacle with very short grey hair". Brilliant.I love the show but agree that the women in it aren't really holding their own, I'm kind of disgusted to hear that Andrea is such a kick ass in the comic books but has to be trained how to use a gun in the show...not cool.


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