The Walking Dead Feminists

First things first:  I’ve only recently started watching “The Walking Dead,” so these are simply my observations through mid-season 2.  Oh ya, SPOILER ALERT to anyone who has yet to watch this show.

Alright, so this show is sweeping the nation and taking top ratings.  Sure it’s very suspenseful, and yes I watched the whole first season in one sitting with a friend one rainy afternoon.  HOWEVER, though the show is entertaining, my feminist-self came screaming out at me.  As the episodes progressed, little things kept popping into my mind and the drive home was one big internal rant.

Here is the abridged back-story of our manly hero, Rick Grimes: He was a small town sheriff, father of one, and husband with minor marital issues.  While on duty alongside his buddy Shane, he gets shot and spends X amount of time in a coma.  Upon his revival in a hospital, he is alone and confused.  After he stumbles his way outside, the world is messed up and there are zombies.  He eventually finds civilization, or what’s left of it in his immediate area.  Yada yada yada, things happen, zombies die, people die, and the show continues onward.

At this point, I figure this post will be one in a mini-series, so I’ll just focus on a few issues today.

Issue 1: Why is the first zombie that Rick encounters a woman without any legs or any shirt?!

Once Rick gains his strength and runs out of the hospital to figure out what’s going on, he crosses through a park.  During his little journey, he stumbles across legless, shirtless, lassie, who is the zombie from most of the promos and stuff.

This poor thing has been dragging her guts around for who knows how long.  Though this is tragic in its own way, why couldn’t he stumble upon a man, fully clothed, or a woman with all of her pieces?  I just don’t understand why she is totally naked, dragging herself along the ground, all alone?!  Oh wait, probably because the rest of this show is based on a very patriarchal and rather misogynistic structure.  How silly of me.  More to come on Legless Lassie, I’m sure.

Issue 2: *Spoiler* The Wife is the Slut and is Wrong

Going back to our hero and his marital problems, he was having issues with his wife before the coma and zombie take-over.  Of course, once he is lost and in a coma, Lori (the wife), begins a relationship with Shane, the best bud.  Eventually, Rick finds Lori (yay) and suddenly, poor Shane is SOL.  Naturally, the writers and director handle this situation, by making Lori out to be the bad guy and the slut.  As the story line progresses, we see more backstory and see into the current relationship and the puzzle pieces that are at work.  Regardless of this story, all of the blame seems to be put on the wife and the way she is portrayed is obnoxious.  She just appears to be a weak and needy, flighty woman, that can’t handle much, but just needs sex.

Issue 3: There is a Humongous Lack of Feminine Strength 

No matter what the situation, the location, the people involved, or the stakes, the men are always the first to spring into violent action, while the poor damsels stand there and scream.  Ok, so Andrea is somewhat of a fighter and go-getter, but she is always cast down and hardly ever fights for her right.  Every time she stands up for herself and the other women around her, she gets harassed and then the hegemonic men spring back to action.  The men are cool, calm, and collected, while the women cry, scream, and run.  The men all appear as level-headed, while the women are emotional and overly dramatic.

These are just a few of the issues that I have with this show, at this point.  It is a good show, if you just need some mindless entertainment.  However, there are so many problems, that I have barely even scraped the surface.  The three issues that I’ve focused on are still very basic and have a lot more depth behind them.  Once I have the chance to revisit some episodes and learn names better, I shall return with the second installment.

Just for kicks:

Papers, Projects, Stress, and Little Revelations

The semester is finally coming to an end; I royally dislike semesters.  Because I began college on quarters, I greatly miss the speed and efficiency of the quarter system.  Due to the recent transition – naturally occurring during my senior year – no one has a clue what’s going on, or how to structure classes.  Therefore, I am certainly not sad to see this semester coming to it’s final resting place.  It can stay there.  Excuse the rant.

That being said, I am in the midst of finishing multiple projects and prepping for presentations on projects that are already finished.  Although I usually enjoy projects and making a culminating pieces in reflection of my classes, one in particular has me trapped.  Currently, I am in an upper level Communications course, taught by a favorite prof, entitled Race, Health, and Gender.  At this point in my college career, I can’t even recall all of the classes I have taken with her, that all share the same relative theme…surprise surprise.  I wouldn’t be writing this blog if the correlations between health and gender meant nothing to me.

Anyhoo, we have been working on a project that is based around a concept map of our own construction, as well as a working outline that incorporates multiple themes, ideas, theories, etc. that we have worked with this semester.  Normally, I love these types of creative projects, that have so much room for individuality and spirit…….but I keep getting stuck.  I’m certainly not lacking ideas or materials.  I’m finding it difficult to pick the most important implications of my piece.  My project speaks to the personal experiences and interpretations of things I’ve faced, growing up as a feminist.  My trouble lands in an internal battle that is difficult to sort through.  After a few re-writes and reconstructions, I can’t decide whether to focus more on my young life, before I truly had a language to back up my beliefs, or whether to focus more on my more adult life, when I learned the phrases and theories behind the thoughts I’ve always had.

So, I sit here now (not in my favorite coffee shop, because it is under new management and is super lame now, but across the street instead) attempting to rework my outline for the final time.  Naturally, my mind starts to expand and hone in on aspects of my project, that in turn, lead me to further project ideas.  Now, I am focusing on the power of language.  This theme is always present in most of my work, and it reigns true this time as well.  Language to me, is community.  I may have always been a radical little feminist from the moment I was born, but I didn’t understand the power behind the way I was, because I had never heard the term “feminism.”  Since that time, I have become scholarly and learned about the theory, power, and people behind the ways ingrained in my being.  Here-in lies the community that is surrounding my own personal identity.

This idea is present in so many arenas.  Being a communication major and an English minor, words and language mean everything to me.  Every word in every language and dialect across the world and throughout time, has meaning.  How we use these words can make or break ourselves and those around us.  They can create communities, tear families apart, buy you a cup of coffee, or bring peace.

Ever since the discovery of feminist language, I have been nothing but further empowered to continue to be myself.  Language is everything, and how we use this critical tool can impact generations to come.