The book is peppered with all sorts of thinly-veiled sexism. I’m not talking about a sexist character or two – the wonderful thing about end of the world stories is that it gives us an opportunity to explore the prejudices that go unspoken. However the entire philosophy of the book seems to be centred around how men hunter and gather and women… wash stuff. When one character observes this, she’s assured that “this isn’t about women’s rights… it’s about being realistic and doing what needs to be done”. Apparently you feminists will have to quite your griping and get back to the kitchen if zombies attack, right? Don’t worry, the macho men – our leads are a cop and a former NFL player – will protect you. Dale randomly observes that the group needs “someone to look up to… to make us feel safe, especially the women.” Especially the women?
Don’t worry, women! In cause you think you’re being left out of all this leadership and hunter-gathering malarky, you can contribute too! Just provide affection in return for creature comforts. To say nothing of OAP Dale and barely-of-age Amy (although we’re assured it isn’t sexual), Kirkman has his female lead, Lori, radiate towards the alpha male, no matter who that may be. He attempts to justify this with the logic that she’s doing it for her son, but surely she can protect him – it’s not like they’re actively zombie-hunting? In case you didn’t get the women-as-commodity subtext, young Gleen sums it up with the observation that “there’s just not that many women to go around”, as if he were talking about after-dinner mints. It isn’t that these are the flawed observations of flawed characters, this seems to be an unquestioned near-universal truth.
After waiting so anxiously for the first volume to come in for me at the library, this is a huge disappointment. But I still want to give the TV show a chance, because it looks so good. I'll just be a little more wary about it now.
And I can't, for the life of me, get lj cuts to work. I'm going to work on that.