Walking Dead: Sexism and Recent Events

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I’m still working on part two of “Whores, Sluts and Studs” but I just had to take a few moments to address something that’s been bothering me in the recent Walking Dead episodes.

There has been much chatter on the net about the death of Dale the moral compass and what it means for the group.  These are just a few of the issues that fans are debating:  Rick’s inconsistencies and his ability to lead. Who is defecting to camp Shane, and why?  Is there a basic human right to suicide? Is murder justified in protecting others?  How is growing up in an apocalyptic world effecting Carl’s development? There is one issue however that stands out to me that hasn’t been addressed at all.

In 18 Miles Out, Laurie accuses Andrea of not pulling her weight. She outright declares that Andrea is out “working on her tan” when she should be inside the house taking care of the chores like the other women and that the men can handle Zombie Watch without her help.

I have to clarify first of all that I am not a huge Andrea fan. I can’t really put my finger on it. I just don’t like her. I do however argue her right to join the men in protecting the camp. It’s hard for me to swallow that even in an apocalyptic event women are delegated to the kitchen.  Andrea is a bit of a flake, I won’t argue that, but she has proven herself skilled in the use of a gun. If that is where her talent lies why should she be expected to ignore it for the more “acceptable” role of “homemaker”?

Shouldn’t ALL the women be trained and ready to protect and defend?  If Andrea is called to serve in this manner and she’s SKILLED at it why should she be wasting that skill washing Rick’s socks? Isn’t there ANYBODY else out there who has an opinion about this scene? Did anyone but me even NOTICE it?

As for Dale, well, once he fixed the RV and they arrived at the farm, what was he good for?

11 responses »

    • If laurie felt she needed more help around the house why didn’t she ask Dale? After he fixed the RV he wasn’t too useful. For all his rightousness he could have put his morality where his mouth was and do the dishes occasionally.

  1. First off, thank you for including me in the list of articles. It’s good to know someone else picked up on the undercurrents in the exchange. I hope the writers explore those divisions of labour a little further. My sense after watching this scene the tension between Andrea and Lori is not done yet.

      • I’ll chime in to say, yes, our “watching dead” group started shouting out loud about the scene and I mentioned it briefly in my recap from that episode.

        Andrea seemed to effectively dissolve the situation by getting kicked out of the house.

        But I think we’re all right here in thinking this tension isn’t over.

        The thing I’ll throw in, trying to be as spoiler-free as possible, is that there’s a character on her way that may shift the dynamic more toward Andrea.

        One other thing… Is Andrea any less of a tool for the patriarchs in this situation? A weapon and a dishwasher are the same thing when it comes down to it if neither gains any say because of it. May be something we’ll see unfold over time.

      • Thanks for the comment and what an interesting perspective. You have a very good point there. I’m interested to meet this new character you are talking about. You must read the graphic novels. I’ve considered reading them but I don’t want to ruin any surprises!

  2. Something else that bothered me was when Rick directly asked Laurie what she thought about his decision. All she said was “whatever you think is best”, then he asked her AGAIN if she thought he was right and got no answer but you could see in her face that she had an opinion.

  3. I’ve been horrified at the unmitigated sexism of this show from the start. Before this “why aren’t you doing laundry with the rest of the womenfolk and leave the men to protect us” speech, I thought the worst offense was in the episode (maybe the final episode of season one?) where they were trying to get out of the CDC building. The image was amazingly offensive and appalling: the seconds were counting down, they had to break those walls and get out of the building before the whole place exploded, and what were we forced to watch? All the men wielding every possible tool and doing everything physically possible to break down that wall. And all the women standing behind them watching, screaming, holding each other, ringing their hands. Oh good god. Not only does all social progress against sexism apparently get erased once the zombies arrive, but even at the ultimate life-and-death moment, even when every body counts, every bit of muscle would help, the sexist division of labor is maintained.

    • I agree. There is no place for sexism when every bit of skill and strength is required. I haven’t read the graphic novels, but I think the introduction of this new hooded figure is going to shake up Rick’s little hierarchical kingdom of patriarchy.

  4. In the books, Andrea is my favourite character, she’s a likable character and she becomes naturally really good with a gun, however in the show they had to have her pretty terrible at first… but then with the help of shane, blurghghghhh she becomes good, but obviously not AS good as Shane because she IS a woman. I hate this show, it saddens me. Oh! And when she gets good – she makes bad choices like shooting what’s his face. Unlike the character in the book who acts as a sniper and saves Rick a number of times. So yeah, totally agree with you, sorry to ramble on.

    • I havent read the books, but I thought the fact she shot Darryl was pretty disappointing too. Why did they have to do that? Maybe i finally got to read the novels.

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