Feminism and the Zombie Apocalypse

Kitchens are great during the zombie apocalypse

Why, yes, I will go back to the kitchen.

I’ve been trying to work out for a long time why I am so attracted to the idea of a zombie apocalypse. I’m the sort of girl who stands in line at the supermarket checking out all the escape routes, looking to see which aisles have the best ‘apocalypse-friendly’ food products, and wondering whether the ‘turning’ of the old lady in front of me warrant threatening the pharmacist with a baguette to pilfer those gold-dust meds.

A friend started a thread on Facebook the other day and we had an intense discussion about where the nearest ports were and how big the flotilla should be. Gradually, people left the thread while a friend and I were still pinning down the details and saving lives in the process.

So what is it about the prospect of an apocalypse that gives me such a kick?

1) Extinction events are great levelers.

There is no gender gap during an apocalypse. Shoddy equality percentages go out the window and girls can really shine. Take Michonne and her work with a katana. No one else in the group, comic or film, has that mad skill-set. She is a warrior, a chieftain and a bad ass. What she is not is a piece of tail, nubile filler in disingenuous scenes, or scantily clad.

Which leads me on to …

2) Swapping angst about hotness to grief about knife skills.

a) If we are being perfectly honest nobody looks good after weeks without washing or changing their clothes.

In the truest sense, the apocalyptic world rips away any periphery sexism because women become more useful than men. Yes! I said it. We become more useful.

All the ‘boring girl chores’ that some guys can’t be bothered with, and most women do without grumbling, will save your life, dude! Well, our lives at least if the men ‘can’t be bothered’ with them.

Cooking, nurturing, growing a baby, for God’s sake! Basic hygiene and first aid, diplomacy, adaptability, and compassion are just a tiny percentage of the skills women practice on a daily basis.

So while the men are showing off the sizes of their rather disappointing weapons and pushing each other around, women will be getting the real stuff done.

I’m not saying that girls aren’t competitive. I suspect there would be healthy ‘eyeing up’ over who has achieved the most undead kills and who wields the most bizarre but successful weapons.

Note: Think kitchen and gardening implements in a pinch: Spades, trowels, rolling pins, meat skewers, and the like are all useful.

Racism, sexism, fat shaming, homophobia, transphobia, islamophobia and antisemitism would all last about a week before survival washed away most prejudices. Sure, some would remain true to their bigotries but who would think about planning terrorist activities when the zombies are doing such a good job?

Suddenly ‘hope’ becomes the most crucial of ambitions and by bonding to come an authentic and coalesced community the systemic hatred in modern society will become effectively null and void.

*deep breath*

b) Think about not having to worry about what you’re wearing: do your tights have ladders, why you can’t get that fucking smokey eye look right, does my arse look big in this? None of that is going to matter.

The shaven head will become the new ‘thing’. And at last, no matts, no tangles, no greasy roots, no ticks (What? Just me?). Women can choose to be free from feminine trappings like long hair or high heels.

I know we have that choice now, but it makes a huge statement in present society, whereas in our post-apocalyptic landscape it would probably be the most hygienic way to go. I would definitely choose it and rub my stubble affectionately every day (probably making internal squee noises).

And forget about shaving anything else. Hairy legs save lives. The more hair, the more warmth, the more survival.

Lady gardens will be silky and rampant, legs toasty, and underarm hair will stop the mosquitoes biting your pits.

c) Just being clothed will be seen as a success.

Zombie action usually starts in the warmest months. This is probably because of something to do with the humidity encouraging bacteria and viruses to multiply, though it is wise to stock up on cold weather items as well.

Forget about the gender color tyranny in the women’s section. Pastels are zombie magnets – go for black or navy blue. Camo looks good on just about anybody but muck it up a bit so you look well versed in survival.

3) Fat is not be a zombie issue!

Fat shaming is prevalent in our society. The more intimate our social media world becomes, the more people feel they have the right to comment on other people’s bodies.

We live in a confusing storm of contradictions. On the one hand, we are told to celebrate all of ourselves. But if we do, not everyone wants to celebrate with us.

I’m so used to TWD being supportive of minorities that I felt really heart-scoured watching Olivia being taunted about her size by Neegan and subsequently being shot in the face by Arat.

Olivia wasn’t murdered because she was big. She was killed because she was gentle and Arat perceived her as the least useful.

But Olivia was incredibly strong in her own way and a great example of how women who aren’t packing the immediate ‘art of war’ mentality can be vital to a community.

In a world where image is nothing, the bigger girl can make her way with (mostly) impunity and thrive. And, it’s about bloody time.

4) PMS Rulez!

We know that PMS is real. It affects our emotions and can make us angry, tense, withdrawn, depressed. When the sofa becomes our punching bag and partners back away, palms facing up and making soothing noises, perhaps it’s time to seek another outlet.

So when a horde of ugly, rotting, groaning bastards comea at us, threatening our survival and trampling the newly sowed carrots, what better way to work out our anger and hormone imbalances than kicking some undead ass?

Women 119 Zombies 0.

In conclusion, the post-apocalyptic world would be fairer, more equal, less confusing and incredibly liberating for women.


Everybody is equal with vicious gardening equipment in their hands!

Those interested in enjoying the zombie apocalypse might want to check out The Art of Eating Through the Zombie Apocalypse (See review here and excerpt here).

Garden tools are useful during a zombie apocalypse

Sure, they look peaceful now…

Our first contribution from Tabitha Stirling of unbound.com/books/blood-on-the-banana-leaf Here’s to many more!


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