I want feminist post-apocalypse stories
November 20, 2011 7:27 PM   Subscribe

Are the Walking Dead comics as sexist as the show? I love post-apocalyptic literature. I hate sexism.

If the Walking Dead comics aren't for feminists, what do you recommend?
posted by Mavri to Media & Arts (32 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

As for recommendations, will have to think. Are you wanting graphic novels?
posted by purenitrous at 7:35 PM on November 20, 2011

Yes, I actually stopped reading the comics because the weird misogyny creeped me out. And I'm pretty sure I have a higher tolerance for that than you. (Although I didn't get very far. Maybe the way the characters act was actually the authors trying to make some kind of statement, and things develop later?)
posted by vogon_poet at 7:35 PM on November 20, 2011

Yup. The Buffy comics are kind of weird in other ways, but are pretty good on the post-apocalyptic feminism front.
posted by oinopaponton at 7:40 PM on November 20, 2011

The comics are worse. In the comics, the kid gets a gun before the mom does.
posted by faster than a speeding bulette at 7:41 PM on November 20, 2011

Best answer: Tank Girl is pretty fun for being post apocalyptic with good kick of strong, non-traditional female leading character.
posted by erstwhile at 7:44 PM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I wanted to like the Buffy comics, buuuut ... I hated them so much. (I love the Buffy series beyond all reason.)
posted by Mavri at 7:47 PM on November 20, 2011

Best answer: Y - The Last Man
posted by nicwolff at 7:48 PM on November 20, 2011 [5 favorites]

Best answer: You might like Y: The Last Man comic book series. Really interesting gender stuff, certainly post-apocalyptic, and definitely feminist in nature.
posted by araisingirl at 7:50 PM on November 20, 2011

Best answer: Y: The Last Man was the toast of the town for quite a while and is explicitly feminist.
posted by griphus at 7:50 PM on November 20, 2011

Best answer: Octavia Butler's Lilith's Brood is pretty good on the anti-sexism. Book, not comic.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:50 PM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]

I dunno, I didn't feel that way. The female characters in the comic version are approximately 1000% less obnoxious and mewling and I actually like them. Yeah, Lori is still a happy homemaker type, but she's not nearly as spineless and honestly, if you're pulling your characters from Atlanta you're going to meet some more traditional women. Andrea is FAR more dynamic and interesting.

I would not call Kirkman exactly forward-thinking but he's a hell of a lot better than many generic comic book writers.

Oh, but Y: The Last Man is way better than anything.
posted by Anonymous at 7:50 PM on November 20, 2011

...oh and you might like Y: The Last Man as well.
posted by griphus at 7:50 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I also really like Mike Mignola's BPRD, and BPRD: Hell on Earth. Great female characters, little sexism. And just breathtakingly good story and art.

The latter is great with strong female characters.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:53 PM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]

Although that is, I suppose, mid-apocalyptic, rather than post.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:55 PM on November 20, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks y'all. I mostly get my post-apocalypse fix in books, but graphic novels, tv shows, and movies are welcome.
posted by Mavri at 7:58 PM on November 20, 2011

Oh, OK. Then I would also recommend the excellent britsh TV mini-series Survivors.

Some (bad) characters express sexist sentiments, but there are strong female characters and I think the writing is pro-feminist.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:03 PM on November 20, 2011 [4 favorites]

I haven't seen the 2nd season of the show yet and am sad to hear it strikes some folks as sexist. However, I'm very surprised to see folks calling the comics sexist and misogynist. This in particular seems really unfair and misleading:

In the comics, the kid gets a gun before the mom does.

Yeah, and also the best shot out of all the group is a woman who saves many people over and over again. There's no question about it; they all know she's the best. And by far the biggest badass (i.e., the most grimly, sadly brutal character) in the comics is a woman. I wouldn't call it a blatantly pro-feminist comic, but I wouldn't call it sexist either. I'm sure over half of the scenes focus on men, but there is a wide variety of female characters, most of whom are treated with complexity. I'm open to the idea that I might be missing something, but I'd love to hear evidence to support the claim that the comic is misogynist. I just don't see it.
posted by mediareport at 8:20 PM on November 20, 2011 [11 favorites]

You might like Boneshaker.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:24 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Daybreak by Brian Ralph.
posted by mlis at 8:46 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

TV shows "Jericho" and "Jerimiah."
posted by cjorgensen at 9:05 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (manga). This is a short summary of critiques (lots of spoilers).
posted by alexei at 9:30 PM on November 20, 2011

Mira Grant's newsflesh books (feed, deadline, and (eventually) blackout.)

I had some problems with "Jerimiah", but annoying levels of sexism weren't one of them. It is a two-guys-buddy-show, but - as i say - not annoyingly sexist.
posted by rmd1023 at 4:30 AM on November 21, 2011

posted by 1970s Antihero at 4:50 AM on November 21, 2011

For what it's worth, I'd suggest you not get too many hopes up for Y: The Last Man. It's not really a feminist work, although it is fun and interesting post-apocalypse stuff, with enough complex and believable female characters to make up for the focus on a guy protagonist (and to make up for the easy stereotyping of "extremist" feminism in the Amazons arc, which will probably make you cringe).

All the discussion I could link to has too many spoilers, but I don't think Y: The Last Man, which follows the story of a guy looking for his lost girlfriend in a disastrous world badly run by women, really counts as a "feminist" piece of art.
posted by mediareport at 5:58 AM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Sci-fi loving female here, I agree with mediareport's comments above: the Walking Dead graphic novels are not particularly sexist. They aren't experimental feminist stuff either, but certainly no worse and possible a bit better than your average story. The TV show has taken the real Andrea from us, which damages the balance, I think.

Here's another book suggestion:
Far North / Marcel Theroux

And on preview, I am again in agreement with mediareport on Y: The Last Man. It was "feminist" in that it considered some gender issues and had some complex female characters, but... not much more.
posted by lillygog at 6:02 AM on November 21, 2011

Best answer: Andrea is still one of my favorite characters on the show (haven't read the comic). I kind of took the sexism on the show to be the sexism of the characters rather than the writers--I can see how some people (especially in the South) might fall back on, or impose, those kinds of values in that situation. But at the same time, they better start having some of the Walking Dead ladies being more capable soon, because it's getting really annoying.

Is the Hunger Games trilogy considered post-apocalyptic? I still haven't read it, but my sister (who is a big feminist) says it's great. World War Z by Max Brooks had some good female characters, though the episodic structure made it tricky to really bond with any... no sexism there, anyway.
This isn't a comic, but have you seen Night of the Comet? It's a 1980s cult zombie movie with great female leads, and it's available via Netflix.
posted by Nibbly Fang at 10:12 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

i've read all of the comics so far, and i agree with lillygog mediareport.

there was a FPP about game of thrones a while ago, i can't find it now, but it was about a debate about if those books were sexist or not. depending on where you stand on that debate you'll have the same opinion with the walking dead.

kirkman isn't trying to make a perfect, equal, feminist zombie story. actually, you should write one. instead, he's trying to make a story that is as realistic as could be, given it's a zombie story. he's also trying to tell it from the perspective of the people in the story. so, it's going to be violent, and some pretty awful things will happen.

since we don't live in a just, feminist society the people in his story don't say and do things in a just and feminist way (this is the parallel to game of thrones). the female characters are just as complex and well developed as the male characters. some women in the comic are just, or more, bad-ass as some of the men. (i think the doctor is also a woman, correct me if i'm wrong).

also, i'd suggest reevaluating your premiss. is it really that sexist? for example, in season one, yes, the women are given the job of doing the laundry, but then they show them discussing the fact that this happened, and talking about how unfair it is. that the show would have women talking about how their post-apocalypse society is sexist demonstrates that the producers are aware of these issues.
posted by cupcake1337 at 6:22 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I could've written the question better. I'm not so much looking for feminist post-apocalypse stuff as things that just won't piss me off. So, it doesn't have to be explicitly feminist, just not dreadfully sexist.

cupcake1337, I appreciated that scene, but the sum total of the series so far is really making me lose patience. I can't think of a comparable scene in season two.
posted by Mavri at 6:44 PM on November 21, 2011

Yeah, I agree with those who say that The Walking Dead isn't explicitly sexist. The show (and comic) takes place in the south. Context matters a hell of a lot, an yeah, one of the most badass characters is female. If all of the characters (including the so-called hicks) were progressive feminists, then the show/comic wouldn't be realistic. After all, the creator Robert Kirkman lives in Kentucky, and you know what they say about writing what you know.
posted by two lights above the sea at 6:53 PM on November 21, 2011

Best answer: I'm not so much looking for feminist post-apocalypse stuff as things that just won't piss me off.

Seriously, then, get Daybreak.
posted by mlis at 10:59 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yes, I actually stopped reading the comics because the weird misogyny creeped me out.

WTF. After reading this thread when first posted I've since ordered some of the hardbacks and read them. I don't understand where this "misogyny" is at in the comic. The TV series I can see... but the characters are almost completely different in the comic. Attitudes, motivations, etc.

The characters do fall into the trappings of traditional gender roles for the most part but this is discussed by the women. They talk about the "bullshit" of assumed gender roles, a certain woman character is the best shot in the entire group, some of them are sexually active in positive ways (considering the situation they're all in) etc. so the author is aware of the issues. It's plainly obvious that some of the characters had more "traditional" roles in their pre-apoc households that they've fallen back into - it's familiar. Not even all of the men are cut out for the typical male roles. Only certain ones are strong enough for certain tasks.

Of course, now that I've read it I really can't stand the characters in the show or understand some of the events (or lack of). It's very much an alternate reality from the comic.
posted by melt away at 2:44 AM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Andrea's the best shot in the group, in the comics, yes. And another woman is an unbelievable badass.

But women aren't involved in the decision-making, ever, any more than they are in the TV show. And some terrible things happen to women, mostly, it seems, for the purpose of developing male characters. The female characters are, by and large, underdeveloped. They seem to exist only because it's necessary to have some females around.

Who knows. It's a long arc, and I could be wrong in the end. But the comics don't seem to have anything more interesting to say about their female characters than the TV show does.
posted by gurple at 1:11 PM on November 11, 2012

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