The pro-woman rhetoric surrounding Sarah Palin's nomination is a grotesque bastardization of everything feminism has stood for, and in my mind, more than any of the intergenerational pro- or anti-Hillary crap that people wrung their hands over during the primaries, Palin's candidacy and the faux-feminism in which it has been wrapped are the first development I fear will actually imperil feminism. Because if adopted as a narrative by this nation and its women, it could not only subvert but erase the meaning of what real progress for women means, what real gender bias consists of, what real discrimination looks like.Traister's zombie feminism is something to be feared, an intellectual bastardization and death of the real movement. It is an academic application of the theory to a worthwhile (at least according to Traister and myself) and necessary movement and the perversion that may one day cripple it.
Newitz' zombie feminism is something else entirely. Examining zombie movies, especially ones that utilize women as the primary zombie of the piece, Newitz examines how zombie feminism removes the passivity from female victims of crime. Comparing the new zombie film Deadgirl to Twin Peaks, Newitz points out,
The message of Twin Peaks, at least in terms of its dead girl protagonist, is that men won't get away with rape - but they'll be brought to justice by other men, not the women they've victimized.What is interesting about Newitz's interpretation is that it feeds into a long line of zombie films (and horror films in general) that sought to examine present and damaging social conditions. According to Robin Wood (the film critic, not the son of a vampire slayer), the mother and father's
destruction at the hands of their zombie daughter represents [Night of the Living Dead]'s judgement on them and the norm they embody.Zombies in those films were both the thing to be feared and a representation of the Other, which supports Newitz's own theory of zombie feminism: the evolution of the girl zombie is a way of releasing catharsis. Newitz states, Watching that pretty, dead face, you want her to get up and scream: You want her to bite that raping bastard's scalp off and drool his brains all over the place. But that brings up the inevitable question for Newitz. Does this form of feminism suggest that women can only win if they allow themselves to become the monsters? Newitz's other concern is whether or not men must die and become zombies themselves if women are ever to be free; it is an interesting concept. I find it to be strangely mirrored in The Yellow Wallpaper, in which the protagonist begins to crawl over her husband at the end after he has fainted in the face of the overwhelming evidence that his wife has descended into madness. He is out for the count, and she is (if we are to read some good in the ending) starting to make some progress. She has been released by the boundaries dictated by society of the actions of a proper lady, and she has been released from her own husband's judgement due to his incapacity. Newitz makes mention of an odd zombie film called Fido, in which a housewife falls in love with the zombie servant her husband has brought home. Why? According to Newitz, it is because as
[a]n object himself, he's able to see the humanity in a woman who is treated like an object by all the living men in her life.For Newitz, zombie feminism is a subgenre that allows women to explore aspects of themselves society has denied them. It is that contrast between the two articles, the bastardization of a movement and the exploration of the same movement, that makes the two -worthwhile separately- work so well together. That something so bad in one respect can be so worthy of our attention in another.