Wednesday, September 24, 2008

An Unusual Metaphor

io9, the sci-fi site, has an interesting post up on... wait for it... zombies and feminism. Actually it's a pretty interesting look at the patented "dead girl" movie and how it compares to the rarer "undead girl" movie. The latter at least gets a chance to take revenge. Here's a piece:

Ever since Dr. Frankenstein reanimated a woman to serve as his monster's bride and she said no, the zombie woman has been a weird figure for female resistance to control. Zombie feminism is an uneasy subgenre, daring to use freakish gore and death slapstick to pose questions about what it might take for women to become unrapeable. Or for men to see women the way women see themselves.

The question is, why do we have to imagine ourselves as monsters in order to tell stories about what it would be like to become fully human?

Read the whole post here.


Habladora said...

Interesting post, but I'm not sure I get it - how are zombies feminist figures? How do they help men to see us as we see ourselves?

Do I have to go start eating brains now?

Habladora said...

Oh, and a great post to start off the Halloween season, btw.

Maggie said...

It's not the most cohesive post, but I do agree that the zombie bit allows a female character to be on the attack whereas in most movies she's stuck as a victim without real recourse. I don't know that you need zombies to fix that. I would imagine you could just, you know, not put out films where women are victimized and powerless over and over again. Movies that go completely in the other direction may open up discussion but also risk going too far.

One example that comes immediately to my mind, Audition, is a Japanese film where a woman who has been sexually abused compulsively tortures men in response. I'm not sure whether this is better or not. It's different, but I don't know if different is enough to be a legitimate comment.

I'm torn on the issue, really. Though seeing more women involved in writing and directing is to me the easiest solution. It's okay to have characters who are victimized and who victimize others. (A good example to me of how to be subversive without falling into stereotype is The Piano Teacher, a French film based on a novel by Austrian feminist Elfriede Jelinek.)

Another Anonymous Poster said...

I would go even earlier than that. What about the automaton in Fritz Lang's "Metropolis"? That was like 1928 and incredibly revolutionary for its time.