i-c070661b704ee46127be8bfed0f2ba20-sbzombies_zuska.png Zombie women of the world, I ask you: why are we content to shamble aimlessly along behind our brethren, following them willy-nilly, eating the leftover brains, and cleaning up after they senselessly destroy some village? Would it kill them to take a turn minding the zombikins for a change? No, it would not. Because they are undead.

There I was just last week, shambling along after Nigel on Shakedown Street. Like he knew where he was going! "Would it fucking KILL you to stop and ask for directions?" I asked him for the eleventy-fucktillionth time. "I'm pretty sure we are shambling away from the Mutter Museum, not towards it." I am sure you know what happened next. He just zombisplained me about zombie men's superior shambling gait and kept on in the same direction.

Eventually we shambled into Rittenhouse Square, which is lovely, but definitely NOT the Mutter Museum. About the time Nigel was ready to embark upon the tenth shambling circuit of the park, hoping a sign for the Mutter Museum would appear, it occurred to me that I could just sit down on one of those darling benches in the park. I won't lie to you: I'd taken notice of all the humans in the park and, feeling a bit famished, I wasn't fancying another meal of leftover brains. I begged Nigel to stop the shambling and go with me but he just muttered "We're making good tiiiiiiiiiiiiiime....."

So I shambled over to the benches on my own, in my comfortable flat-soled Shamble On Rose 1971's. My plan was to rip off the top of a skull, eat some brains, and relax. But the first human I encountered was surrounded by stacks of books, which slowed me down just long enough for her to look up and say, "Hi there! You look like you are having a rough day! Have a seat, take a load off the feet. My name's Astraea."

I sat down.

"Hey," she said. "My friend was supposed to meet me here but she can't make it. And I already bought these two iced coffees from La Colombe. Would you like one?" Well let me tell you - an iced coffee from La Colombe is quite a treat! And that was just the beginning!

She asked me what was on my mind and I just started talking. It was like she pulled on a thread and the whole thing unraveled - Nigel's mindless shambling, the leftover brains, the zombisplaining, and more. And now I was getting really, really hungry. But I did not want to eat Astraea's brains, because she was so kind, and because I was really, really tired of eating brains. "Is there anything else to eat besides brains?" I asked, not feeling terribly hopeful.

"Oh my yes!" she exclaimed. We packed up her books and off we went across the street from the park to Rouge. Over the cheese plate and cocktails, Astraea began sharing with me bits and pieces of things from her books. (Zombie women: cheese is WAY better than brains!) She talked about compulsory heterozombiality and lesbian existence. She said zombie men's greatest fear is that zombie women don't give a rat's ass about them. She said zombie women could bond together against male tyranny. And she said we didn't even have to be zombies if we didn't want to. We could eat cheese (or something vegan, esp. if lactose intolerant), be cyborgs, and act "on the basis of conscious coalition, of affinity, of political kinship".

Well, maybe you know what happened next. It was a lot of information to process at once, especially for an undead zombie woman who's been shambling around after her zombie man for years. That Astraea had said some hard things about zombiarchy and how zombie men participate in and benefit from it. I mean, some zombie men are Nice Guys! And I couldn't help it, it just came flying outta my mouth. I said, "Oh no, not my Nigel!"

I said she was kind. She was also patient, and being naturally inclined toward justice, she didn't want to give up. She pulled out her iPad and we spent some time perusing the Feminism 101 site, which helped (along with a visit to Capogiro for dessert).

With some more time to think, and my belly full of delicious gelaaaaaaato, I said to Astraea, "But wait a minute. Zombies are popular these days, in a manner of speaking. There's zombie lit mashups! And Nigel and I rented that Zombie Strippers movie. Wasn't that sort of feminist, what with the strippers biting off dicks and whatnot?"

Astraea heaved a sigh. "Well, here's a different look at those zombie mashups of classical lit. Seriously. And I think this post should help you understand why Zombie Strippers may have made you feel empowerful, but not empowered. Annalee Newitz is pretty smart - '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?' "

I thought that was a very good question indeed. The more I pondered it, the angrier I got. I don't want to be a zombie follower, and I don't want a zombie leader for a mate. I haven't puzzled out this whole cyborg business, but it sounds intriguing. Conscious coalitions, that sounds good, too. Breaking chains, unleashing fury - you can't keep an undead woman down. Not once she's had a taste of something better than leftover brains.

Well, that's not entirely true. You can keep her down through physical and sexual violence, and poverty, and ignorance, and control of her sexuality, and reproduction, and of her children, and her labor, and her dress, and ignoring what she says, and distorting the truth, and repressing the truth.

Not my Nigel, though. He's not a zombie anymore. He's a skeptic.


Zombie avatar graciously provided courtesy of Joseph Hewitt of Ataraxia Theatre. The author wishes to express special gratitude for the hairy zombie legs!

Joseph has also been working on a project called GearHead. "GearHead is a scifi roguelike game. It's basically a RPG with giant robots and a random story generator. It's open source (LGPL+CC) and available for Windows, Linux, and Mac. The project webpage is at www.gearheadrpg.com."

I am not a gamer, but I am well aware that there are serious feminist issues within the gaming community. My mention of GearHead does not constitute an endorsement of that game, because I don't know anything about it. The developer of GearHead at least wants to have a conversation about the issues and make the community welcoming, according to this post. I think that is good.

More like this

I can't decide what's better. The tag for "zombie manifestos" or "Would it kill them to take a turn minding the zombikins for a change? No, it would not. Because they are undead."

brilliant! you've made my day.

"biting off dicks" is "sort of feminist"


By El Picador (not verified) on 01 Jul 2010 #permalink

Guys... Its Canada Day. How can you erase CANADA DAY by celebrating international zombie day? Seriously, this is kind of annoying. You could have picked July 2nd and no one would care. But July 1st? We're your neighbors, right next to you! You're supposed to be celebrating our birthday and our awesomeness!

Zombies > Canadia
mayhap zombieday shalst be the first Thursday in July, thereby NOT always being on canada day, and sometimes giving us an excuse to celebrate zombies with explosion thingies?

Guys... Its Canada Day.

Yeah, we couldn't possibly do both.


Wait a sec. You already have dominion in the science blogosphere. You retain super human if ephemeral popularity on the interwebs even if you did earn it by cunning and wit. With that glorious status it naturally follows that the life-long privilege and benefits of being white and male in a patriarchy accrue to you. I donât think it is fair to the other bloggers to add zombie abilities to your temple of power, Zuska.

By veganrampage (not verified) on 01 Jul 2010 #permalink

I have nothing to say except that I absolutely love Capogiro's gelato. Even more than brains.

For some reason, the stretch gussets in Hairy-legged FemiZombie's boots are making my day. It's all about the details.

Yeah, it's been a long week.

I'd like to be a zombie. I certainly feel like the living dead. Unfortunately, I just don't feel close to those crowds of fellow zombies. I'll be moving again soon, when my money runs out again. This just means packing my suitcase and rolling it to the highway, where I can hitch a ride towards the sunny north.

The asking-for-directions thing reminds me of some of my proudest in your face moments ... like when two or three struggling (male) mountaineers finally climb up a difficult piece of ice, only to see me alone there, smiling sweetly as I briefly pause to tell them that they should have a nice day.