Tag Archives: zombies

The Battery: Even Zombies Can Be Sluts

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I watched a zombie movie with my coworkers yesterday: The Battery, an independent, low budget film that’s being applauded for its realism and blah blah blah. I watched it. It was pretty alright. I’ll tell you about something that bothered me, which is obviously why we’re here.

There is a part in the movie where one of the lead characters (a white, male, former baseball player) is asleep in a car when a female zombie makes her way across the field and starts trying to “get him” through the car window. She is wearing short-shorts, a t-shirt with no bra, and knee-high baseball socks. She’s dead and gray and…well, a zombie. The male character awakes with a start, freaks out, and then—to the audience’s dismay—pulls down his pants and underwear and starts masturbating furiously to the sight of the zombie’s clothed breasts pressed up against the car window as she tries to reach him.

It was actually pretty funny. It’s the zombie apocalypse and he hasn’t seen or touched a woman in months. He was desperate, lonely. It was absurd and silly and when his companion in the movie kills the female zombie and catches him jacking off, he laughs hysterically. Funny scene.

That’s not what bothered me. What bothered me was the cast list.

At the end of the movie, the zombie girl in the short-shorts was billed as “Fresh Zombie Slut.”

Oh?

It’s just like we see in real life, folks. We have a woman without a bra or wearing short-shorts, or just a woman in general, and we have the male gaze seeing her and sexualizing her—EVEN IN HER STATE OF DECAY—and yet she is the slut. She, in her natural state, who just happened to die while bra-less, is the slut. Not the ridiculously disgusting dude in the station wagon who sees decomposing boobs and feels obliged to masturbate to them. Her. The woman who, so sorry, didn’t stop and say “Oh, before I turn into a zombie I better put on some longer shorts and a bra,” is the slut.

This is misogyny. Even in death, women are subject to the whims of patriarchy and rape culture. I wish she had eaten him.

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Zombies, Hope, and the Easy Way Out

My fascination with zombie culture isn’t a morbid one. Zombie film and literature is exciting for its undead mandibles chewing through civilization, but it’s not the gore that keeps me entranced by what I call the Zombie Movement. The Walking Dead is appealing for what must be award-winning zombie make-up but that’s not what makes me turn to AMC every Sunday. It’s something else; something existential.

What fascinates me about zombie culture is the hypothetical after. I never get tired of different artists’ suppositions on what this world will look like, what our humanity will become, when something rocks our foundations and leaves us irrevocably changed. Because something will change us, and I am eternally interested in what it will be and how we will react to whatever it is.

Maybe I am just a misanthrope, and my curiosity about the After is a gruesome excitement for the end of human reign and the taking up of the torch by another supremacy; perhaps of a kingdom I like better—the reign of the platypus, perhaps, or the lemur. Maybe I like nature too much, because the idea of the Empire State Building covered in moss and vines excites me beyond all reason.

But maybe it’s because underneath all my cynicism is hope. I dread the idea that it would take a zombie apocalypse to bring out the good in us, but somewhere in the zombie fascination is the idea that if we could just start over, press the reset button, begin again, we could get things right. The zombies might eat more than flesh—they might eat capitalism, world war, colonialism.

But that’s the easy way out, isn’t it? We’d rather the undead eat all our problems than solve them ourselves? Typical. But it’s great as social theory.

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