Zombie Cliche Lookout: Controlling Men
Zombie survival stories have a tendency to favor more traditionally “masculine” skills. If the writer isn’t careful, characters can quickly fall into traditional gender roles as well, with male characters handling most of the important tasks while women fill a supplemental role. Sometimes writers take this a step further and only allow female characters to play damsels in distress or villains. This is, obviously, not a great way to write realistic, well rounded characters. It is, however, a great way to alienate 50% of your potential fans right out of the gate.
People take this the other way as well, usually by writing ridiculous “strong female characters” that are anything but. Rather than giving these characters a sense of agency and the same general level of competence and skills as the male characters, they over-compensate by making them bulletproof killing machines with nary a flaw in sight.
So how do your write women characters in a zombie story without making them insulting? Well, how about just focusing on making them rounded, nuanced characters first? Sort of like people in real life.
About this Episode:
Another quick moment with Sam. Granted, Tara is primarily addressing her dad here. He is the one who is essentially making this decision on her behalf. That said, Sam isn’t the kind of guy who can stand the idea of Tara thinking he’s trying to run her life.
Discussion Question: Worst “Strong Female Character”
Building, once again, on today’s zombie cliche lookout, who do you think is the worst attempt made at writing a strong female character? This doesn’t necessarily have to be from a zombie story, although it would be nice if it was.
I’m going to steal the most obvious example right away so you guys have to work a little harder: Alice from the Resident Evil movies. The character was okay in the first movie, and got steadily worse the more sequels that were made. It didn’t take long before she was essentially a one woman army.