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24 July 2013

Zombies, Families, and the Patriarch

I wrote a review recently of World War Z in which I noted an odd paternalistic theme. I'm currently catching up with The Walking Dead on Netflix and am noticing a similar theme. Both protagonists are very reminiscent of Odysseus, being "unwillingly" drawn away from home and family in order to "protect" home and family, an ironic and hypocritical trope that has spanned the ages. Both have this odd homosociality about them, where they go out in the woods, cities, fields, and other wildernesses to do masculinity in very close proximity with other men. It's only Andrea, in The Walking Dead, who really challenges these boundaries at all, and she is regularly confronted about her deviance--typically by other woman and not the men.

I'm wondering why these patriarchal themes are popular now. Is this the persistence of feelings that have never really gone away or is this a reactionary resurfacing amid increasing acceptance of non-"traditional" family structures. I'd tend toward the latter theory. I'm hesitant, however, to read the reaction as angry; it seems more angsty.

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