Apocalyptic beauty tips and rape on The Walking Dead

Last night the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead aired in the United States. For five scorching seconds on the screen Emmy Kinney, who plays Beth Greene, shared her zombie-fighting beauty tips with us. 

The hotly anticipated episode will air on FX at 8.30 tomorrow night. This season of The Walking Dead (three), is widely considered the show's finest to-date, replacing zombies and love triangles with a dead-set human villain in the form of David Morrissey's The Governor to advance the plot. 

The first part of the season's penultimate episode caused controversy in the United States thanks to a near-rape scene, which feminist blogger Tizzy Giordano described as " gratuitous and highly eroticized". 

Elsewhere, the scene has been praised for its restraint, especially given the series' source material featured the graphic rape of a different female character. 

It is particularly interesting that it is Emmy Kinney's character that shares her beauty tips in the finale, given Giordano objected to the rape scene because it featured Lauren Cohan's Maggie Greene - the “most attractive by your fascist beauty standards”. Cohan's looks are part of the reason Giordano objects so passionately to the scene, yet the show chose to share the "beauty tips" of another actress. 

Having watched the episode myself, I am puzzled by Giordano's description of the scene as an "attempted rape". Rather than an attempt at sexual violence, the scene depicted The Governor using the threat of rape as an intimidation device against Maggie, in what to me seemed more like an illustration of The Governor's ruthless lack of empathy than a "fucked-up striptease". 

Whether Beth's beauty tips further incense some members of the feminist community remains to be seen. 

(Tips via Jezebel)

profile of AlyxGorman

6 comments so far..

  • Rin's avatar
    Commenter
    Rin
    Date and time
    Monday 03 Dec 2012 - 9:53 PM
    I am all for getting offended by patriarchal bias in television and media however in this case Giordano was just looking for something to be offended by.

    I thought that the episode with the "rape" scene was the best episode of The Walking Dead so far.
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  • leahrobertson's avatar
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    leahrobertson
    Date and time
    Tuesday 04 Dec 2012 - 11:04 AM
    Given the show's questionable gender politics thus far (didn't the whole thing kick off with a misogynistic rant from Shane in a car? And was Lori not a mixture of every shitty female stereotype under the sun?) and the domestic and sexual violence depicted against Carol and Lori respectively, I'm surprised she was surprised.

    Sidenote - was pretty excited by the show *finally* passing the Bechdel test by having Andrea and Michonne kick arse in forests and - shock - talk about survival and stuff, but then sadly, along came the governor..
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  • Rin's avatar
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    Rin
    Date and time
    Tuesday 04 Dec 2012 - 12:38 PM
    The character of Carol in the show is actually quite strong compared to the comics. In the comics she actually allows herself to be killed by a walker after being rejected by another woman.

    In the show she is a woman that over comes domestic abuse and the loss of a child.

    The character of Lori on the other hand was at first a grieving widow and Andrea is a civil right attorney.

    In America Domestic abuse is rampant and the highest cause of death in pregnant women is murder at the hands of their significant other. There is a lot of social commentary in The Walking Dead and just because something is wrong doesn't mean that they should omit it and pretend it doesn't exist.

    The Walking Dead also has a pretty good ratio of male to female characters.
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  • leahrobertson's avatar
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    leahrobertson
    Date and time
    Tuesday 04 Dec 2012 - 2:07 PM
    Oh, I'm not at all saying this stuff should be omitted. I was pointing out that Giordano should not have been surprised.

    I do think, though, that this show/comic holds a particularly unhealthy view of females. Lori has to be one of the worst female characters ever written - she's portrayed, alternately, as a bitch (very first scene), a whore (hooks up with the best mate), irrational, immoral, deferential, a cock-tease..

    The domestic abuse stuff was frustrating, too. Carol didn't so much overcome it - she had it overcome for her by a dude, who used brute force as a solution.
    I love this show for its excellent gore, but it feels like how a writer in the 50s would imagine the aftermath of an apocalypse - most everyone fits into their traditional gender role. A wasted opportunity. Imagine throwing, say, LaDonna and Toni from Treme in the mix and seeing how things progressed. (They'd destroy the joint.)
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  • Rin's avatar
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    Rin
    Date and time
    Tuesday 04 Dec 2012 - 3:24 PM
    Still don't quite understand how Lori starting a relationship with Shaun when she fully believed that her husband was dead makes her a whore.

    Things that make a woman a whore:

    Exchanging sexual relations for financial gain.

    Things that are insulting and do nothing for the feminist agenda:

    Calling a woman a whore for partaking in a consensual sexual relationship.
    Calling a woman a whore in general.
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  • leahrobertson's avatar
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    leahrobertson
    Date and time
    Tuesday 04 Dec 2012 - 4:30 PM
    @Rin - I said 'portrayed as', not 'is'.

    And true, Alyx, a lot of the the male characters (and their macho stereotyping) haven't been much better. I suppose that's a comic thing. I just wanna see *one* woman (aside from Michonne - who's drawn as cold and unfeminine) make a leadership decision, plan an attack, devise a strategy.
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