Lori Grimes: A Locus for “Acceptable” Misogyny
Okay, so I stopped watching The Walking Dead TV show after the first seasons, something that a few of my friends can’t really understand. I’m a fan of the comic, after all. I’ve read them all up to current. I’ve recommended them to people. But, fuck that show.
Firstly, it irritates me that they felt that they had to erase any sign of nonwhite ethnicity from Lori’s character. The way she is drawn in the comic looks to me very like a Native American or even Desi woman. I kinda think she looks like me, in fact. The show decided to cast a white actress, Sarah Callies, as Lori Grimes. Alrighty then.
It further irritates me to read things comparing the looks of comic vs. show characters, and mentioning the erasure of her ethnicity in the same breath as how much “better-looking” the show version is kinda offends me. It’s also a bit surprising that not even Racebending.com mentioned it; maybe because Lori’s race or ethnicity is never explicitly mentioned in the comics somehow mitigates the whitewashing, but I think it’s more clear than casting Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games as white, considering that there aren’t any images attached to Katniss. Just repeated mentions of her and those around her as “olive-skinned” and “dark”, which should have opened up the casting to nonwhite actors, but *magically* somehow didn’t. And there has been a bit of coverage of the Hunger Games casting, in regards to possible whitewashing. I think that after Cinna was cast with Lenny Kravitz, at least it balanced it out slightly more, and a lot of the disgruntled murmurs died out. It peeves me that in Hollywood, “ambiguous ethnicity”=white every time, and oftentimes, even obviously black=white.
My second huge problem with the TV show character Lori Grimes is that she is purposely written by human beings as a locus for misogyny. She is purposely written by human beings as every shitty stereotype about women. And, surprise, surprise, the vituperative epithets thrown at that character by men and women are ubiquitously misogynistic. She’s a “slut”, a “whore”, a “bad mother”, “useless”, “a bitch to her husband” and generally serves to make male characters look like bastions of reason, intelligence, quick reflexes, and decisiveness.
Newsflash: Lori is not a real person
Newsflash: Lori is a plot device that is written specifically and on purpose to make Rick look better.
In the words of the Showrunner, Glen Mazarra:
My first concern was to put Rick front and center. He’s a leader, and we need to care about him… I wanted to resolve the Shane-Rick-Lori storyline in a way that made Rick as active and compelling as possible.
Everyone I know who watches that show has said how much they hate Lori. In fact, when I pointed out that Lori is not even allowed an abortion by the show writers in case of Zombie motherfucking Apocalypse, the feedback I got on that was more or less “but it was supposed to show what a dumb bitch Lori is, that she doesn’t even know the difference between the morning-after pill and abortion pills”. Yeah. Why exactly is it necessary to even bring up abortion in this situation, and then “resolve” it through Lori “puking them up and changing her mind”, other than to make her look like a weak-minded ditz who can’t be trusted to make decisions, even about her own body? It isn’t like that kind of portrayal could affect real people’s opinions about women and their agency regarding their own bodily autonomy…Oh, wait. Let’s not forget the rash of legislation that has been passed in the last year or two that forces women to undergo ultrasounds before being able to attain a legal medical procedure, on account of SO THEY KNOW THAT THERE’S A FETUS IN THURR, DURR HURR. That being said, the entire debacle has already been deconstructed and criticized by more able authors than I, so i’ll just leave it at that.
My biggest problem with Lori’s character is that she serves as a catch-all locus for some of the most horrific misogyny I’ve heard come out of anyone’s mouth, including that of Rush Limbaugh. If you don’t believe me, here’s a link to a thread on a semi-official forum for fans of the show entitled:
And oh, my god. If anyone wonders if this kind of character portrayal confirms and perpetuates misogynistic attitudes and actions, just go ahead and have a gander at this comment from page 11 of the hatefest this innocuous question generated [TRIGGER WARNING FOR SEXUAL VIOLENCE]
Wow, when the sheilas start their ‘Girls Take Charge’ diatribe, I have a tendency to ‘crocodile’ in the sense that the covers of my eyes roll over and I ‘submerge’ (in other words try and tone out the incessant cackling that I know is coming… desperately trying to make it down my ear canal to F up my day!).
Maybe that is why I flunked ‘Womens Studies’ in college (seemed like an easy way to fill a Humanities requirement or so I thought). The first assignment was to give an oral report on how to treat a woman on a 1st date. I wanted out of this man-hating class ASAP, and the drop/add time was past, so I reported that you should roofie your dates’ drink, splooge on her face, and steal the last $5 out of her purse as you sneak out her window before she wakes up.
Of course this was done all ‘tongue in cheek’ of course (no pun intended), but the ‘prof’ (a better term for her is NAZI)….wasn’t amused by my findings at all. The reaction from her and the rest of those hens in the class was priceless though!! Definitely worth the hit to my GPA!!
This. I couldn’t get past this. I got past people claiming that Lori is an example of why women are weaker than men, past claims that murdering Lori would be an acceptable option for her husband in order to protect their son (from her neglect? apparently?), and long-winded arguments about the “evolutionary” proof of women’s inherent inferiority, but I could not get over this guy, who apparently thought that Lori’s character is justification for that time that he terrorized a group of women with his super-awesome-brofist rape story. And then can terrorize them all over again by reading this piece of fucking garbage. This is only funny in a universe where that could never happen to a real person. The punchline of this “joke” is that women, even women in a women’s studies class, can be raped. Real women. Human beings.
Lori Grimes is not a real person. But the way she is written serves as an excuse for hatred directed at real women. She is seen as a person by the people who “hate” her, with no thought given to WHY someone would write a character like that. She serves as a fictional construct for real misogynists to point to as an example of justification for their attitudes without any real danger of refutation or reprisal. She is a target for the misplaced hatred of women, being a strawman stuffed with stereotypes for women to revile, citing “I’m not like that!” Maybe instead of piling your hate onto a fictional character, you should consider directing your hatred to people writers and producers of the show, who are creating this clusterfuck of harmful stereotypes. Lori Grimes is seen as an acceptable target for misogyny because she embodies all the worst stereotypes about women, and is not a real person.
Anyhow. Fuck that show.