Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, and Zombies are from…: Feminist Theories of International Politics and Zombies

Rebecca Evans PhotoBy Rebecca Susan Evans (Ursinus College)

In his popular textbook, Theories of International Politics and Zombies, Daniel Drezner uses a hypothetical zombie apocalypse to illustrate a number of theories of international relations but unapologetically rejects feminist theories. This article insists that feminism is a viable perspective that should not be left out of classes on international relations. It applies feminist IR theories to analyze the gender stereotypes in popular zombie films and, by extension, in discourses on security. The ubiquitous violence inflicted by and against zombies suggests a realist mindset: in an anarchic world, individuals are forced to engage in “self-help,” using violence to try to ensure their own survival. In addition, most depictions of the zombie apocalypse include competition between alpha males in an aggressive struggle for dominance. Feminist theorists criticize the realist assumption that masculinized responses that privilege the use of deadly force are required in times of crisis. From a feminist perspective, such responses actually render most individuals less secure and tend to marginalize those who either do not share this approach or are presumed to be less capable in applying it.

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PS: Political Science & Politics / Volume 49 / Issue 03 / July 2016, pp 554-557 / Copyright © American Political Science Association 2016