The Woman King: The Woman King

The Woman King: The Woman King

Opinion: What calls to boycott ‘The Woman King’ are really saying about us all

By the end of the third season of “The Walking Dead” in October 2013, we were all sick of the zombie apocalypse, but we still all had one burning question: what happened with the mysterious, female-led “The Woman King” (or WK as it was sometimes called)?

Now, that season 3 finale — “What Would You Do?” — is officially a TV landmark. It’s the first time a major television drama has made a definitive statement about gender politics without explicitly using the word “feminist” or “anti-feminist.”

That’s because in a show with a title that so poetically refers to an epic battle between good and evil, the biggest challenge faced by the WK was her inability to be on either side.

In the show, the WK was the one who chose not to believe in the humanity of Daryl Dixon or his actions. She did not believe in the character of Rick Grimes, the good guy who always saves the day. Hers was an uncompromising, all-out approach to survival, and it was to be the model for other women in the group.


While the WK chose not to believe in any of Rick’s actions, they ultimately found common ground in the war-torn group of survivors they met. Together, they would stand up for what was right against the forces of evil.

But the WK’s position was so uncompromising that she ultimately became the one who was on the wrong side and had to decide who was really right in this fight.

The way the show approached this dilemma was through the prism of gender.

From the very beginning, it was clear that the WK wasn’t on anybody’s side. With no name, no character history, no backstory, and no clear message to viewers, the WK was the embodiment of a “trendsetter.”

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