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Dangerous Discourses

Feminism, Gun Violence, and Civic Life

Edited By Catherine R. Squires

Dangerous Discourses brings together new work by feminist scholars who provide a multifaceted view of the ways contemporary media discourses inscribe particular understandings of gendered social identities, gun violence, and public policy.
The chapters examine multiple media locations where discourses about guns and violence against women proliferate, including social media, mainstream news, National Rifle Association-sponsored magazines, gun research, public policy debates, popular magazines, and television drama. 
Utilizing theory and empirical research, this book helps us see more clearly how gender, sexuality, and other intersecting identities must be included in analysis of media discourses of guns and gendered violence.  The authors discuss the role of patriarchal ideologies, and center feminist thought and concerns in order to get beyond the one-liners, sound bites, and truisms about bad guys, the Second Amendment, mental health, and personal freedom that currently dominate public debates about guns and violence. 
With its unique views on the ways gun violence and gender inflect each other in the United States, this book is designed for courses in media studies, women’s studies, and sociology.
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Chapter 11. Gender, Guns, and Survival: The Women of The Walking Dead

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· 11 ·

GENDER, GUNS, AND SURVIVAL

The Women of The Walking Dead

Amanda Keeler

The first several episodes of AMC’s The Walking Dead (2010–) use both visual storytelling and dialogue to situate the lives of the show’s post-apocalyptic survivors. The show’s second episode “Guts” (1.2) opens with an elaborate crane shot that introduces the core characters and their setting: the camp in the foreground and the Atlanta skyline in the background. The shot first frames Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) standing on top of his RV, guarding the camp with a rifle slung across his back. As the crane descends to ground level Amy (Emma Bell) steps into the shot, carrying a bucket of mushrooms she gathered. The camera weaves around the camp following Amy as she walks past Jim (Andrew Rothenberg) repairing a chain, until she finally stops to talk to Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), cooking over an open fire. This scene exemplifies the new normal for these characters, each falling into tasks based on gendered divisions of labor rooted in the world they once inhabited, such as Dale’s paternalistic guarding of the camp. These roles are reinforced in the next episode, “Tell It to the Frogs” (1.3). In the camp, Shane (Jon Bernthal) teaches Carl (Chandler Riggs) to catch frogs while several women wash clothes in the background. After the women observe that Carl and Shane are playing while they are working, Jacqui (Jeryl Prescott) says “I’m beginning to question the division of...

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