WARNING – The following article contains a discussion of an intense scene of sexual violence. Please be respectful in your comments. If you are a survivor of sexual assault you are not alone and you can find support by calling The National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline – 800-656-HOPE (4673) or by visiting rainn.org
Hello and welcome to Comic Plug’s Woman Crush Wednesday (WCW) – a weekly series that shines a light on female series, characters, and writers. This week we’re sweet on Michonne, the katana wielding combatant who is deeply loved by so many The Walking Dead fans.
Michonne exists in a world brimming with zombies. When first time readers meet the most mysterious Michonne (first appearance Issue 19) she travels only with two zombie men in chains, and a katana strapped across her back. (Side note – Can we pause here and just look at the empowerment of this image? It seems that women have been placed in chains – figurative and literal- since the beginning of time. Either playing the “damsel in distress” or as an object of some submissive fantasy. In one moment Michonne turns the idea of the helpless woman on its head.) She is quickly folded into Rick’s, the main character and leader, group after saving Otis’s life outside the prison where Rick’s crew has settled. She quickly proves to be a strong ally against the dead, and the damnable Governor.
The Governor is the leader of a surviving town called Woodbury. When Michonne, Rick, and a few other prison people investigate a helicopter crash they find Woodbury and are captured by the Governor’s men. Michonne is brutally tortured and raped by the Governor. Rick can hear but can do nothing to help. Eventually, the prison people escape. But Michonne stays behind to exact her revenge on The Governor.
Over an unspecified amount of time Michonne tortures The Governor. She removes body parts, anally rapes him with a spoon, and then pops out one of his eyes with said spoon. Each time he faints from the pain she waits until he has revived to continue. Though the scenes are graphic and merciless it is hard not to cheer Michonne on. We live in a world where 98% of rapists will never spend a day in jail.** It is comforting to slip into a fantasy world where a rapist must face the consequences of his actions. No, Michonne is not real, but her victimization is a real representation of something that happens to real women every day. Michonne took her vengeance, and I would like to believe that she did it not just for herself, but for every woman who will never see justice done.
Despite her sexual trauma Michonne still expresses her sensuality. Before the events at Woodbury Michonne begins a relationship with another prison group member, Tyrese. They bond over weight lifting and she seduces him in the weight room. Much later on in Michonne’s story finds refuge from loneliness in a relationship with Morgan. This comic holds nothing back and Michonne’s promiscuity is apparent in the series.This makes Michonne an important female character for a few reasons. Michonne is not the stereotypical passive female sex partner. She initiates. She seems to actively seek her own pleasures. Michonne’s sexuality is relevant to her journey, not just a series of gratuitous nude scenes. It is invigorating to engage with a female character who is not shamed for her sexuality, and is comfortable with natural sexual expressions of attractions.
Outside of sex and sexuality Michonne is a great female character because she is a fierce warrior against the undead. She is kind to those she is close with. She is tactically smart in a battle, and wise in diplomatic matters. This week we love Michonne because she is a dynamic character that people can relate to and be inspired by simultaneously.
What did you think about our WCW this week? Who or what would you like to see featured? Let me know in the comments below!
**This statistic comes from the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. More information is available here: https://rainn.org/statistics