It’s time to discuss the elephant in the Walking Dead Fandom. But before we dive in, I have a couple of disclaimers to put out there.
Disclaimer number one, I no longer associate with the fandom in any way, but from my observations from afar, I have noticed an odd pattern of behavior with occurs between two of the primary antagonists of season eight- Jadis and Negan.
Disclaimer number two, I adore Negan as a character. Anyone that knows me will know about my Negan shrine, my Negan action figures, Negan busts, pop figures, my seven Negan tee shirts- I love Negan! That being said, I’m not above picking out what’s right and wrong about his character.
Disclaimer Number three, Jadis isn’t a character I adore, but I do like her. She’s interesting, and new, and while I don’t quite like her as much as I could, I think had she come at a better time I would love her as a lead antagonist. Basically, this is to say that I am not in any way bias against her for any reason other than wrong timing. Her as a character is something I can strongly get behind.
Now let’s jump into it.
It seems the members of the fandom are incapable of noticing that their judgement is entirely biased for or against certain characters, the two major antagonists. But let’s start with the beginning- Negan’s wives.
Every time the wive’s make an appearance on the show, I notice a drastic spike in the way people complain about Negan and the way he takes control of his wives. This is an issue I am very passionate about simply because the fandom looks at it as a black and white issue, and not the grey issue it is meant to be.
First of all, Negan is not a rapist. No, he does not have sex with the women he “marries” (and I use the term loosely), it has never been proven, never stated. All we have to go on is Negan’s mouth and, to be quite honest, he’s all talk and no action when it comes to many things (running a train on Carl? Never happens, and luckily so.)
He also does not force women to marry him- the argument that he forces them to marry him or death is completely out of context. It is said blatantly when Negan tells the story of how Sherry became his wife: she offered her hand in marriage to save Dwight’s life. Negan did not ask her to marry him. Saying that he says “marry me or die” implies that that was the original ultimatum when it wasn’t, and gravely misinterprets his character.
However, Negan does have a wife system which women are scared. This system is flawed and it is morally disgusting not to be romanticised. It is clear that the wives are held on a tight leash, and while they may have made the decision themselves, they may have felt it was a better decision. Amber, for instance, needed medication for her mother, and while it is not out of the question to work for the medication, supplies are limited and that means more work needs to be done; therefore, there is a sense of need to be a wife, even if Negan does not directly cause it.
“But Kaitlyn! They can leave any time they want!” Right you are, Negan stan, right you are! But as I said, if there is something you need to have, and need quick, one would automatically go for the easiest option.
Is this to say that Negan will force his wives to have sex for the medication? Will he hold the meds in front of their face like a bacon strip to a yorkie and make them beg and have sex for it?
I don’t think so.
I think that is where the line is drawn, and therefor I can not consider him a rapist because he has made it clear and evident that a woman should not be forced to have sex if she doesn’t want to, but this is where lines blur. The women may say yes simply because they feel like they have to, and Negan may take it as a yes because it isn’t a no. And let’s be honest with ourselves, the way Sherry kisses him, it doesn’t look like she’s fighting it.
I bring all of this to attention because I need to emphasize how much of a grey area this whole ordeal is, but it is not the primary point of this article to begin with so many details have been disregarded and only the basic info is left. Perhaps I will do an article solely on this later, but for now let’s move on.
Negan’s wife harem is a morally ambiguous system and I can not accept nor deny either general arguments. What I have noticed about this, though, is people are very quick to jump on the accusations about making Negan a rapist despite evidence he isn’t, and yet no attention is drawn towards the way Jadis approaches Rick.
While it has only been a couple short days since the episode premiered, I have noticed an uprising in the amount of Negan discourse and yet not a saying about how Jadis made Rick strip down to nothing, and offered him the chance to get naked for a sculpture (this season is weird.) Wouldn’t that fall under the same window as sexual assault? Negan got hell for having his wives in short black dresses, and yet Jadis outright strips Rick of his wardrobe, brings him out from a box, takes photos of him for humiliation, throws a Winslow 2.0 at him, makes him wrestle him as well as more of the garbage people and then states she wishes he would remove his clothes more.
And truth be told, if I do remember correctly- and I'm sure that I do- I believe when Negan did the same to Daryl (forced him naked and fed him sandwiches), he got hell for that because it was sexual abuse and just wrong. And what did he do aside from feed him and strip him naked? Played an annoyingly catchy song on repeat and put him with walkers. What did Jadis do? Almost fed him to a walker- again.
There’s something sketchy about this to me, and I can only think of two reasons why this would be the case.
One, because Jadis is a woman, and Negan is a man- which, seeing as it is tumblr I am looking at, would be very likely.
Or Two, because Negan puts on more of a show about it than Jadis.
Neither of them have either been shown to force others into sexual acts, but only one has shown a great distaste for it and murdered someone who attempted rape on someone that was held hostage- and that villain is the one given the brunt of the argument.
So I ask you, dear tumblr- why doesn’t Jadis get the same disapproval as Negan? And for those who don't call Negan out on his mistakes, why do you sexualize Rick being stripped to nearly nothing? Be honest with yourself.