Until recently I could not figure out the reason(s) why The Zombie archetype is some so popular. I understand the allure of The Vampire, but not The Zombie. But I had an insight today. Zombies are a means for true masculinity to be brought out and used without shame or judgement.
Throughout the years I’ve worked with male patients struggling with masculinity. What is true masculinity and how does one achieve it? Let me give you a crash course on the topic. Men pay me big bucks for this stuff, and I am giving it to you for free, so pay attention.
First of all true masculinity is not the same as what makes a good man. Cultures and societies dictate what makes a ‘good Mormon man” or “a good Jew” or a ‘good Muslim”etc. We all know good men who are ‘do the right thing’’ but they aren’t regarded as ‘masculine’. And we all know jerks whom we admire notwithstanding for their masculinity.
I am talking about The Warrior archetype, which is the least understood or tolerated of the Masculine Archetypes. The King, the Lover, and the Magician are OK for most but The Warrior is often ignored or banished.
True masculinity in The Warrior is an archaic set of behaviors and values that transcend cultures. These are the virtues that men have when the chips are down and there is a crisis at hand. They are ‘tactical’ virtues. Whenever there is a flood, a disaster, or a war, these traits are quickly resurrected and “real men” are called upon once again to emulate them. The four traits of masculinity are Strength, Courage, Mastery, and Honor. In times of crisis or battle we want a strong and courageous man who will rescue and protect others. He is skilled; he knows how to fight and figure out what to do. Some simple examples of this is when the car has a flat tire or won’t start. A man is needed who knows how to change the tire or use cables.
Real masculinity has honor: your reputation in the eyes of other men for these virtues. Believe me, being seen as strong, brave, and masterful in the eyes of your male peers remains as vital today as it ever was.
There is not much call for tactical virtues and true masculinity in our day to day modern society. We sublimate in games and sports, but it is not the same. It takes a fire, or a shooting, or flood to bring out the fireman, the marines, or ‘Joe hero’ to roll up their sleeves and do the job.
So where do the zombies come in? In zombie movies men can fight off their attacks with strength, skill, and brute strength without concern he will be condemned for being a brute. Indeed, he is often called out of a nebbish role to become the hero and protector of those threatened by the zombies.
It’s not PC to have an ‘us vs. them’ with real people. After all we are supposed to be one happy world family.
But zombies are a different cup of tea. For they are ‘the other’. Men can be masculine again with guilt or PC/feminist condemnation.