Zombies Are Just One Big Cootie: A child’s view of the living dead

At St. Mary of the Assumption Elementary School, Mrs. Graves’s kindergarten class was fairly unanimous in their disapproval.

“Zombies are just one big cootie,” says Stephanie, her freckled nose crinkling.

“Zombies are slow and ugly and not so smart,” observes Michael.

“They make me want to throw up,” confesses Kelly-Anne, shaking her young head sadly.

(Zombie princesses)

Things weren’t much different at Mrs. Matseyve’s first grade class at the Upper West Hebrew Academy.

“Everybody hates zombies. They’re gross!” states Tamar emphatically.

“Maybe if they looked nicer and didn’t try to eat you, people wouldn’t run away from them so much,” suggests Dvorah-Leah.

“They make creepy moany noises,” observes Rivki, her face in a frown. “Nobody likes that, especially at night.”

The second grade children at P.S. 6 did not diverge from what was fast becoming almost a mantra among the youngest amongst us.

“I wish they would just go away. I’m bored of all the zombie stuff!” exclaims Madison.

“Zombies are icky. Vampyres are much better,” admits Claire.

How is it that such a profound prejudice is ingrained in our children at such a young age?

(Zombie boy)

We asked clinical psychologist and misozombia [1] expert Aaron David Shtarben, Psy.D, at Bellevue Hospital Centre in Manhattan.

“What we’re seeing more and more in young children,” Dr. Shtarben says, “is something much greater than a normal and healthy wariness of the living dead. We’re observing behaviour and speech consistent with an almost pathological fear and an intense hatred far out of proportion to the danger actually posed to children.”

Dr. Shtarben indicates that such deep-seated ‘fear and loathing’ of zombies among children is spreading rapidly through our culture and shows little sign of abating.

How can we stop this? Some experts have proposed a possible solution.

“Parents should be particularly careful in projecting a fair and balanced image to their children,” advises child psychiatrist Dr. Isaac Nifter of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. “Especially when children are at a young and impressionable age, it is incumbent upon the parents to ensure that negative stereotypes aren’t imprinted on their children’s minds. And this goes double when talking about the Life-Challenged.”

As the old song goes, you’ve got to be taught to hate and fear.

(Is this the face of our dystopian future?)

Back at the Upper West Hebrew Academy, I spoke with a Junior Kindergarten student, 4-year-old Rachel. “They’re schtunky!” she giggles, her little fingers covering her wide smile, her twinkling blue eyes barely concealing the venom and vitriol bubbling within her, just under the surface.

To see such unbridled abhorence in one so young chilled this writer to the bone.


[1] Misozombia: An intense dislike, hatred, disgust or aversion  regarding zombies. This is not to be confused with Zombiphobia: An abnormal or pathological fear of zombies. For more zombie-related words and expressions, see The Zombie Lexicon: A Living Dead Language Guide.


7 comments on “Zombies Are Just One Big Cootie: A child’s view of the living dead

  1. What is wrong with the youth of today? This epidemic must be stopped!

    • vampyrefangs says:

      I know! It’s enough to make you lose faith in people. I weep for our future.

      BTW: I am in favour of The Bourbon Girls’ rallying cry on this issue and want to show my support every possible tax deductible way . 😉

  2. t says:

    Not too long ago my son was speaking of zombies and – after it dawned on me – i stated that the way he spoke, it almost sounded as if he thought that they were real. In response he said, “umm, duh! that’s because they are…”

  3. Elaine Anderson says:

    Have you thought about creating an anti-bullying, anti-prejudice campaign for real children with other prejudices that have been taught to them by their parents based on this entry? I think it would be brilliant and very much needed.

    • vampyrefangs says:

      There is a remarkable campaign now on television in the states. I’m not sure if you’ve seen it or not… the “It gets better” series of commercials. It doesn’t address the bullying directly but rather gives encouragement to the ‘victim’ of the bullying. One of the nice things about using zombies as a teaching tool is that it gets under the radar. Everyone has a good time with the whole living dead thing and, if you’re lucky, you can educate people along the way!

      • Elaine Anderson says:

        I don’t get TV, remember. I’ll have to live vicariously through others…or watch on the Internet. I think you need to get writing a curriculum and take it into the schools.

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