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Women in Horror

Women in Horror

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Published by Erlin Pardiansah

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Published by: Erlin Pardiansah on Jan 04, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Stereotypes of Women in Horror Movies
Keri-Ann AndradeDr. Jason EdwardsComm. 29512 December 2007
Movies have been around for many decades. There are various types of genresincluding action, drama, romance, and comedy. The focus of this paper will be on filmsin the horror genre. Typically, men are portrayed as the killers and victimize women inall sorts of ways. Women are put into a specific mold within the horror flicks and seen inthat light constantly. An example of such a character would be Laurie from the
franchise. She is constantly in need of being saved and barely escapes thehands of Michael Myers during each sequel. This study will deal with the ways that thefilm industry portrays females in horror movies.At this point in time, very little research exists pertaining to stereotyping inmovies, with respect to the horror genre. Roth (2005) talks about how films portraywomen as “marinal, pathetic figures” as they aged (p. 189). Helford (2006) writes that“mainstream filmgoers witnessed anti-feminist backlash and/or a more politically/psychoanalytically ambiguous contemplation of the figure of woman” in1990’s films (p. 145). These are just two examples of how women are stereotyped and put into gender roles. Both Helford (2006) and Roth (2005) concentrated on the genre of drama, rather than horror as I have proposed. The way that females are being portrayed inhorror movies is rarely explored. Many researchers take a broad look at the film genresand hardly touch the surface of the underlying reality. Females are stereotyped in a particular way across many genres and it needs to be explored, especially within thegenre of horror.Another reason that this study would be beneficial is that it could help the publicunderstand why women are stereotyped in films. A good majority of the horror movies2
Andradethat have been made have half naked women running around dark houses hoping to not be killed. The murderer, for the most part, always catches her and brutally murders thevictim who he lusts for. Film goers want to see the female character running for her lifeand half naked. It keeps the attention of the audience and allows for suspense. Manyviewers know how the chase will end, but like the cat and mouse roles that the victim andthe killer fall into. Also, victims are very often engaging in sexual activities either during or before the slicing takes place. A study conducted by Sapolsky, Molitor, andLuque (2003) concludes that “exposure to scenes of explicit violence juxtaposed withsexual images is believe to blunt males’ emotion reactions to film violence and leadmales to be less disturbed by scenes of extreme violence and degradation directed atwomen” (p. 28). Men tend to watch horror films in order to see women objectified andlacking intelligence in order to stay alive. The constant nudity and/or peek-a-boo of  privates also entices males to buy a ticket or rent the movie. Movie viewers are oftenleft with the images of females, after the movie has ended, that tends to be far from truth.The female characters are portrayed as stereotypical needy women. These women cannotsave their own lives, rather, they need to be saved by others or die. Filmgoers need tounderstand that this negative perception is not true in reality and horror movies are mereentertainment only.The last benefit that will be discussed is that the study can potentially giveviewers the skills, or at least educate them, to critically watch horror films. Gettingscared is the main reason to watch a horror movie. The screams, disgusting appearanceof the killer and the token victims lure people into theaters year after year. The outcomeof these films is to have been frightened and disturbed by the images shown. Few people3

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