Gender in Horror

Are Horror Movies Sexist?

Are horror movies sexist (photo courtesy of Cinema Blend)?

Are horror movies sexist (photo courtesy of Cinema Blend)?

Ellie Coppock, Editor-in-Chief

During the Halloween season, horror movies have become increasingly more popular. These movies have been present in the pop culture atmosphere for many generations but, are they instilling sexist tropes into the public subconsence? Are the hidden themes in these movies more scary than the monsters, ghosts, and killers? Can the Bechdel test be used to determine if movies are progressive?

One major trope in horror films, particularly slasher movies, is the first girl and the final girl. The first girl is, most of the time, a female character who is sexually promiscuous and generally ditzy, blonde, and popular. The final girl is pure and sweet. This girl is subtlety beautiful rather than striking. The audience sometimes roots for the killer during the murder of the first girl. Films sometimes go as far as to put the murder in the perspective of the killer. The audience is meant to root for the final girl and relate to her. This fortifies the idea that women must be pure and not traditionally feminine to survive. This idea is dangerous and damaging to society.

However, the genre of horror films is known to be quite inclusive. On average, horror films have an even dialogue between male and female characters. In other genres, women speak half as much as men. Also, according to Medium, 70% of horror movies pass the Bechdel test. For a movie to pass the Bechdel test, there must be two named female characters, they must speak to each other, and they must talk about something other than men. The Bechdel test has become a rubric to determine if films are progressive when it comes to women’s rights. However, the Bechdel test doesn’t automatically mean that the movie is perfect. A movie can pass the Bechdel test and still have the final and first girl tropes. 

According to Cinema Blend, some of the most famous final girls include Laurie Strode from Halloween, Alice Hardy from Friday the 13, and Ellen Ripley from Alien.