Slasher Films Are Sexist!

Horror movie films have a long way to go in plot diversity


Are these horror films intrinsically misogynistic? As the spooky season of Halloween approaches, we ask all readers to be mindful when they watch slashers as well as other types of chilling movies. For as long as horror has been around, the genre portrays the female gender and its women actors as unsuspecting, over sexualized girls who end up being the victims. We all know the type of characters dealt out in this department of film who are eliminated first by masked men who carry around spare chainsaws. It’s usually the girl who wants to go make out with her boyfriend, is sexually involved, or who takes off her shirt in the woods who gets picked off first. 

BBC culture included a snippet of an interview with Jenn Wexler, whose profession is filmmaking and directing. Wexler states her opinion clearly, saying “the bimbo, the party girl… who is one of the characters who’s going to get killed right awa,y and then one that’s reading a book so she’s going to be the final girl who survives to the end.” This promotes fear that keeps women in check, almost by preaching the lesson “don’t get horny with your boyfriend or bad things will happen to you.”

Movies like Scream, which was created to be a teaser of how over the top and solidified in their tradition slasher films are, have been created too. There’s a point during Scream when one of the characters, Randy summarizes the rules of a horror movie. His delivery of the lines breaks the fourth wall, as the viewers note how self-aware the movie is.

While women usually don’t end up well in slashers, there have also been instances where they do. Aliena science fiction horror movie set in space, stars Sigourney Weaver. Throughout the movie, the  crew is picked off, some male, with Weaver being the final survivor. She is portrayed as powerful, insightful, and quick-witted, which leaves her better off than some of her male counterparts throughout the movie. 

Another path to sexism found in slasher films is toxic masculinity. Male characters like Evan from Freaky, have the desire to dominate others, view the female characters like objects, and suppress their emotions.

We need to begin to look at a different approach to horror. Producing pop culture and entertainment that downgrades a women’s worth, basing it on how big her breasts are, is degrading to half the viewer population. This October, consider what kinds of characters YOU’D like to see displayed and incorporated into the horror genre we all know and love.