The representations of gender in horror films essay
The representations of gender in horror films- essay<br />
In the media, we generally see gender as being very stereotypically presented which can mean women being presented through media as “objects” mainly sexually and emotionally orientated. Throughout media they are presented to be beautiful and much more emotional compared to men who are stereotypically seen as being much more tough and less emotional. They can be represented as part of a group such as a group of friends or a family, they tend to work and think of part of a team, they take the role of a helper they are generally never a leader. <br />
Men are usually the heroes in typical media forms, they tend to take on the active roles whereas women tend to take on the passive roles, and there is a definite lack of female role models compared to the amount of male role models. We seldom know what types of relationships men have with the characters, as their roles are made out to be a lot more active, we focus on their actions a lot more. <br />
Visibility in the media has always been an issue when thinking about gender representations. About 20 years ago the visibility of men to women in media was men outnumbering women 2:1. Proving males are much more dominant within the media. <br />Women can be seen as sexual objects, in media we are often presented with women in the nude or wearing revealing clothes whereas we never really see men in the nude, showing the difference between male and female presentation. <br />
The presentation of female visibility in horror films is different compared to other media forms. The main female protagonists can turn into the final girl and are therefore present until the end of the film. The visibility of women in horrors do still however remain quite low as more often than not they are alone and not working as groups which they often do in other media forms. <br />
Age can affect the presentation of women. We tend to see all variety of males: age, class, race whereas we tend to only see young females of white race, who are considered to be young pretty and sexy. Many film stars who are male tend to be a mixture of young and old such as Michael Caine and Matt smith, whereas we never really have any older women actresses who are exceptionally well known. <br />
In advertising, A women's body is often exploited in a sexual way to sell products using the “male gaze” which is where the viewer is put into the place of the male’s eyes, usually to objectify women or to identify with the male. However, more recently we have seen changes in this, men have become objectified in media such as adverts. For example; in perfume adverts men are often seen as sexual objects e.g. in Calvin Klein adverts. A compelling argument could be as a female viewing this advert, are we meant to be viewing it using a female gaze? <br />
This change in the roles can be related to horror movies as there is a sufficient amount of role reversal. We are often presented with a “final girl” a girl who is seen as ‘virginal’ and in a way quite masculine. For example: their names can be unisex and the way they dress can be quite masculine; compared to the more glamorous female characters who stereotypically get injured or killed as they are presented to be weak and their minds are elsewhere. In horror films there appears to be an imbalance with the presentation of women as they are usually either extremely weak or strong- varied female protagonists do not tend to occur within horror films. <br />
Horror, unlike many other forms of media, shows gender in a much more ‘respected’ way, women can be portrayed as being more active than passive, and their passive roles are normally conveyed in other forms of media. In certain horrors they can even be seen as the heroes, or the characters that save the day. In class we watched three horror movies; Halloween, The shining, and Eden Lake. Afterwards, we analysed the visibility, roles, gaze and narrative in favour of men and women and their roles. Halloween, 1978, has the “final girl” called Laurie, her name is unisex, she is conveyed as virginal and innocent, the way she dresses also helps convey this masculine side to her. <br />
The final girl normally lasts to the end of the film, by either defeating the monster or actually turning into the monster. This type of female strength and anger is not usually presented in other forms of media. The males are mainly the aggressive types, stereotypically. However, in horror films you do normally have a male protagonist, they generally get defeated and the female takes over. There tends to be three groups for male and females in films; the useless character, the hero and the monster, gender can be represented through any of these categories. <br />
In the shining the main female protagonist also turned out to be a “final girl” she survived to the end. However the presentation of Wendy varied throughout the film, she varied from strong and weak showing that the presentation of women in horror films can be portrayed differently. This is similar to the main female protagonist in Eden Lake. She appeared to be the “Final girl” but got assumingly murdered by two male characters at the very end of the film. The presentation of women in horror films vary immensely from other media forms due to the unpredictable nature. <br />
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