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Culture > Entertainment

How the Horror Genre is All About Girl Power

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wisconsin chapter.

It might surprise you

The horror genre gets a bad rap when it comes to feminism. I mean, we’ve all seen slasher films full of topless girls with no other reason than that it seems to keep men’s attention. However, as a horror buff myself, I’m here to inform you that the genre is all about girl power. Of course, there are many examples of horror being derogatory towards women, but in everything there is both good and bad. Horror is full of girl power, you just need the tools to decode it.

I personally love watching horror movies, although I’ve found that they scare the ever-loving shit out of me at times. They have made me a somewhat paranoid person, for example, they’re the reason I avoid ponytails at all times. But along with the mood-improving burst of adrenaline that watching the horror genre provides, it’s the best self-preservation method I know of. For example, did you know that tensing the muscles in your body and holding your breath while being tied up can make it possible for you to escape? Yep, by simply relaxing your body, you can create enough space to slide out of the ropes.

Books and movies have shown me the stories of both victims and offenders. The more you prepare for, the better off you’ll be in the long run. Learning about different patterns and targeting points can help you avoid being a future victim. These include knowing that ponytails are easy to grab and that people wear goggles to avoid pepper spray. Additionally, you should know the common personality traits of potentially dangerous people, and ALWAYS trust your gut, it could save your life someday.

I’ve begun to take the horror genre as a point of research. I look for patterns in people around me, know how to behave so I’m not seen as vulnerable, and once again, trust my own gut. You can learn from the way women have been victimized in horror to protect your own life. 

    Along with demonstrating real-life survival tactics… I’m not sure if you know this, but the girls in this genre are badass. I mean, there’s an entire trope in the genre of ‘Final girl’. If you’re not sure what a final girl is, it’s exactly how it sounds. A final girl outlives everyone… and is often even the one who kills the killer. Along with final girl tropes, any girl in the genre of horror is subjected to both physiological and physical harm; half the stuff they accomplish, even if they don’t make it to the end of the story, I find incredible. 

    We praise characters in survival stories for climbing mountains and getting lost in the woods, horror is no different. Although the concepts vary, the base message remains the same. For example, look at the end of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie. Sally, who ends up being the final girl, goes through hell but is rescued and lives to see the other side. She becomes mutilated but never gives up. With broken bones and open wounds, she keeps pushing until she’s in the back of a pickup truck and is driving away.

My name is Stella Harper, I’m a freshman at UW Madison. I love to read and write, and just create in general. Like kid Laroi says “I do what I do cause I am who I am”- 2020