Provide a Feminist Reading of Two Slasher Films. How Far Do You Consider Them Empowering to Women Viewers?

Topics: Slasher film, Horror film, Feminism Pages: 6 (2377 words) Published: August 22, 2013
Provide a feminist reading of two slasher films. How far do you consider them empowering to women viewers? In this essay, the extent to which slasher films are empowering to women viewers will be assessed with a feminist reading of two movies; Friday the Thirteenth VI: Jason Lives (1986) and I know what you did last summer (1997). First, the notions of feminism and slasher movies will be explained. This will be followed by an analysis of the two movies. Feminism is the belief that women should be allowed the same rights, power, and opportunities as men and be treated in the same way, or the set of activities intended to achieve this state (Cambridge Online Dictionary, 2013). The feminist movement can be roughly broken down into three waves. The first wave began in the U.S. and the U.K. and developed during the 19th and early 20th century. It requested the official inequalities to be changed (right to vote, education, health care, etc.). The second wave was really developed after the seventies and focused on the more unofficial inequalities. The third wave started after 1980. It fought against stereotypes and media portrayals of women and was also a critique of the second wave. The feminist reading of these two slasher films would therefore be a third wave feminist reading because it is this wave that focused on women’s image in the media. Slasher film is a sub-genre of horror film. It can be distinguished from other horror film genres by a number of features. Typically it involves a male serial killer that stalks his victims and then kills them, generally with a cutting object. Very often, at the end of the movie, he is defeated by the ‘final girl’. The location, the villain, the victims, the weapons used and the final girl have a set of characteristics that help to differentiate slashers from other horror movie types. The villain is generally male and has been the victim of earlier crime. The location is very often an isolated one where it is impossible to contact the police. Very often it is a lakeside camp, a suburban estate, a small town or somewhere in a wild countryside. The weapons used are cutting objects such as knives, ice picks, pokers and so forth, which means the killer has to be close to his victims and penetrate them with the weapon in order to kill them. Gun is never a weapon. The victims are numerous and mostly females who are sexual transgressors. The killer never missed them. The final girl is the hero of slasher films. She is clever and a bit of a tomboy. She knows about the murders and understands the extent of the threat; however she is not listened to. The two movies analyzed are teen-oriented slasher films. Teen-orientated slayers originated in the 1980s and were very big during the following ten years (Wee, 2005). Friday the Thirteenth VI: Jason Lives (1986) is the sixth film of the American film series Friday the Thirteenth. It was directed by Tom McLoughin. In this movie, the villain Jason Voorhees is back in the town of Forest Green and kills as many people as he can. Tommy Jarvis and Megan Garris - the final girl and sherriff's daughter - are the two other main characters. Together they try to find Jason and destroy him. Unlike many slashers’ final girl, Megan is not boyish. Clover explained that the final girl is “by any measure the slasher film’s hero” (1987, p.79)  and her boyishness “proceeds from the need to bring her in line with the epic laws of Western narrative tradition – the very unanimity of which bears witness to the historical importance, in popular culture, of the literal representation of heroism in male form”. In other words, the hero can be a girl as long as she is not 'fully woman' and is a bit of a boy. Men and films' conventional narrative will not be threatened because the final girl's heroism can be attributed to her masculine side. However in Friday the Thirteenth VI: Jason Lives, Megan is not boyish and on the contrary very girly indeed: she puts make-up on, wears...
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