Wednesday, November 4, 2015

I've been thinking about women in horror...

How we rule as villains. How women are more often protagonists in horror than we are in any other genre of film (besides maybe romantic comedy?)...

Suddenly, I get it. It's right there in front of me, actually. The reason I love horror is because of the presence of women. I like them. I like them a lot. I like looking at them. I like being one. I like the delicious evil they can deliver while wearing the shit out of a vinyl jumpsuit. I used to think it was mostly attraction, but it's power. We have it in horror.

But, we are ONLY allowed to have power within very specific contexts. We are allowed to take this power in horror because this is a space in which we scream and run for our lives. If we succeed in NOT getting raped by overwhelming monsters and fear, we get to live and maybe look like a hero.

Conversely, the villainous women haven't escaped this violence. They've turned it upon their aggressors. Y'all want the dominatrix, but only when she comes with a menu of torture methods YOU can choose from. Y'all want the chick in the leather jacket, but only when she's got the tortured past that makes her receptive to a man that's the minimum amount of nice to her, like maybe he pays for a dinner and doesn't hit her the first time she "talks back". What a MAN.

When I talk about how much I love Drusilla or Akasha or Julie or Carrie, I don't know that in a world of equality I would enjoy the havoc they wreak quite as much. The blood and the telekinetic fire is a catharsis for the injustices suffered daily by the everyday woman. The onscreen vengeance of a man-hating villainous woman is catnip to me in a way that would make a person think I hate men (I don't.), or that I've been wronged by men (I have. I really really have.).

Bad girls aren't, as is commonly thought, who the good girls wish they could be. They are who we wish we didn't have to create in order to cope. The real woman is not the perfect girl-next-door or the bad-whore-down-the-street. She's a flawed and complex person somewhere else on that continuum. We're all open books, but YOU don't know which page to turn to, do you, do you?

We can take up space if we're exceptional, like Sigourney Weaver or Meryl Streep. We can take up space if we're attractive, but this is a transient space that is constantly threatening to close in upon us. Meanwhile, men are allowed to be complex and awful or complex and good, granted big spaces either way, just for the existence of the protuberances between their legs.

Can you imagine a life in which every movement you make is scrutinized? A world wherein a simple act like pulling hair up off your face in public invites comments from strangers? A society in which walking down a street is an invitation of harassment? Can you imagine there NEVER being a time in your life when some man doesn't expect something from you, whether that be kindness, sex, or time? This is the path women tread every goddamned minute we share space with men.

So maybe we want to set you on fire with our minds...just a little. Would you blame us?

We are not virgins and we are not whores because we are not defined by whether or not men have invaded our spaces. We will be taking our spaces back and that's going to look ugly at first. We're going to have to use elbows and knees. Men are going to react with cruelty to take us back down, but I think we're collectively too fed up to go back now.

This is why girl-villains are important, because women have a right to be angry and we have a right to take up space. Men should consider themselves lucky we're getting our aggressions out through fiction. It won't always be this easy for men. For now, we're letting you live.

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