Women empowerment found in horror films

It’s October, which means that it is time for my favorite Halloween pastime: watching scary movies. As a feminist, sometimes the classic “damsel in distress” stories just don’t do it for me. Why does everyone who has sex get killed in horror movies? Why are women so helpless and walk into that dark room alone, no matter how much I yell “NO” at the screen?

I realized something interesting after doing a little research on my favorite genre. Did you know that horror movie audiences are primarily composed of women? Yep, we love the scares, ladies. According to Entertainment Weekly, men stop wanting to watch horror after a certain age, and women apparently never grow out of it. I’m not sure if this is really true, but I am one of the girls that never grew tired of horror films. So what is appealing about horror for us chicks?

Firstly, seeing women get to be strong and at times, wielding the violence. We are tired of seeing women be victims. There is a certain satisfaction in seeing Nancy send Freddy Krueger to hell, Carrie freaking out at the prom and all those cool chicks in “Death Proof” exacting revenge on Kurt Russell. I know I get a sick sense of satisfaction when Buffy dusts another vampire, or when Laurie Strode outsmarts Michael Myers in “Halloween.”

Secondly, women like the thrill. Men have their action movies. What do we get? Jennifer Aniston in yet another romantic comedy?

I’d rather watch “Ginger Snaps” any day over that tripe. “Ginger Snaps” was the first “feminist” horror movie I ever saw (that was received as such, in any case). Ginger, the protagonist, is bitten and turns into a werewolf. The transformation stood as a metaphor for the other changes in her body, specifically due to the onset of puberty. It’s a great film co-written by a woman that appeals to girls.

Another horror movie that is great for feminists is a Swedish vampire movie called “Let the Right One In.” It’s a beautiful story of an androgynous vampire who appears to be a young girl and the young boy who falls in love with her. See, now you have your romance and your horror and there’s nothing cheesy about that movie.

I recently saw “Jennifer’s Body” starring the ubiquitous Megan Fox. I am not a Megan Fox fan, but I am a fan of the writer, Diablo Cody, so I gave it a chance. The movie’s two central characters, Needy, played by Amanda Seyfried, and Jennifer, are both superficial female stereotypes. Fox played the “hot chick” and Seyfried starred as Needy, her homely best friend. Clichés aside, I enjoyed the film immensely. Watching the old “man-eater” stereotype come to life was gruesome fun.

For me, women and horror go together. Horror brings out our protective instincts, and through it we can live out all our butt-kicking fantasies. Real life may be a drag sometimes, but in my fantasies, staking the vamps and devouring the boys is all in a day’s work.

Christi Aldridge is a senior strategic communications major from Hillsboro.