Comm 101. Final Paper

Comm 101. Final Paper - Gender Roles in Horror Films...

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Gender Roles in Horror Films 1 Running Head: GENDER ROLES IN HORROR FILMS Gender Roles in Horror Films Communication Studies 101 Horror films offer an opportunity to travel to a darker side of life by exposing the audience to their utmost fear of vulnerability, loss of identity, terror of an unknown world,
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Gender Roles in Horror Films 2 alienation, and their nightmares. The horror film is known for suspense, violence, and in general, follows a “who dies next?” structure. As the characters being extinguished one by one, it is left up to the audience to guess who will die next, how they will die, who will survive, and who is doing the killing. This idea of predicting the fate of each character forces one to wonder if there is some way to make an educational guess as to who will be the last one standing as the credits roll. Is there some sort of prototype of the ideal victim and survivor? This resulting expectancy comes from a long line of horror films that emphasize certain characteristics in a targeted individual. Research on this topic has produced a specific question of the gender roles in Hollywood horrors. Exploring gender roles in horror films can lead to a better understanding of gender stereotyping in media in general and how the ideals have changed over the years. The same portrayal of women and femininity (emotional, submissive, sensitive, non competitive, etc…) found in advertisements and other mediums can also be seen in the horror film. The same goes for masculinity represented as power, control, confidence, and aggression. In earlier horror films, there were very few women in heroic roles and it was generally a male protagonist who came out on top. There have been some major changes to the genre of horror films over the years, yet one must analyze the specifics of the films to determine whether or not males and females are equally represented as survivors and victims and the characteristics that determine their ultimate fate. In conducting my research, one can see the broad span of analysis done on gender in the horror cinema and how most of the sources are linked by similar theories as to how gender is stereotyped.
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Gender Roles in Horror Films 3 Compiled in a journal of research entitled Sex Roles , Margaret O’Brien and Gloria Cowan wrote on the findings of a study done by students in the behavioral science department of California State University. The study focused on the content of slasher films and more specifically the portion of the violence directed toward men versus women and the differences between male and female survivors versus non-survivors. After close analysis of fifty six slasher films and a total of four hundred seventy-four victims, the students concluded that men and women were portrayed equally as male characters were just as likely to die as female characters in the result of an attack but it was found that more females survived the attacks than males. It was also found that majority of female non-survivors fit a stereotype of being a “sexy” character
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Comm 101. Final Paper - Gender Roles in Horror Films...

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