The Final Irrational Girl

In the section on irrationality, Isabel Pinedo mentions that many of postmodern horror’s heroes are women, and that the genre requires instrumental rationality and a reliance on intuition from the hero. This initially sounds like a positive thing, seemingly giving women more agency as lead characters and more of a presence. But then Pinedo explains that “according to the Cartesian construction of reason, rationality is masculine, associated with mastery, and requires the domestication of irrationality, which is feminine and associated with the bodily and disorder” (23). Horror Hollywood is telling us that women are allowed in the role of hero because women are irrational. This explanation reveals the sexism behind female heroes in horror movies and makes me wonder what postmodern horror female heroes Pinedo is referencing. Albeit I do not know much about recent horror films, horror has a history of sexism towards woman – victims of monsters are often female, sexually active women always die, or perhaps the film doesn’t pass The Bechdel Test. While horror has treated its female characters misogynistically, it is also the genre that’s given us “the final girl” trope (basically what Pinedo was referring to as female heroes; means the last female alive to confront the monster). Do you think postmodern horror is perpetuating misogynistic images of women in Hollywood or changing them?

Another little thought: Pinedo writes “Characters who insist upon rational explanations in the face of evidence that does not lend itself to rationality are destined to become victims of the monster” (22). She might as well have replaced the word characters with white men. But this made me think about African Americans in horror films, and while they are majorly underrepresented, there is also the stereotype that black characters are the first to die in horror movies. But when quickly looking up more information on this, I learned that while black characters almost certainly die in horror movies, they almost never die first (Fact Check). I’m interested in learning more about the role of women and people of color in horror films.

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