I Spit On Your Victimization: Analyzing Trauma Depicted in Horror Films From a Feminist Perspective




Henry, Michaela

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Horror films have often used their female protagonists as a tool to reinforce misogynistic themes and conservative values through the depiction of traumatic events, resulting in the “Final Girl” trend in which one lone woman is permitted to survive. To understand this phenomenon and its relationship to trauma, I have attributed this trend to three main subgenres: psychological horror, body horror, and revenge. In the context of these subgenres, I critically examine various themes of horror films, including menstruation and puberty, class tensions, feminine rage, religious trauma, and PTSD. What arises from this analysis is a complicated polarity of victimhood that can often place the female main character somewhere in between the protagonist and the antagonist. As the horror genre is often interstitial, this allows for discursive discussions on these dichotomies, frequently attributing them to real life social anxieties. This contributes to an evolution of the “Final Girl” trend, one that rejects the implications of sexist conservatism and embraces a more empowering and socially critical narrative.



horror, film theory, gender studies, film, final girls, trauma, Honors College


Henry, M. (2020). I spit on your victimization: Analyzing trauma depicted in horror films from a feminist perspective (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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