Archive for the ‘Gender’ Category

Content note: contains images of a racist and sexualized costumes.

Spirit Halloween always gets a mention on my Feminist Halloween series in the costume fail category because of their racist, sexist costumes. This year, when Spirit Halloween asked Zooey Roy, an Indigenous woman in Saskatoon, to leave after complaining about the Indigeneous-inspired (read: racist and appropriative) costumes the store stocks. Chris Kortright and the Saskatchewan Coalition Against Racism decided to take action by taping warning labels on the costumes:


Image: Spirit Halloween adult costume with a low-cut beaded leather dress with fringe and a headband with three feathers and beading: “Reservation Royalty.” The package has a warning label on it (see below for text). Image via Facebook


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Image: the poster for The Moth Diaries, showing Ernessa touching Rebecca’s face

In the course of doing this series, I always find a couple of duds–films that aren’t very interesting, not ones I can recommend as feminist horror films but also not ones that clearly illustrate problematic elements. I hit a couple of dull ones this year that I’ll review briefly, including today’s selection: The Moth Diaries.

I was promised atmospheric queer vampire romance directed by a woman. The first half of the film delivers, but the second half just doesn’t hit the mark.

Rebecca is a student at an all-girls boarding school (surprise). She totally wants to be gal pals with her bestie Lucy, but Lucy is too enraptured with Ernessa, the new student who totally isn’t a vampire, to notice.  (more…)

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Image: Poster for The Blair Witch Project (1999): A negative of white trees on a black background.

Although I still haven’t seen the new Blair Witch, I did rewatch the original recently!


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Image from The Witch website: a dark image with a goat; text is overlaid on the image: “GOAT: The He-Goat’s two horn’d crown doth reign / Through blackest Nature, His domain.”

The genre of horror doesn’t exist in a vacuum: what is scary isn’t the same throughout time or space. For example, my idea of a great scary story*:

On a hot and sunny day, your intrepid blogger was blindfolded and forced to attend a gender-reveal party for a baby.** Watch as they encounter…

Misgendering! [cut to “Well, hello, there, miss!”]

Cissplaining! [cut to “They/them aren’t real pronouns!”]

The very concept of binary genders assigned based on in-utero pics of baby’s genitals! [cut to BLOGGER, confused: “hamburger?! turtle?! are we speaking English rn does the ultrasound now tell you folks’ pronouns now?”]

Ruining cake with the arbitrary and artificial gender binary! [cut to CAKE oozing pink or blue]

Regrettably, being marginalized usually means folks are afraid of people like me: queer and genderqueer/gender non-conforming (though the brunt of that falls on trans women). Cultural fears, particularly about the marginalized gaining power and influence (or, self determination even), drive horror films. The vampire as a queer woman or a (somehow also queer) Eastern European; the serial killer as bisexual or trans; zombies as a metaphor for racial Others; and, among many others, witches. Witches are conflated with everything from the fear of ethnic Others (Roma, Creole, Latinx, African) to the generalized fear of women, including but not limited to women having rights to their own bodies, property, money, sexuality, and self determination.

Which brings me to The Witch, a horror film for Puritans by Puritans. (more…)

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IMDB has one of the most accurate but unintentionally hilarious descriptions for The Hunger (1983): “A love triangle develops between a beautiful yet dangerous vampire, her cellist companion, and a gerontologist.” Some spoilers (major one marked below).


Screenshot: Miriam, who has wavy blonde hair and is wearing an understated black skirt suit, plays “Lakme” on the piano for Sarah, who is in a white t-shirt and trousers. Sarah asks, “What’s that piece you’re playing?” screenshot from here (NSFW)

Miriam (Catherine Deneuve) and John (actual bisexual vampire of my heart David Bowie) are a vampire couple getting along fairly well until John starts aging rapidly. Apparently eternal life and eternal youth aren’t the same thing. Oops.


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One of my very favorite vines/tumblr posts of all times is an unintentionally hilarious clip of Ghost Adventures with a ghost who refuses to play by the gender binary.


Image: a small green light with the caption “beeping”

Investigator: [loudly & clearly] –you a male or a female spirit? Once for a male, twice for a female.


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Oh, The Blair Witch Project (1999); be still, my teenage heart. Broadly‘s interview of the cast, “They Wished I Was Dead’: How ‘The Blair Witch Project’ Still Haunts Its Cast,” stood apart for me from other interviews gearing up for Blair Witch (2016) because of the attention to Heather Donahue’s discussion about being a woman in film, being conflated with her character, and the famous and oft-parodied apology scene at the end of the film.

Image: Heather Donahue wearing a beanie, crying, speaking into a camera with the focus on her right eye. Via Broadly.

Image: Heather Donahue wearing a beanie, crying, speaking into a camera with the focus on her right eye. Via Broadly.


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