Discourses of Sexism in Movies

Discourses of Sexism in Movies

Because we all share the same socialization through the wider culture, familiar stock characters and plots are an effective way to quickly communicate an emotion, story element, or plot tension. For example, if a director wants to convey ideas about a “studious female,” he can quickly signal this idea by visually coding the character as someone who wears glasses, has brown hair, and dresses conservatively.

Conversely, in a slasher film, we know from the start which females will be murdered (all but one) and which won’t (only one will survive). The women who will be murdered are sexually promiscuous and often unintelligent and thus “deserve” to die. This is quickly signaled through cues in dress, behavior, and music. The audience, because it has seen these signifiers repeatedly, immediately understands the character types. This process normalizes these outcomes for women and what they deserve. What women deserve is always tied to their relationships to men, whether she will be killed by a man if she is bad, or get the man if she is good. Further, because the women who die in slasher films are highly sexualized, the violence toward them is also sexualized. The repetitiveness of these story lines makes these roles and outcomes for women normal and unremarkable, while reinforcing these concepts under the surface of our

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