In this episode, we celebrate our new ebook, Beyond empowertainment: Feminist horror and the struggle for female agency. In addition to discussing the films featured in the book, Editor-in-Chief Alex Heeney, Executive Editor Orla Smith, and Editor at Large Mary Angela Rowe talk about what feminist horror is, the strengths of the horror genre, and the book’s origins.
In the last few decades, there has been a shift towards a new kind of feminism in horror: increasingly, films tell stories about women’s internal conflicts within oppressive systems, rather than depicting their physical struggles to fight the patriarchy. These new films complicate the simplistic, vicarious satisfaction we experience when watching female ’empowertainment’ stories. They force us to confront the reality that, even when women assume positions of power, oppressive systems persist.
This episode provides a behind-the-scenes look at how the book’s editors think about horror. They engage with films including Personal Shopper, Prevenge, Raw, Revenge, Thelma, and Unsane to illustrate what draws them to the genre.
Show Notes and Recommended Reading
Read excerpts from Beyond empowertainment: Feminist horror and the struggle for female agency:
- Alex Heeney’s interview with Personal Shopper director Olivier Assayas
- Elena Lazic’s interview with Revenge director Coralie Fargeat and star Matilda Lutz
- Mary Angela Rowe’s review of Julia Ducournau’s Raw
- Orla Smithe essay on how “Thelma is more than just a modern Carrie“
More previews are available on the ebook page.
Listen to our prior podcast episodes on:
Read the Anne Helen Petersen essay Mary Angela mentioned about public pregnancies.
Follow Sady Doyle’s livetweet of Scream beginning here.
Take the Feminist Horror Challenge. We’re challenging you to watch one film a week, with each week dedicated to a particular kind of horror film. Discover recent horror films that are prioritizing women’s interior lives and struggles and complicating conventional ‘feminist’ horror narratives.