Crime & Mystery

The Trope of the Murderous Bisexual Woman

Basic Instinct

There are a number of films — frequently defined as “erotic thrillers” — which feature bisexual women who are violent, manipulative, and even murderous. … The trope of the promiscuous, aggressive, violent, and unstable bisexual woman is one that truly needs to disappear. Even if directors do not intend any harm to queer people or communities, these inaccurate portrayals lead movie-goers to believe that bisexuality is something dangerous, to be feared.

Daughters of Horror Masters: Examining the Films of Asia Argento and Jennifer Chambers Lynch

Scarlet Diva and Boxing Helena

I’ve chosen to focus primarily on the debut films of Asia Argento and Jennifer Chambers Lynch: ‘Scarlet Diva’ and ‘Boxing Helena.’ … Long story short, these women intrigued me. Both are the daughters of prominent filmmakers, and both released their first feature film at the age of 25. My own father was a juvenile probation officer, so I couldn’t exactly relate in terms of family ties, but being 25 years old myself, I admired their gusto.

My Sister’s Keeper: When Sisterhood Sours in Horror Films

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane 2

But there’s also a darker side to sisterhood, where rivalries take violent turns and where bonds are almost too strong, superseding everything else including reality. When sisters are pushed to the extremes, when women don’t meet society’s expectations, what does this tell us about the constraints on women to conform to idealized versions of femininity and sisterhood? Are bad sisters just failures or are they simply women with complicated narratives that a patriarchal society doesn’t allow room for?

The Women Men Rescue (or Choose Not To): ‘The Witness’ and ‘Disorder’

The Witness and Disorder

Saving a beautiful woman from danger is such a pervasive male fantasy that right now, no matter where you are you could probably see an example of this trope by randomly flipping through channels or wandering into a multiplex. But what if the man was never able to save the woman? Or what if he has problems of his own that keep him from being a stereotypical hero?

In Rewatching ‘The X-Files,’ One Thing Is Clear: Mulder Is a Real Jerk

The X-Files miniseries

I realized something even worse: Agent Mulder is not a dreamboat. In fact, he’s an asshole. An asshole who spends most of the series mansplaining to Agent Scully. … Twenty years after ‘The X-Files’ debuted, it’s still rare to see a female character who’s as complicated and resilient as Scully — especially who works in science.

‘Contact’: The Power of Feminist Representation


‘Contact’ remains a singularly astute portrayal of a woman combating the oppressive confines of institutional sexism, as well as a reminder of how deeply mainstream cinema still needs progressive feminist portrayals that contradict gender clichés. … How refreshing that a woman’s personal arc is considered important enough to be entwined alongside the movie’s core theme of discovering meaning in our seemingly meaningless universe.

Beverly Crusher (‘Star Trek: TNG’) and Dana Scully (‘The X-Files’): The Medical and the Maternal

Beverly Crusher and Dana Scully

The impact of Dr. Beverly Crusher and Agent Dana Scully cannot be understated, not just on the landscape of female representation on television or the portrayal of women scientists but the way they also drove young women to pursue STEM fields in reality. …They transcend mere descriptors like woman, lover, mother, caregiver, skeptic, scientist — because they’re all that and more.

‘Contact’ 20 Years Later: Will We Discover Aliens Before Fixing Sexism?


But the entire gist is still pretty radical: A big-budget film about a woman leading a monumental mission that, if successful, would be the most important discovery of our time. ‘Contact’s feminism is all the more stunning to watch two decades after its release because of its stingingly accurate portrayal of sexism in science and refusal to appease the hetero-male gaze.

The Female Scientists of ‘The X-Files’

The X-Files_Dana Scully

‘The X-Files’ consistently worked against the idea that women could not be capable scientists. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that the character of Dana Scully inspired many young women to pursue education and careers in science and technology – what is now known as “The Scully Effect.”

‘The Stepfather,’ Toppling Patriarchy, and Love of 80s Horror Ladies

The Stepfather

Stephanie emerges as a poised, perspicacious, and resilient female lead. She is a wonderfully surprising alternative from most of the panoply of horror heroines who are tortured, fight, and scream their way through the terrifying films of the 80s. … Stephanie embodies what each of the archetypally male characters in the film fails to, and in doing so transcends the clutches of gender expectations in the film…

‘Videodrome’ and the Pornographic Femme Fatale


David Cronenberg’s sci-fi-horror-noir ‘Videodrome’ updated the femme fatale as a response to media-saturated late twentieth-century culture. …The femme fatale is reborn and unleashed to warn of contemporary dangers, including how women’s media representation as sex objects is connected to capitalist propaganda, often with the intent of making a violent agenda seem pleasurable.

‘Carnival of Souls’ and the Mysteries of the Insubordinate Woman

Carnival of Souls

What is so terribly “weird and unnatural” … about Mary? While writer/director Herk Harvey and writer John Clifford may not have intended to make Mary a subversive woman, she certainly was in a few ways. … Keep in mind, her actions and her situation are supposed to be terrifying. Only because she was presumed to be dead could she act in ways “unfit” for a woman. Uncoupled, hardhearted, curt, and curious.