Author Archives: Sonya Vatomsky

Ghost at the Feast: The Gendered Experience of Fear & Better Living Through Horror Movies

You're Next (2011)

You’re Next (2011)


I’ve been watching a lot of horror movies after my assault.

This surprises people, women in particular — horror as a genre is so overrun with male fears and fantasies that it’s almost impossible to separate the human desire to feel fear in a safe, contained environment from allyship with the male fear narrative. They are conflated. Empirically, depending on how broad the range of movies you watch, they can be identical. Because in the same way that a nearly all-male literary canon shapes our personal narratives, male identity also shapes our fears and our perceptions of what should be feared.

I’ve been watching a lot of horror movies after my assault. Not immediately after; immediately after I lied in bed (I always forget the correct verb. Chickens lay. Chickens lay. If I’m scared, then, what do I do?) through the entirety of the L Word and drank too much and went out too much and walked around with my fists clenched and experienced the internet with my internet-fists clenched — everything made me jumpy and defensive and my base anxiety level was basically terrible. I yelled at a lot of men on Facebook and then hid in my room. Continue reading

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