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Thursday, October 15, 2015

3 Reasons Why Final Girl (2015) is NOT a Feminist Movie

As someone who has to catch her breath after walking up a flight of stairs, I vicariously kick ass and take names through action movies starring women. That’s probably why I had such high expectations for Final Girl (2015) starring Abigail Breslin and that guy who played Cato in The Hunger Games.

The premise itself is the film version of click bait. Four boys lure girls into the woods and proceed to hunt them down. All while wearing tuxedos. Then, one night, they lure the wrong girl into the woods. She is Veronica, the Final Girl a.k.a. a trained assassin sent to bring them to justice. All while wearing a strapless dress.

In theory, the movie sounds like a lot of fun. I expected the teen version of Angelina Jolie’s Salt, only with hotter guys and sassier dialogue. I was wrong. In fact, this movie made the feminist in me so angry I wanted to do my own hunting in the woods. Here are some of my issues with it:

Spoilers ahoy. You’ve been warned.

1. Veronica ran around the woods in a strapless dress that kept slipping down.

I’m supposed to believe that it’s realistic for Veronica, the titular Final Girl, to kick ass while pulling up her strapless dress at the same time? This sends all viewers the message that, yes, Veronica can take on four guys at once and come out on top. But that isn’t enough. She also has to look good while doing it.

What does this say to the teenage girls who have the misfortune of watching this movie? That it’s not enough to be talented/smart/kind/all of the above? That you also have to fit society’s typical standards of beauty in order to be considered kick ass?

Girls, if you’re reading this, you can be smart or cool or wonderful, even while dressed in sweats. Capisce?

2. The Final Girl, a trained assassin, had to drug the boys before taking them on…

I get it.

Men are physically stronger than women. The feminist in me can scream all she wants, but that still wouldn’t make my prior statement any less true. Therefore, a woman most likely cannot defeat four boys (grown men, really) on her own without a little pharmaceutical help.

However, I would like to argue that Veronica is a special case. She’s a trained assassin who is also supposed to be very smart. The boys she’s chasing may be stronger and more familiar with the terrain, but she has a decade of assassin training that they don’t. Wasn’t she trained to kill them off using the materials around her? Was she not taught how to defeat a group of men in hand-to-hand combat?

3. …and it wasn’t even her idea.

Veronica was nothing more than a tool.

She didn’t plan to hunt down the four boys in order to avenge the teenage girls they murdered. She wasn’t allowed to choose how to subdue them or the type of weapon she was going to finish them off with. She was never given a say in the matter.

She was merely given instructions.

This is my biggest problem with the movie.

Women, no matter who denies it, are perfectly capable of succeeding on their own. We do not need guidance from fathers, brothers, or male friends in order to succeed. We can choose to ask for it, but asking for guidance is one of the choices we are allowed to make. The bottom line is, the choice is still our own. Seems a simple enough concept, doesn’t it?

I had such high hopes for this movie. It could’ve turned the final girl trope so often found in horror movies into something spectacular, into something that will make women feel powerful the second they walk out of the cinema. Instead, it became another addition to the numerous horrendous portrayals of women in the media. Two thumbs down.

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