Horror as a genre holds a unique place in pop culture as a space in which to explore our fears in ways that allow us to embrace and confront them. It is also a genre that relies heavily on tropes and audience familiarity, building on established conventions. Many of these tropes are gendered, creating a distinct language to horror with established roles for male and female characters. These gender roles are often restrictive and reductive, playing on outdated stereotypes and perpetuating them. Hysteria takes a look at horror through a feminist lens, and seeks to address and then subvert those gendered tropes. Using fiction to comment on film, Hysteria is a love letter to horror, written with a careful consideration to its vast history. That said, the work also seeks to open up a much-needed space in a genre that despite being male-dominated, is often predicated on representing and even exploiting feminine experiences. Taking inspiration from different sub-genres of horror from slasher to supernatural, the stories are based on an analysis of film and an effort to make room for intersectional perspectives and female voices. Hysteria stands to prove that there can be powerful, well-written, and, yes, scary horror stories that defy gendered tropes and embrace a feminist perspective.
Dziekan, Anastasia, "Hysteria: A Collection of Feminist Horror" (2021). English Summer Fellows. 23.
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