Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version

Spring 4-28-2018


Bosch, Brandon. Bad Boys and Final Girls: Fleshing Out Gender in Slasher and Horror Media." In Paul Booth and Alena Karkaias (Eds.), A Celebration of Slashers.


This chapter comes from a 10-minute talk at the DePaul Pop Culture Conference in Chicago. These essays were collected in the book A Celebration of Slashers. This book was edited by Paul Booth and Alena Karkanias and published in 2018.

Please contact me if you have any thoughts about this short chapter or decide to use it for a class.


When it comes to the slasher genre, typically only three types of people matter: the Slasher Villain, the Victims, and the Final Girl. Today I want to talk about how gender is often represented with these characters.

In sum, the slasher genre tends to cast more effeminate villains (as well as a few female villains driven by more stereotypical feminine concerns like family, love, and fame), punish overly sexual and feminine women, and typically spare less feminine, less sexual women. Arguably, these categories are based in part on our society's attitudes on gender and how it relates to (1) What makes people creepy? (2) What makes victims more deserving of punishment? And (3) What makes for a likable and effective survivor? The conventions of the slasher genre were laid down roughly 40 years ago by John Carpenter's influential Halloween. This filmand its imitators-have long been attacked for being misogynistic and a cinematic backlash against the sexual revolution. Are these criticisms still relevant for more recent slashers? And if so, why?