WOMEN’S STUDIES is about a graduate student in the titular subject who, along with three friends, winds up on the campus of a girls-only academy with an empowering feminist doctrine. The longer they stay, however, the more they discover about the school’s dark and violent side. The filmmaker’s wife, Cindy Marie Martin, co-produced and stars alongside Tara Garwood, Melisa Breiner, Laura Bloechl, James Radack, Kelley Slagle and NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD’s Judith O’Dea.
So, why is an “empowering feminist doctrine” always accompanied by a “dark and violent side” in popular culture?
Women who can indict patriarchy in various and complex ways = castration anxiety x 1,000,000. And you know there’s a group shower scene.
On the other hand, if the “empowering feminist doctrine” is to be at all effective it probably needs a revolutionary (read ‘dark and violent’) aspect. I was quite frustrated as a socialist feminist in a grad seminar on feminist theory packed with liberal feminists. Oh, the false consciousness…
Which is not to say that Mikhail didn’t completely nail the answer to your question.
I lost it on this one, for it is so true!
I love the way you re-frame the descriptions from my context, and I think that’s powerful re-positioning of the terms. The idea of a horror movie playing so transparently on the sub-texts that Laura Mulvey framed for feminist film criticism is fascinating. And while I’m sure there are one too many group shower scenes designed specifically for the male gaze, the idea that this film will butcher any idea of empowerment is probably the case on the surface.
Yet, the thing about cultural texts is they always cut both ways, and the idea of violence and horror married to the process of graduate school (as Abel Ferrara did poorly in The Addiction (1995)) and a “radical theory” like equality for women seems that it might be something to think about in a more aggregated sense of the state of horror and b-movies more generally–just look at MTI Film’s catalog—that could be an ongoing blog in and of itself.
Perhaps this film is far less reactionary then I read it immediately, and I think your comment here Ed suggests something along these lines, which is fascinating to me. The violence as a necessary element of a true revolutionary movement? I have talked a lot of revolution in a kind of jest recently, but the violence element is always frightening, yet nothing is more violent than the progressive notions of reason, enlightenment, and progress in my mind and perhaps b-movies remind us of the this to some degree.