Monday, November 17, 2008

Final Girl vs. Kinderwhore

I don't watch many horror films - I find them quite boring, actually. But I've always been fascinated by the 'Final Girl' concept. Is she a male fantasy? A female fantasy? How does her identity change throughout the film? What portion of the audience identifies with her? Why is she always a virgin? And why all the contradictions?

But I'm not going to try and analyze the Final Girl here. Instead, I present you the musical Final Girl, of sorts: the Kinderwhore.

Like the Final Girl, she's definitely feminine. Babydoll dress, long hair, makeup. She's innocent, virginal - note the wide eyes, the vaguely 'schoolgirl' look (shoes, plastic hair clips). And also like the Final Girl, she appears to be in a bad situation; messed up hair and makeup, ripped dress, etc. Lastly, she is holding a phallic (musical) weapon - the electric guitar.

But the music itself paints a... rather different picture, to say the least:

The Kinderwhore isn't even remotely feminine. And there's no killer to escape from. she's not 'rising to the occasion' - instead, she is the aggressor!

According to Clover (quoted in the linked article), the Final Girl is:
...feminine enough to act out in a gratifying way unapproved for adult males, the terrors and masochistic pleasures of the underlying fantasy, but not so feminine as to disturb the structures of male competence and sexuality.

The Final Girl is a blend. She's temporarily masculine enough to succeed, but feminine enough to maintain the patriarchal status quo. The Kinderwhore is a contradiction. She looks feminine, victimized. She looks like a virgin. But she's really powerful, sexually dominant, and strong - and if she seems destructive, at least she's very much in control of her own destiny.

Also, she's definitely not planning on being killed anytime soon!

If you didn't catch it, the pertinent lyric is:

You’re dead meat motherfucker
You don’t try to rape a goddess

From a purely feminist point of view, I'm not entirely sure what to think of the Kinderwhore. On the one hand, the music is rather violent (especially toward other women). Furthermore, while I'm certainly not opposed to expressions of rage, the rage expressed in the music seems more destructive than healthy.

I often find it oddly comforting, though. I think that the existence of violent, powerful, female archetypes, who are neither masculine nor a reaction to abuse, yet who aren't portrayed as evil, is both valuable and interesting.

Plus, screaming along to Kat or Courtney is sometimes just plain fun!

No comments: