If There Wasn’t Enough Misogyny In The Real World, The Paranormal World Also Has It. Ghosts Are Always Females With Bad Hair
I am a horror movie enthusiast and so much that I literally have no standards. All year round, I watch out for movies and shows in this genre and I make it a point to watch them all. I have sworn my patronage to the paranormal and if you think the movie having a shitty plot can deter me from watching it, then you’re mistaken. You know how people watch porn if the moves are sexy, irrespective of the plot? Yeah, that’s me with the horror genre. Recently, I went to a shitty theatre to watch a shitty horror movie, in a language I don’t even understand.
A creepy woman on its fours, the dark dingy basements of a house with a gory past – all of this is great and intrigues me. You know, how they show bathtubs filled with blood and clogged with endless strands of hair – which honestly is scary but scarier for plumbers who have to deal with that, right? But after dedicatedly watching horror movies, a pattern emerges and you begin to question…why are all mean spirits women? And after a point, it’s tiring to watch the same thing over and over again. They don’t even put any effort in changing their look or the stunts they perform. Is there a paranormal textbook we need to get our hands on? Is there an association that has made men ineligible to become ghosts? So the trailer of Vicky Kaushal’s Bhoot Part 1: The Haunted Ship dropped today and should I even say that the spirit haunting the ship is female? At this point, if you line up all these women from The Grudge, Ring and other horror movies, I am not sure you’ll be able to tell them apart in a line up.
Women as victims
If it wasn’t enough to deem us as the weaker sex, the misogyny has spilled on to the paranormal world. Raaz was about a woman who was wronged by her lover; in Ragini MMS, a mother was burnt after being accused of her son’s death; Bhoot was about a woman who got killed when she rejected a man’s lustful advances. All these female ghosts (then alive, now ghosts that is) were wronged and were victims of abuse. They either committed suicide or were killed and then returned to avenge their deaths. Women must not have to die and come back as shadows to punish their perpetrators. It would be nice if justice didn’t require them to come back from the dead. On the other hand, if they show a male ghost, he has literally no sob story to tell. He is just pure evil. Some of them have been murderers, rapists, pedophiles, etc in their living times. None of them have been a victim to anything except their own sick mind.
Powerful women are cast as witches
Across the globe, men like their women to be submissive and a step behind. Our society cannot see a woman as stronger, sharper, smarter, richer, etc. You know, how an assertive woman is often called a bitch while a man like that is said to have good leadership skills? We tend to attach negative qualities to an intimidating woman. And this seems like an easy escape to show that strength and power in a woman’s hands is rather evil.
Why are witches always deemed to be female? Men too practise witchcraft but we use more magical terms for them like warlock, magus, sorcerer, and wizard. None of these come attached with the same stigma that “witch” does. In fact, unlike their portrayal in the films, the witches don’t ride a broomstick or have sexual intercourse with the devil. Witches are supposed to be women of great intellect and they are shown us ugly, evil and filthy because of their ability to intimidate men. Boohoo for the narrative. Then again, it looks like this story was propagated mainly by men because, well, it suits them.
ALSO READ: 5 Thoughts I Had When I Watched The Trailer For Bhoot, The Haunted Ship. All Of Them Were About How Funny It Is.
Our society’s fear of female ambitions and autonomy
We’ve grown up watching horror movies with a female wraith, wailing and seeking revenge with magnified displays of anger. These women have power but they are misusing it and destroying everything that comes in way. All of these films are centred on the fear that hems our society – fear of a women being independent, having ambitions, being able to exhibit anger when wronged and taking ownership of her desires. Through these films, we instil this fear in children and they grow up connecting a strong woman to a chudail or a daayan.
At this point, it’s almost become a template – the haunting is done with a woman with long, matted hair possibly because of the lack of shampoo in the paranormal world, a white outfit, mostly tattered but in areas where it doesn’t expose too much lest the lead man get attracted to the ghost, and grey-ish body with splashes of blood. It’s so predictable, like Bhoot, The Haunted Ship’s trailer.