women! if they don’t get you with their knives, they’ll get you with their vaginas

I’m starting to get it. Men are simply so piss-in-their-pants terrified of women that they must reduce us to bits and pieces in order to even begin to cope with the horror.

No? So quit it with crap like this, movie industry run by men:


Ah, the ol’ Girl With No Face Is Coming To Kill You. Please scroll down for more examples. I had no idea this was such a visual cliché. Some poor graphic designer needs to get out of the house and meet some real women once in a while. We’re not out to kill you… honestly!

That’s the Region 1 DVD of Stalker on the left; it’s out October 15 [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon Canada], and available to rent now on Amazon Instant Video. It’s been available in Region 2 — cover on the right — for a while [Amazon U.K.]. Do the Brits find women slightly less scary?


These poor boys! They have no idea, as they are about to embark on their journey into this head- and torsoless sexy lady’s crotch, that she is going to eat them alive with her vagina.

Come As You Are is out on October 7 in Region 2 [Amazon U.K.].

previous: decapitation sexy!

I mean, really, what does a woman need with a head or a brain when she’s got bazongas like these, amirite, guys?


Bloody Homecoming is new in Region 1 on Tuesday [Amazon US] [Amazon Canada]. Romance and Cigarettes is a rerelease of the 2006 film coming September 30th in Region 2 [Amazon UK].

previous: woman, hide your face

So, the depiction of a woman who’s been anonymized and dehumanized, it’s a portrait of powerlessness, right? Take a look at this:


A press release tells us what Rhymes for Young Ghouls — which just made its debut at the Toronto Film Festival — is about:

Red Crow Mi’gMaq reservation, 1976: By government decree, every Indian child under the age of 16 must attend residential school. In the kingdom of the crow, that means imprisonment at St. Dymphna’s. That means being at the mercy of “Popper”, the sadistic Indian agent who runs the school.

At 15, Aila is the weed princess of Red Crow. Hustling with her uncle Burner, she sells enough dope to pay Popper her “truancy tax”, keeping her out her out of St.Ds. But when Aila’s drug money is stolen and her father Joseph returns from prison, the precarious balance of Aila’s world is destroyed.

Her only options are to run or fight … and Mi’gMaq don’t run.”

It sounds potentially interesting, a tale about a powerless girl who fights back.

But check this out:


Mademoiselle C is a documentary about Carine Roitfeld, the editor of French Vogue for 10 years, which made her one of the most powerful women in the fashion world. So why is she depicted in a pose of dehumanized powerlessness?

Be forewarned, ladies! There’s no amount of power you can achieve that cannot be downplayed and dismissed.

previous: baby got back (and no face)

Reader singlestick note in comments that the poster for the upcoming film I Used to Be Darker is somewhat problematic:


Maybe the film should be titled I Used to Have a Face.

Alas, the poster for Devil’s Pass (aka The Dyatlov Pass Incident) — which isn’t just a good spooky movie but notable for the fact that the leader of the central group of protagonists is a woman — also depicts an anonymous (and slightly monstrous; note the claws) female figure with her back turned:


Always be sure to show plenty of skin, ladies. Just don’t show your face. It might lead others into mistaking you for a person.

previous: my vagina let me show you it


Is a lady’s crotchal area like a garden, or a fruit stand? Only her doctor, her lover, she, and the world entire know for sure!


On the left: the newly released poster for Fading Gigolo, from writer-director John Turturro, about a florist who develops a sideline in beflowering women’s naughty bits. No, wait: it’s about

Fioravante [who] decides to become a professional Don Juan as a way of making money to help his cash-strapped friend, Murray. With Murray acting as his “manager”, the duo quickly finds themselves caught up in the crosscurrents of love and money.

I have no idea what that means, but I guess it has something to do with women who have terrible gardening accidents.

On the right is the DVD cover for An Awkward Sexual Adventure, available on demand from Amazon Instant Video and on Region 1 DVD from Amazon U.S. and Amazon Canada. This is apparently the tale of a girl who takes an afterschool job as a fruit vendor, and never has time to change out of her uniform before her shift starts. Or else it’s this:

Desperate for sex tips after his girlfriend dumps him, an uptight accountant meets a beautiful stripper who expands his horizons, complete with trips to massage parlors, S&M toys and cross-dressing in this sweet yet raunchy comedy.

Also: they eat a lot of cantaloupe.

What is clear, however, is that neither of these movies is actually about the owner of the crotchal areas depicted, but are instead about how men benefit from access to said crotchal areas.

Fuck this shit.

previous: scary headless women are coming to kill you


I like how the Amazon description of Alyce Kills — coming to Region 1 DVD on August 20 — makes it sound at first as if it’s a story about a woman:

A young woman struggles to keep it together after tragically killing her best friend. Haunted by guilt she begins to unravel; losing sleep, losing her job and eventually her sanity. When she finally decides to take control, she unleashes enough horror and chaos to satisfy any gorehound.

But then right there at the end [emphasis mine], it becomes clear that the only purpose of this tale is to satisfy the viewer’s bloodthirst.

Open 24/7 — now on region-free DVD from Amazon U.S. and Amazon Canada — sounds charming:

Late at night in a remote backroad restaurant, the customers are trying to stay awake. To keep boredom at bay, there’s nothing better than horror, cannibalism, sex and violence.

Bikini violence by anonymous women is the best.

previous: my back let me show you it

Need a womanly shape without any of that nasty personhood getting in the way? Anonymize her by having her turn her back to the viewer. Almost as good as a burqa!


That’s the U.S. DVD of Assassins Tale on the left, and the British DVD of Evil Dead on the right. Demonstrating that treating women like objects crosses genres and international lines!

It’s not always shitty junk movies that do this, either. Shell is a remarkable British movie about life for a teenage girl in very isolated rural Scotland, featuring a female protagonist who is a fully fledged human being. And yet this is how the Region 2 DVD wants to sell you on it:


Part of me wants to be generous and say that this is merely an expression of how she wants to run away from this awful place. But then my brain kicks back into gear and knows that this is suggesting generic-female-in-need-of-rescue because acknowledging her as one specific girl with lots of human issues — as, perhaps, with a closeup on her angry or sullen or bored face — would be too scary.

previous: women are nothing more than their bodies

Women! If only we could do away with their pesky brains and identifying faces, they would be perfect. Wait: Who says we can’t?

Nipples and Palm Trees House of Pleasures

A user review of Nipples & Palm Trees [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon Instant Video] [Amazon Canada] [Amazon U.K.] warns us:

Don’t let the title fool you, this is a real movie.

Surprisingly funny, and witty. Jackson, the main character goes through his daily routine as a struggling artist looking for love in Los Angeles.

If he’s looking for love, might I respectfully suggest he might have more luck with a whole woman rather than a headless corpse?

House of Pleasures (aka House of Tolerance in the U.K.) [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon Instant Video] [Amazon Canada] [Amazon U.K.] is also a “real movie”:

A highly cinematic and atmospheric look at the final days of a turn of the century brothel when much of the Parisian sex trade was confined to grand maisons, populated by elegant madams and vetted clientele and Xavier Beauvois.

One user deems it “Anti-Erotica, An Ode to Female Suffering.” Well, of course the poor woman is suffering: her head’s been cut off.

As always in our culture: sexy means “conventionally attractive white woman’s body presented for the titillation of heterosexual men.” It’s actually a refreshing change of pace when the headless woman isn’t white, as on the theatrical poster for Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon Canada], which I featured a while back, before I decided I needed to start collecting this shit in one place:


Diversity in misogyny!

previous: anonymous silhouette pregnant with Hell Baby

Teaser poster for the upcoming horror comedy Hell Baby [official site]:


There’s an actual woman in the film who’s pregnant with this little devil — she’s played by Leslie Bibb. But what’s more important, clearly, is the unborn creature (who wants to bet it’ll be male?), not the woman who’s carrying the monster. Naturally.

previous: headless prostitutes are teh sexy

American Courtesans

Check out the poster for the film American Courtesans, coming to Region 1 DVD on July 12. It’s not porn — it’s a serious documentary about sex workers. From the official site:

“American Courtesans” is an intimate portrayal of modern day escorts in America. In our own words we discuss our lives, the events that led us into our profession, and the reasons we stay. We welcome you into our world for a brief moment and will be candid and honest about what life is like for us; each of us willing to offer up our life experiences. We only ask that you listen with an open mind, and allow us to show you who we are.

We will address the stereotyping and social stigma attached to this profession and what it has cost us. You will see who we are through eyes of our clients, spouses, children, and parents, along with the contributions and impact it has had on their lives. This is a true documentary so you will also find that many of us have made poor choices, based on life circumstances, that we are vividly candid about.

We are women who come from all walks of life, we are your neighbors, your daughters, your mothers, and your sisters. We shop in the same stores as you and eat right beside you without you ever knowing we exist. We are American Courtesans and we welcome you to our world.

So: the film is about real women doing a real job that can be really tough. And this is being sold by reducing them to anonymous “hot” bodies.

previous: how movie marketing objectifies and dehumanizes women

Movie 43I’m talking literally. With a startling regularity, movie posters and DVD covers reduce women to objects, to representations of vague, general “womanness” rather than individual people who happen to be women. Sometimes this takes form as a caricature-like rendering of a generic female body; sometimes it means we get a photograph of an anonymous woman who is faceless or headless, her identifying features cropped out of the image.

I’m sick of it, and I’m gonna start calling it out. Like with this variation, to the right, of a Movie 43 theatrical poster that’s on the film’s Amazon Instant Video page. We see this sort of thing a lot, a headless female figure not meant to represent a character in the movie but merely indicating a sort of generic “sexiness”… because women’s bodies are all about promising sex to the (presumed heterosexual male) viewer.

And these are fun, no?

A Labor of Love The Taste of Money

A Labor of Love is an apparently classic documentary that will be released next week on Region 1 DVD. The Amazon description is interesting:

Vinegar Syndrome proudly presents the home video debut of what Roger Ebert called “an absorbing document [that] captures the human reality of the sexual experience” A LABOR OF LOVE documents the heart felt and earnest attempt by a naive Chicago filmmaker to create an X rated movie. Between struggles with the cast, the production forges on in a manner which Variety called “intelligent and thoroughly entertaining – a frequently hysterical group portrait” and Hadrian Belove of Cinefamily acclaimed as “a lost v‚rit‚ masterpiece – a movie-about-movies documentary classic.’

An anonymous female shape best represents “the human reality of the sexual experience”? In a cultural shorthand in which the female form equals sex, I guess it does.

A Taste of Money is also out next week on Region 1 DVD. This is what it’s about:

In a mansion on the outskirts of Seoul lives one of the richest families in South Korea. Patriarch Yoon is the president of a multinational conglomerate, but his wife Madame Baek really holds all of the power. Her personal secretary Young-Jak, a handsome young man newly introduced to the world of wealth and influence, deals with the family’s immoral — and frequently illegal — activities while he awaits his own opportunity to make it rich. When Madame Baek catches her husband having an affair and exacts her revenge by seducing Young-Jak, a torrid series of intra-familial deceptions ensues in this sexy and controversial erotic thriller from South Korean master Im Sang-soo.

So here’s a film about a powerful woman who seduces a handsome young man… and the DVD cover offers us a fully dressed man and a completely naked woman, whose face is turned away from us, rendering her an anonymous object the possession of which represents a man’s power. Why doesn’t the cover show us an older woman clutching a naked young man greedily to her? Because that would look ridiculous. So why did no one think this looked ridiculous?

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Isabelle May
Isabelle May
Tue, Jun 04, 2013 12:04am

Movie 43 is a massive crock of shite anyway, but you’d think the other two would not be so daft with their marketing DX

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Isabelle May
Tue, Jun 04, 2013 12:40am

I’m sure those other two are considered classy and elegant by marketing types.

Isabelle May
Isabelle May
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Tue, Jun 04, 2013 12:50am

I’m now wondering how many years it will take before we (society) look back on those covers and go “wow, those look outdated and tacky!”…

Matt Clayton
Matt Clayton
reply to  Isabelle May
Wed, Jun 05, 2013 2:25am

Movie 43‘s poster already looks like a relic left over from the late 1990s – early 2000s. Why not single out Machete Kills‘s objectification of Michelle Rodriguez, Lady Gaga, Alexa Vega, and Sofia Vergara?

Although, I suppose you could sort the latter as satiric sendups of the 1970s grindhouse posters.

reply to  Matt Clayton
Wed, Jun 05, 2013 4:21pm

I am not sure that I see the comparison here. The posters that MaryAnn talks about here all show a woman as passive, naked, and most notably, anonymous, without a head or face showing. The “Machete Kills” poster for Michelle Rodriguez is not much different than the posters for Marko Zaror or William Sadler in the same film: tough characters with impressive weapons. And Rodriguez is fully clothed, with only the barest hint of cleavage. The poster for Sofia Vargara parodies objectification, showing a woman not with spectacular cleavage, but with a spectacular machine gun bra.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Matt Clayton
Wed, Jun 05, 2013 4:36pm

What singlestick said.

Tue, Jun 04, 2013 10:13am

Anything that hides the woman’s face, to start with. I seem to remember at least one poster of the 1980s which used a woman’s spread legs to frame the important bit (the faces of the male stars). Meat is meat.

Tue, Jun 04, 2013 6:08pm

Interesting that the poster for A Taste of Money, and the Region B Blu-ray art for the DVD show women’s faces, and more characters from the movie.



Some marketing departments seem to insist on on lazy, and sexist representation, as the “best” way to push erotic movies. Sadly, just as many magazines, including many women’s fashion and culture magazines, insist on using photoshop to present unreal images of women (and men), I doubt that marketing departments can be persuaded to change the way that they depict women.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  singlestick
Wed, Jun 05, 2013 4:35pm

If we scream loud enough and long enough, they’ll hear. We need to shame them, and keep on shaming them.

Wed, Jun 05, 2013 7:41pm

I just came across an old interview with Junot Diaz:


There was a passage that got quoted around the Internet quite a few times, but I’ll paste it here for people like me who missed it the first time around:

“You guys know about vampires?” Diaz asked. “You know, vampires have no
reflections in a mirror? There’s this idea that monsters don’t have
reflections in a mirror. And what I’ve always thought isn’t that
monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. It’s that if you want to
make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any
reflection of themselves. And growing up, I felt like a monster in some
ways. I didn’t see myself reflected at all. I was like, “Yo, is
something wrong with me? That the whole society seems to think that
people like me don’t exist? And part of what inspired me, was this deep
desire that before I died, I would make a couple of mirrors. That I
would make some mirrors so that kids like me might seem themselves
reflected back and might not feel so monstrous for it.”

b.lynch black
b.lynch black
Thu, Jun 06, 2013 4:34pm

it’s not just movie ads, as i’m sure everyone is aware, but this morning i found myself staring at a particularly egregious ad on the back of the city bus in front of mine…. a woman’s barely bikini bottom covered…er, bottom, with the name of a vodka stamped across it. and i’m naming you GEORGI Vodka… all of their ads are disgusting and sexist — as are most liquor or beer ads — but this one really rankled me today.

Wed, Jun 26, 2013 6:22pm

drat, i just saw an article that was decrying the same exact thing on book covers!

here’s something i got from Goodreads on the same subject:


reply to  bronxbee
Wed, Jun 26, 2013 9:32pm

A similar article showed up in the New York Times Book Review about a week ago. It’s about women with their backs to the reader:


I suppose it’s possible that the art directors are just fans of “Christina’s World,” and they think they’re adding a sense of mystery to the book.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Danielm80
Wed, Jun 26, 2013 11:24pm

There’s lots of those for films, too. I’ll be getting to those. :->

reply to  Danielm80
Thu, Jun 27, 2013 7:40pm

yes, maybe that was the article i was thinking of…

reply to  Danielm80
Thu, Jul 11, 2013 1:57pm

I understand why it’s problematic to have anonymous women’s backs/bodies on book covers. The thing is, I’ve been reading a lot of YA sci-fi/fantasy novels, and the cover trend that would seem to be its opposite — showing the faces of random beautiful teenagers who don’t seem to have anything to do with the story — doesn’t really do much for me either. The cover models are all generically pretty, in a way that doesn’t evoke the characters for me at all, and they’re all just standing around, not doing anything connected to the events in the book.

To be honest, when it comes to book covers I’d rather leave the characters’ faces to my own imagination. I’d rather see people’s backs or silhouettes or distant figures, if there were a way to do that without immediately transforming the figure into a sexual object. Even better, I’d like to see more covers focus on an element of the story that isn’t just a person’s face. (The covers of the Game of Thrones books are able to do this well.) It just seems like there’s generally not a lot of creative effort being put into YA covers these days.

I’m a big fan of “Christina’s World” myself, by the way. And of Andrew Wyeth’s work in general.

reply to  Bluejay
Thu, Jul 11, 2013 2:38pm

My favorite movie is Harold and Maude. I watched it on blu-ray last year, and I realized something about the film: Maude is a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. But her character doesn’t ever feel like a sexist cliché, and she doesn’t seem like an accessory who’s there only to help Harold on his journey. She’s just Maude.

If more filmmakers created female characters who were fully-developed human beings, then maybe the MPDG wouldn’t be an outdated trope. She’d be a symbol of creativity and intelligence and independent thinking. She’d be liberating.

Unfortunately, most filmmakers aren’t Hal Ashby, and most book designers aren’t Andrew Wyeth. So we’re stuck with pedestrian movies and pedestrian book covers and a culture that rewards sexism. Until that changes, “Christina’s World” is hanging at the Museum of Modern Art.

reply to  Bluejay
Thu, Jul 11, 2013 4:25pm

The designers of book covers (as distinct from the artists) tend in my experience to be very much tied into the marketing mindset — the cover is just another part of the book’s overall gestalt of advertising. A face aids identification with the protagonist, a long view into the distance says it’s a “slow” book, and so on.

Matt Clayton
Matt Clayton
Thu, Jul 11, 2013 4:52am

You bring up fantastic points here on virtually every poster you featured, but I personally didn’t find the Evil Dead poster that sexual or objectifying. The usage of that image (last scene of the movie) is more puzzling than anything else.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Matt Clayton
Thu, Jul 11, 2013 4:03pm

It doesn’t need to be sexual to be objectifying. And that Evil Dead cover *is* objectifying in the most literal way: it renders a person as an object, a graphical element in the design. I don’t know what’s supposed to be scary about that image, except that it’s a woman who is, by implication, evil and (un)dead. (We can supposedly presume it’s a woman because she’s wearing a skirt.)

Think about it this way: whatever impact that Evil Dead cover is meant to have, would it be the same with a man in the same pose?

Matt Clayton
Matt Clayton
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Thu, Jul 11, 2013 4:07pm

Good point.

reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Sat, Jan 04, 2014 6:33pm

of course not, thats why they chose a woman.. duhhh.

Paul Wartenberg
Sun, Aug 11, 2013 1:43am

There was a horror movie awhile back that had the distressed heroine in a darkened bathroom in her undies, with her bubble butt prominently displayed. Forgot the actress’s name already but Gary Oldman was in it as a exorcist rabbi.

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  Paul Wartenberg
Sun, Aug 11, 2013 3:46am

Your’re thinking of Odette Annabel in The Unborn: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1139668/

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
Sun, Aug 11, 2013 3:49am

Re: heroine’s showing their back. It’s actually not as bad as that. In fact, one could argue that it’s a step up, insofar as it’s an iconic way to show manly men being manly. http://www.tor.com/blogs/2013/01/the-19th-century-painting-that-most-blockbuster-movie-posters-are-based-on

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Sun, Aug 11, 2013 3:30pm






So, I guess here is where I saw the thing about the Friedrich painting. Must be getting my blogs confused in my old age.

Sat, Aug 17, 2013 10:22pm

We can now add the poster for Fading Gigolo to the list http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2258345/?ref_=sr_2 , which is especially odd since it’s about gigolos, not lady prostitutes..

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Annem
Sun, Aug 25, 2013 4:17pm

Ha! I just saw your comment after I posted the update with that poster.

Christophe C
Christophe C
Mon, Aug 19, 2013 10:18am

Amusing, I noted the same “beheaded” or “twisted” women on movie posters, and wrote similar posts one year ago, with collages of my own. Just have a look!

Beheaded women on movie posters: http://afficheschristophecourtois.blogspot.fr/2012/03/la-femme-sans-tete.html

Twisted women on movie posters: http://afficheschristophecourtois.blogspot.fr/2012/06/les-actrices-sont-elles-tordues.html


MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Christophe C
Sun, Aug 25, 2013 4:16pm

I’m glad other people are noticing!

Sun, Aug 25, 2013 5:07pm

I wish I had more time or talent to do it myself, but I would love to see these kinds of posters with a reversal of gender: the midsection of a dude in track shorts with a carrot and a couple of new potatoes in his lap illustrates “Manic Pixie Sex Boy!” Or, a guy with, I don’t know, an evergreen branch and holly berries draped over his crotch for the movie “Older Women Also Like Sex, Get Over It, It’s Not That Weird.” Etc.

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 9:49pm

In a possibly related way, can anyone explain to me why the poster for the indie film “I Used to Be Darker” shows the woman from the back, faceless?


The film itself does not appear to be denigrating to women, but movie marketing departments seem to have gone totally out of control and use the same visual tropes no matter what. If this connects to the theme of the film in any way, I would love to understand how that might work.

Thu, Sep 12, 2013 8:11pm

Instead of seeing crap like We’re the Millers, you should be seeing films like Things Never Said (http://thingsneversaid.com/) which show a positive image of women. If you and others stop watching and writing about movies that degrade women, fewer of those will be promoted and fewer will be seen and made down the road. The industry probably wants female writers like you to complain so that their films will get more promotion even if it’s “negative”.

Why do you see more films like Things Never Said? If you don’t make the effort to watch films like that, then why even bother to complain?

reply to  Kelly
Thu, Sep 12, 2013 8:54pm

(1.) I’m not sure why you posted your comment on this thread, rather than on a thread about We’re the Millers.

(2.) Hundreds of movies are released every year. MaryAnn reviews a very large number of them. Recently, she’s reviewed, or commented on, quite a few movies with positive images of women, including Wadjda, Populaire, Girl Most Likely, The Sapphires, and In a World…. (You and MaryAnn may disagree about what constitutes a positive image of women, of course.)

(3.) I don’t agree with your “If we pretend the movies don’t exist, then no one will see them” philosophy, so I enjoyed reading MaryAnn’s comments about We’re the Millers and the way it reflects our society.

reply to  Kelly
Fri, Sep 13, 2013 1:50am

of course… and if we ignore movies about racism, or violence towards women, then they’ll go away too, i suppose.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Kelly
Fri, Sep 13, 2013 10:11am

I know for a fact that two of the films featured in this post — Devil’s Pass and Shell — offer positive images of women. That didn’t stop the people marketing those movies from doing what they did. So that needs to be pointed out and complained about.

I would love to stop writing about movies that degrade women. But as long as the industry is dominated by them, I can’t.

I see and write about plenty of different sorts of films. I will be happy to see *Things Never Said* when I have the opportunity to do so. As far as I can tell, it has played only at a few film festivals that are nowhere near me.

If you are somehow connected to the film, you can have the filmmakers contact me about getting me a copy of their film.

Matt Clayton
Matt Clayton
Mon, Sep 23, 2013 7:37pm

The “my back let me show you it” rule also applies to men in the poster for “Fish.” It’s not played for sex appeal, but it makes the character anonymous nonetheless.


Or a more obvious objectification example, this poster for “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”, where Emma Watson’s bust is Photoshopped to more generous portions. That was creepy in hindsight, considering Watson was playing an underage girl.


Fri, Sep 27, 2013 6:41am

It’s even more striking than usual when it’s done to someone you’re familiar with, e.g, Kate Winslet’s character as depicted on that Romance & Cigarettes poster. I mean, even Kate Winslet doesn’t warrant her face on the poster?

Tue, Oct 01, 2013 5:42pm

OK, I’m going to risk putting my foot in it here and say that I don’t really see the problem with the latest addition (Stalker). I feel like this is starting to lose a bit of focus on the issue, which I thought was sexual objectification. The woman in the Stalker poster isn’t sexualized (nor is the woman in the Evil Dead poster, which I don’t really think belongs here either). She’s just ominous and scary and has her back to the camera, which seems perfectly legitimate for a horror movie poster. (Whether the movie itself has problems with misogyny is another issue. It looks pretty boring to me, so I doubt I’ll ever find out. But this is about the poster, not the content of the movie.)

I thought the issue with hiding a woman’s face on a poster that prominently features their other assets is that they get reduced to lust objects with no personhood. But surely simply having a woman’s back to the viewer in a dramatic/ominous/scary way, if they’re not being sexualized, is a perfectly valid design choice? We see it happen with male characters all the time, a la Heath Ledger’s Joker on the early Dark Knight posters or Benedict Cumberbatch’s character (I refuse to call him Khan) on Star Trek: Into Darkness. What’s the problem?

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Prankster36
Tue, Oct 01, 2013 6:57pm

I feel like this is starting to lose a bit of focus on the issue, which I thought was sexual objectification.

Nope. It’s about dehumanization. Which doesn’t have to be sexualized to be a problem.

We simply do not see this trope happening with male characters. There are the odd examples here and there, but they’re hard to find and nowhere near as prevalent as with female characters. When male characters are reduced to icons, they’re generally positive icons: ie, because we can readily identity Batman or Wolverine by their silhouettes, we may see them in shadow or faceless. But here’s the important bit: We can instantly add their faces (that is, the faces of the actors playing them).

Who is that girl/woman in the *Stalker* imagery? Name the actress.

You can’t.

reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Sat, Jan 04, 2014 6:30pm

who cares? I mean seriously, who gives a shit if you dont know who the actress is on every cover? Man I can’t stand people (woman or men) like you. You take everything so incredibly personally that it makes me sick. Why should everyone making film cater to your needs and make every woman a perfect angel of herself in your eyes? Some woman suck, some kill, some cheat I mean it is what it is so why portray every woman exactly the same? I could find WAY more normal (aka non horror) movies that show woman in a fine/decent light. You are picking a genera on purpose that is dead set on bad taste (the horror one) so what the hell do you expect? Its like if I was Jewish and just pretended the holocaust was still active and everyone out there hated me as a jew. I would corner myself, just like you are by choosing only horror movies. They represent a small amount of the viewing world. Ahh whatever, enjoy your soapbox.

reply to  whoreallycaresright
Sat, Jan 04, 2014 6:51pm

Man I can’t stand people (woman or men) like you. You take everything so incredibly personally that it makes me sick.

Looks like you’re taking this incredibly personally.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  whoreallycaresright
Sat, Jan 04, 2014 11:38pm


Adam R. Charpentier
Adam R. Charpentier
reply to  whoreallycaresright
Tue, Jan 14, 2014 5:46pm

At the risk of being accused of derailing the point of your comment thread (and I do see that you’re making a point, angrily, whether I agree), why did your “like if I was Jewish” example is SO off the rails that you become a caricature of an angry human being rather than an actual one.