By Lexi Zambrzycki, MUTV-23 News Reporter

 

COLUMBIA, Mo. – On Friday, March 19, the University of Missouri Women’s Center and Women and Gender Studies hosted a Zoom discussion in honor of Women’s History Month called “Final Girl Friday”. 

 

The discussion entailed talks with MU instructors about horror films and how certain films contain a “final girl.” A final girl is the last character standing in a horror film who has to either be saved by a man or saves herself from the predator.   

 

“She’s usually the first one to notice if something is off before anyone else,” said Erin Wilson, MU instructor. “I think one really cool thing with final girls now is that they are getting older. Not only getting older but also being moms.”  

 

Wilson discussed how final girls have changed through time and will continue to change in horror films. 

 

The final girl can be viewed in many different ways: sometimes empowering, but also looked down upon. The discussion then took a deeper turn and talked about the male gaze of viewers watching the final girl in horror movies. 

 

Chip Gubera, American film director and MU digital media technology teacher, said, “I think it’s awesome and seemingly pro-women, but it’s often exploiting. The outside looks good, but then you dive into these films.”

 

Gubera discussed how the final girl can be overplayed in a way that it is not pro-women but instead looked down upon. 

 

The discussion ended with talks about different influential final girls like Sally Hardesty from “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and Nancy Thompson from “A Nightmare on Elm Street” with thoughts on how final girls will continue to change throughout time. 

 

In honor of Women’s History Month, the MU Women’s Center and WGST will be hosting more Zoom discussions like “Final Girl Friday.” For more information on events, visit their page here.

Edited by Rachel Henderson

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