Against the Odds: Women, Disability and Horror

Contains spoilers for Hush (2016).

Definitions and estimates of disability vary depending on the source. A recent survey reported that 8% of people in England and 12% in Wales are significantly affected by a health problem or disability (ONS, 2013). The DWP (who have their own agenda for defining disability in a certain way) report that there are 11.6 million disabled people living in the UK and notably more women (6.3 million) than men (5.4 million). Whichever statistic you favour, it appears that a significant proportion of the population are living with conditions which have a long-term impairment on their lives.

The interaction between disability and gender is interesting. Throughout the world, women are more likely than men to become disabled during their lifetime, as a result of various gender inequalities:less access to adequate food and healthcare; unsafe living/working conditions; higher rates of violence and abuse; pregnancy and birth complications. Disabled women are less lik…

It's Happening Again... Multiple Personality and Dissociation on Film

TW: reference to child abuse, no details Spoilers: many films featuring DID and trans characters. To list them here would be a spoiler in itself…
Film and TV have long been fascinated by all things psychiatric, especially multiple personality and split identities. You only have to look at the catalogue of thrillers, horror and crime drama which utilize the Jekyll-and-Hyde sublimation of one version of ourselves by another. The reveal that Norman Bates and his mother are the same person or Ed Norton’s wry-smiling altar boy in Primal Fear are chillingly memorable moments on screen. Films such as Fight Club, Identity, Split,Shelter,Raising Cain, Session 9, Peacock, Sucker Punch, Secret Window, The Ward, Three Faces of Eve and Sybil present different takes on the idea that a person can contain a multitude of wants, needs and drives which manifest as distinctly separate individuals. Superhero narratives often explore the idea of ‘alter-egos’, to varying degrees of literal or metaphorical man…

It's Always Gerald's Game

TW: discussions of rape, consent and child abuse. Spoilers: Gerald’s Game
It took me a while to watch Gerald’s Game. I read the book before I was old enough to fully understand the sexual themes yet it affected me to the point that I avoided the film for a few months after it appeared on Netflix. Fantastical elements aside, this adaptation presents an important issue that is rarely reflected in media: the coercion, power and abuse that takes place within relationships.
Gerald’s Game follows a married couple - Gerald and Jessie – who take a trip to a remote cabin. Gerald instigates a sex game and handcuffs Jessie to the bed before having a heart attack and leaving her stranded. The narrative follows Jessie’s struggle to escape whilst trying to survive dehydration, a starving wild dog, a sinister stalker and her memories of trauma.

Dialogues around sexual violence focus on the issue of consent, often as a way of determining victim credibility. The judicial system and society in general dema…

Isn't it Ironic? No, it's Sexism.

TW: reference to abuse but no graphic details.
Popular media comes in many forms - TV and film, advertising, trailers, magazines, books, music video, social media - and with the rise of the internet and streaming services, these forms are becoming less distinct from each other. Young people look to media - especially music media - for information on sex, gender and relationships, on how to act and who to be. And over the last couple of decades, there has been increasing concern about the sexualisation of popular culture, especially music videos, and the impact on young viewers.
Sexualised images in media have been described as “a wallpaper to our lives, all pervasive but hardly noticed”[1]. Typical representations show women as submissive, sexually-available objects, whilst depicting masculinity as aggressive, forceful and dominant, and these stereotypes are so prominent in all forms of media that we barely notice or question their presence. There are concerns that these repeated messag…