Happy Friday 13th! We need more horror content on this website…looking for folks to post!
Jason is ultimately a symbol of sexual repression. His character, a pre-pubescent youth with a serious Oedipus complex, hunts down and murders–in good zombie-like, undead fashion–young people who enjoy their sexuality and the various sexual-related substances (marijuana, alcohol and so forth).
The films form perhaps the bulwark of popular misogynist horror, consistently sending messages demonizing female sexuality and portraying women as pornographic objects of violence. I think though the point is not, “Don’t enjoy these films,” but rather see them as symptomatic of a serious social problem that continues to haunt our society even after strong feminist movements have challenged patriarchal norms and misogynist fantasies.
The liberation of women from the middle-class white norm of the 1950’s–itself a fairly recent phenomenon–was dialectical in nature. Though progress undoubtedly was achieved, the forms of patriarchal control and sexual repression transformed rather than merely dying out for good. Now, unrestricted sexual license simply became the license for the open bombardment of public consciousness with misogynist male fantasies, portraying women in the most extreme ways as absolute sex objects, or whores, versus the previous portrayal of women as Madonnas. This Madonna-Whore complex, prude v. slut, and so on, continues to form the paradoxical and contradictory ideology upon which women’s oppression and its interlocking system of system-wide oppression thrives.
Jason in Friday the 13th is just a more honest portrayal of what our cultural system does to women in the first place.