“here's my prayer:
that what happens to girls like me
who die dirty, give it up
with a shudder like pleasure—
pray that when we're killed as martyrs
we get loved like saints.”
The horror film genre is generally guilty of the objectification of women through the use of cinematic language which presents them as desirable clichés. The victim featured is often portrayed as promiscuous and then targeted by the aggressive male because of her sexuality. When the genre defies this rule, it is generally because women are portrayed in the opposite manner: as virgins free of sexuality. These two exhausted portrayals of the female character - virgin or whore - rely wholly on issues of sexuality to define the character’s development.
The repetitive use of these characters shapes how women are viewed in society today and this cultural memory affirms behavior. Through manipulation of archival photographs by scanning or collaging, Meghan Braney removes the image from what it was, similar to how repetition of the portrayals of women removes us from the reality. In doing so, her work calls attention to the connections between crimes against women in the horror realm and mistreatment of women in society. This body of work begs the question: are these films and media based on reality or does society mirror them?
Meghan Braney is a fine art photographer currently studying at Massachusetts College of Art and Design to earn her BFA in photography. She grew up in Northbridge, Massachusetts and currently resides in Boston.
To see more of her work, visit her Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/meg.braney/