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Monster Misogyny

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"Get your hands off me, all four of them!"

"You goddamn chauvinist pig ape!"
Dwan, King Kong (1976)

The phenomenon in B Movies from the 1950s to early 1960s in which rampaging monsters and serial killers seem to focus their "random" attacks mostly on women. Usually young, innocent, vulnerable women. Although such films may show a man or two as victims, the real focus is on the ladies. For instance, if the movie includes a montage of attacks, expect every victim shown to be female.

This seems to be a wide-scale application of the Disposable Woman concept, sans any significant connection to The Hero. Further, the deaths carry no more than the normal dramatic weight and do not motivate the Hero to action any more than would male deaths. All other things being more or less equal, the director will simply choose to populate his movie with female victims. And then, of course, there are plots in which the killer will specifically target females.

One would assume, in this age of equal rights and feminism and all, that this would be a Discredited Trope or even a Dead Horse Trope. But no, the trope is alive and well. Apparently, the sight of women being terrorized on screen is just more... um... titillating. Or a good way to show just how evil your monster is by attacking poor defenseless girls. Also, don't forget about Intimacy Via Horror. Either that, or it's because this is Truth in Television for some monsters of the human variety, as serial killers target women much more often than men (especially when there's a sexual component to their murders). Ted Bundy, Ed Kemper, Gary Ridgway, and Jack the Ripper killed women exclusively, or nearly so.

This trope does carry some Unfortunate Implications about women's safety compared to men's. A very common real-life misconception about murder is that women are more likely to be murdered than men and that the world as a whole is more dangerous for women than men. In reality, whilst serial killers tend to target women, 70% of murder victims in general are male and out of the 30% of female victims, most are killed by someone she knows. Plus, serial killers are extremely rare compared to other types of murderers, despite some media suggesting otherwise.

More Unfortunate Implications abound when you consider that the "monster" in these movies was frequently coded in a racialized way, intentionally or not. King Kong, for instance, is pretty easy to read as a metaphor for the fear of Black men assaulting White women, since Kong is a kidnapped African creature who shows a lustful (for the 30s) attitude towards the white Dawn.

As a direct result of this trope, many slasher movies have a Final Girl (and one with no form of self-defense training at that), since audiences are somehow more likely to root for a young, nubile, defenseless (and most often white) woman on the run from a psychopath who gutted her friends like fish, as opposed to a man in a similar position.

If the women are abducted rather than killed, it's probably because Mars Needs Women. See also Damsel in Distress, Slashers Prefer Blondes, Monogender Monsters, Naughty Tentacles, Touch of the Monster and Dragons Prefer Princesses. Men Are the Expendable Gender can either avert or invert this, depending on the hostility towards the gender — though on a meta-level, that trope can contribute to the decision to use this trope if a creator makes the victims female so the attacks look more shocking. For a type of female monster that does this, see the Lesbian Vampire. For the inverse, see Literal Maneater.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Arachnid and its sequels, most of the male characters are serial rapists with obsessions or supernatural mutations based on the traits of insects. Episodic trivia scenes will often remind readers that rape is that regular an occurence in the animal world. From the ending of Arachnid onwards, Japan is engulfed by a Zombie Apocalypse of ant-like rapists and it's mostly the male infected who are shown attacking and violating women.
  • In Berserk, Wyald takes advantage of his role as an Apostle to enjoy himself to the fullest extent, and while he finds plenty of joy in slaughtering men (including his own followers), he seems to take a special pleasure in graphically raping and murdering any pretty young women who cross his path.
  • In Bleach, Ichigo is confronted by a Hollow named Grand Fisher, named for the hook on his head which he can give the appearance of a small child to lure his victims, with Rukia explaining that his favourite prey are women. He is also the hollow that killed Ichigo's mother.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Barry the Chopper attacked people regardless of gender. In Fullmetal Alchemist (2003), however, he is mentioned as killing only young women.
  • In Immoral Guild, it's been lampshaded that monsters only sexually assault women in order to get their mana, but they still try to kill and eat the men. That it wasn't the case before the series is a story plot point.
  • In Ranma ˝, the monstrous eight-headed Yamata-no-Orochi is an enormous pervert who likes to see women's underwear, naked women, and women in general. It also loves eating them. It even has taste buds for it. Men? They just taste bitter, they piss it off, and it kills them on sight. This is roughly based on the myth of the Yamata-no-Orochi, which demanded maiden sacrifices.
  • Space Adventure Cobra:
    • Multiple arcs in the series have villains who drug lots and lots of women into becoming their mindless slaves. "The Psychogun" even has one who leaves a group of half-naked women paralyzed in place, posed like statues, via constant neurotoxin injections.
    • Targrave is a grotesque plant-man who injects parasite seeds into women by tongue kissing them. He brainwashes dozens of innocent policewomen and strippers to force them to attack Cobra, who ruthlessly kills all of them in the ensuing chase scene.
    • The "Lightning Planet" story is the one aversion of this trope in the entire series. Cobra infiltrates a museum staffed entirely by women, but there's no gratuitous slaughter of them by either their own robot dinosaurs or Cobra himself, and no villains are involved to kill them either. Cobra just steals the artifact he's looking for and escapes without any harm happening to the hostess-guards at all.
    • The "Care for a Robot?" story involves a bunch of female beekeepers being killed after the bee-like robots they used are hijacked by a murderous A.I. The one woman who Cobra manages to help just gets uncerimoniously crushed by a rock in the following chase scene.
    • In the Black Dragon King arc, a sports teacher tells Cobra that her students, who are all young women, went "swimming" outside the spaceship they are on. Cobra then apathetically points to the girls being devoured by space sharks, saying it's too late to do anything about it.
    • The Hell Crusaders arc features a race of frog-like aliens that kidnap naked damsels to eat their brains. Then there's the Nazi-like Fuhrer Goldman, who decorates his Evil Lair with severed female heads and scantily-clad corpses mounted on the walls because women in that planet have rubies growing out of their heads and he seeks the secret graveyard they are supernaturally drawn to die on. Cobra even calls it the most misogynistic thing ever.
  • TerraforMARS involves Martian cavemen who resemble humanoid cockroaches and are Always Chaotic Evil, with lots of Scary Black Man and The Illegal imagery on their appearance and actions for good measure. It is noted that in situations where there are no threats to those monsters, they'll chase after any harmless human women nearby and gruesomely murder them for no apparent reason.
  • Tokyo Ghoul:
    • All of Furuta's named victims in the series have been women, and it doesn't seem to be entirely a coincidence. He dropped the steel beams on Rize, even though they knew each other as children. He seduced and brought Ami to the Ghoul Restaurant in order to see her murdered for his amusement. He belittled Matsumae's sense of honor and blinded her before finishing her off. And he states that Eto is just the kind of woman he likes, while posing suggestively and commenting on her looks....and swears that he'll personally punish her for taunting him.
    • Played straight and inverted, in Tokyo Ghoul:re. The Ghoul Serial Killer Torso preys exclusively on women with scars, while Nutcracker is a Femme Fatale that enjoys preying on men. Both are considerable sources of Fan Disservice, as a result of the horrifying violence, they visit on their preferred victims.
  • Vampire Princess Miyu:
    • In the first OAV, all of the Shinma of the week's victims were female: two schoolgirls, a college student, an Office Lady, and a House Wife. (And we actually witness the poor House Wife's death; she's picking some silks in a store, the glass of the window suddenly cracks a little, and all of a sudden we see her dead on the floor.) Somewhat justified in that Aiko, the girl "commanding" the Shinma, had her life "ended", therefore the Shinma believed it had to finish other female's lives as well since they had the lives that poor Aiko couldn't aspire to anymore.
    • Also, more than one Shinma from the TV series and the manga preyed more on women than on men, or only on women. See the Mad Artist Roh-Sa, to start, who captured vain and pretty women via the promise of making their beauty last forever. Literally.
  • Justified in Witchblade. The I-Weapons usually go after women; women who just happen to have the Cloneblades of the Witchblade they are attracted to.

    Comic Books 
  • In Sin City, male villains are nearly always some form of misogynistic scum bastard who murders and/or does truly awful things to women and girls, to the point that in A Dame to Kill For, the second major story, Ava, the titular Femme Fatale, plays on Dwight's violent protectiveness toward women by casting her perfectly innocent husband, Damien Lord, as one of these in her Wounded Gazelle Gambit.
  • EC Comics' The Vault of Horror #35 comic titled "And All Through the House" features a homicidal maniac dressed as Santa who only murders women. It's stated that he only attacks men if provoked and doesn't harm children but is obsessed with only killing women.

    Fairy Tales 
  • "Prince Lindworm" plays with the concept of dragon targeting women. The dragon in question (the titular Lindworm) killed countless maidens, but it turns out he wasn't looking for a meal — he was looking for a bride. The final maiden, the one who actually stood up to him, is the one who marries him... and that's only after she discovers that his true form is a gorgeous human man.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The story goes that the memorable attack on the "Hitchcock woman" in The Birds was a result of Alfred Hitchcock's issues with that specific woman.
  • Chucky of the Child's Play series is the Stephen King take on this trope: a seemingly inhuman monster (in this case, a Serial Killer doll) that turns out to be very human in its attitude and appetite. His very first onscreen victim in the first film is a woman he kills for being a "bitch" and he has a very violent (and memorable) misogynistic tirade in response to being threatened by the film's female protagonist. Later movies would only escalate this misogyny, from casually disparaging women drivers in the second film to getting a Joker and Harley Quinn-themed relationship in the post-trilogy films. Curse of Chucky is definitely the worst, as it shows he developed an obsessive "love" with one particular woman, kidnapped her and held her tied up for days, and then viciously stabbed her when she called the police, rendering the daughter she was pregnant with a paraplegic from birth.
  • Creature from the Black Lagoon: The eponymous creature focuses its attention on the female protagonist apparently with sexual undertones. Notably, though, everyone the creature kills is a man.
  • Death Car on the Freeway: A Made-for-TV Movie from the 1970s, in which a serial killer runs lone female motorists off the road and kills them.
  • Dragonslayer, being a troperiffic dragony story, naturally has the whole Virgin Sacrifice thing. Particularly clear when the princess is torn apart and eaten by baby dragons. Though note that the dragon is unintelligent and the lottery which leads to these sacrifices has been set up by the king; it's very possible the dragon couldn't care less who it was eating, and virginal young women were just considered the most expendable people in that medieval society.
  • Inverted in Dude Bro Party Massacre 3. The slasher is a female and her victims, with rare exception, are a bunch of fratboys.
  • In The Evil Dead (1981), the first to be taken by the monsters are the women in the group. And the scene with the tree. This movie also inverts the Final Girl trope, by having the one survivor be a guy.
  • The maggot scene in Galaxy of Terror. We shall speak no more of it.
  • In Godzilla (1954), Godzilla was given sacrifices of girls tied to rafts and sent floating out to sea.
  • Horrific: The giant killer eye in Terror Vision aims its attacks at Rita and Jane, with the men being almost collateral damage.
  • The Horror of Party Beach: Twenty-four on-screen female deaths, not counting Victim Montages, compared to three killed males.
  • Humanoids from the Deep takes everything the 1950s horror movie monsters hinted at when monsters kidnapped young women, and updated it for 1980s exploitation sensibilities by showing monster-on-girl rape scenes. Quite infamous for its misogyny, despite being directed by a woman. She claims producer Roger Corman added more explicit rape footage later; he confirmed this in an interview on The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs in 2021. Corman, for his part, felt that she had turned in footage far more tame than what she had originally agreed to shoot.
  • Inverted in the spoof Monster in the Closet, in which the eponymous beast is smitten by and kidnaps the film's hero. (The monster's sex, if any, is never revealed...)
  • Scream (1996): Ghostface primarily targets and murders women with tons of rape imagery attached.
  • This Island Earth. It's right on the poster. For bonus points, the Mut-Ant has no role in the plot save a brief moment near the climax, and only to briefly scare the heroine.

  • Dean Koontz:
    • In the novel Shadowfires, a Mad Scientist-turned-monster stalks his ex-wife out of (at first) murderous intentions. But after slowly becoming more animalistic, and raping and killing and eating an innocent bystander, his desires towards his ex-wife turn more amorous and cannibalistic.
    • Koontz does this a lot. Dark Rivers of the Heart was a particularly graphic example.
  • In the Hannibal Lecter series, all non-Lecter killers (Jacob Garrett Hobbes, Frances Dolarhyde, and Jame Gumb) specifically targeted women — Dolarhyde killed whole families, but it was the mothers that interested him. Lecter himself was far too much of a Magnificent Bastard to particularly care whom he killed, and it's implied that he had a fairly even split in terms of victims.
  • Dracula: The title monster feeds on men to survive, but the only new vampires he creates are women. Many critics note the sexualized nature of the violence between men and women throughout the story, with blood-sucking and stalking being seen as metaphors for sex.
  • Played straight with the Hunter in the Coldfire Trilogy, but justified—he's made a study of human behavior and decided that targeting women is the most effective way to terrorize a society, and since he feeds on fear...
  • Subverted in A Chorus of Dragons. The morgagge are known for going out of their way to target women when they attack human settlements, and conventional wisdom is that they're all male. As it turns out, the morgagge are matriarchal and haven't realized that most of the setting's human nations aren't; by targeting women, they think they're killing potential leaders. Morgagge women themselves are never seen outside of their homeland because they're considered too valuable to risk.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Several monster/murder films seen on Mystery Science Theater 3000, to the point where the guys would often wonder if the directors might have had "issues with women":
    • The Crawling Hand features attacks on men as well as women, but the only such victim to actually die is a pill-popping, gun-happy, boozehound woman.
    • The Sinister Urge, which is about a killer who purposely targets young female porn-star wannabes.
    • The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies. The killer murders two couples during the course of the movie. However, in each case, his target was specifically the woman; the men were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
    • The Horror of Party Beach includes two male victims alongside its twenty-four girl deaths. And that figure doesn't take into account the film's Female Victim Montage. Adding to the misogyny count, many of those victims were holding a slumber party at the time. Cue "panty raid" jokes.
      Mike: Do you think most guys who make movies have issues with women?
    • Horrors of Spider Island, in which the entire victim pool is female. Except for one lecherous guy near the end. As the commentary said: "I wonder how this movie really feels about women." On the one hand, this is somewhat justified as the plot is a Closed Circle (a troupe of dancers survived a plane crash and ended up on a desert island; their manager, the only man around, got turned into the monster). On the other, it also spends a lot of time focusing on scantily clad and/or (supposedly) naked women doing things like swimming, dancing, and fighting one another. And supposedly the original German version was more explicit.
    • The Creeping Terror, in which the monster swallows women whole on-screen, head first to allow the camera to focus on their legs. Mike & the bots even quip "you know, I think this is a weird little turn-on for the director."
    • It Lives by Night, in which only one of John's victims wasn't a young, attractive woman. Sgt. Ward doesn't quite count: he was killed by a swarm of bats.
  • While they did attack all kinds of people, the monsters and other things in Kolchak: The Night Stalker seemed to have a predilection for attractive young women who walk the streets alone at night.
  • The Land Shark, a recurring sketch on Saturday Night Live, described by the narrator as "the cleverest of all sharks. Unlike the Great White shark, which tends to inhabit the waters and harbors of recreational beach areas, the Land Shark may strike at any place, any time. It is capable of disguising its voice, and generally preys on young, single women." Usually, the skit would involve him fooling the female victim into opening the door to her apartment by claiming to be a plumber, a salesman, or claiming to deliver a candygram or flowers. (In one case where the victim was onto him, he claimed to be a dolphin, or in one case, outright admitted he was a Land Shark; clearly he only preys on stupid victims.)
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Vampires most often try to chow down on victims of the opposite sex.
    • Warren Mears, an Ax-Crazy megalomaniac who actually was outright misogynistic.
    • Caleb, the Sinister Minister in Season 7.
  • In the Star Trek episode in which Jack the Ripper turns out to be an evil alien entity, Spock says it focuses its attacks on women because "women are more easily and more deeply terrified, generating more sheer horror than the male of the species." Though the dialogue doesn't have this caveat (and hence lacks this implication), that actually makes sense in the context of Victorian England, where women were supposed to be delicate and helpless and this attitude was encouraged in them.
  • On The League of Gentlemen, the demonic blackface minstrel Papa Lazarou goes after women to make into his "wives". In a bit of a twist, though, all of the women are over 50, and he's just as dangerous towards men if they come across his path. Also, due to the format of the show, almost all the women are played by men in drag.
  • The titular serial killer in Dexter is not an example, but many of his victims are. The Ice Truck Killer targets only women, and in particular prostitutes. This is similar to real serial killers, who (being primarily men) will target prostitutes under either some misguided "morals" that they have or simply because they feel they won't really be missed.
  • Criminal Minds, being based on real-life serial killers, plays it straight in many episodes. It's Justified in that 70% of victims of serial killers are women, and the show does try to balance out this trope by having cases with omnivores, with — usually — the final victim that is rescued before any harm can be done to them being a woman.
  • One Monster of the Week in Power Rangers Lost Galaxy was a guy named Crumummy who only attacked the female members of Terra Venture, although, in his defense, that's what Trakeena ordered him to do, so he could steal their beauty and transfer it to her. In fact, that's part of why the plan was thwarted. Trakeena decided to come down to the colony in disguise to check on him, and when she was the only woman he didn't attack, Mike quickly got suspicious of her.

    Music Videos 

    Mythology and Religion 
  • Dragons. Many stories are told of dragons kidnapping maidens (usually virgins) and holding them captive before a knight comes in to rescue said maidens. With how much time tends to pass between the dragon kidnapping the maiden and the usual heroic quest, as well as the implied intentions of the dragon, one wonders why the dragons didn't just eat the maidens when they had the chance. On a somewhat darker level, some villagers were said to invoke this trope by sacrificing virgin maidens to dragons to appease said monster's appetites.

  • Prominently featured on the backglass art for Attack from Mars. In-game, all of the sound clips of Martian attacks on humans feature female victims.

  • Sick Sad World: Discussed in the Ed Kemper episode. He took much more pleasure in killing his mother and grandmother than he did in killing his grandfather. He also claimed he killed women because of his sexual inexperience.
    • Also comes up in an unsolved murder of a woman. A stalker of the victim spent several years calling her mom to say "I've got her" or "I killed her". The one day the murder victim's father picked up, the stalker backed down and didn't call again.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the Ravenloft campaign, the vampire Strahd von Zarovich, Darklord of Barovia, feeds on victims of both genders, but rarely ever creates male vampires. This has a lot to do with his eternal pining for Tatyana, his brother's betrothed whom he desired, and made a pact with some dark entity in order to possess, only to be cursed with vampirism forever, with Tatyana forever out of his reach.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • The Ogres in Dragon's Dogma tend to target female pawns at top priority. Inverted by the Elder Ogre, which targets men first.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • The monsters in the Torna Canal section of Final Fantasy V only target females. If you pay attention, their attacks hint at The Reveal of Faris' gender in the next chapter.
    • The Orthros in Final Fantasy XII will only appear if your party consists of your three female party members, Fran, Ashe, and Penelo. Granted, it will still attack male characters if you switch them in, but the monster seems to prefer attacking females.
  • Pyramid Head from Silent Hill 2. He is, among other things, a representation of the main character's masculinity issues, and is only seen to harm a single creature (excluding the protagonist) that isn't obviously female.
  • Amped to 11 thousand in The Suffering. The Creeper in the second game is the incarnation of a pimp who abused, murdered, raped and did all sorts of unspeakable things to his hos. One line cut from the game was his: "Blood makes the best lubricant."
  • Justified in Dragon Age; the darkspawn reproduce by abducting humanoid women, gang-raping them and force-feeding them darkspawn flesh and their own relatives, and gradually transforming them into Broodmothers - towering, multi-breasted, betentacled horrors with nightmare faces who give birth to thousands more darkspawn.
  • In some Might and Magic games, there are monsters that attack the female members of your party in preference to others. (And a few that attack males in preference to others, a few that prefer to attack certain races or classes; the point is to encourage players to use a variety of characters.)
  • Shadow Hearts series:
    • Koudelka and Shadow Hearts have a monster called Inverse, which resembles a revolver-totting upside-down man with additional heads growing from his face. For some reason, it almost always focuses on female party members (Koudelka herself, and Alice and Margaret), and Flavor Text offers no explanation.
    • Some monsters, such as Kappas in Shadow Hearts, are said to favor female targets, although it doesn't carry over to gameplay.
    • Shadow Hearts also has Atman. In the bad ending path, it's fought with Alice alone, and is impossible to defeat. However, if you go for the good ending, Yuri joins the battle, and it becomes possible to win. Still, Atman attacks Yuri only with "hit-all" attacks, and directs most of its attacks on Alice seemingly out of pure spite, as one of its attacks is a vision of Alice's father's death.
  • Monster Girl Quest is a case of Monster Misandry; since the game is about fighting off Cute Monster Girls standing in for classic JRPG monsters, and you're the only guy around, naturally, those girls are going to go after you. Heck, even the tagline is "Lose, and the girls rape you" (and despite what the tagline implies, you really don't want to lose if you want to beat it).
  • Inverted by Lady Anita in BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm. Her signature attack is called “Art of Misandry.” If she uses it against one of your female party members, nothing happens… but if she uses it on a male, they get knocked out instantly. Since your party is 3/5 male at that point, and you have to send out four, it’s impossible to shield yourself by using only girls.

  • Wrecking Paul from Everyday Heroes is a serial killer who targets women. Including, if no one else is available, his own partners.
  • Shredded Moose is particularly horrible about this — Brew, the "hero", kills or abuses women as a matter of fact; we are supposed to laugh at and approve of his acts.
  • In El Goonish Shive, the French Aberration explicitly targeted women, and it's implied the Charm Person ability only worked on those attracted to men (hence it not working on Nanase). This is actually a minor plot point, as its very nature was so fundamentally misogynistic that the stun hammers (which can normally only be summoned if a man does something offensive to a woman) could be freely used against it.
  • The Guy Upstairs: Adam only targets fair skinned women with long, dark, flowing hair for some reason.

    Web Original 
  • Neopets once had something called the "Terror Mountain Ski Lodge", where members of the staff were picked off by the Ski Lodge Killer. The first victim was a male, but then the killer killed 8 female staff members in a row. Eventually the killer went back to male victims (as there were only two women left).
  • The SCP Foundation has SCP-847. Usually a normal-seeming (if damaged) female mannequin, it comes to life sporadically. If a man approaches it, it will try to entice him with moanings, and afterwards it will destruct parts of itself according to whatever comment it hears about "her" lacking something. If a woman approaches within 100 meters of it, it immediately attacks with a single-minded determination to murder the woman, after which it will use body parts from her victim to repair itself. Its only known weakness is electricity, which will temporarily render it dormant.
  • Gender Flipped in the Monster Girl Encyclopedia: As all of the monsters are women, their primary target is human males when they need to kill (or rape) something.
  • James A. Janisse and Chelsea Rebecca of Dead Meat have discussed this on occasion, specifically the unique manner in which it sometimes crosses paths with its inverse, Men Are the Expendable Gender. James has noted that, in his experience watching horror films for The Kill Count, the body count overall tends to lean towards men more often than not, but it's the women who usually get the most brutal and drawn-out death scenes.