The Good for Her Trope

After many years of women being under-prioritized in the media the, “Good for Her” trope allows the story to be centered around Her.

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Schaferle

A woman who was once wronged by society always manages to rise above.

By Daryn O'Neal, Staff Writer

WARNING: This article contains content of sexual violence and other possibly traumatic experiences that can be triggering.

Over the past 100 years, horror movies quickly became a popular and obscure movie drama that has expanded into other genres such as comedy and romance. Usually horror movies are centered around men who are trying to make their way out of a life-threatening situation, but this time we are going to be focusing our attention on women in horror movies.

Over the past century women have often been separated into four particular tropes in horror movies: The Women Refrigerators Trope, The Final Girl, The Seductress, and the Damsel in Distress. Media and culture commentary channel, The Take, discuss all of the tropes in their video titled Women in Refrigerators Trope, Explained .

As you can see these tropes can possibly be very limiting for women since they are either portrayed as victims or depictions of the male fantasy, but lately there has been a new trope for women in horror that falls into several or none of these categories. There has yet to be a defining name due to the youth of this trope, but many refer it to the, “Good for Her,” trope.

Kaiya Shunyata said, “The term, ‘good for her,’ was sparked by an infamous Arrested Development scene that went viral on Tumblr back in the mid 2010’s and has since become a monolith in internet meme culture.”

The trope has been mainly associated with movies such as Gone Girl, Jennifer’s Body, and Midsommar because these three popular movies all have one main thing in common. They all involve a powerful determined woman who has been burdened by the consequences of simply existing in a misogynistic world, and she chooses to take her power back using violent and manipulative tactics to execute revenge on the typically male figures that tortured them.

Twitter Handle @fiddleheadcig said, “the ‘good for her’ trope LITERALLY refers to women characters doing super messed up things for vengeance and the twisted feeling of vindication you get from it as a viewer.”

As much as this trope is starting to be accepted, there are some flaws to it. For years many women who were trapped in violent situations and relationships were gaslit whenever they expressed their concern, or when they tried to do anything to redirect the situation.

This caused women who had genuine problems and concerns to be seen as “crazy,” or “over-dramatic,” because a male-favored society didn’t believe them. Unfortunately, just by portraying this trope, it allows more women to be the victims of more misogynistic gaslighting.

As problematic as the outcome may be, this is why the trope is so important. Although the method to achieve the goal may be extreme, the woman is finally getting the opportunity to express her revenge and/or anger that society has forced her to suppress for centuries.

Others may argue that women who partake in this trope in movies or in real life are at fault for patronizing innocent men, since not all men partake in these degrading actions, but the trope is not trying to imply that all men degrade women; it is trying to call attention to how people in places of social privilege can subconsciously or unintentionally cater to racist, homophobic, or sexist values simply because of how they were socialized.

“Obviously not all men are predators, but that argument downplays women who speak out about their experiences,” Camdyen Tate said.

You may see this very example in the 2010 horror-comedy Jennifer’s Body when Meghan Fox, Jennifer, mainly targets men who haven’t physically assaulted her.

“After Jennifer’s attack, her sole focus becomes the destruction of anyone who reminds her assailants or is a symptom of a culture that of violence against women. She begins feasting on boys who are most convenient for her to kill. This symbolizes that the violence against isn’t just the fault of a single man or even a group of men, but a bigger societal issue,” The Take said.

This logic also ties into certain guys who pose themselves as “Nice guys,” but they likely are putting on a false persona in order to lure the female into a false sense of security right before his true colors come out, much to the female character’s dismay.

“I think they use it as a way to make women seem they’re in the wrong… I find it really odd men use the whole nice guy thing to gaslight women,” Tate said.

All of these women in these movies transform into a once submissive and naïve version of themselves to a powerful, vengeful, and often fatal persona. Whether or not her persona is destroyed in the end, her main goal isn’t to only end the lives of men, but she wants to cleanse herself of the anger and disrespect that once defined her.

The “Good for Her” trope may just be a loop-hole for the human mind used to justify violent acts against men, but we must remember what it is truly about. We, as a society, both men and women must do whatever we can to cease violence against women.