Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
thesis_access.pdf (783.71 kB)

"I Do Love an Evil, Bisexual Monster”: Young, Queer New Zealanders’ Engagement with Contemporary Lesbian Horror Media

Download (783.71 kB)
posted on 2023-02-21, 01:13 authored by Correll Trnka, Revena

Recent trends in contemporary horror TV present monstrous queer women as Western media’s latest anti-hero, and in doing so highlight the role gender has in shaping our understanding of violence. This thesis examines this trend, looking at how representations of violent lesbians are interpreted and used by viewers to aid in shaping and understanding their own identities. I use close textual analysis of three queer horror shows- Ratched (2020-); Killing Eve (2017-2022); and The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020)- alongside discussions with fans via focus groups and in-depth interviews to understand how women and non-binary individuals collectively create meaning from queer woman’s TV representations and apply this to their own lives. I examine how these shows represent queerness and femininity in relation to violent monstrosity, to explore how viewers perceive their own identities in relation to TV representations, and in turn how their identities shape their interpretations of these shows. I argue that while these shows present viewers with alternative, interrogated images of femininity, they also contribute to the reinforcement of certain gender norms, thus supporting intersecting dominant power structures that present a restrained image of queer women’s deviancy, that is not available to all bodies. Viewers critically engage with this material, utilising these shows to expand their own understandings and expressions of identity, while also challenging some of the shows’ limitations.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Cultural Anthropology

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Arts

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

1 Pure basic research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Social and Cultural Studies


Otsuki, Grant; Trundle, Catherine