The Real American Horror Story Is Misogyny

I have been asked as to why I have stopped my weekly recaps of American Horror Story: Coven, and besides being extremely busy, I stopped believing in the show. What started off as a promising meditation on female empowerment and race relations quickly devolved into the biggest cop-out finale in the series’ history.

Character Development

Notice how Madison and Delphine almost had character arcs? The keyword there is almost, because they didn’t. Both started out as characters with deplorable traits, and that is how they died. Madison had ample opportunity to grow as a woman and character once she was raised from the dead, yet the writers saw how viewers were reacting to her acidic personality and decided to magnify it ten-fold. Delphine started the show as a horrible racist, and as soon as it seemed like she would see the error of her ways, they reverted her back to a psychopathic murderer.

Marie Laveau was given little room to grow as a character except in her friendship with Fiona. As soon as that began to get interesting, the writers offed her in an unceremonious way, leaving Marie Laveau to never be heard from again.

Fiona’s character development came in the form of her cancer. The only thing pushing her desperate hunger for power was the fact that her body was deteriorating. Although this could have been a strong point on how obsession with beauty can drive a woman mad, it just made Fiona seem static. In the final scene between Fiona and Cordelia, in which they hug it out, I kept expecting Fiona to stab her own daughter because little had been shown to support that she would accept death with open arms.

What is character development? The writers of American Horror Story just don’t know.

Female Empowerment

If someone can point out more than three moments where these women banded together throughout the shows twelve episode run, I will be shocked. Instead of having a season that meditated on how male power represses women, it only showed the catty side of female relationships. Notice how much time was spent between Misty and Madison, tearing each other down and physically beating the shit out of each other? Fiona literally slit her fellow women’s throats in order to keep power hers, and the list just goes on. These women fell one by one because of their inability to band together. This may have been a smart call on the writer’s part, had it not been so clearly unplanned and poorly executed.

Race Relations

Whatever the writers were trying to say about race relations, they missed the point entirely. Not only did they treat the subject matter as a superfluous subplot, they dropped it almost immediately as they were getting somewhere. Was there a point in the budding friendship between Delphine and Queenie? As soon as they got close, they both wound up screwing each other in favor of personal gain. The cheap ploy of making . They showed Queenie’s hell as being forced to work in a fried chicken shack and Marie Laveau’s distaste for white people rooted the only conversation about race in gross stereotypes that actually worked against any point the show was attempting to make.

Misogyny

For a season with nine central characters being strong women, most of them found themselves victims to male violence in the finale. Misty is trapped in hell where she is forced to kill a frog over again while being yelled at by her male science professor. Madison, an extremely powerful and capable witch is strangled to death by Kyle. Not only was she slaughtered, she begged and cried the entire time. If the writers were aware at all, it would have made sense for her to be able to teleport out of harms way or control Kyle to get off of her. Instead she had the life snuffed out of her. As if this weren’t bad enough, her corpse ended up in the hands of Spaulding who will treat her body as a doll/ sex toy until she decomposes. Say what you will about Madison, but the way they ended her character was deeply rooted in male power and it was a complete shame. Plus, she was by far the most complex, interesting character- they did her wrong.

Finally, as terrible as she was, Fiona did not deserve her version of hell. In it, she is forced to live with the Axe Man and get slapped around for the rest of eternity. If this were a sad ploy to get viewers to sympathize with Fiona during her last minutes of screen time, it worked, but not in a satisfying way. Throughout the season these women fought against outside male forces, only to succumb to them in their darkest hour. TC mark

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