Pipeline Problems: Women Creators and Homophily in TV Horror 

Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsConference Presentation


This paper excavates the hidden history of women behind the scenes creating TV horror, analysing the pipeline problems plaguing media industries generally, and the perceptions that impact specifically upon women seeking careers in the purportedly masculine horror genre. Historically, female contributors to horror series, such as directeors Ida Lupino, Lela Swift, and Mary Lambert, worked in isolatio from other womenn. More recently, Lesley Manning credited producer Ruth Baumgarten for hiring her to direct Ghostwatch (1992) and Melissa Rosenberg, creator-writer-producer of Jessica Jones, responded to calls for gender parity in directing by hiring only women to direct the show’s second season. The Boxed In Report on US television 2020-21 found that ‘programs with at least 1 woman creator employed substantially higher percentages of women in other key behind-the-scenes roles and featured more female characters than programs with exclusively male creators’ (2021, p6). While foregrounding issues facing female creatives in horror, this paper examines how horror’s growing popularity on television has coincided with calls for change in the industry, creating space for series such as Yellowjackets, Lovecraft Country and Hausen. These have created opportunities for women in a range of above and below the line roles, including cinematography, VFX, and special make-up effects, roles that are fundamental to the creative construction of horror but dominated by men to date. Along with the homophily or social capital in television industries, this inequality renders horror a [white] boy’s club. Yet as Yellowjackets our main case study here demonstrates, women are more than ready to band together and bludgeon their way into the boy’s club.
Period14 Jun 2023
Event titleDoing Women's Film and Television History IV: Changing Streams and Channels
Event typeConference
Conference number6
LocationBrighton, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • television industry
  • television horror
  • television studies
  • production studies
  • feminist media studies