Excellent discussion/review of the Monstrous Feminine



In almost all critical writings on the horror film genre, monsters tend to be defined as male, and women are only conceptualized as victims. It is also believed that women only terrify when represented as man’s castrated other from the Freudian position. However, in her monograph The Monstrous-Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis, Barbara Creed challenges this patriarchal view by arguing that the prototype of all definitions of the monstrous is the female reproductive body, and women primarily terrify because of a fear that she might castrate men.

In Creed’s view, all human societies have a conception of the monstrous-feminine—of what it is about woman that is shocking, terrifying, horrific, and abject—which also reflects folklore of “vagina dentata.” The term “monstrous-feminine” not only implies a simple reversal of “male monster,” but also emphasizes the importance of gender in the construction of female monstrosity.

Through appropriating Julia Kristeva’s theory…

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About kathrynpagel

Professor of Japanese literature, visual studies, and new media.
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