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Episode 39: Monstrous Women

January 1, 2019

 

 

OUR 39th EPISODE ABOUT New Year, New Me! Happy New Year, Ghoul Scouts! Do you have any amazing new year’s resolutions? Did you accomplish any last year? This month we are going on a resolution journey. This is New Year, New Me and we’re going to be covering some topics revolving around people changing (not always for the better). Our first episode is going to gravitate around this idea of transforming and empowering oneself, by any means necessary and against all odds. Think Carrie from Stephen King’s book or Jennifer from Jennifer’s Body. 

 

We’ve talked time and time again about how Horror is a great genre for representation of women. As well as a problematic representation where women are sexualized and our worth/survivability is contingent upon our virtue and purity. Promiscuous women don’t usually make it out at the end of a slasher. But these days, we are getting stronger, independent and sexually awakened women taking charge on the screen. This is our chance to be the hero, to fight and survive until the end, to keep our wits about us when the rest of the world goes to shit. It’s also an opportunity for us women to exact our revenge. To make up for lost time, fight against the patriarchy, etc. What better way to do that than in a horrifying way. Are we not treated horribly? Shouldn’t we get a chance. That’s why today’s heroes come in the unlikely form of the film’s villains. 

 

FACTS 

For this episode the bulk of our facts come from the wonderful Barbara Creed. Specifically her book, Hell is a Teenage Girl. The Monstrous-Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis

It can be found here: https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/9780429236143

 

Monster women finding their power with their period or through their first sexual experience! When you think of Carrie, we see a lowly girl who is tortured by her peers and her own crazy religious mother until she snaps after several traumatizing events that revolve around her “becoming a woman.” 


In films like this we are allowed to explore what it would be like for our female bodies to give us the means to exact revenge on those that have wronged or killed us. Our maturity and pain, aka our period is a transforming event that usually causes a change in our perception of reality and the way the world sees us. We are now “women.” We can have children, get married, fulfill our "womanly duties", etc. But, god forbid we enjoy sex or revel in our femininity. Then we risk being dubbed a monstrous woman. 

 

Barbara Creed has an amazing study on Monstrous Women in film. She talks about in the exorcist, “creating an other out of an otherwise known character.” “the possessed or invaded being is a figure of abjection in that the boundary between self and other has been transgressed.” For film’s like these where women are now over sexualized or monstrously sexualized through this transformation. These monsters allow them to be over sexualized and confident in these sexual ideas. In the Exorcist, all of Regan’s sexuality is brought to the viewer’s attention by the fact that she is possessed by a demon, which causes her to shout obscenities and her desire to act on her sexual impulses. In Jennifer’s Body, which will discuss more in our Films section, she had already been aware of her sexuality and used it as a tool. However, we get this impression of her being still rather, innocent and not exactly a powerful force wielding her sexuality as a weapon but more so as an additional component to her popular and easy life. When she is transformed into a succubus, her sexuality is a downright weapon used against the boys in town. It is an act of revenge after presumably being raped by that band. She becomes that monster and now her openness, beauty and sexual appetite are the villain. 

 

Creed talks about this fear of the “castrating woman” which we will definitely be exploring in the future. But this idea of a woman, overpowering and mutilating men through sex (her vagina - as explained in the phenom as a toothed vagina) is the horror. What makes a woman monstrous and not the victim is that she’s not just enjoying her sexual activities such as the Blonde Victim, but using her feminine wiles to exact revenge, torment and grow strong off of the male victims. 

 

 

FILMS

In this episode we watched the following films. First, let's talk Jennifer's Body (2009). We thank IMDB for their lovely description 

A newly possessed high school cheerleader turns into a succubus who specializes in killing her male classmates. Can her best friend put an end to the horror?

  • “Fun fact” the first two film keywords on IMDB are “Lesbian Teen” and “Sexy Woman” which says a lot about this film honestly. I do feel that the “lesbian” situation was tacked on. I can’t say that I felt Needy had suppressed feelings towards Jenn. Also, why can’t they just love each other platonically? Also, Needy mentions that they have things in common but it seemed like that idea was going to be explored. That the bf would explain how that’s untrue or, what I was hoping, that she would prove that they did indeed have more in common. I needed more explanation of their friendship besides “sandbox friendships don’t die.” because they most definitely do. 

  • Would this be a cult horror classic had it come out today?

  • Diablo Cody’s invented slang doesn’t work here, its disconcerting. This isn’t Juno. 

  • Karyn Kusama tried very hard to make this film a feminist piece. Interviews with her highlight some of her intentions but it honestly fell quite short. It was trying but it seems like all the explanations are late to the party, like they were invented after the film was already made. It also seems that the Director’s cut has all the feminist and commentary on our world whereas the Theatrical release, unfortunately, was just an objectification of Jennifer’s Body. 

  • People harp on the make-out scene with Needy and Jennifer but this idea of intimacy between two women represented while one is a demon is a trend in horror. There have been studies about how Carrie and her mother have a strange bond like this, as well as Reagan (Exorcist) and her mother. Not saying it is good, but it’s a Freudian ideology.

  • Comparing this to GingerSnaps - very similar!

 

Points: Hair Snakes, Cat Woman, Possessed, Insect Women, Grotesque, Revenge, Japanese Ghosts, Don’t Have Sex, Barbara Creed, Ursula, Disney, 13 Monstrous Women, Alien, Mother, Possessed Women, Lesbian Teen, Sexy Woman, Sex Trope Fun Time Gory Mess, Accidental Feminism, Slang, Hokey Sex Time, 867-5309, Hey Jenny I got Yo Number, He’s Salty, Diablo Coby, 

 


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