Feminine Monstrosities is an exploration of the depiction of female bodies as monstrous in American horror films, as well as the origins of these tropes. By definition, a monster is a creature or human that threatens to upheave order. So when a woman threatens to upheave the patriarchy, the order of our society, she is seen as a monster. This project pulls from theories such as Barbara Creed’s Monstrous Feminine and Julia Kristeva’s Power of Horrors. Both of these theorists look at films through a feminist psychoanalytical lense. Some classic examples in movies can be seen in Carrie and Psycho, but we can trace these archetypes very far back through history. Carrie pulls from the archetypal witch, a creature that has existed in folklore across the world for millennia, but was only seen as evil when the Catholic Church declared them as agents of Satan. Psycho pulls from the archetype of the overbearing mother, the mother who sexually represses her son in an attempt to hold ulitmate control over him. Norma Bates forces Norman Bates to murder, just as Gaia, the ancient Greek mother godess, orders her son to muder his father. With this project, I hope to draw attention to deep rooted biases and misogyny. Horror films are just one lens we can use to examine how historic misogyny rears its head in our modern culture.
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