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Monstrous Feminine

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Adam Lee

on 19 November 2012

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Transcript of Monstrous Feminine

A look into the discourse of the
monster through the analysis
of Barbara Creed The Monstrous Feminine

". . . there is a motif occurring in certain primitive mythologies, as well as in modern surrealist painting and neurotic dream, which is known to folklore as 'the toothed vagina'-the vagina that castrates. And a counterpart, the other way, is the so-called 'phallic mother, 'a motif perfectly illustrated in the long fingers and nose of the witch"
-Joseph Campbell The monstrous feminine aims to identify the representation of a woman as shocking, terrifying, horrific, abject - The Monstrous in Horror films challenges the abject
-Concept of borders are important and crossing the border is abject.
What is the purpose of the monstrous? The Monstrous in Horror Films Within the biblical context, the corpse is also utterly abject. It signifies one of the most basic forms of pollution — the body without a soul. As a form of waste it represents the opposite of the spiritual, the religious symbolic. The Monster in the Bible Abjection "When I am beset by abjection, the twisted braid of affects and thoughts I call by such a name does not have, properly speaking, a definable object.

The abject is not an ob-ject facing me, which I name or imagine. Nor is it an ob-jest, an otherness ceaselessly fleeing in a systematic quest of desire. ' What is 'abject'? something that “arouses horror in ones self will produce the same effect upon the enemy against whom one is seeking to defend” –Frued THINK blood THINK puss THINK guts DISGUSTING Lilith Eve .Maternal Figure (motherly)

.Largely about motherhood and giving birth

The alien in this film can be described as
an "Archaic Mother" by Freuds Primal

. Explore inner-space in "Mothership"

.The on-board computer controlling the ship is aptly named "mother"

.The mothership a "womb-like" chamber where the 7 astronauts are woken (re-birthed) from their pods by "mothers" voice

.NOTE- This "birthing" process is clean, organized, and painless, which can be interpreted as a primal fantasy that we are born fully developed Monstrous Feminine In the 1979 Horror Film
Alien What disturbs the system, identity, and order

“Displaying the genitals is…an apotropaic act. What arouses horror in oneself will produce the same effect upon the enemy against whom one is seeking to defend oneself” (Frued 1927: 274)
- Frued argues that if Medusa’s head is to represent the female genitals then it is also a separation from what horrifies and what gives pleasure. He states that: This connection is not as odd as it seems. Freud’s point is that the Medusa is a socially constructed Monster
This monster is created within a patriarchal society, through phallocentric logic, and is therefore completely about gender, communication, sexual difference and sexual dissidence. Three crew members enter the "unknown"
spaceship through a "vaginal" opening
in between the "legs" of the ship Once inside the alien ship, they fall upon a womb-like chamber with rows of eggs. Kane reaches out to touch one of the eggs, it attaches itself to his helmet and penetrates Kanes mouth with its tail in order to fertilize itself inside Kanes Stomach Based on the Freudian theory that one wants to travel back inside the womb to experience parents having sexual intercourse or seeing themselves being conceived Medusa
Medusa was a "gorgon"
woman from ancient Greek mythology. She was known for her "'evil eye', head of writhing serpants, and lolling tongue....Men unfortunate enough to look at her were turned to stone". A Gorgon is "a monstrous feminine creature whose appearance would turn anyone who laid eyes upon it to stone..." Faces of the Monstrous Feminine

The Archaic Mother:
The archaic mother is the fantasy mother of the first few months of the infant's life The monstrous womb:
The monstrous womb belongs to woman or a female creature who is usually about to give birth to an alien being or brood of terrifying beings Child birth and motherhood are things that men can not experience
It could be argued that it's this lack of understanding that makes the whole concept 'terrifying'.
Their inability to relate to it creates a sort of fear like the fear of 'the unknown'. The witch:
The witch holds superior power, which can intimidate and control a man, giving the witch power. The vampire:
The vampire's teeth are her weapon, and we often see her mouth open, bearing her teeth, which links back to the idea of 'Vagina Dentata'. The possessed woman:
The possessed woman is empowered with the devil, making her a 'supernatural' being. Role within Film
Within film, this female often acts as a sort of femme fatale/villain and who's aim is to seduce and castrate her male victims in order to display her true power.
For a male to overcome her and her power, and to ultimately become the hero, he has to have sex with her by removing these teeth (her weapon) without being castrated.Therefore he keeps his manhood and has disabled the woman's only power against him. 1. Using Images of Abjection
2. Concept of Borders
3. Construction of Maternal Figure 3 ways horror films illustrate the work of abjection Different Borders
Border between human and inhuman
Border between man and beast
Border between normal and supernatural
Border between Good and Evil
Border which separates those who take up their proper gender roles from those who do not
Between normal and abnormal sexual desire Fin. THINK puke of the patriarchy (in this context) 'What is abject is not my correlative, which, providing me with someone or something else as support, would allow me to be more or less detached and autonomous. '
'The abject has only one quality of the object—that of being opposed to "I". If the object, however, through its opposition, settles me within the fragile texture of APPROACHING ABJECTION a desire for meaning, which, as a matter of fact, makes me ceaselessly and infinitely homologous to it, what is abject, on the contrary, the jettisoned object, is radically excluded and draws me toward the place where meaning collapses." In Plain English:

The idea of what is 'abject' is that something compels and repels us at the same time; the horror of abjection is the moment that you gain closure and you become aware of your decision to look away. The point of exchange is the meeting of the internal and the external (of the mind and of the body), both psychically and physically. Examples:

When you deficate, you don't think the of the idea
that your body is literally pulling unwanted things
from your body, however, feces in any place other than a toilet makes you want to vomit. Blood; when you scrape your knee and see
blood, you're fine. But when you see another
person bleeding (in life or in media/film), it
can repulse you in an instant. Similar reactions are aroused in the
body by textures, foods, colors,
sounds, images, and any juxtaposition
of these together.
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