"Hairy Thuggish Women": Female Werewolves, Gender, and the Hoped-For Monster
The female werewolf embodies a kind of gendered border crossing: a female body expressing characteristics labeled both masculine and male by the dominant culture (power, strength, rage, aggression, violence, and body hair). In this project, I explore how recent film and television narratives of female werewolves deal with gendered fears and expectations of female power and the female body, as well as how the visuality of these texts upholds and/or challenges cultural norms of sex and gender. The first chapter analyzes specific texts focusing on visual representations of gender and power. In these texts, female werewolves function as a disciplinary/regulatory sign of un/acceptable female bodies and behaviors. At the same time, the spectacle of the masculine-female-grotesque and the ambigendered/ambisexed body is often avoided. In examining these texts, I look for moments and characters that threaten the patriarchal and heterosexist gender binary and its roles/expectations. Are any of these characters a representation of a hopeful monster/monster queer that enables promising disruptions of old categories? The second chapter focuses on audience reception and interpretation of these texts, using online posting boards and review websites. Here, I look for moments of negotiation and resistance within audience readings of these narratives. The third chapter links text, production, and audience in an examination of a recent film adaptation of the young adult novel, Blood and Chocolate. My focus throughout this project rests on the un/acceptable female body, and the textual fissures that foster resistance to dominant cultural ideals about gender.
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Elsas, Louis J.; Ljungqvist, Arne; Ferguson-Smith, Malcolm A.; Simpson, Joe Leigh; Genel, Myron; Carlson, Alison S.; Ferris, Elizabeth; de la Chapelle, Albert; Ehrhardt, Anke A. (2000-07)