Dead Blondes and Bad Mothers: Monstrosity, Patriarchy, and

Dead Blondes and Bad Mothers: Monstrosity, Patriarchy, and the Fear of Female Power As someone who loves horror, has an interest in women s history, and has a darker sense of humour, I fell in love with this book before I was even finished reading its introduction The book covers everything from odd true crime cases and often how they go on to influence pop culture , The Exorcist and several other horror gems like Dracula, The Craft, Carrie, and even Godzilla and Twin Peaks , witchcraft, menstruation, motherhood, female sexuality, etc It s super informative though not wit As someone who loves horror, has an interest in women s history, and has a darker sense of humour, I fell in love with this book before I was even finished reading its introduction The book covers everything from odd true crime cases and often how they go on to influence pop culture , The Exorcist and several other horror gems like Dracula, The Craft, Carrie, and even Godzilla and Twin Peaks , witchcraft, menstruation, motherhood, female sexuality, etc It s super informative though not without some hyperbole that I chalk up to Sady Doyle being super fucking hype for this stuff and it s written in a way that is both humourous and empowering, all while being genuinely thought provoking.I could spend the entire afternoon gushing over and describing this book in depth or attempting to analyze the topics it examines, but I m not going to, because I think, simply, it speaks for itself I love anything relating to what Doyle refers to as female monstrosity , and if those words speak mean anything to you at all as well, or catch your attention for whatever reason, this is definitely a book you should read Women are monsters, according to the patriarchy That s the thesis of Dead Blondes and Bad Mothers Monstrosity, Patriarchy, and the Fear of Female Power, Sady Doyle s follow up to her 2016 Trainwreck The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear and Why To elaborate a bit , Doyle argues that the portrayal of women and femininity in our media and culture overlaps with our understanding of the monstrous, the Other, the unnatural or unholy, and in this way patriarchal structures encoura Women are monsters, according to the patriarchy That s the thesis of Dead Blondes and Bad Mothers Monstrosity, Patriarchy, and the Fear of Female Power, Sady Doyle s follow up to her 2016 Trainwreck The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear and Why To elaborate a bit , Doyle argues that the portrayal of women and femininity in our media and culture overlaps with our understanding of the monstrous, the Other, the unnatural or unholy, and in this way patriarchal structures encourage people of all genders to view male as normal and default and female as deviant It s one of those theses that seems obvious once you sit and think about it, if you re of a feminist bent like myself, but what makes this book special is the consummate skill Doyle brings to synthesizing all these various real life and fictional portrayals of women as the monster The research and thought on display here is impressive.Doyle divides the book into three parts daughters, wives, and mothers Each part has two or three chapters devoted to social structures or cultural constructs puberty, virginity, seduction, marriage, birth, family, and bad mothers, respectively that Doyle then analyzes through a feminist lens and through the intertextuality of horror and true crime She references historical materials from the nineteenth century as well as fictional works like Mary Shelley s Frankenstein she references modern movies and TV shows Thus spanning several centuries of culture, the book seeks to establish that these phenomena are not limited to any one time or place They are inherent in the fabric of any patriarchy, this need to oppress women and influence the behaviour of men by portraying them as monstrous.Why only 3 stars Honestly, the book doesn t live up to what I was expecting to find That s not a criticism this is a good book I just had a wildly inaccurate idea of what it would be in my head, something that didn t involve such a detailed tour through the landscape of horror fiction a genre that just isn t something I tend to enjoy watching or thinking about If you are a fan of horror and of horror criticism, you will like this book a lotthan I do, I hope the subject matter that Doyle uses just doesn t quite align with my interests, as interesting as her writing and ideas remain I enjoyed this book and found it thought provoking, but it doesn t sing to me, much in the way that a book about math might teach someone else something but not stir the same type of love it will for me.That was a long winded way of saying your mileage may vary, I know But I needed to put that out there, because my other difficulty in this review is trying to decide what I ve learned from this book versus what I already knew but just enjoyed hearing someone else say By this I mean, everything in here basically makes sense to me I ve read other texts that examine the portrayal of women and women s bodies as monstrous Doyle cites Ginger Snaps, which is 19 years old at this point, oh wow, and is a horror movie I actually did enjoy Now, Dead Blondes and Bad Mothers has a broader scope and deeper analysis than most of those texts, which tended either to be fiction or shorter articles So I do think Doyle is making a valuable contribution to this field It s just tough for me to get excited about any of her particular ideas One of the most significant feelings I have coming out of this book is a desire for some writing along these lines specifically about Supernatural, a fantasy horror show which I absolutely adore but which I have to admit, when examined from a feminist lens, is problematic as all get out.Here s one specific piece of praise Doyle articulates why TERFs are not actually feminists quite well She points out that the long held historical need to marginalize and demonize trans people particularly trans women serves the patriarchy s agenda Though the hatred for trans and queer women is louder andintense it nevertheless stems from the same basic patriarchal need for control This comes from a much longer section discussing trans people and their exclusion othering Well said TERFs claim that trans women are not, somehow, as real women as cis women are Yet this need to control what defines a woman and as the Virginia Woolf epigraph of this book explains, that is a nearly impossible task stems itself from patriarchal ideas about sex and gender roles in our society, grounded firmly in the idea of male access and control over reproduction Doyle discusses and generally attempts to make as much space for trans people in this book as she can, given her own identity as a cis women she points out that trans people can and should write books along these lines using their own perspectives to guide the analysis, and as she says, I would totally read those books too.I think the best audience for this book would be people who have a bitinterest in horror or true crime stuff than I do Don t let this pronouncement dissuade you from reading this if you re at all intrigued, mind you but this is ultimately a book of feminist literary criticism grounded within an early 21st century awareness of cultural commentary It would make an excellent textbook for a university class analyzing the modern horror genre And it is fit for general reading consumption too It didn t wow me quite as much as Trainwreck or, indeed, some of the other feminist writing I ve read recently But that s ok It still left me with lots to think about, and that alone is an excellent thing for a book to do If you feel like women are reaching a boiling point if you question why we think about daughters, mothers, and wives the way we do if you ve always wondered where it all came from and where it might be heading read this book In her compulsively readable, feminist manifesto, Sady Doyle takes a sharp look at mythology, pop culture, and real women through a lens to see how patriarchy was, is, and always has been how we see women Completely fascinating the couple pages of Jurassic Park alo If you feel like women are reaching a boiling point if you question why we think about daughters, mothers, and wives the way we do if you ve always wondered where it all came from and where it might be heading read this book In her compulsively readable, feminist manifesto, Sady Doyle takes a sharp look at mythology, pop culture, and real women through a lens to see how patriarchy was, is, and always has been how we see women Completely fascinating the couple pages of Jurassic Park alone have me rethinking some things I loved how she took familiar movies and mythologies and tied them to real women and situations It really is a book to dive back into again and again when you re tired of the bull and need to remember why the patriarchy sucks and how we can see it for what it really is Ending with a call to action, and a look at the most recent presidential election, I found myself feeling hopeful for the first time in a while even though I know that will come crashing down the next time I read the news Solid Lilith Fare.Doyle approaches the immense spread and pressure of patriarchy via popular media through the ages myths to movies This is an easy to grasp format that doesn t sacrifice while demonstrating how pervasive the concept of heterosexual male dominance has been and still is as given through the lens of storytelling from history a narrative told by subsequent peoples to mass hysteria, Salem witch trials, e.g., to horror film genre to literature and so on and so on.Doyle s insi Solid Lilith Fare.Doyle approaches the immense spread and pressure of patriarchy via popular media through the ages myths to movies This is an easy to grasp format that doesn t sacrifice while demonstrating how pervasive the concept of heterosexual male dominance has been and still is as given through the lens of storytelling from history a narrative told by subsequent peoples to mass hysteria, Salem witch trials, e.g., to horror film genre to literature and so on and so on.Doyle s insights into Frankenstein were great, one of my favorite books And I chuckled when Doyle discussed Oresteia trilogy because I was astounded by the subversion of the chthonic gods to the sky gods, aka submission of earth goddesses by the sky gods as seen in Athena s dialogue with the Furies in Eumenides Athena sublimates them under her aegis The real life horror stories outweigh the film versions, but it discusses the popularity of horror movies with young women.Overall, recommended read My thanks to Becky, it was in her feed that I saw this book As much as I loved Doyle s last book, this one was a bit of a mixed bag for me I think her analysis of culture casting women as monstrous is both valid and important, but in condensing her examples, I feel that she sometimes leaves out crucial details that don t support her case For instance, she contrasts Aileen Wuornos s six death sentences to Gary Ridgway s life imprisonment but fails to mention a Ridgway has 48 life sentences plus 480 years and b he was spared the death penalty in exchan As much as I loved Doyle s last book, this one was a bit of a mixed bag for me I think her analysis of culture casting women as monstrous is both valid and important, but in condensing her examples, I feel that she sometimes leaves out crucial details that don t support her case For instance, she contrasts Aileen Wuornos s six death sentences to Gary Ridgway s life imprisonment but fails to mention a Ridgway has 48 life sentences plus 480 years and b he was spared the death penalty in exchange for identifying unknown victims While Wuornos s sentence was lamentable, I don t think it s fair to compare their circumstances Holy shit this book was so good Love horror Love women THEN HAVE I GOT A BOOK FOR YOU Don t Then why are we even friends Men have long believed that women our desires, bodies, and demands for equality and autonomy are monstrous You see, if women are free to make their own decisions, it would destroy the patriarchy, and we can t have that Here Sady Doyle takes a look at myth and horror through a feminist lens to discover what these stories can tell us, and how all those horror movie lessons are meant to oppress women by making their autonomy from men, from pregnancy, from motherhood, from the patriarchy into so Men have long believed that women our desires, bodies, and demands for equality and autonomy are monstrous You see, if women are free to make their own decisions, it would destroy the patriarchy, and we can t have that Here Sady Doyle takes a look at myth and horror through a feminist lens to discover what these stories can tell us, and how all those horror movie lessons are meant to oppress women by making their autonomy from men, from pregnancy, from motherhood, from the patriarchy into something monstrous Women are defined from the outside, in terms of how they seem to men, rather from the inside, as thinking, feeling subjects They are not fellow people, not even a different or worse variety of person, but simply the opposite of men, and hence, the opposite of human The book is divided up into the three things women are expected to be daughters, wives, and mothers, and as part of each Doyle focuses on menstruation, heterosexual sex and marriage, pregnancy, and motherhood, not as she says in the introduction because these are the only ways to be a woman, or married, or a parent, but because of the societal expectations, and pressures, surrounding these issues.The myths and monsters she investigates mostly concern cisgender girls and women, but at least once a chapter Doyle reminds the reader that trans people exist, and non gender conforming people exist, that queer people exist, that men can get pregnant, and that women can impregnate their partners we just don t have as many cultural expectations about them, instead what we have is horror stories, like Silence of the Lambs, one of the films Doyle discusses in the book.Despite these periodic reminders, there s not much trans inclusion here Part of that is because of Doyle s central argument, but the rest is due to the patriarchy s tendency toward gender essentialism, and Doyle thoroughly explains how the patriarchy developed this system to benefit itself, and it isn t benefited by acknowledging the diversity of human life There s just men, and women, and those women need to simmer down The promise of patriarchy is that every man will exercise absolute power and control over at least one woman, and that lucky men will exercise power and control over other men as well The evils of patriarchy laws against gender transition, against same sex marriage, against abortion, against anything that provides a challenge or a workable alternative to the nuclear family ruled by the male father god are inexhaustible And the weakness of patriarchy the big, red, DO NOT TOUCH THIS BUTTON button, the exhaust vent on the Death Star of Western Civilization is women There is some discussion of race, mostly with regards to black women, but you can tell by the title dead blondes this is going to be mostly about white women because that s where the patriarchy s interests and anxieties lie JonBen t Ramsey, for example Because, yes, this book is also about true crime Fans of the podcast My Favorite Murder which Doyle mentions by name will recognize the argument that women and other marginalized genders take an interest in true crime as a way to deal with the anxiety of living in a world that openly wants to kill us, and often does.At times this gets a little in the weeds, particularly in the motherhood section where it can feel like a bunch of sweeping generalizations taken to extremes, like motherhood is monsterhood, but maybe it s only that I couldn t relate and so her conclusions felt like a stretch to me Still, I got where she was going, even if I didn t entirely buy everything she was saying But then, while I was reading this book, I was also re reading Maggie Stiefvater s Blue Lily, Lily Blue and I came across a passage that perfectly illustrated a number of the points Doyle was making Ah Are you afraid she jeered Did you hear that I m a witch I have three breasts I have a tail, and horns I am a giant down below Oh, I d be afraid of me, too, young knight I could get you pregnant Run Run It s all right there Women who disrupt the authority of men are witches burn them , monstrous, part snake always , have multiple breasts for suckling their young, sure, because monstrous women can reproduce at will without men , have unexpected genitals, can change genders or be all genders at once and impregnate men, making them monstrous in return It s rich stuff and Stiefvater got it all into a couple of lines I was pretty surprised when I read this I d understood the points Doyle was making but felt she was taking a few examples to the extreme, but these myths about women truly are so pervasive that they show up in young adult fiction set in modern times, and this is just a brief exchange in the middle of a bunch of other stuff, in no way the point of the scene, just illustrating how this particular female character, having been shut up in a box for 600 years, is now a tad eccentric But it also reflects centuries of male anxieties back at a modern male character.As I said, the motherhood section was something I couldn t relate to much, but I found her interpretation of the domineering mother of the true crime genre to be enlightening, as well as the history on the medicalization of birth and what this meant for black mothers and midwives, many of whom were also black I also enjoyed her feminist analysis of the horror genre and Frankenstein as well, but I felt impatient with the parts of this that delved too deeply into the metaphorical or even the spiritual It was just too abstract for me in many ways.In the end, this is almost pure theory even the ending call to action relied heavily on metaphor witches metaphorical witches and that s not really what I need right now So I found it somewhat disappointing on that front, but Doyle s prose is always easy to read, funny, profane, and relatable So I also enjoyed much of it This might be just the thing if you need to step out of our dystopian hellscape for a second andtake a look at how things could be so much worse in a horror movie sort of way But it also acknowledges all the freedoms being a monster gives you Witches don t have to conform to societal expectations and that s what makes them so dangerous A network of self sufficient single women living alone on the fringes of society A HORROR STORY FOR MEN.This has a thorough index, extensive end notes with sources, the occasional footnote, and a helpfully annotated resource guide arranged by chapter topic, then by medium and genre, and Doyle happily calls out the wrong doings of men like Johnny Depp and Roman Polanski in her notes, acknowledging the conflict between artist and product when the artist is a slimeball criminal.I gave this four stars, but it s closer to four and a half.Contains cannibalism attempted incest rape The Exorcist exorcisms in place of medical care, leading to death references to mental illness child harm death descriptions of violence, blood, mutilation, dead bodies sexual violence and domestic violence, ending in murder transphobia also ending in murder discussion of rape mention of suicide Ed Gein, Ed Kemper, and descriptions of their works animal harm death internet harrassment, death threats, Reddit misogyny Women have always been seen as monsters Men from Aristotle to Freud have insisted that women are freakish creatures, capable of immense destruction Maybe they are And maybe that s a good thing Sady Doyle, hailed as smart, funny and fearless by the Boston Globe, takes readers on a tour of the female dark side, from the biblical Lilith to Dracula s Lucy Westenra, from the T Rex in Jurassic Park to the teen witches of The Craft She illuminates the women who have shaped our nightmares Serial killer Ed Gein s domineering mother Augusta exorcism casualty Anneliese Michel, starving herself to death to quell her demons author Mary Shelley, dreaming her dead child back to life These monsters embody patriarchal fear of women, and illustrate the violence with which men enforce traditionally feminine roles They also speak to the primal threat of a woman who takes back her power In a dark and dangerous world,Dead Blondes and Bad Mothers asks women to look to monsters for the ferocity we all need to survive Some people take a scalpel to the heart of media culture Sady Doyle brings a bone saw, a melon baller, and a machete Andi Zeisler, author of We Were Feminists Once ➷ [Reading] ➹ Gender in Psychoanalytic Space By Muriel Dimen ➬ – Ralphslaurensoutlet.co.uk capable of immense destruction Maybe they are And maybe that s a good thing Sady Doyle ❴KINDLE❵ ❆ Insight and Interpretation Author Roy Schafer – Ralphslaurensoutlet.co.uk hailed as smart ❮Reading❯ ➳ Good People in an Evil Time ➬ Author Svetlana Broz – Ralphslaurensoutlet.co.uk funny and fearless by the Boston Globe [EPUB] ✵ On a Day Like This By Peter Stamm – Ralphslaurensoutlet.co.uk takes readers on a tour of the female dark side ➫ [Ebook] ➦ Heart to Start By Derek Handley ➶ – Ralphslaurensoutlet.co.uk from the biblical Lilith to Dracula s Lucy Westenra [BOOKS] ⚣ Light without Fire By Scott Korb – Ralphslaurensoutlet.co.uk from the T Rex in Jurassic Park to the teen witches of The Craft She illuminates the women who have shaped our nightmares Serial killer Ed Gein s domineering mother Augusta exorcism casualty Anneliese Michel [Ebook] ➠ Secrecy By Rupert Thomson – Ralphslaurensoutlet.co.uk starving herself to death to quell her demons author Mary Shelley [KINDLE] ❅ The Silence and the Roar By Nihad Sirees – Ralphslaurensoutlet.co.uk dreaming her dead child back to life These monsters embody patriarchal fear of women [PDF / Epub] ★ Hard Country ✈ Robin Robilliard – Ralphslaurensoutlet.co.uk and illustrate the violence with which men enforce traditionally feminine roles They also speak to the primal threat of a woman who takes back her power In a dark and dangerous world,Dead Blondes and Bad Mothers asks women to look to monsters for the ferocity we all need to survive Some people take a scalpel to the heart of media culture Sady Doyle brings a bone saw ➛ [KINDLE] ❅ The Whale Rider By Witi Ihimaera ➥ – Ralphslaurensoutlet.co.uk a melon baller ❴PDF / Epub❵ ★ The Impossible David Lynch Author Todd McGowan – Ralphslaurensoutlet.co.uk and a machete Andi Zeisler ➞ The Colour Encyclopedia Of Incredible Aeroplanes free download ➣ Author Philip J. Jarrett – Ralphslaurensoutlet.co.uk author of We Were Feminists Once I love Sady Doyle s writing She s able to weave together stories about actual historical and current figures, fictional characters, and women from myths into an entertaining book about the patriarchal and misogynistic fear of monstrous women The book is broken down into three main sections daughters, wives, and mothers I definitely enjoyed the book as a whole, but I wasinterested in the daughters and wives sections than the one about mothers I d recommend this to anyone looking for I love Sady Doyle s writing She s able to weave together stories about actual historical and current figures, fictional characters, and women from myths into an entertaining book about the patriarchal and misogynistic fear of monstrous women The book is broken down into three main sections daughters, wives, and mothers I definitely enjoyed the book as a whole, but I wasinterested in the daughters and wives sections than the one about mothers I d recommend this to anyone looking for afun book about pop culture and history viewed through a feminist lens I m so amped Female power let s goooo.


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