Feminism Essay Example: The Monstrous Feminine Untold

The monstrous feminine has been used in the media, books, and oral traditions to portray women as the true monsters. These women have challenged the way men thought women should be such as fragile, sweet, and obedient to an extent. When a woman challenges their idea of what a woman should be it creates a sense of insecurity in men because their once innocent, sweet counterpart became vile and monstrous. Dead Girl plays with the fact that women can be the source of fear and the source of pure evil something unnatural and also supernatural. In the movie Dead Girl, two teenagers Rickie and JT skip school to go to an abandoned asylum where find a tied-up woman. Whom is neither dead or living. The woman was a monster who could not communicate and was being sexually abused by the two teenagers. Where does the fear of a monstrous feminine come from? What truly defines a monstrous feminine? What makes Dead Girl a monstrous feminine is it her action or just her state of being or both?


Firstly, the fear that accompanies a monstrous feminine has sprung from other fears, such as castration. Castration is the act of cutting or damaging a male’s reproductive organ. Barbara Creed implies that “woman terrifies because she is castrated by arguing that woman primarily terrifies because of a fear that she might castrate. (1)”. Creed is illustrating that the root of the fear of the monstrous feminine in men comes from three places. One place is the fear of the castrated. The fact that women do not have genitals seems to be unnatural to men, as stated by Creed, also creates an unknown sensation and that sensation is, in turn, the origin of fear. The fear of the unknown, the fear of uncertainty is why men fear woman and what they do not have.

The second place is the phobia of being castrated. The fact that a woman could potentially remove or alter manhood by castrating the genitalia is a thought that embrews men with the phobia of being less of a man and losing the one source of true pleasure.  Men love to be seen as strong, well balanced, and decisive. When someone or something challenges that, men become less which is something all men fear losing their masculinity so being castrated would, in turn, cause them to lose what it means to be a man. The third fear originates from the same place as the second fear, but the fear is power. Creed states that “the monstrous feminine in the horror film in relation to the maternal figure and what Kristeva terms ‘abjection’, that which does not ‘respect borders, positions, rules’, that which ‘disturbs identity, system, order (51)”. Creed illustrates that women are seen as monsters when they either disobey, think outside the box, or try to improve their positions.

During the Salem Witch Trials, men would accuse any woman of being a creature of the devil (witch) if they were disobedient to their male counterpart because they are not behaving as they should. At the time women were subordinate to men, meaning they were less than men. Women cleaned houses, took care of the kids, and did the men’s bidding. The monstrous feminine goes against an unspoken rule that men should have the power and not woman, so fear arises in men because it was unnatural for a woman to be more powerful than the man. This was meant with beating, burning, and drowning the women because they were monstrous.

The fear of being less

Overall, the monstrous feminine represents the horror of being less than what men perceive themselves to be, whether it be powerful or intelligent. The feeling of being inferior to women. The monstrous feminine takes what men perceive themselves to be all away by introducing a new type of monster. A monster that can be their own wives or daughters. The fact that a woman who is supposed to be sweet, loving, and caring could potentially become a heinous creature from the depths of hell is what men truly fear of the monstrous feminine. 

Secondly, the definition of the monstrous feminine is not that of fear. The fear of a woman is not the definition of the monstrous feminine but an aspect. The meaning of the monstrous feminine is that of an evil that is unprecedented. Creed illustrates that “The monster is an alluring but confronting figure: the ‘very act of constituting another is ultimately a refusal to recognize something about the self” (Creed, 49). Creed demonstrates that the monstrous feminine is not vile or hideous. She is someone who can lure men. What defines the monstrous feminine isn’t her ability to induce fear in men but the ability to cause men to try to save them as if the women are damsels in distress.  Even though there is a clear fact that the woman is evil or possessed, the man will still try to save or love the woman because it is a man’s nature to protect. The monstrous feminine uses that to her advantage.

For example, in Dead Girl, the woman was tied up and Ricky felt sorry for her because of how vulnerable she made herself looked. She played the victim role and waited for the right time to strike. The woman scratched him and also took a bite out his hand. Overall, the monstrous feminine uses men’s natural instinct to protect and save against the men. The monstrous feminine is a woman or women who possess either supernatural or natural evil tendencies who use their vulnerability to lure and kill men. Men are mostly the Monstrous feminine’s target whether it be because of the way men treat women in general meaning the injustice men do towards women so the monstrous feminine use their unnatural or natural tendencies to teach mean a lesson

Dead Girl analysis

Lastly, the half dead, and half alive woman in Dead Girl is considered a monstrous feminine because she is an unnatural creature who is neither living nor dead. She is operating on the thin line where she can have movements as if she was a normal woman but has no communication skills, no proof of having intelligent thought, and feels no pain. When she was found there was no telling how long she had been there, but she is still “alive”. Then as the movie progress, she did act on her title as the monstrous feminine by castrating. She also as a result of the castration created another monster, only is she a monstrous feminine but a monstrous creator mean she can procreate making more of her kind such as a zombie. Dead Girl existence and actions have endowed her with the title the monstrous feminine, but we see her as the victim because of the way the boys treated her. The writers of the Dead Girl used the monstrous feminine as a tool to make the audience question who the true monster is. The actual monster who is restraint or the boys who are defiling and abusing that said creature. 

Overall, Dead Girl is indeed the monstrous feminine, but the movie suggests the true monster were the boys because they acted more like monsters than the creature. The monstrous feminine took a step back from being the unnatural creature who castrates back to being the victim of true monsters. In the end, she escaped and enacted her true monstrous nature and attack those who have wronged her proving to the audience she is not human but had human traits just like she neither leaving nor dead.


In conclusion, the monstrous feminine exists because of the insecurities of men such superiority who has the power, intelligence who is smarter, strength who is strong. If a woman possesses something greater than a man, then she is a treat and is feared. The Monstrous Feminine is the dominant interpretation of horror films which conceptualizes woman as predominantly a victim.  The woman portrayed in the movie is seen as unnatural or monstrous because of how men’s idea of an ideal woman is challenged. Dead Girl changes the way we view the monstrous feminine because to men she is what one to be feared but during the movie. The audience fears the men more than the woman because of their actions. The monstrous feminine role in this movie was not to introduce fear in men but to instill the fear they have of themselves and their. na.ture not., of the monstrous feminine.



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