“Something’s Wrong, Like More Than You Being Female”: Transgressive Sexuality and Discourses of Reproduction in Ginger Snaps

BRIGITTE. Ging, what’s going on? Something’s wrong, like more than you being just female. Can you say something please?
GINGER. I can’t have a hairy chest, B, that’s fucked.
BRIGITTE. Bitten on a full moon, now you’re hairy.
GINGER. Well, thank you for taking my total fucking nightmare so seriously. Oh shit, what if I’m dying or something?

— Ginger Snaps (John Fawcett, 2000)

“Since the 1970s, many horror films have focused on the body as the site of violent transformation. Comments on such films as Night of the Living Dead (George Romero, 1968), Last House on the Left (Wes Craven, 1972), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and the entire subgenre of the slasher movie make clear the connections between violent invasions of the body and the role of the body in society.”

— Ernest Mathijs, “AIDS References in the Critical Reception of David Cronenberg,” 29

By (re)-articulating and modifying horror conventions, Ginger Snaps depicts the experiences of young women coming to terms with their sexuality. In many respects Ginger Snaps contributes to dominant discourses of reproduction, however the film also demands feminist scrutiny. Ginger Snaps merits a reading through psychoanalytic theories – specifically through Barbara Creed’s analysis of transgressive femininity in the horror genre. Creed’s The Monstrous Feminine considers how representations of body horror are connected to Kristeva’s theory of abjection. Kristeva’s psychoanalytic account of feminine sexuality in turn lends force to a reading of Ginger Snaps that incorporates feminist critiques of reproduction narratives. Emily Martin, for instance, contends that scientific accounts of reproduction reinscribe normative femininities by associating passivity with menstruation and activity with spermatogenesis. Ginger Snaps incorporates both the discursive frameworks of menstruation in medical texts and the pervasive ideologies of normative “femininity” that are in operation in contemporary society.

Ginger Snaps also centres its story on a kind of feminist solidarity experienced by two teenaged girls and, contrastingly, the rivalry that exists in sisterly bonds. As Ginger Snaps progresses, the close relationship between the sisters, Ginger and Brigitte Fitzgerald (Katharine Isabelle and Emily Perkins), is increasingly characterized by conflict and jealousy. At the start of the film, neither of the sisters has begun menstruating. Perhaps due to the late arrival of what they call their “curses,” Ginger and Brigitte are considered outsiders at their suburban high school. However, when the elder of the sisters, Ginger, begins menstruating, she attracts the attention of her male classmates. The interest that Ginger arouses in her male classmates disgusts her younger sister Brigitte because it represents her entry into a sexualized world that they had vowed to avoid in a pact to never be “average.”

Once Ginger begins menstruating a parallel process is triggered in her body, a process that transforms her into a werewolf. This “event” is a revision of early hormonal teen-horrors – such as I Was a Teenage Werewolf (Gene Fowler, 1957) – which depict teenagers’ sexual experiences as resembling a metamorphosis into a monster. Ginger Snaps asserts itself as a twenty-first century interpretation of the “body” sub-genre in its references to other canonical horror texts, such as Cat People (Jacques Tourneur, 1942), Rosemary’s Baby (Roman Polanski, 1968), The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973) and The Fly (David Cronenberg, 1986). Mark Jancovich associates “body horror” with a “supposedly postmodern collapse of distinctions and boundaries” (6). In “body horror” films “the monstrous threat is not simply external but erupts from within the human body, and so challenges the distinction between self and other, inside and outside” (Jancovich 6).

Read More – “Something’s Wrong, Like More Than You Being Female”: Transgressive Sexuality and Discourses of Reproduction in Ginger Snaps – Third Space 

[Podcast] About to Review #144 – Project Blue Book and Isabella Price!

I was recently asked to guest on my good friend’s podcast About to Review. We talk about everything, from UFO’s, burlesque, horror movies and Bond villans.

Click on the links to subscribe:

[Fashion] Witches Numéro China #17

Txema Yeste delivers a spectacular vision of womanhood in ‘Witches’ starring Nimue Smit for Numéro China. Fashion editor Tim Lim chooses Miu Miu, Yohji Yamamoto, Roberto Cavalli and Haider Ackermann to express woman as saintly whore, the sexy sorceress responsible for death and evil in the world. Fabulous! /Beauty by Victor Alvarez; hair by Marion Anée; Styling assistant – Niklas Bildstein, Biel Escàmez & Cristina Ramos at Povera Studio.


The Season of the Witch: Why Teenage Girls Are So Dang Scary

When it comes time to write the history of Westerville, Ohio—a project that will be only slightly impeded by the fact that the historians keep having to be replaced every few weeks, as they slip into boredom-induced comas—no one will include the following story. It is too strange, too eerie—to be frank, just too unbelievable. And indeed, many of the girls who experienced the strange phenomenon I am about to describe will deny it. Perhaps they’ve forgotten. Then again, perhaps they are only trying to forget. After all, they are respectable women now. The dark and eldritch forces they once encountered have no place in their lives today.

But it did happen. I know it. I was there. And so I alone shall recount to you this terrifying paranormal tale: for several months, the entire youth culture of Westerville, Ohio, was based on The Craft.

Yes, I’m talking about that one movie, with Fairuza Balk. The Craft was about four teenage girls—representing the elements of water, earth, air, and fire—who formed a “coven” to worship “Manon” and/or make some freaky stuff happen with their minds. They became prettier, caused the downfall of mean girls, made cute boys fall in love with them—you know, the usual witch stuff. As it turns out, The Craft was a horror movie, and the girls’ spells ended in death, attempted rape, and psychiatric hospitalization. But nobody focused on that part. We, the teen girls of Westerville, Ohio, had just learned that banding together in groups could potentially give us freaky mind powers. And we wanted in.

Read More – The Season of the Witch – Rookie Mag

The Allure of Gothic Horror

The woman wears a long velvet dressing gown over a lace peignoir that froths around her ankles like seafoam as she runs across the moor. In the distance, the shape of a house grown vast and gloriously terrible beyond any architect’s dreams looms, bleak and menacing and wonderful. The moon is high enough to light the scene; the sun is a lie told by nannies to their charges to keep them from being afraid of the monsters in the night. The monsters are not a lie. The monsters are real. The monsters are already inside the house. The monsters are in the blood and the bone and walls, the monsters are here, the monsters are pursuing the woman through the heather, toward the cliffs overlooking the sea, the monsters are sitting down in the parlor for slices of cake and cups of tea.

Welcome to the gothic horror.

The Deadly History of Women Using Perfume as Poison

There’s a myth about Marie Antoinette’s attempt to escape the guillotine I love retelling: In seeking to avoid the wrath of the Jacobin revolutionaries, the royal family escaped to the outskirts of Paris in disguise. When their coach was stopped by a mob, they were unrecognizable. They were found out, improbably, by the noble profile of the king (which perfectly matched a banknote), but also in the noble smell of the queen. After all, only royalty could afford such a sublime scent.