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The Feminine Grotesque

From women’s pictures to horror flicks, The Feminine Grotesque is a term I created to describe a genre and ethos of sorts that explores the darker side of womanhood and femininity by way of madness and extreme emotion, complicating notions of beauty, desire, autonomy and power. 

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Recommendations always appreciated!


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The emotional, social and psychological problems that are specifically connected to the character’s sense of womanhood provide the meat and gristle of this genre. The questions of women’s pictures turn on their pretty heads in The Feminine Grotesque. The tools of beauty — physicality, dress, makeup — become weapons that wound as much as they empower.

Like women’s pictures, The Feminine Grotesque offers visual liberation from the confining strictures…

Read notes
  • Possession
  • Killing Time
  • A Dark Song
  • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
  • By the Sea
  • Return to Oz
  • Black Widow
  • May
  • Alice, Sweet Alice
  • The Babadook
  • Bug
  • The Duke of Burgundy
  • Eve's Bayou
  • Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion
  • Ginger Snaps
  • The Handmaiden
  • Her Smell
  • mother!
  • Now, Voyager
  • Queen of Earth
  • Snow White: A Tale of Terror
  • Suddenly, Last Summer
  • Suspiria
  • Suspiria
  • Through a Glass Darkly
  • Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles
  • Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me
  • Volver
  • What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
  • The Witch
  • Black Swan
  • Christine
  • Raw
  • Rachel Getting Married
  • Laura
  • Diabolique
  • Jennifer's Body
  • The Fits
  • I Want to Live!
  • Home Before Dark
  • A Woman Under the Influence
  • A Place in the Sun
  • Johnny Guitar
  • Persona
  • Always Shine
  • Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)
  • The Eyes of My Mother
  • Mulholland Drive
  • 3 Women
  • Thelma
  • The Villainess
  • Swallow
  • A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
  • Frances
  • Cat People
  • Madeline's Madeline
  • Alias Grace
  • The Bigamist
  • Lola Montès
  • Children of Paradise
  • Baby Face
  • Wanda
  • Black Narcissus
  • Klute
  • Emma Mae
  • Daisies
  • Monster
  • Morvern Callar
  • The Company of Wolves
  • Hellraiser
  • Hellbound: Hellraiser II
  • Detour
  • Melancholia
  • Clash by Night
  • The Stepford Wives
  • Promising Young Woman
  • Prevenge
  • In Fabric
  • Perfect Blue
  • Repulsion
  • The Actress
  • Titane
  • Possessor
  • Malignant
  • Leave Her to Heaven
  • Opening Night
  • Elle
  • Colossal
  • Head-On
  • The Snake Pit
  • Undone
  • Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte
  • The Night House
  • Resurrection
  • Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
  • Reflections in a Golden Eye
  • Interview with the Vampire
  • Gaslight
  • Black Bear
  • An Angel at My Table