The author of Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear . . . and Why takes a look at female "monsters"—from the biblical Lilith, to Stephen King's Carrie, to the witches of The Craft—and how they speak to the viciousness of a sexist society.
... Doyle’s powerful work does more than celebrate female rage. Instead, it charts the history of how women have been depicted by American culture as victims, sluts, witches, femme fatales, shrew-like wives, and bad mothers. Doyle offers a cultural road map for the way that patriarchal forces have turned women into monsters in our cultural imagination...In doing so, Doyle creates a powerful argument that the only way for women to take back their power is to shatter the monstrous versions of themselves created to constrain women at every life stage, as daughters and wives and mothers ... By highlighting the dichotomy between our cultural fantasies of fear and the actual violence wrought upon women in retaliation, Doyle shows that an awareness of these origins can help women understand the dangers they face when operating outside of patriarchal norms ... Through an impeccably researched analysis of both the film and its cultural impact worldwide, Doyle shows us how a single movie depicting the monstrosity of an adolescent girl actually produced a notable rise in Catholic exorcisms ... In her section on motherhood, Doyle also employs a powerful mix of historical research, literary analysis, and gender criticism ... Ultimately, I felt that Doyle succeeded at creating a fine balance in her writing, walking the tightrope of female outrage, calling out the patriarchy at every turn, and exposing the mechanisms that have created monsters from women throughout the history of Western civilization. And yet, the tone of Dead Blondes and Bad Mothers is upbeat: by understanding the creation of these structures in art, cinema, literature, and cultural norms, the book argues, perhaps we can rise above them, change them, or at the very least, know what we are dealing with ... a triumphant book, one worthy of sitting on the shelf next to—and informing—the many empowering books championing women this year.
From Circe and Cleopatra to the women of the TV series The Craft...her prose moves seamlessly from feminist theory and pop culture analysis to damning real-life examples of the dangers women face because of the perceived threat of their sexuality. This much-needed work is as suitable for university courses on feminism, gender, and new media studies as it is for readers looking for an accessible analysis of the perils women encounter when society transforms them into monsters who need to be destroyed rather than seeing them as individuals whose power takes on important agency ... A vital read on femininity and sexuality that speaks to our past, present, and future.
...takes an unsparing—even Lilith House- esque—look at representations of women and female power in literature, movies, and myth ... Doyle hammers the messages that the fear of women— their sexual power and life force—is the most important part of misogyny, and cultural stories teach women what will happen if we break out of our cage ... Doyle has a love for media minutia, and she leaves no stone unturned when she is digging into urban legends, horror movies, true crime, Gothic novels, and ghost stories ... Both of my sons (ages five and ten) claim to have nightmares several times a week. Reading Doyle, this suddenly made sense. 'Yes, dear. There is something under the bed—my unfulfilled ambitions!' What’s a woman to do with these crappy choices—evil mothers, massacred blondes, pubescent demons, and carnivorous beasts? Doyle’s answer...is to embrace the woman living outside of society, the one outside the bounds of patriarchal rule—the witch.