The Feminine Grotesque

From women’s pictures to horror flicks, The Feminine Grotesque is a genre and ethos of sorts that explores the darker side of womanhood, complicating notions of beauty, desire and power. 


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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 of the patriarchy. No matter how temporary, women are able to see themselves as bold, defiant,…