"Men, Women, and the Nonhuman, or, Je est un autre....chose"
This paper explores the complex intertwining of the construction of men, woman, and the nonhuman in some recent film narratives, with attention to their precursor images in literature and theory. The focus is on texts that place the feminine and the nonhuman in juxtaposition, raising questions about the cultural construction of bodies, genders, sexualities, and familial positions and narratives. The discussion begins with the telling ambivalence about feminine beauty and its consequent effect on men found in "precursor" texts (Freud's essays "The Taboo On Virginity", "A Special Type of Object Choice Made By Men", "Female Sexuality", "Medusa's Head"; Hawthorne's "Rappaccini's Daughter"; James's "The Jolly Corner" and "Daisy Miller"). This opens the discussion for an extended examination of the mutual construction of subjectivity and monstrosity in several films (King Kong, The Big Sleep, Double Indemnity, the Alien series, and G. I. Jane), with excursions into the recent media construction/narrativization of female soldiers in the news.
Keywords: Sexualities, Genders, Literature, Film, Monstrosity, Psychoanalytic, Cultural Studies, Subjectivities, Literary Theory
Prof. Lynda Zwinger
Associate Professor, Department of English, Women's Studies Affiliated Faculty, Group for Early Modern Studies Member, Associate Editor, Arizona Quarterly, University of Arizona