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Controlling the Mind for the Body: The Deintellectualization of Women within the American Gothic

  • Matthew E. Martin
Chapter

Abstract

Focusing on the gothic genre, this chapter explores the darker side of intimate relationships within cinema and literature, particularly on the reoccurring narrative of men deintellectualizing women as a means of controlling both their minds and bodies for sexual, reproductive, commercial, and societal purposes, more specifically within Ira Levin’s The Stepford Wives and the film Deadgirl. Using the work of Judith Butler, Barbara Creed, Laura Mulvey, Venetria Patton, and others, the chapter continues to discuss sex as a performative act that serves to materialize the body, the cult of womanhood, abjection, and the controlling male gaze. Its goal is to illuminate the idea of the gothic genre as being the genre of societal disruption—truly highlighting the fact that built into the norms of American society are true abject horrors that can largely go unseen and unspoken.

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Filmography

  1. The Stepford Wives. Director: Bryan Forbes. Performers: Katharine Ross, Paula Prentiss, Peter Masterson. Palomar Pictures, 1975.Google Scholar
  2. The Stepford Wives. Director: Frank Oz. Performers: Nicole Kidman, Bette Midler, Matthew Broderick. Paramount Pictures / DreamWorks, 2004.Google Scholar
  3. Deadgirl. Directors: Marcel Sarmiento and Gadi Harel. Performers: Shiloh Fernandez and Noah Segan. Dark Sky Films, 2008. Netflix.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew E. Martin
    • 1
  1. 1.Sonoma State UniversityRohnert ParkUnited States

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