Dead Blondes and Bad Mothers: Monstrosity, Patriarchy, and the Fear of Female Power

Melville House. Aug. 2019. 352p. notes. index. ISBN 9781612197920. pap. $16.99; ebk. ISBN 9781612197937. SOC SCI
From Circe and Cleopatra to the women of the TV series The Craft, female power has terrified men to the extent that it produces fears that lead men to kill women every day, argues Doyle (Trainwreck: The Women We Love To Hate, Mock, and Fear…and Why). Here, the author explores women’s identities as daughters, wives, and mothers through a complex set of lenses—theoretical, historical, and cultural—and 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.
VERDICT A vital read on femininity and sexuality that speaks to our past, present, and future.
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