- consider performance and how it pushes the boundaries of what is ‘abject’
The Monstrous Feminine 1993 – Barbara Creed
- attacks Freudian concepts on human physique
- states that the female reproductive body causes men fear
- Creed’s views on abjection – same as my views on the abject and horror theory – bodily functions?
KRISTEVA on the abject – “a ‘something’ that I do not recognize as a thing”
The abject is something so vile that I do not recognize it as a thing (Kristeva 2); I must violently reject it in order to assert myself as ‘I’, and ‘Not that’.
- “illustrate the ways in which femininity is feared and abjected in contemporary society”
- According to Creed, women have historically been “constructed as ‘biological freaks’ whose bodies represent a fearful and threatening form of sexuality” (6). This monstrosity in difference can be traced as far back as Aristotle, who stated that “Woman is literally a monster: a failed and botched male who is only born female due to an excess of moisture and of coldness during the process of conception”
- “Cindy Sherman doesn’t need to create actual monsters because she is making a statement about the monstrosity placed onto the meaning of femininity itself.” (on Sherman’s mannequins – (untitled 250/263) – seen as socially shocking and taboo, but is just an exposed image of femininity and the sides of life that are not seen or accepted as social norm
- “Women are taught to internalize self-hatred and shame of our bodily functions, such as breast-feeding, giving birth, and especially menstruation. The abject female body must be covered, hidden, and disguised by traditional modes of femininity.”
- “part of the reason Sherman’s photographs are so striking – she refuses to cover up the monstrous female body. In Untitled #250, the mannequin seems to unabashedly stare, fully exposed, at the viewer, challenging you to question your own reaction to the image.”
CHALLENGING WHAT WE CONSIDER AS ABJECT – CHALLENGES US TO SEE WHAT IS CONSIDERED ‘TABOO’ AND INSTEAD VIEW IT AS NATURAL AND THE SOCIAL NORM – NOT CONFINING OUR THOUGHTS AND CLOSING OURSELVES INTO THE IGNORANCE OF MAN – ONLY SHOWING WHAT IS CONSIDERED ‘SEXY’ AND EVEN THEN, BEING TOLD WHEN AND WHERE IS ACCEPTABLE TO EXPRESS THIS SEXUALITY – WE ARE MOULDED BY THE IDEA OF WHAT SOCIETIES MALE FIGURES SEE AS ATTRACTIVE AND ACCEPTABLE – WOMEN HAVE BECOME CONFINED TO THESE THOUGHTS AS MALE PRIVILEGE TELLS THEM WHAT THEY CAN AND CANNOT TO – LEADS TO FEMALES OPPRESSING OTHER FEMALES IN ORDER TO PLEASE THE MAN