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Appears in Collections:Literature and Languages eTheses
Title: Postfeminist Consumption in Female Cannibal Texts
Author(s): Flockhart, Louise
Supervisor(s): Davies, Ann
Boyle, Karen
Keywords: Postfeminist
Constructing the Self
Issue Date: Oct-2019
Publisher: University of Stirling
University of Strathclyde
Abstract: In this thesis I explore novels and films from 1995 to 2016 from countries in Europe, North America and Asia which feature individual female cannibals. I use foodways as a framework for reading cannibalism as a part of wider food behaviours and consumer culture. This is used in conjunction with feminist critiques of postfeminist media culture and theories which link neoliberalism and globalisation, as well as being informed by the language and theories of the gothic. This framework provides the tools to answer what cultural work the female cannibal does; what narrative tropes are used and how these relate to local and/or global contexts; and how this figure relates to gender debates in the era. Following on from Jennifer Brown’s argument in Cannibalism and Literature and Film (2013) that cannibals represent contemporary fears and desires, I argue that the female cannibal represents fears and desires related to gender, patriarchal structures and feminist politics. I discuss how the female cannibal has emerged as an individual in the postfeminist era and explore how this relates to the postfeminist and neoliberal strategy of constructing the self through consumerism. I argue that female cannibalism exposes the contradictions and ironies of this strategy with the messy work of cannibalism reflecting the pleasures as well as the exploitative nature of consumption. I argue that the texts engage with rape culture and the continuing objectification of women through the connection between incest and cannibalism. Cannibalism takes objectification literally, reducing humans to meat and therefore reflects and inverts patriarchal abuses which position women as objects. While the cannibalism is therefore a critique of patriarchy and demonstrates a resistance to it, it nevertheless leaves the structures of power unchanged. This demonstrates the limited nature of consumption as a strategy for resistance.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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