Date of this Version
Pp. 133-139 in Women’s Power and Roles as Portrayed in Visual Images of Women in the Arts and Mass Media, edited by Valerie Malhotra Bentz and Philip E.F. Mayes. Lewistion, NY: Edwin Malian Press.
Monsters fill our nights with nightmares, cause us to shiver in terror and look over our shoulder when we walk down dark streets. In other words, monsters are fun. Famous monsters are often men of despicable shapes and minds: e.g., Count Dracula, Frankenstein, the mummy whose tomb has been violated, the werewolf, and Mr. Hyde. The world of female monsters, like their female human counterparts, is often populated by women who depend upon men for their status. Dracula picks beautiful women to become his bloody mates, and Frankenstein tries to take a "bride." More frequently, however, women are seen as the prey of male monsters: mummies haunt the bedrooms of sleeping maidens and Mr. Hyde stalks and murders his female victims. l In this chapter, I examine a little-known female monster, the cat-woman monster, as she is depicted by Sax Rohmer (1920) in The Green Eyes of Bast. I discover that female monsters have many traits shared with their male counterparts, as well as distinctively "feminine" characteristics.