Crossings: Swarthmore Undergraduate Feminist Research Journal


This paper explores how the darker recesses of the human body’s potential, that of blood and seeping carnage, have long been associated with the feminine; and women themselves find dark catharsis in the genre of body horror. The concept of the monstrous feminine has been studied extensively in fields of gender studies, media studies, and psychoanalysis, all seeking to explain why the gendered experience can be portrayed so aptly through horror. The paper close reads Dance Nation, a feminist play exploring puberty and gendered anger, alongside two works of body horror: Jennifer’s Body (2009) and Hatching (2022). The paper argues that grotesque body horror represents the pain of lost childhood uncontrollably transforming into womanhood but also that embracing the monstrous body can be a source of catharsis, reclaiming savage feminine power.