This book explores three monstrous figures prominent in contemporary popular culture-zombies, vampires, and witches-from a feminist perspective, visiting a range of novels, television series, and films from the 1990s-2010s. Though some popular mainstream texts (from Harry Potter to Twilight) still participate in historically inherited conventions, feminist analysis reveals that many millennial texts utilize monster-figures to critique regressive patriarchal ideologies and/or champion female monstrosity and (human) female agency. Rather than using zombies, vampires, and witches to conserve the status quo, millennial monsters and human heroes, especially female ones, are often deployed to envision a more feminist, egalitarian future with less violence and more social justice. In a culture in which post-feminist voices contend that feminists have achieved their aims and are thus no longer needed, this book argues instead that there still is a dire need for critical, active feminism. Monsters, creatures both incredibly potent and popular, can serve as conduits through which to lay bare existing problems and reveal possible ways forward. Popular texts like True Blood, Frozen, Maleficent, World War Z, and The Walking Dead use powerful female monsters and heroes not only to resist those forces that wish to maintain the status quo, but also to envision alternative socio-cultural formations. This book will contribute to essential discussions in feminism, popular culture, gender and sexuality studies, cultural studies, film studies, and contemporary literature.
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