chapter  6
Shark Fantasy
WithRoslyn Appleby
Pages 12

This chapter explores the ways in which human encounters with sharks are portrayed in movies. It opens with a discussion of the various cultural, political, environmental, and gendered analyses of the movie Jaws, while contemplating the positioning of the Jaws shark as a symbol of monstrous Otherness. Feminist psychosexual analyses of Jaws have focused on the shark’s symbolic representation of the vagina dentata (vagina with teeth) and the role of the movie’s patriarchal trinity in slaughtering this feminine power. Over subsequent decades, many of the themes established in Jaws have continued to appear in shark movies, including the perpetuation of predictable heterosexual norms and clichés and the ongoing representation of the shark as abject Other. Enlisting the feminist practice of revising traditional fairy tales, the chapter concludes with a retelling of the Jaws narrative in a way that resists patriarchal control by inhabiting and mobilising the power inherent in the she-shark.