Managing the Monstrous Feminine takes a unique approach to the study of the material and discursive practices associated with the construction and regulation of the female body. Jane Ussher examines the ways in which medicine, science, the law and popular culture combine to produce fictions about femininity, positioning the reproductive body as the source of women's power, danger and weakness.
Including sections on 'regulation', 'the subjectification of women' and 'women's negotiation and resistance', this book describes the construction of the 'monstrous feminine' in mythology, art, literature and film, revealing its implications for the regulation and experience of the fecund female body. Critical reviews are combined with case studies and extensive interview material to illuminate discussions of subjects including:

  • the regulation of women through the body
  • regimes of knowledge associated with reproduction
  • intersubjectivity and the body
  • women’s narratives of resistance.

These insights into the relation between the construction of the female body and women's subjectivity will be of interest to those studying health psychology, social psychology, medical sociology, gender studies and cultural studies. The book will also appeal to all those looking for a high-level introduction to contemporary feminist thought on the female body.

chapter 1|17 pages

Managing the Monstrous Feminine

Regulating the reproductive body

chapter 2|62 pages

Mad, Bad, Bloody Women

The shame of menarche and pathologising of premenstrual change

chapter 3|38 pages

Embodying the Grotesque Feminine

The pregnant and post-natal body

chapter 4|33 pages

‘The Horror of This Living Decay'

Menopause and the ageing body

chapter 5|13 pages

Regulation and Resistance

Women's negotiation of embodied subject positions