ABSTRACT

This introduction presents an overview of key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. This chapter argues that as Alfred Hitchcock's films repeatedly reveal the way women are oppressed in patriarchy, they allow the female spectator to feel an anger that is very different from the masochistic response imputed to her by some feminist critics. In readings of Hitchcock, the chapter demonstrates how men's fascination and identification with the feminine continually undermine their efforts to achieve masculine strength and autonomy and is a primary cause of the violence toward women that abounds in Hitchcock's films. Hitchcock ensured that his popularity with a fickle film-going public would remain as strong as ever. Not only is it possible to argue that feminist consciousness is the mirror of patriarchal consciousness, but it argues as well that the patriarchal unconscious lies in femininity.