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Objectification of Women in the Bloody Chamber

By:   •  June 5, 2018  •  Essay  •  740 Words (3 Pages)  •  3,001 Views

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Objectification of Women in the Bloody Chamber

The story is narrated by the heroine herself, which shows Carter giving a voice to a repressed gender. Marquis doesn’t even have to do anything to assert his power of his new bride to be as she says herself ‘I was seventeen and knew nothing of the world: my Marquis had been married before, more than once, and I remained a little bemused that, after those others, he should now have chosen me’. She herself is showing she is inferior to her husband because of the age gap and that she doesn’t know anything and that her husband must know everything. When a man is clothed and the woman is not, this shows the ultimate power the man is holding over his woman. This pornographic picture is shown when the Marquis strips his bride and he remained clothed.

A bloody chamber is a room where violence and enlightenment occur simultaneously. It is a place of transformation for the heroine that changes her irrevocably. Bloody chambers are often connected with not only the blood of violence, but also with the blood shed when a woman loses her virginity and when she menstruates. The term "bloody chamber" can also refer to the vagina or womb, and Carter uses this fact to underscore the connection between women's sexuality and the violence they experience. In "The Bloody Chamber," the bloody chamber is the Marquis's chamber of torture and death. When the heroine finds it, she puts herself in danger of being killed but also gains the knowledge to prevent her death. As Moore states, the key to the bloody chamber is "the key to her selfhood"; seeing her potential fate makes the heroine realize that she has bought in to a life of objectification and subjugation that will ultimately kill her.

The heroines are indebted to bestial men for lifting them out of poverty, and so they must endure their desires. This pornographic image, like the sadistic pictures the Marquis collects in “The Bloody Chamber,” is the ultimate example of the woman as object and the man as powerful manipulator. Instead of rejecting the old fairy tales for their objectification of women and sexual violence, Carter retells them from a female point of view, giving the stories’ heroines greater agency in their fates.

The domination over women portrayed by the Marquis allows for a feminist interpretation, because he manipulates and literally moulds them in order to satisfy his erotic tastes. This acts as a metaphor for women being purely a model for men to build their lives around, alluding to the idea of socialist feminism, where such feminists believe in inequality in the social hierarchy.

Objectification often derives from the female gaze, which can be seen in alignment with feminism, an example of which is where the girl in 'The Bloody Chamber' is 'surrounded by so many mirrors!' Here the self-critical nature of the girl conforms to the norms of the male gaze, and therefore it makes the gazed become an object, as opposed to a person, which causes patriarchy, and is thus deemed a feminist portrayal. where the Marquis asks 'Have the nasty pictures scared baby?' the language here is not only patronising of the age and maturity of his wife, but it's also ominous and the reader assumes that violence is imminent, and the connection between pornography and violence is obvious. This can be interpreted in a feminist manner because many feminists oppose pornography, as it is demeaning to women who are used for male gratification, shown by 'prayer books', because without them men are not satisfied. This is depicted further by the girl finding the 'Reproof of Curiosity' and another pornographic image, which shows just how reliant the Marquis is of pornography, which could be said to show how he is not satisfied with what an actual woman can offer him. The narrator of the 'The Bloody Chamber' is the girl; this is rather ironic of the fairy tale genre, which usually has a male or omnipotent narrative voice. By giving the girl this role Carter allows her to put across her own first-hand views and opinions; alternatively it could be argued that the girl is now taking the role of a typical male protagonist, as it is he who usually gives his account of the story, and what she says could be bias and manipulative, and therefore could be seen as a mockery of the feminist viewpoint.


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