Tag Archives: Werewolves

Black Monsters/White Corpses: Kanye’s Racialized Gender Politics

by Latoya Peterson

Nicki Minaj in Monster

Ok first things first I’ll eat your brains/
Then I’mma start rocking gold teeth and fangs/
‘Cause that’s what a muthafucking monster do

— Nicki Minaj, Monster

Article after article, tweet after tweet, I watched the conversation about Kanye and all the dead women in “Monster.”

But if you watch the actual video, you’ll notice something interesting. All the dead women are white, with the possible exception of the second model in the bed. There are eight or nine brown* women in the video, all with prominent roles – and all of whom are alive.

Black woman with mutilated eyes who screams at the opening? Alive. The brown twins staring while sitting on the couch? Alive. Brown woman eating the server’s remains? Alive. The two monsters in the hall during Jay-Z’s verse? Alive. The zombie girls working the jump rope? Alive. (Or, at least, currently animated.) Nicki’s alive. The black were-woman? Alive.

In some ways, the conversation around dead women in Kanye’s video reminds me of the conversations that happen around feminism and black women. The reality of black women is assumed to be exactly the same as white women – if it is mentioned at all. The fact that the majority of the women pictured lying dead where white, while black women are all part of the monster crew is generally not mentioned.

So, I’m not surprised that no one has looked at the very specific positioning of white women in the video as opposed to black women, which dives deeply into the history and construction of black women as beast-like and fearsome, the sexualization of violence, and how the video is a win for both normalized misogyny and upholding the ideals of white supremacy. Continue reading

Quoted: Elizabeth M. Clark On Racial Politics and Werewolf Transformations

Patrick Gonder’s work on “the primitive” in 1950s horror films is useful here. Gonder discusses the ‘devolved’ monsters of 50s horror cinema, such as Mr. Hyde and the cavemen-primitives, in terms of race, class, and notions of civilization. He writes that the “hybrid nature of the [devolved monster] asserts white masculinity against and through the fantasy of a primal, animalistic black sexuality.” The beast within (excessive, uncontrollable masculinity run amok) that the werewolf represents for (white) men is always coded in terms of a non-white ethnicity and/or the working class. Cinematic werewolves are almost always associated with non-white ethnicities, from the gypsies in The Wolf Man (1944) to the Indian mystic/scholar in Wolf. [...]

A third text that breaks the pattern of ‘unintegrated heroine = less grotesque body’ is Dark Wolf (2003).  However, this film’s portrayal of the grotesque hybrid body is perhaps the most racialized representation of the female werewolf. Continue reading