C4P: Kim Lakin-Smith - The Feminine Grotesque. From Hardinge to Gaiman.



Luna's first Call for Papers, 'Gender Identity and Sexuality in Fantasy and Science Fiction' will be released on Wednesday the 9th of August. Explore the ten brilliant papers you will find in the book.

Today, we would like to introduce you to Kim Lakin-Smith (UK), MA in Journalism and Creative Writing, Fantasy and Science Fiction writer.

She is presenting the paper: "Doll Parts: Reflections of the Feminine Grotesque in Frances Hardinge’s Cuckoo Song and Neil Gaiman’s Coraline".

Kim says:

"Neil Gaiman’s titular Coraline knows that something lurks on the far side of a locked door while, in Cuckoo Song, Frances Hardinge’s anti-heroine Not-Triss is haunted by a sense that she is ill - or wrong - ‘quailing to see her own face staring in from the night.’ On the bleeding edge of adulthood, these strange little girls are ravenous for the forbidden fruits of self-sovereignty, sexual maturity and knowledge. But in shrugging off their shrink-wrap, are they remade as that ultimate female pariah, the menstruating doll? Using Lacan’s psychoanalytical study of the ‘Mirror Image’ stage and David Elkind’s theory on ‘Egocentrism in Adolescence,’ this paper seeks to explore the arcane nature of the ‘feminine grotesque,’ and identifies three aspects - Doll Child, Wild Woman and Other Mother. Both Coraline and Cuckoo Song lend themselves to Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex and Julia Kristeva’s essay on abjection and the female ‘other’, through which we find a fresh understanding of predatorial parents, societal gatekeepers, paedophilic patriarchs, and ‘the monster’ in the mirror. It is my proposal that these domestic fairy tales restructure the doll parts of the feminine grotesque to reflect a state of ‘real girl’ consciousness."

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