November 10, 2016

Schulz and Youn on Monsters and Madwomen? Neurosis, Ambition, and Mothering in Women Lawyers in Film

Jennifer L. Schulz, University of Manitoba Faculty of Law, and JiHyun Youn, Independent, are publishing Monsters & Madwomen? Neurosis, Ambition and Mothering in Women Lawyers in Film in Law, Culture, and Humanities (2016). Here is the abstract.
In this article we engage with the writings of feminist scholars Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, whose landmark work, The Madwoman in the Attic, critiques the image of the female madwoman or monster. We use Gilbert and Gubar’s thesis of the female monster as the primary analytical framework for excavating three variants of female madness as depicted in three films: madness as neurosis using Laws of Attraction; monstrosity as ambition using Michael Clayton; and madness/monstrosity as failed motherhood using I Am Sam. Our goals for this article are to explore the ways in which popular films featuring female lawyers channel the “madwoman/monster” metaphor; trace those characters in terms of neuroses, ambition, and motherhood; and argue for the possibility of reconfiguring the notion of “madwoman” as a valid and meaningful mode of female subjectivity that expands the field of possibilities for women lawyers.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

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