Wednesday, April 03, 2024

Pg. 99: Lauren Rocha's "The Sinful Maternal"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Sinful Maternal: Motherhood in Possession Films by Lauren Rocha.

About the book, from the publisher:
Pregnancy, birth, and postpartum recovery are challenging experiences that impact women’s physical, mental, and emotional health in ways that have been historically minimalized, dismissed, or neglected. A mother’s body becomes a public body, physically and politically not her own, instead shared by her spouse, her children, and those around her. Her body, therefore, makes the perfect vessel for an invasive presence—or possession. The Sinful Maternal: Motherhood in Possession Films examines the role of mothers and motherhood in ten possession films, including Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist, The Babadook, and Hereditary. Chapters discuss the work of such directors as James Wan, Jennifer Kent, Robert Eggers, and Ari Aster to address how their cinematic approaches to these films produce rich possession narratives that explore different facets of motherhood and women’s agency.

Working at the intersections of gender studies, architectural theory, trauma studies, and monster theory, with a particular focus on the treatment of (often unruly) female bodies, author Lauren Rocha investigates the ways in which motherhood is a fertile state for possession and how possession acts to influence, destabilize, and reshape identity and the self. Placing the films in chronological order, she closely analyzes the ways in which sociocultural influences create different roles women and mothers are expected to perform. Ultimately, Rocha demonstrates how possession offers a way to challenge performative motherhood to free the self.
Learn more about The Sinful Maternal at the University Press of Mississippi website.

The Page 99 Test: The Sinful Maternal.

--Marshal Zeringue