a wind up simulated girl

September 24, 2017

a wind up simulated girl

‘The Tiger’s Bride’, the second story in the collection that is based on Madame de Beaumont’s tale ‘Beauty and the Beast’, is narrated by Beauty, who is intelligent, considered and proud. She begins her narration with a pragmatic phrase that immediately indicates her awareness of her status as a commodity in a world dominated by men: ‘My father lost me to The Beast at cards’. When she begins to trust The Beast and does remove her clothes (notably, this is finally done by her own choice), she comments ‘I felt I was at liberty for the first time in my life’. Her femininity, which had previously cast her in a prescribed role as her father’s daughter, has been a repressive mask of its own. Beauty recognizes that in accepting this identity she has been merely performing the typical role of a woman in a society that does not value women. There is a particular emphasis on the burden of living as an object of the male gaze, a concept that has been extensively discussed by Laura Mulvey, as Beauty describes the world as ‘the market place, where the eyes that watch you take no account of your existence’. In an incredibly symbolic act of defiance that indicates both the miserably limited existence of women in such an oppressive society as well as the materialistic foolishness of the dominant patriarch, she uses a wind up simulated girl to take the place of her former self: ‘I will dress her in my own clothes, wind her up, send her back to perform the part of my father’s daughter’.

Samantha Halpin
How does Angela Carter deconstruct conventional and repressive gender identities in the Bloody Chamber