Sexuality and Violence in The Bloody Chamber

It is seen throughout all the stories within Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber, but especially in the title story, that there is a connection between violence and sexuality that Carter is trying to emphasize about. Carter was influenced by Marquis de Sade and the term sadism which is defined as the tendency to derive pleasure, especially sexual pleasure from pain and suffering. It is seen that Carter’s reason for creating her fairytale stories with this use of sexuality and violence, is to show that there is a darker side to what humans desire.

The fairytale genre was made to “reinforce essential gender differences – cultural double standard of desire, denies presence of personal, individual story to characters, and associates female ‘virtue’ with ‘being good’.” Fairytales are created with an abundance of imagination that people are attracted to because it can often times be an escape from reality although having somewhat realistic features that makes it relatable. Just like fairytales, pornography is also a type of expression that depicts human sexual desires that are full of imagination. This is why it has such a similar impact on lives as it shows off desires that most people want and long for.

Unlike Carter’s writing, most fairytales depict woman as the damsel in distress that needs a hero to save her, as well as a subject to the male. Carter challenged this in order to show that women should not be depicted as these social gendered norms that typical fairytales use and instead show the hidden desires that women are often afraid to show. With the use of sexuality and violence that is found within the text, it allows for readers, especially men to realize that women should not be trapped in their bodies. Using sexuality and violence shows that woman are not seemed as objects in the sense that some woman may desire certain pleasures that shouldn’t be seen as shameful or a wrong behaviour.

Carter encourages in most of her stories in The Bloody Chamber that her reading shouldn’t be unsettling, but something that makes people want to break against the stereotypes that censored fairytales and social ideologies deem woman as not being the imaginative and sexual souls that they may be.

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