Dead Blondes and Bad Mothers by Sady Doyle

Dead Blondes and Bad Mothers

Women have always been seen as monsters. Men from Aristotle to Freud have insisted that women are freakish creatures, capable of immense destruction. Maybe they are. And maybe that’s a good thing.... Sady Doyle, hailed as “smart, funny and fearless” by the Boston Globe, takes readers on a tour of the female dark side, from the biblical Lilith to Dracula’s Lucy Westenra, from the T-Rex in Jurassic Park to the teen witches of The Craft. She...

Details Dead Blondes and Bad Mothers

TitleDead Blondes and Bad Mothers
Release DateAug 13th, 2019
PublisherMelville House
GenreNonfiction, Feminism, Horror, History, Womens

Reviews Dead Blondes and Bad Mothers

  • Lindsey
    If you feel like women are reaching a boiling point; if you question why we think about daughters, mothers, and wives the way we do; if you've always wondered where it all came from and where it might be heading..... read this book. In her compulsively readable, feminist manifesto, Sady Doyle takes a sharp look at mythology, pop culture, and real women through a lens to see how patriarchy was, is, and always has been how we see women. Completely ...
  • ❤️
    As someone who loves horror, has an interest in women's history, and has a darker sense of humour, I fell in love with this book before I was even finished reading its introduction. The book covers everything from odd true crime cases (and often how they go on to influence pop culture), The Exorcist and several other horror gems (like Dracula, The Craft, Carrie, and even Godzilla and Twin Peaks), witchcraft, menstruation, motherhood, female sexua...
  • Marcus Kaye
    Holy shit this book was so good. Love horror? Love women? THEN HAVE I GOT A BOOK FOR YOU! Don’t? Then why are we even friends?
  • Punk
    Men have long believed that women—our desires, bodies, and demands for equality and autonomy—are monstrous. You see, if women are free to make their own decisions, it would destroy the patriarchy, and we can't have that. Here Sady Doyle takes a look at myth and horror through a feminist lens to discover what these stories can tell us, and how all those horror movie lessons are meant to oppress women by making their autonomy (from men, from pr...
  • Casey
    As much as I loved Doyle's last book, this one was a bit of a mixed bag for me. I think her analysis of culture casting women as monstrous is both valid and important, but in condensing her examples, I feel that she sometimes leaves out crucial details that don't support her case. For instance, she contrasts Aileen Wuornos's six death sentences to Gary Ridgway's life imprisonment but fails to mention a) Ridgway has 48 life sentences plus 480 year...
  • Neville Longbottom
    I love Sady Doyle’s writing. She’s able to weave together stories about actual historical and current figures, fictional characters, and women from myths into an entertaining book about the patriarchal and misogynistic fear of “monstrous” women. The book is broken down into three main sections: daughters, wives, and mothers. I definitely enjoyed the book as a whole, but I was more interested in the daughters and wives sections than the on...
  • Melinda Borie
    Reading this book was like discovering a favorite song, one that is perfectly in tune and on best with you. I wish I could take back every five-star review I’ve given any other book and give them all to this one, as though love was a zero-sum game, a competition that demands to be won. I feel seen and recognized by the writing here in a way I truly did not expect, and which I think many other women will be also. Doyle is clearly brilliant and t...
  • Sam Cooke
    This was a good one! It sort of goes without saying that this book is chock full of spoilers. It’s a critical examination about women viewed as monsters and how we have allowed this notion to shape our nightmares. Doyle strings together real and fictional stories to tell this tale, and she does it very well.This book mirrors many conversations I’ve had with women, about periods, being a mother, rape, and how scary it can be to walk home to na...
  • Kristin
    I devoured this on the plane, one because the subject matter is interesting but also because this book is an easy read with large print. Very accessible, I really enjoyed Doyle's take on a lot of classic tropes of monstrous women in literature, movies and popular culture (bonus points if you are familiar with most of the stories she references, but it's unnecessary for you to have read them on your own). She covers a wide range of things, from La...
  • Kinsey
    i really wish i could coherently convey how crazy good and truthful this book is but all i can hear is the opening to immigrant song playing in my mind at full volume
  • Peter
    This book has everything—insightful cultural history, cutting insight, wonderful humour, and smooth, clear writing. Did you know that the majority of slasher pic fans are young women? Do you know why? You can find out here. Do you know that 40 years ago exorcism suddenly became popular in America? Then you probably know why. The answers are here. Do you know the source of Silence of the Lambs and Psycho are the same? Okay, maybe that was too ea...
  • Emily Chandler
    I spent months eagerly anticipating this book after reading Sady Doyle's debut Trainwreck, but this blew all my expectations out of the water. I devoured the entire thing in less than 24 hours both because its case studies and arguments were so compelling, and because its prose was moving, maddening and hilarious. I absolutely adored it, would recommend it to anyone with an interest in women, history, horror, true crime, gender and/or feminism, a...
  • Michael
    Enjoyed Sady Doyle's last book so I knew I would enjoy this one. I'm not a fan of horror but have seen enough to know that healthy interrogation of them is necessary to fighting back against a misogynist patriarchy. This book really does name a lot of the problems of misogyny through our canonized literature and movies--always seeming to blame victims and erasing the rape culture embedded in the conciousness of the men who worship patriarchy. I l...
  • Suz Jay
    “This is a dark book, but some things are clearer in the darkness. This is a violent book, but an unsparing confrontation with violence can bring us to what lies beneath and beyond it. Female monstrosity inspires fear because it really can in the world—or our current version of it, anyway. But our world is not the only one, or the best one, and in fact, the more time I spend with monsters, the more I think it’s destruction is overdue.”The...
  • Alexis
    In this book of analysis of pop culture and horror culture, author Sady Doyle looks at the monstrous feminine and how the patriarchy creates the myth of the female monster, particularly as it relates to the mother. This is not an academic book, and she looks at horror movies, popular horror, tabloids, true crime, literature, and news. I enjoyed this book very much, but I didn't find it to be groundbreaking.It's an interesting pop culture book, an...
  • Samantha
    One thing that separates Sady Doyle from other modern feminist writers is that her writing, while detailing the history of oppression women experience under patriarchy, is somehow fun to read. She draws on mythology and pop culture to make her points, which I guess can be more enjoyable than reading about the real-life ways women suffer at the hands of men (though there is plenty of that in this book, too). That said, she also doesn't make light ...
  • Sarah
    I really loved this book. She basically breaks down cultural norms of misogyny. She uses three categories of womanhood to do this: daughters, wives and mothers, and brings in all kinds of mythology, history, film and literature, news stories, to demonstrate how completely vilified and demonized womanhood is in western culture. It was awesome to see how she took such a huge ambitious amount of cultural artifact and distilled it to support her hypo...
  • Colleen
    I absolutely loved Doyle's last book Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear... and Why and while this one might be a bit lesser in comparison, I still found it fantastic. It's conversational and funny while tackling gigantic issues and hit all the highlights for me--though it's to be familiar with certain movies in particular (The Craft, Gone Girl, etc.)
  • Eileen Anderson
    So glad to come across this book! It has a lot in common with "Second Wave" feminist books, and it was great to see some of the same topics tackled with a modern approach. Jurassic Park representing out of control female reproductive power; I never thought about it, but spot on!
  • Rachel Elizabeth
    I adored Trainwreck, but was majorly disappointed with this piece of work. Despite the hype, it really struck me as a structure-less collection of pop culture references, which began to feel less developed the further into the book I read.
  • Rebecca Schweitzer
  • Lyndsay
    Extremely interesting stuff which draws on pop culture and history and politics to paint a very detailed picture of how the world views and deals with female power.
  • Emily Wrayburn
    Somewhere around 3.5 - 4 stars.I felt some of the analysis was reaching a bit, but overall an engaging read about the ways in which women are depicted as monstrous.
  • Ula
    To say I’m obsessed with this book is almost an understatement. Not since my 1st women’s studies class in college did something resonate with me as much as this book. Specifically, in the way that Sady summarizes and makes big connections between women’s bodies and men’s fear of them that makes perfect sense to me. The book is about how men make monsters out of women in every stage of our lives. I’m also a huge horror/scary stories/myth...
  • Meena Habibulla
    Dead blondes and Bad Mothers informs us of the ways society paints women and femaleness in a disturbing, and horrific manner. This is explored through history, literature, and film, and is posed and processed into the "acceptable" tropes of female nature and femininity (daughters, wives, and mothers). When women in myth, fairytales, pop culture, and in real life fail to comply with the paragons of womanhood, they are revealed to be monstrous. At ...
  • Lauren Olson
    I'm not much of a non-fiction reader. When I read something, I either want to be completely captivated and transported or I want the title to resonate with me and shine new a light on a topic I find personally important. Exceptional non-fiction, like this selection can accomplish both of those things. This will have something for fans of the Lore podcast, true crime, Roxane Gay, and Jessica Valenti. There are a lot of "badass ladies of history" s...
  • Cathy
    A tad hyperbolic at times, but overall a really enjoyable read. Dark, revealing, well-researched, and surprisingly hilarious. I’ll read anything Sady Doyle writes.
  • Mehrsa
    The moment I finished this book, I told everyone I know to get it and read it ASAP. It is that good. Truly, a must-read. Doyle is a genius.
  • Aidan Fortner
    Required reading
  • Layma
    TW: mutilation, rape, sexual abuse, torture.The only reason that I'm posting trigger warnings is because I had no idea what I was going into and was positively shocked by the first chapter alone. (I'm not a fan of true crime genre and may be a bit too sensitive for many gory details cited in this book.)That said, I knew for sure I could expect brilliant writing and fresh ideas which I hadn't seen in any other popular nonfiction books on feminism....