This essay first moves rapidly through arguments about the end of feminism to refute optimistic blinkered versions, arguing that postfeminist Gothic consistently problematises complacencies about rights, cultures and bodies. Instead it offers flexible notions of ‘becoming’ woman, gives voice and body to the Other and radicalises representations of gender and gender-based identities, particularly in relation to (the horror of) heteronormativity (Halberstam 2007). Postfeminist Gothic emphasises contestation, through the haunting, continuation and morphing of familiar Gothic concerns and the figures which articulate them, including vampires, werewolves, zombies, serial killers and mermaids. It focuses on Sarah Waters’s The Little Stranger (2009) and The Paying Guests (2014); Angela Carter’s ‘The Loves of Lady Purple’ (1974); Nalo Hopkinson’s ‘The Glass Bottle Trick’ (2000); and variants of postfeminist Gothic in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series (2005–8; 2008–12) and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997–2003). These postfeminist Gothic texts further arguments on Otherising, bodies, history and cultures in post-industrial society.
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