Sexual Encounters Between the Living and the (Un) dead in Popular Culture

Michael-Fox, Bethan and Coward-Gibbs, Matt (2021). Sexual Encounters Between the Living and the (Un) dead in Popular Culture. In: Gibson, Rebecca and Vanderveen, James M. eds. Gender, Supernatural Beings, and the Liminality of Death Monstrous Males/Fatal Females. New York: Rowman and Littlefield.

URL: https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781793641359/Gender-Super...

Abstract

This chapter examines sexual encounters between the living and the (un)dead in popular culture, in particular in the television series In the Flesh, The Strain and American Horror Story: Coven. The chapter argues that if television can operate as an imaginative space in which the unpicking of complex societal issues can occur within a frame of relative safety (Livingstone 1998; Penfold-Mounce 2018), the sexual encounters between the living and the (un)dead in the three series examined here suggest that it might be a space for negotiating both shifting and enduring ideas about gender and sexuality in popular culture more broadly. A commonality of distinctive power dynamics and social stigma prevail throughout each of the examples, where ideas about “fatal females” and “monstrous males” apply to both the living and the (un)dead, all positioned as capable of violence for different reasons.

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