How does Carol Ann Duffy challenge the “familiar cultural stereotypes” of women in ‘Mrs Beast’ ?
One construction of feminism in the poem is female dominance over men. The Beast is shown as the weaker of the male culture due to his unappealing image “ugly as sin”. The Beast sees the narrators seeming interest in him as a miracle and is portrayed as desperate to keep her attention even it means living with her neglect. Here we see that the there is a reversal of gender stereotype as the Beast takes on the supportive female role and the narrator takes on the stereotypically-dominant male role. The Beast is also described as submissive to the narrator, “fell to his knee’s at the door” which is stereotypically a female trait and shows the power Mrs Beast has over him. Traditionally men are known for being the most powerful in relationships as they are looked up to by women as the more protective, confident and in-control gender because are often known to be the sex that induces a relationship (asking to court/ asking for marriage). Another male trait shown by ‘Mrs Beast’ is the control she has over the Beast such as during sex, “The lady says Do this. Harder. The lady says Do that. Faster. The lady says That’s not where I meant.” The imperatives used show that Mrs Beast is the most dominant in their relationship which goes against gender stereotypes as men are traditional seen as the most powerful in a relationship. In the poem Mrs Beast shows that she controls when the couple have sex “The pig in my bed Was invited” which suggests that man has become a sexual object to Mrs Beast rather than a lover, as she shows no emotional attachment to him other than to use him to please her, which supports the feminist view of female dominance. Men are also known to be the most confident in sex and it’s usually the submissive woman that is known to conform to pleasuring the man rather than vice versa. Second construction of feminism in the poem is where the women take on...
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