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Pop! Medusa: The reappropriation of the Gorgon in pop music

Bevan, Gina 2021. Pop! Medusa: The reappropriation of the Gorgon in pop music. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This thesis is a study of the reappropriation of Medusa in pop music. It explores four different female pop stars who have either been read as, or have become, the Gorgon in their work. It shows that Medusa, a petrifying monster from Greco-Roman mythology, still resonates with modern audiences. The Gorgon’s rich mythology and the unique power of her gaze have been a source of inspiration for authors and artists since antiquity, and in the early twentieth century psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud used Medusa to further outline his theory of the Oedipus Complex. In turn, Freud’s Oedipus Complex and his reading of Medusa was adopted by early feminist film theorists to analyse the relationship between the image on the cinema screen and the gaze of the spectator in the audience. Essentially, these early theories posited that women onscreen are passive figures who primarily speak to the fears and desires of the male spectator. Although these theories were innovative at the time, they also had their limitations. They presented women as a homogeneous group and did not consider women’s possible agency over their image, nor the diverse identities within the audience. This thesis therefore argues that there must be a return to Medusa’s myth and the dynamics of the gaze, to create a more updated, inclusive, and empowering theoretical framework through which to read images of women. By using a combination of Medusa’s mythology with film and queer theory to create a ‘Medusa lens’, this can be applied to read female pop stars who are engaging with the Gorgon and the monstrous-feminine to create their own narratives, and to manipulate their appearances to consciously attract the diverse gazes of their audience.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 31 January 2022
Date of Acceptance: 13 January 2022
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2022 12:48

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