"All of this is typical girl-fear. Once you realize that The Exorcist is, essentially, the story of a 12-year-old who starts cussing, masturbating, and disobeying her mother—in other words, going through puberty—it becomes apparent to the feminist-minded viewer why two adult men are called in to slap her around for much of the third act. People are convinced that something spooky is going on with girls; that, once they reach a certain age, they lose their adorable innocence and start tapping into something powerful and forbidden. Little girls are sugar and spice, but women are just plain scary. And the moment a girl becomes a woman is the moment you fear her most. Which explains why the culture keeps telling this story."
For readings on the correlation in horror between puberty and the monstrous, see:
- Barbara Creed’s The Monstrous-Feminine: Film, Feminism and Psychoanalysis (specifically, the chapter called “Woman As Possessed Monster”)
- Aviva Briefel’s “Monster Pains: Masochism, Menstruation, and Identification in Horror Film”
- “‘The Hair That Wasn’t There Before’: Demystifying Monstrosity and Menstruation in Ginger Snaps and Ginger Snaps Unleashed”
- Bianca Nielson’s “Something’s Wrong, Like More Than You Being Female”: Transgressive Sexuality and Discourses of Reproduction in Ginger Snaps”
- Shelley Stamp Lindsey’s “Horror, Femininity, and Carrie’s Monstrous Puberty”