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Spiteful Spirits: Projection and Blaming in Women's Lives and Mother-Daughter Narratives

Moy McCrory (University of Derby, UK)

Divergent Women

ISBN: 978-1-80117-679-8, eISBN: 978-1-80117-678-1

Publication date: 28 November 2022


Many depictions of women in the west, through images and old stories, focus on women as either mothers or as young girls in an idealized state. Whenever behaviour deemed correct to their sex has been disrupted, images and tales about women shift the focus onto blame, using women as scapegoats for their persecuted lives, or showing women's essentialist biological ‘weaknesses’ as the cause of wrongdoing. Surrounded by a blame culture with its negative effects, have women demonstrated a female agency as they project blame back onto a force beyond themselves? Struggling with disappointment and fears, a common belief in ‘bad-luck’ would allow women to voice a varied imaginary of superstitions, omens and presences in the past. While such imagery derives from less legitimate forms of knowledge (i.e. vernacular), remaining chiefly in folklore and fairy, such projections which move between the interior and exterior world as liminal presences expand the domestic sphere, long considered the norm for women. The function of such blaming by women, rather than be read as complaints without a resulting action, instead can be viewed as a positive action which allowed women relief and release, a chance to express and reveal the frustrations of a group with limited power over their own lives. This chapter examines how images and tales reveal and maintain blame culture towards women and suggests a view of blame and blaming transformed into survival tools for women in the past.



McCrory, M. (2022), "Spiteful Spirits: Projection and Blaming in Women's Lives and Mother-Daughter Narratives", Rumson, L. and Bentham, A. (Ed.) Divergent Women (Emerald Interdisciplinary Connexions), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 23-41.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023 Moy McCrory. Published under exclusive licence by Emerald Publishing Limited