Female werewolves are underrepresented in popular media. A number of blogs have commented on this fact, compiling lists of all the media appearances by female werewolves. These are usually rather short lists.
The most notable representations of she-wolves in my mind are the films Ginger Snaps, which draws a nice analogue between puberty and lyncanthropy, and The Howling, which is camp hilarity, but at least gives lady-wolves their due- plus werewolf sex scenes, which are always a plus. The new book, Clare DeLune tells the story of a young female werewolf joining a pack. There are also cursory representations in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and, I hear, the Twilight books*.
The lack of representation was part of my inspiration for writing Lunatic Fringe. The greater reason, though, is how obvious the story seemed.
In looking at the werewolf myth as most of us know it, an easy question arises- between men and women, who changes the most with the cycles of the moon?
I, for one, can become an unrecognizable beast at least for a day or two. My hormone fluctuations make me horny, prone to anger, and hungry like no other time. I haven’t monitored hair growth, but I think that’s a moot point compared to the other characteristics of the moon cycle.
Female vampires are everywhere. Lesbian vampires, too. Yet there are only a handful of female werewolves. Why is that?
Some people have said that it’s the inability for media consumers to allow for a female werewolf that’s still sexy. Because, of course, women aren’t allowed to exist in the media unless they are sexy. Hirsute women are gross to the heteronormative system so female werewolves are a no-go, the prevailing opinion states.
While I believe that this can be part of the explanation, I don’t really buy it fully. Female werewolves are still wolves. And if we can have a sexy lion in the Lion King, why not a sexy wolf?
I think the bigger explanation relies on what werewolves represent in our culture. Werewolves are the unbridled id. They represent the beast that lies within us all- that beast who lusts for battle, blood, and boning.
Often, media representations tell of forgotten memories between wolf form and human form. The afflicted person’s mind is completely overtaken by the wolf-brain, such that the next morning, he or she won’t remember anything about the night prior.
And this, I think, is the reason female werewolves are so few in our culture. Women are not allowed to lose themselves in their bestial side. In fact, we’re not allowed to even admit we have a bestial side. Despite slow progress towards the reality that women are, in fact, human, it is still difficult to get mass culture to allow for women to lose their tempers, have armpit hair, crave anonymous sex, and be violent.
Seeing a woman indulge her beast is to admit that women are just as wild and id-driven as men. Sure, women might be better at hiding it all, but we’ve got the same wiring for the most part.
I vote for more bestial females. I want them hairy, with blood on their muzzles. I want them pissed off and horny and up to no good. In other words, I want the real.
*I haven’t read any of the Twilight series, nor have I seen the movies. I have, however, read about the rampant misogyny present throughout the series, extending to the lone female werewolf character. While I’m reluctant to disparage any media I haven’t consumed myself, the many opinions of friends and bloggers that I respect leads me to believe that I, too, would be insanely offended the representation. But then again, I can’t really say so with certainty.