Aquatic Heterosexual Love and Wondrous Cliché Stereotypes: Amphibian Masculinity, the Beast Bridegroom Motif and 'the Other' in The Shape of Water

2019 Coolabah  
This paper addresses the representation of masculinities in the award-winning romantic fantasy film The Shape of Water (2017). The study examines how The Shape of Water communicates with other texts and myths portraying aquatic entities such as Gill Man from The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) and how the movie is tied to the folkloric tradition of monstrous love interest. Further, the text investigates how otherness is portrayed and constructed through the different representations in
more » ... presentations in the movie. The paper concludes that the film's diverse characters create a superficial appearance of an understanding for marginalised subjects. The Shape of Water is a classic beast bridegroom fairy tale with stagnated representations of feminine and masculine ideals that turn 'the other' into an instrument of self-realisation for a white subject. Moreover, the Amphibian Man is differentiated from his aquatic female counterparts through traditional masculine attributes such as a muscular body type, a reptilian appearance and being two-legged instead of having a fishtail. 137 2012: 68). In The Creature from the Black Lagoon, Gill Man, like many other monsters in 1950s films, kidnaps a woman and is in the end shot and left to die. del Toro has stated that when he watched the 1954 cult film as a child, he always wanted a happy ending for Gill Man and the beautiful woman. Therefore, in The Shape of Water, del Toro gave a water dwelling monster a love story of his own (Kit, 2017) .
doi:10.1344/co201927136-149 fatcat:6y7hvfrcangcpfb4v2e5wwgcey