Female Shapeshifters: Seriously Shifter Giveaway Hop

Alpha Male Madness Hop

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Welcome to my stop on the Seriously Shifter Giveaway Hop! I’ve been working on a shifter novel lately (keep an eye out for it!), so I’m happy to share my shifter love with you. 🙂 Recently, I have also been thinking about shapeshifters in my academic work. Below, I share an excerpt from my recent conference presentation on female shapeshifters in urban fantasy. After you check it out, be sure to enter to win, then HOP to the other blogs. I’m giving away a copy of my current favorite shapeshifter novel, Anne Bishop’s urban fantasy, Written in Red, as well as a copy of my own novel, Fairy, Texas.

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While the forms of the female shapeshifters vary from novel to novel (and within novels), there are a few characteristics that most of them share. First of all, to be a powerful female is to be inherently Other, as these narratives illustrate. Their heroines are inevitably singular. That is, they are often depicted as being the only one of their species, as is Elena, the female werewolf in Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series—or as at least exceptionally rare, as illustrated by Faythe Sanders, the protagonist werecat in Rachel Vincent’s Stray series, where there are “an average of five toms born to every one tabby.” This rarity makes them targets, though. In Patricia Briggs’ series, Mercy Thompson, who shifts into a coyote at will, is also singular—she discovers that most of her kind have been killed off by vampires who came to the New World and discovered “Shapeshifters who were not moon called. Men and women who could take on the coyote’s form as they chose.” Her vampire friend Stephan tells her “We killed your kind wherever we found them, and they returned the favor. . . . There are vampires everywhere, Mercedes, and you are the only walker here.”

This rarity makes them sexual targets, as well. The women both tend to be sought after by males and must learn to function in a male-dominated society, almost always by opposing the traditional, phallocentric mores of the imagined shapeshifter culture. This often leads to an apparent overturning of the social order and the installation of the female as leader, or Alpha—as occurs in Vincent’s more recent novels and in Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville werewolf series. These are women who change into monstrous creatures, complete with claws and teeth; women who fight and kill and otherwise overturn any potential readerly expectations that to be a woman is to be inherently kind and gentle.

It would therefore be easy to cast these female shapeshifters into a fiercely feminist mold. These are, after all, not what Diane Long Hoeveler describes as “the majority of female gothic heroines who, in thrall to the codes of sentimentality, cannot bare their teeth in anything other than a smile” (xi). These women bare their teeth. Often. And with bloody results. Each of these women engages, to varying degrees, in violence, using her shapeshifter abilities to enforce a form of justice. Hoeveler claims that “The optimistic dream that most often concludes the female gothic novel requires that juridical violence, paranoia, and injustice, figured as the ‘masculine,’ can be brought to heel, punished, and contained safely within the confines of the ultimate fantasy home—the female-dominated companionate marriage” (xiii-xiv). In urban fantasy, that masculine violence and injustice is more often countered with feminine violence.

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Enter to win an e-book copy of Anne Bishop’s Written in Red and a copy of Fairy, Texas.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct link to Rafflecopter: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MDc2NDEyMTFiMWVhMDg4MzE4NzZlNDdkNjZhMTgxOjI0/

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HOP to the rest of the giveaway stops!

Direct link: http://theherdhops.blogspot.com/2014/02/seriously-shifter-blog-hop.html

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17 comments on “Female Shapeshifters: Seriously Shifter Giveaway Hop

  1. Thanks so much for being part of the event Margo! I’ve not read Anne but heard great things!

  2. Jessica B says:

    what I love best about shapeshifters is that they can change into animals. I would love to change into a wild animal. .

  3. Denise Z says:

    I think what I love best about shifter stories is much the same as paranormal / urban fantasy stories. Anything is possible and there are unique individual challenges for each type of shifter that keeps me guessing and entertained. Thank you for participating in this fun hop, I am having a great time 🙂

  4. Mary Preston says:

    I love the unexpected. I love the other-world-ness.

  5. When I devour my current shifter book and reach for the next one in my TBR, it is because that is my stress coping mechanism. The joy of paranormal lit is that those characters have problems I’ll never encounter. Escapism through books is how I deal with my brand of crazy, and all of my best friends and book boyfriends are found in books wholely unlike real-life. *Top Amazon Reviewer #6,149* bookwormpov (at) gmail (dot) com

  6. I love that they are loyal, all about family and pack and that they are possessive about their mates. The idea of soulmates is just beautiful to me.

  7. bn100 says:

    that they’re caring

  8. s0ph1ar0s3 says:

    Good points about the lady shifters in your article. I’m a huge Mercy fan so your points ring true for sure. I love the magic of shifters being so different in some ways, but I love that they have strong heroic or villainous qualities too. There are such paradoxes with them- strength and tenderness, aggressive, but protective, etc.
    Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.

  9. wanda says:

    When the beast in them rises to the surface:)Love those protective alpha males

  10. BookLady says:

    I love shifters because they are sexy, strong, and protective. Thanks for the great giveaway!

  11. Ray says:

    I simply love to read about female shifters. 🙂

  12. I love their power and control. I love that they are so very magical.

  13. Janie McGaugh says:

    I love that they’re protective and loyal.

  14. Skeeter Lee says:

    I like that shifters are family/pack-focused, devoted to their mates, and strong. It’s a powerful combination..

    Super cool! “Below, I share an excerpt from my recent conference presentation on female shapeshifters in urban fantasy.” Was your presentation well received?

    Thanks for hosting the giveaway. Fingers crossed to win.

    skeeterlee63 [at] gmail.com

  15. Google says:

    There is definately a lot to learn about this issue.

    I really like all of the points you made.

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    up new blog or even a blog from start to end.

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