Crumbling Rejuvenation: Archetype, embodiment and the “Aging Beauty Myth”

Dolan, Josephine ORCID: 0000-0002-7669-9060 (2015) Crumbling Rejuvenation: Archetype, embodiment and the “Aging Beauty Myth”. In: The Happiness Illusion: How the Media Sold Us a Fairytale. Routledge, London & New York, pp. 75-88. ISBN 9780415728706

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Mobilising Jungian formulations of the archetypal crone, this paper explores the figure of the rejuvenated, wicked witch/ evil stepmother as represented in two big budget, fantasy films, Stardust (Dir., Vaughn, 2007) and Snow White and the Huntsman (Dir., Sanders, 2012). Through the figure of the ‘crone, a link is established between Jungian psychoanalytic understandings of myth as an expression of historically and culturally specific repressions; and Mythologies, Barthes’s semiological account of depoliticised speech, and its ideological function. From this position, the films’ CGI enabled transformations from youthful beauty to aged crone are located in the feminised regulatory regime of ‘successful ageing’ as it plays into ideologies of rejuvenation and chronological decorum as they are embodied by actors and/or stars. Given that both films end with the punishing, violent disintegration of the crone into abjection and death, this paper argues that they expose three prevailing cultural anxieties that are simultaneously mythical and mythological; one, a repressed fear that rejuvenation is no more than an ideological veneer that overlays inevitable decline and mortality; two, a repressed awareness of mortality; three, the ideological effacement of ‘old age’ as being both performative and culturally produced.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Jung, Barthes, myth and mythology, rejuvenation, stardom, Snow White, aging, femininity, Stardust, Snow White and the Huntsman, mortality
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Creative Arts
Research Priority Areas: Culture, Continuity, and Transformation
Creative Practice and Theory
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2018 12:42
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2022 12:30

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