Female Monsters in Kabyle Myths and Folktales: their Nature and Functions

Sabrina ZERAR


This article seeks to explore the nature and functions of monsters in Kabyle myths, which are primarily a male cultural production, and folktales, which mostly constitute the “cultural capital” of traditional Kabyle women in Algeria. Using Leo Frobenius’s (1921, 1996) three-volume collection of traditional Kabyle narratives as a corpus, and adopting a feminist perspective, the investigation has resulted in the realization that the representation of the Kabyle woman as monster is a predominant feature in the myths, and even more so in the folktales. It is argued that the excess of female monstrous representations, and the attractive and complex manner in which these representations are made in the folktales signify much more a symbolic resistance than a reproduction of the Kabyle man’s mythologies about gender power relations.

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