Kiss of the Spider Woman: Motif Tracking- Feminine Females


























Despite the numerous references to heroines within the movies told by Molina, the most feminine female within ‘Kiss of the Spider Woman’ is Molina. This is due to the fact that he expresses many of the characteristics often possessed by woman. Throughout the novel he is seen to express emotion through crying (which is sometimes seen as a weakness) as well as undertaking the role of a caring mother figure when Valentin is sick. In addition, he believes that the masculine figure within a relationship should dominate over the feminine figure who should be passive, dependant and controlled. However, within the movies that Molina narrates, the feminine female is always seen as the heroine who rises to power and generally sacrifices herself. Furthermore, Molina gains power over Valentin (the ‘real’ man) through a series of betrayals and deceptions as well as through his caring and motherly nature. His romanticised and idealised view of the world is additionally seen as a feminine trait. Feminine females are viewed within society as beautiful, virginal and who have the ultimate goal of marriage. They are expected to undertake the menial tasks and obey their husbands without question. Within ‘Kiss of the Spider Woman’ each of the heroines are seen as beautiful on the exterior (with only one exhibiting inner beauty which is later transformed into exterior beauty). Each of the females embrace their role within society especially Molina. This view of woman is juxtaposed and contrasted with the motif ‘real’ men.



Quotations & Explanations:






‘She’s not a woman like all the others. She looks fairly young, twenty-five, maybe a little more, petite face, a little catlike, small turned- up nose…’

This quote is a description of Irena (the panther woman) given by Molina. It illustrates that feminine females are seen as beautiful and are judged by their appearance.


‘…along with her easel to clip her drawing paper to’.

The fact that Irena is an artist demonstrates the fact that feminine females have passive and unstable jobs within society as opposed to ‘real’ men.


‘With her fingers she touches up the hairdo a little, partly messed up by the wind. It’s cut in bangs with curls, and down to the shoulders, that’s how they used to wear it, with little curls at the ends too, almost like a permanent wave.’

This once again demonstrates the emphasis put on the appearance of feminine females however most importantly it gives the reader an insight into Molina. The attention to detail and knowledge of hairstyles is a feminine trait exhibited by Molina.


‘Her hair is fixed in a sausage roll.

- What’s a sausage roll?

- Like a … how can I explain it to you? a chignon … a coil of hair something like a tube that goes around the head, over the forehead and all the way around in the back.’

Molina’s knowledge of hairstyles is once again evident. This intense interest in fashion and hair is generally perceived as a feminine trait or quality. This is juxtaposed with Valentin’s response (‘What’s a sausage roll?’) as Valentin is seen as a ‘real’ man.


‘She can’t seem to go on, she begs him to hold her close…’

This quote depicts the helplessness and dependence of feminine females within the movies told.


‘…the drapes are dark velvet to block out the light…and behind them there’s another set of lacy curtains. Then you get to see the whole turn of the century décor.’

This quote further shows Molina’s feminine traits due to his observance of the furniture in the room.


‘If your going to laugh I won’t go on.’

This quote emphasises Molina’s sensitivity. He is unafraid to show his emotions, which is something that Valentin sees as a sign of weakness.


‘No because he’s the gentle type, and understanding.’

This quote describes why Molina likes one of the characters in the movie. This is similar to what a woman would look for in a man.


‘I want to be one’

Molina states that he wants to be a woman illustrating that he admires and attempts to possess female traits.


‘I’m easily hurt…’

‘…soft like a woman…’

This quote from Molina is a further example of his sensitivity which is generally seen as a feminine characteristic.


‘I can cry how-…however much I feel like…! …’

Molina expresses his emotion by crying. This is seen as a feminine trait as ‘real’ men may see crying and expressing emotion as weaknesses. This makes Valentin very uncomfortable and juxtaposes feminine females with real men.



The fact that Molina refers to himself and his friends as ‘queens’ shows that he sees himself as a woman. Furthermore he is reclaiming a word, which is generally used negatively to describe homosexuals.


The story Molina tells in his stream of consciousness

The story Molina tells is very romantic and depicts his idealised and romanticised view of the world.





‘Take it, wait, lift yourself, no that way, that’s it, careful, wait, so it doesn’t get on the sheet…’

‘Hey, your eating too fast! On to of this you’re still not well at all.’

These quotations are some of the many examples of Valentin being motherly and caring towards Valentin by providing for him and helping him when he is sick.


‘…stop your crying…

- It’s from happiness sir…’

This quote shows Molina’s expression of emotion once again through crying when her discovers he will be released.


‘This is fresh ham, and this is the cooked…’

This shows that Molina cares, provides and cooks for Valentin. This shows that society expects women to be domestic.


‘Put tea on for both of us, okay?’

Molina adopts the role of a mother figure (an additional feminine trait) when he takes care of Valentin who is sick..


‘But if a man is … my husband, he has to give the orders, so he will feel right. That’s the natural thing, because that makes him … the man of the house.’

This quote shows that Molina believes women should be submissive, passive and suppressed within a relationship as well as objectified and controlled by men.



Key Moment:

This motif occurs throughout the novel due to the presence of Molina (the primary feminine female) as well as additional feminine characters within the movies. The key moment for the motif ‘feminine females’ is Molina’s revelation about how he sees a relationship at the end of chapter 13. He states, ‘But if a man is … my husband, he has to give the orders, so he will feel right. That’s the natural thing, because that makes him … the man of the house.’ This shows that Molina believes women should be submissive, passive and suppressed within a relationship as well as objectified and controlled by men. These are all traits that feminine females are seen to possess. Molina displays the characteristics or well-known traits of feminine females. He is sensitive, emotional, motherly, helpless, passive and aware of fashion. In addition he is the heroine and eventually dies for a cause in a romanticised and idealised way. The constant presence of Molina ensures that this motif has a lasting impression on the reader.