Sonya Cullingford


The Parasite Woman

The Parasite Woman is of rapacious, constant, never-satisfied appetite. She devours men and pretty things alike, without discernment, only concerned with constant consumption, until her Host is bled dry and left an empty husk, waiting without purpose.

It is a symbiotic relationship, as the Host seeks for this relationship as readily as the Parasite, needing to be needed, and subsequently to comment on the negative aspects of what is happening, while simultaneously not allowing the parasite to stop sucking and consuming, or totally relying on the host for its sustenance.

The Parasite Woman exists almost entirely on lace and ribbons, silks and rare, scented spices, which the Host will traditionally have a connection to the procurement thereof - either a family business, or investment in those who secure these rare goods at below-market price, or the creation of said rare goods at far-below-living-wage labour/slave labour, thus ensuring that the relationship can survive.

The Parasite Woman is akin to the mythological Succubus - at once feared and desired by men, vilified and encouraged, whispered for in the deepest, darkest recesses of the male mind, desiring nothing more that to be consumed, devoured, passionately and mercilessly - to be dominated, ultimately, and led through shows of subordinacy. By punishing and hating their Parasite for doing what it has been invited/incited to do, the Host therefore encourages hatred and punishment from the Parasite, which is the ultimate goal, as it ensures continuance of the relationship, and the punishment can begin again.

This is a fine balance, as the driver of this self-sustaining vehicle is forever changing. Push the relationship too far and the Host will become Succubus and bleed any fight or vigour from the Parasite Woman altogether, leaving it unfit to continue in the relationship. And when the Host attains complete dominance it immediately desires subservience to another Parasite Woman, under whom he can grumble and strain against, just as he desired.

However, if the Parasite is allowed too much power, too many wins, then the Parasite will not be able to control her lusts for ‘things’ or be able to become disconnected from her animal desire and instincts that she has now discovered, and therefore becomes untameable, a menace to the surrounding habitat and tips the balance of the ecosystem, devouring all in its path until there is nothing left to support or sustain it. In this way it is like a too-efficient virus left without barrier, spreading and killing too quickly to ensure a long supply of fresh bodies.

The Parasite Woman can be appeased by promising ‘rights’ and ‘equality’, when both the Host and Parasite know that these are merely magic words, a placebo effect if you will, to calm and sedate - both parties are aware of and consent to this technique of apparent power-swap, and hopefully (when handled correctly) the Parasite Woman will concede her place of power in the face of a promise of further power. Here, the Host may use terms such as ‘Empowerment’, ‘Freedom of Speech’ and ‘Emotional Intelligence’ to give the Parasite Woman a sense that she is justified in her position of power, thus calming and massaging the ego enough to call her to heel once more.

(inspired by ‘Two Books by David Graham Phillips’ by Rebecca West, The Freewoman, last issue Oct 1912)

Submission Title

The Parasite Woman.

Submission Location

Walthamstow Marshes, Hackney, London.

Manifesto Statement

There are no endings, only beginning after beginning after beginning. An Ouroboros eating it's own tail.

Additional Responses from D8

The name of someone in your field you admire

One narrative idea

A sign with 'Have you seen my Man?' hanging around her neck, she stumbles around, lost, her leading strings/walking harness still attached and dragging on the floor. She's picked up detritus along the way, now dragging hat boxes, ripped dresses, old Tampax, broken dummies and unwinding spools of wool, until the rubbish-berg gets stuck between the railings in the park. She's still there, waiting without purpose, certain that he will come back to find her.

Details of a location, real or imagined, where a filmic scene could take place

Walking down the longest straight road in the world with no other cars or people or life visible. Perhaps Death Valley.

A historical image

An existing image of current affairs

D8 Response Prompt Material

The Freewoman
(October 1912)

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