Between Antagonism and Eros: The Feud as Couple Form and Netflix’s GLOW

Chow, Broderick D.V. and Laine, Eero (2019) Between Antagonism and Eros: The Feud as Couple Form and Netflix’s GLOW. Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory, 29 (3). pp. 218-234. ISSN 0740-770X


A feud is an antagonism that is continuous and extended; “a state of prolonged mutual hostility” (OED). Historically, feuds take place between families or communities, or result from failed couples. Considered as a couple form in its own right, however, the feud is associated with aesthetic forms often coded as camp, queer, or feminized. In such popular, serialized forms, the feud must be open ended and of unforeseen futurity, for resolution brings an end to the feud as such and dissolves the couple. Thus, feuds reject normative modes of coupling (such as the nuclear family) that center harmonious or happy feelings. The article begins with the political economy of the feud through an examination of the pre-modern form of the blood feud and continues with its late-modern presence in popular culture. We rehearse the idea of the feud as it emerges from anthropology and philosophy, especially as it impacts notions of debt and alternative economies, before thinking through the contemporary “coupling” of the feud in popular culture, fandom, and, via the performance form of professional wrestling and Netflix’s GLOW.


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