FX networks’ Anthology series American Horror Story : Cult had people on the edge of their seats, not knowing when ,where and what exactly could be happening next . To be quite fair, as the series was conceived , filmed ,and edited was all before the Harvey Weinstein allegations which opened the floodgates on half a century of female fury over the course of 11 episodes.
It is analogous to recent cultural works of merit on the premise centered around the 2016 presidential election, proving how people can use tactics such as keying in on an individual’s greatest fears and rage to control the his/her mind. The provocative show is intertwined with US history whilst submerging itself in a psycho sexual nightmare. The show doesn’t want to necessarily poke at the darkest repressions of America’s cultural psyche so much as lightly touching the surface in an unpleasant way . Nothing about it was a means to enlighten; it was designed to entice antagonism.
Building an entire series around one of the biggest , and strangest stories of recent history (which happens to be the presidency of Donald Trump ), and the populist movement that it was based around, further hinting to a larger excavation that will be delved into. The cults of personalities that can arise when people are most fearful is ultimately anger, expressing even the limitations of this emotion.
From the very beginning of the season, we are introduced to two polarizing faces within America in the form of a brother and sister. Kai (brother) is an egotistical blue-eyed operator, and Winter a Vassar student and Hillary Clinton volunteer. Other stereotypes that were portrayed were Ally and Ivy ,a married couple who run a restaurant in a fictional town in Michigan. One election night November 2016 occurred, Allie and Ivy were in utter dismay at the results of who would become commander in chief. Kai on the other hand was at complete peace because he personified liberal fear in a Cheetos dusted face ( to resemble the chief) paying homage to the champion of his ideals .
Consequently , the show goes into a socio-cultural analysis for shock and gore through the lenses of each character . Ally had an increasingly fragile mental state that stemmed from the 9/11 terror attacks and the consequent frayed nerves after November 8th, and became a target of manipulation into her questioning her own sanity ( she was stalked when at a supermarket by clowns and no one believed her ). Her wife Ivy had burning resentment for her because she voted for Jill Stein , making her join the cult that was preying on her . Kai becomes the leader and incites a crew he’s gathered together to commit violent murders all over town in the hopes of manipulating the public’s fear to get him elected to city council .
It becomes apparent that the essence of Kai , psychologically can be said as ruled by the ID. The ID according to Sigmund Freud are the most primal urges that people face as children ,and can be described as tyrannical and demanding when they want something. The next sequences of the personality are the Ego and the Superego. The Ego is the point in a child’s life where they can recognize and respond to their name, as well as distinguish limitations of his or her body. Lastly , the Superego , which develops for a longer period of time is the notion that someone learns codes of behavior and law within human society. As a result, the ID and Superego are always conflicting with one another, therefore the Ego acts as a mediator to create a healthy adaption into society. Now, because of Kai’s background , which was a meek mother and overbearing father, his Ego and Superego couldn’t develop properly , leaving his ID to exert demands of power to get what he wants immediately granting him pleasure. These forms of pleasure that are shown through graphic violence and diversions into absurdities, were indicative of the fleeting moments that are experienced in life. Kai, being able to manipulate disillusioned young men (at first) into doing these acts, he gave them false sense of hope and love. This lends a hand to many of the successes of modern day cults.
On the other hand, the introduction to female fury was expressed when Ivy (Ally’s wife) was grabbed by her genitals at a protest by one of Kai’s cult members, she was frozen by the incident and later criticized herself for not taking any action. It was a realistic portrayal of assault that can happen and some people’s immediate reaction is to be frozen in shock. Meadow ( Kai’s sister) spoke briefly about joining because of her previous viewing of the life of real housewives marathons and left her feeling like a feminist failure. Beverly who is an on air TV reporter joined after Kai murdered one of her biggest rivals on air. Ivy then joined because she was in fact jealous of her wife (Ally) , who had the opportunity to breast-feed their child and carry their child because she has endometriosis. These triggers for female anger to an extent shows that what these women could imagine weren’t related to the election at all- they were fueled by rage and jealousy of other women as well .
Later on the show, they decided to take a plunge into misandrist rage by taking a look at the past with an episode on Valerie Solanas . Solanas shot Andy Warhol because he disrespected her artistry . It also proposed that Solana had cult following as well intent on murdering men and their cunning girlfriends , all responsible for crimes committed by the Zodiac Killer . The seeming logical persistence on female rage as a political tactic in mass murder merged into the sense that it was trickled down to generations who are trying to remedy it .
All in all , the violence that is inflicted on people and the resulting factors of misogyny to enrage women to fight back continuously leans on the pathological; the pathology of their homes that wreaked damage on the psyches of their childhood.