Women’s History Month has an ideal read in The Lady from the Black Lagoon


Part of Women’s History Month is acknowledging not just women we already know and love, but discovering new women. The Lady from the Black Lagoon does that.

Not everyone has the same interests as Mallory O’Meara, author of the new book The Lady from the Black Lagoon. She happily admits in the text that she’s a huge horror aficionado, and that love led her to discover Milicent Patrick, who designed the Creature in The Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Before you start to worry that this is a dry Hollywood biography, it’s a bit more like Karina Longworth’s Seduction: appreciative of what came before, but also more than willing to call people out on their nonsense with wry commentary. O’Meara is as much a character in the book as Patrick and Bud Westmore (great-uncle of Face Off‘s McKenzie Westmore, for those playing at home) are. In some ways, it’s a lot like listening to a friend tell you a very wild story, complete with hilarious asides in the footnotes.

So why does Patrick need a book?

Well, the fact that we can say she designed the Creature comes after 60 years of it being mostly accepted that it was more Bud Westmore than Milicent Patrick who did the work. But credit-stealing aside, Patrick basically dropped off the map. Here’s where O’Meara comes in, looking for where she went

Okay, you might say, but why does this matter?

Well, it’s Women’s History Month. This isn’t the only month of the year where we can openly appreciate the contributions of women, but it is the month where we should be more cognizant of women whom we don’t know much about.

Patrick’s story touches not only on movements of today, like #MeToo and Time’s Up, but it also appeals to fans of film in general. (There’s even multiple forms of crossover here; Patrick was an animator at Disney prior to working for Universal.) Besides that, she was an actress in an industry that isn’t always welcoming to women. O’Meara’s quest also briefly asks how many other women’s contributions may have been hidden by sexism and patriarchy, then provides a solution: the internet.

She discovered Patrick’s story — or at least the beginning of it — through IMDb.

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This Women’s History Month, Culturess has already proudly talked about our new modern feminist icons. Perhaps Milicent Patrick will become a new-to-you icon, too, during this month and beyond.