But when we get there, we'll have to admit that the shape of water is fluid in every way. This anti-fetishist attitude has bled into the repulsed reactions to the fish-man sex. Del Toro's contradictory attraction and rejection of his own creation is apparent throughout the film, and falls short of truly finding the humanity in everyone. Not even for its own director, who repeatedly insisted he designed the fish monster so people could fall in love with him. Because, like Elisa, the mute maid working in a secret government facility played by Sally Hawkins, some left the theater sincerely wanting to fuck that fish-man monster.
From Greek mythology to Beauty and the Beast, Shape of Water joins a long, well-established history of erotic monster tales used to address otherness. Sure it's a movie that luxuriates in the fantasy of erotic fish-man romance. Historically, monster-meets-girl stories like Little Red Riding Hood, Beauty and the Beast, and Princess and the Frog, used to "provide moral warnings about male predation and fragile female sexuality," said Reynolds. Sexualized aquatic creatures like mermaids further embody the dark, mysterious pull of the sea, because, "Humans can't dominate the ocean. Del Toro specifically sought to explore female sexuality through an inversion of the typical power dynamic. Yet, monster stories haven't always been about accepting otherness. Because beneath every monstrous allegory is the story of a very human, marginalized experience. It's pretty strange for the director and co-writer of a film trumpeting humanity for all — whether for a closeted gay man or an Amazonian fish monster — to draw the line at sexual fetishes and kinks. And, as a whole, leaning into both their animalistic qualities implies a complete surrender to the "deviant" sexual desires they represent. We still have a ways to go before there is total acceptance of sexuality's wide spectrum. But sure enough, in an interview with Straits Times , del Toro said he actively tried to, "take the fetishistic or grandiose tone out of [the sex] by doing it in a way that feels everyday and homey. A brief history of humans having sex and loving sea creatures in media However, to its credit, The Shape of Water does challenge a differn modern social norm embedded in the typical monster romance narrative: The power we see during natural disasters reminds us just how powerless we are. Because, like Elisa, the mute maid working in a secret government facility played by Sally Hawkins, some left the theater sincerely wanting to fuck that fish-man monster. Instead, he transforms Elisa's otherness — symbolized through the scars on her neck — into a power. Del Toro's contradictory attraction and rejection of his own creation is apparent throughout the film, and falls short of truly finding the humanity in everyone. When addressing the existence of the Shape of Water dildo, Guillermo del Toro lamented to The Wrap that other Oscar-nominated films like Dunkirk don't "have this problem," adding with a certain level of contempt that it's "some form of fan art This post is swimming in sexy spoilers. Apparently, the message of inclusivity in "The Shape of Water" doesn't extend to the kink community. Not even for its own director, who repeatedly insisted he designed the fish monster so people could fall in love with him. Or, at the very least, it's odd to portray falling in love with a fish-man monster as beautiful, while also saying it's kind of gross to fantasize about having sex with that fish-man monster IRL. Werewolves and vampires, for example, were often imbued with homosexual undertones, painting them as a threat spreading their dehumanizing disease. You can find the creature in Shape of Water sexy, without being a full-on teratophile — though neither deserves stigmatization for being nontraditional expressions of human sexuality. But when we get there, we'll have to admit that the shape of water is fluid in every way. Chelsea Reynolds, an assistant professor of communications at California State University Fullerton who studies sexuality in media culture, explained "they can sometimes serve as allegories, but other times as expressions of our fantasies and phobias. But it also depicts people with fetishes as off-putting, if not downright evil. By the end, the fish-man god thanks Elisa by making her extraordinary like himself.
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