A giantess is a female giant: either a mythical being resembling a woman of superhuman size and strength or a human woman of exceptional stature, often the result of some medical or genetic abnormality (see gigantism).
Polytheism and mythology
The Titanides, sisters and children of Titans, may not have originally been seen as giants, but later Hellenistic poets and Latin ones tended to blur Titans and Giants. In a surviving fragment of Naevius' poem on the Punic war, he describes the Gigantes Runcus and Purpureus (Porphyrion):
- Inerant signa expressa, quo modo Titani
- bicorpores Gigantes, magnique Atlantes
- Runcus ac Purpureus filii Terras.
Eduard Fraenkel remarks of these lines, with their highly unusual plural Atlantes, "It does not surprise us to find the names Titani and Gigantes employed indiscriminately to denote the same mythological creatures, for we are used to the identification, or confusion, of these two types of monsters which, though not original, had probably become fairly common by the time of Naevius".
Grid was a giantess who saved Thor's life. She was aware of Loki's plans to get Thor killed at the hands of the giant Geirrod and sets out to help him by supplying him with a number of magical gifts. These gifts were: a girdle of might, a pair of magical iron gloves, and a magical wand.
The giantess Gerd was very beautiful and her brilliant, naked arms illuminated air and sea. Freyr fell in love at first sight and the account of her wooing is given in the poem Skirnismál. She never wanted to marry Freyr, and refused his proposals (delivered through Skirnir, his messenger) even after he brought her eleven golden apples and Draupnir. Skirnir finally threatened to use Freyr's sword to cover the earth in ice and she agreed to marry Freyr. She became the mother of the mythic Swedish king Fjölnir.
Skaði journeyed to Ásgard to avenge her father Þjazi, whom the gods had killed. She agreed that she would have that renounced if they allowed her to choose a husband among them and if they succeeded in making her laugh. The gods allowed her to choose a husband, but she had to choose him only from his feet; she choose Njord because his feet were so beautiful that she thought he was Baldr. Then Loki succeeded in making her laugh, so peace was made, and Odin made two stars from Þjazi's eyes.
After a while, she and her husband separated, because she loved the mountains (Þrymheimr), while he wanted to live near the sea (Noatun). The Ynglinga saga says that later she became wife of Odin, and had many sons by him.
Upon Frigg's entreaties, delivered through the messenger Hermod, Hel promised to release Baldr from the underworld if all objects alive and dead would weep for him. And all did, except a giantess, Thokk, who refused to mourn the slain god. And thus Baldr had to remain in the underworld, not to emerge until after Ragnarok, when he and his brother Hod would be reconciled and rule the new Earth together with Thor's sons.
Giantesses are common in the folklore of Ireland and the British Isles, particularly Scotland and Wales. They were often depicted as loving and beautiful people and, in later versions of myths, seemed to resemble Vikings, who had raided the coasts, in appearance. A notable giantess in Irish mythology is Bébinn.
Modern art and literature
In Lewis Carroll's story Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, there are several scenes where the heroine Alice grows to giant size by means of eating something (like a cake or a mushroom). Similarly Arthur C. Clarke's story Cosmic Casanova describes an astronaut's revulsion at discovering that an extraterrestrial female he adored on a video screen is in fact thirty feet tall.
Size-changing heroines have appeared in such comics as Doom Patrol, Mighty Avengers, Marvel Adventures Avengers, Team Youngblood, and Femforce. In the latter series, the giantess-superheroines Tara and Garganta combine immense size and strength with beauty and femininity, and have a cult following among both men and women. Conversely, size-changing villainesses, such as Wonder Woman foe Giganta, use their strength and beauty for less altruistic purposes as a weapon to dominate their foes. Giantesses are also common in the manga and anime mediums of Japan.
The giantess also appears in modern-day art, illustration and fashion. UK based illustrator Emma Melton has used the giantess as a symbol in her illustrated fashion line 'Blessed by a Giantess', which aims to promote healthy body image in young girls and spread the message that 'We are all beautiful.
The giantess theme has also appeared in motion pictures, often as a metaphor for female empowerment or played for absurd humor. The 1958 B-movie Attack of the 50 Foot Woman formed part of a series of size-changing films of the era which also included The Incredible Shrinking Man, The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock, and Village of the Giants. The 1993 remake of Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, starring Daryl Hannah in the title role, was advertised as a comedy; many scenes did parody earlier size-changing movies (most notably The Amazing Colossal Man), although the central theme was feminist. The heroine Nancy, formerly a cipher to her domineering father and husband, is empowered by her new-found size and starts to take control of her destiny, and encourages other women to do the same. Both versions of the movie enjoy a cult following.
More recent movies with giantess themes are Malèna (2000), Dude, Where's My Car? (2000), Hable con ella a.k.a. Talk to Her (2002), Monsters vs. Aliens (2009) and Roger Corman's Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader (2012). In Malèna, there is a scene where the young protagonist, Renato Amoroso, fantasizes about being a few inches tall and having Monica Bellucci (Malena), pick him up and take him to her bosom. In Dude, Where's My Car?, five nubile female characters morph into an extraterrestrial giantess played by Jodi Ann Paterson (Playboy Playmate of the Year 2000) who picks up one of the characters and eats him. Talk to Her features a sequence in the style of early silent cinema called 'The Shrinking Lover,' where an accidentally shrunken scientist is rescued from his mother's clutches by his lover, who carries him home in her handbag. The shrunken scientist then roams his lover's body while she lies in bed. Monsters vs. Aliens features a satirization of Attack of the 50 Foot Woman in which the main protagonist, Susan Murphy, is clobbered by a radioactive meteor that causes her to grow up to 49 feet, 11½ inches, becoming Ginormica.
Outside of Hollywood, giantesses have also appeared in special interest films. AC Comics giantess Garganta is featured in a live action DVD movie available from accomics.com entitled Gargantarama, which also includes giantess scenes from many movies as well as the feature length 1958 B-movie Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. Embracing the use of the giantess in popular culture, AC has made it a frequently recurring theme in their products.
Giantesses have also appeared in advertisement campaigns, with similar erotic/humorous intent. In 2003, a commercial for the Italian company Puma featured the theme. The giantess, played by model/actress Valentina Biancospino, stomps around town causing havoc and swallowing a man whole before finally picking up a man (played by Italian footballer Gianluigi Buffon) and kissing him. The following year, Lee Dungarees commercials used the giantess theme alongside the slogan "Whatever Happens, Don't Flinch," hiring model Natalia Adarvez to play a 90-foot tall giantess. Also that same year, Victoria Silvstedt (1997 Playboy Playmate of the Year) posed as a giantess for an advertisement for Max Power London, a car show held in London in November 2004. In the February 12th, 2005 edition of the UK newspaper, The Sun, Miss Silvstedt again posed as a giantess of Godzilla height next to various London landmarks.
Giantesses have also appeared in some television series such as Snorks, Schoolhouse Rock, The Electric Company, The Muppet Show, Dexter's Laboratory, Animaniacs, Phineas and Ferb, and The 7D. The Snorks episode "The Littlest Mermaid" features a scene where a mermaid grows into a giantess caused by a machine. The Schoolhouse Rock episode "Unpack Your Adjectives" includes a scene where a tall girl grows into a giantess causing only her legs and sandals to be seen. She then stomps on a small boy who wouldn't stop laughing at how tall she grew. In the first episode of The Electric Company, Judy Graubart grows into a giantess while holding up a sign for the kid audience to read that says "giant". In the Dexter's Laboratory episode "The Big Sister", Dee Dee becomes a giantess after eating an experimental cookie. The Animaniacs character Katie Ka-Boom sometimes grew giant sized before she turned into a monster. In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Attack of the 50 Foot Sister", Candace Flynn grows into a giantess after she uses some of Phineas and Ferb's growth potion.
The giantess theme occasionally manifests in music videos as well, notably Pamela Anderson's role as a giantess in the video Miserable for the rock group Lit. In the video, the band members perform on Anderson's body and are eventually devoured by her at the end, a metaphor for women as "maneaters."
Adult art and literature
Given that macrophilia is a paraphilia, it is unsurprising that there is a wide assortment of adult art and literature devoted to the fantasy of giant women. In the information age, this has gained more visibility than in the past, due to internet communities, image boards, and video hosting sites. Often, artists will produce collages, in which an image of a woman is placed into an image of a cityscape of differing scale, or the reverse, in which tiny men and women find themselves in an ordinary scene that's become a hostile giant world. Additionally, drawings of every kind have been produced, and writers offer their readers a full range from tasteful erotica to the blatantly pornographic. Movies can be made by and for the community, or as a commercial product, or increasingly, both. As in the examples of the giantess theme in popular culture, the macrophiliac interest in the concept is influenced by notions of female empowerment, eroticism, and the idea of feminine beauty on an exaggerated scale.
Macrophile fantasy frequently references vore fantasy, where the giantess snatches up and devours normal sized humans. In mainstream portrayals giantess mostly eats men.