Femme Fatale figures are actually powerful women that break with the “idealized” female characteristics imposed upon females in their centuries. Throughout the centuries, a woman’s autonomy, violence, and sexuality have been bundled into one entity and embodied in the person of this seductive yet lethal woman. Although these women can be a source of great calamity and violence, these women can be positive forces overall in that they break with repressive yet “traditional” gender roles with the intent of constraining women. These dangerous women are in control of their own sexualities, have great intelligence and inner strength, and know how to get what they want–and most often do! The source of fear of these women stems from their subversion of patriarchy, domestication, female passivity, and passionlessness.

Cultural Representation of a Dangerous Woman (and the whole point of this study!)

Cultural Representation of a Dangerous Woman (and the whole point of this study!)

“it is the discrepancy between the fantasy of the woman as passive, as saint, as accepting of only the viewer, and the reality of the woman’s power and autonomy over her own sexuality that forms the crux of motivation for these stories” (reel knockout looks kill 68)

“Women, in other words, long identified as victims rather than perpetrators of violence, have much to gain from new and different configurations of violence, terror, and fantasy” (halberstam 191)

“If you scrape off the cultural debris—superstitions, myths, and media cant—you’ll see a woman to be reckoned with. The seductress is one of the most potent female personas in existence. Though long misunderstood and ignored, she’s the paradigmatic liberated woman, empowered with men and empowered in life. She’s a threshold role model who can reinstate feminine sexual sovereignty and holistic happiness and remap the future” (prioleau seductress x)

“In all of these genres, loosely defined, women struggle with constraints on the use of lethal force. They prove to be tough indeed—far tougher than most of the men around them” (Reel knockouts 8 )

“Visions of sexually attractive women skilled with weaponry, licensed to kill, beating up men might rather take the wind out of the sails of the culture in which sex difference seems unalterable…For these reasons, we like the threat that women’s movie violence presents to the all-important divide between men and women” (reel knockouts 6)

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