To a smart girl
men are not the problem,
they’re the answer.
Zsa Zsa Gabor
A bit of noir for Halloween? This series is a tribute to the femme fatale, French for “deadly woman,” that mythical figure in film and literature of the irresistible woman who lures men to their downfall with seemingly supernatural powers. On my recent cruise down the Rhine river, she’s Loreley whom careless sailors blamed for their sunken ships. In Biblical history, she’s the one Adam pointed a finger at, whining, “She made me eat it!” She’s famously associated with noir films: glamorous, sexy, strong, duplicitous, sometimes lethal. She uses her charms on a male protagonist, usually a lonely man grateful for her attention and is willingly manipulated into unscrupulous acts.
Now that contemporary women are bent on professional success, women may bristle at the thought that they can only get what they want through entrapment, artifice, and seduction rather than through meritocratic achievement. We want to downplay, if not deny, the power of our sexuality as a tool to employ in navigating our place in the world.
Not the femme fatale.
She is at ease with her femininity and hold men in her thrall. She brings out their chivalry, the hero, the protector they want to be. She may want them to commit irrational acts yet they’ll be eager to please. The femme fatale may be a man’s nightmare, but she is also his fantasy: a woman in charge of her own sexuality who’d take charge of his as well.
Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your favorite femme fatale. Happy Trick or Treat!
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© Sharon Birke
Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC
201 697 1947
Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman