How Femme Fatales Are Exploited to Prop Up Patriarchy

From Lilith to Rebecca de Winter, women who embrace sexuality have served as warning signs throughout history and pop culture.

The French phrase meaning “fatal woman” has become a stock character in Hollywood, reaching peak popularity in film noirs of the 1940’s and 50’s. Characterized by their sensuality, promiscuity, and elusive motivations, femme fatales are often villainous, serving themselves rather than the protagonist. Their fate is often tragic. But this archetype isn’t new; it was around long before the 20th century, and embodies some of our oldest, most deeply rooted prejudices and fears surrounding women.

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Actor Ramsay Ames
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Actor Alice Hollister
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Portrait of Rebecca de Winter from Hitchcock’s 1940 film
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Joan Fontaine in the Manderley House

Queerdo. Writer. Gamer. Witchy. She/They. https://linktr.ee/eewchristman

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