Get Cultural Constructions of the Femme Fatale: From Pandora’s PDF

By Stevie Simkin (auth.)

ISBN-10: 1137313323

ISBN-13: 9781137313324

ISBN-10: 1349347213

ISBN-13: 9781349347216

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Extra info for Cultural Constructions of the Femme Fatale: From Pandora’s Box to Amanda Knox

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After Medusa was raped by Poseidon in Athena’s temple, Athena punished her by transforming her hair into serpents and giving her a face that would turn men to stone. It is not uncommon to find female victims of sexual violence being victimised further by reinforcing and exacerbating the feelings of guilt and shame that are, for complex historical, cultural and psychological reasons, very often significant elements of suffering in the aftermath of an attack. 40–1). It is a singular cruelty the patriarchy has historically inflicted upon some of the most vulnerable victims of its ideology.

Women’s sexual and reproductive functions’ (2009, p. 2). As so often, the preoccupation with female anatomy and physiology reveals more deeply seated suspicions and fears about the moral nature of women. , commenting on representations of violent women on trial, remark: ‘As soon as the crime is committed, the media immediately acts on the public sense of anomie [confusion] and classifies the female murderer as either mad or bad’ (or, one might add, both) (2008). Similarly, Hilary Neroni describes the media response to a violent 40 Cultural Constructions of the Femme Fatale woman as, in a precise sense, hysterical; as she defines the term, ‘a neurotic reaction in which the subject constantly questions the desire and position of the Other’.

For F. Tennyson Jesse, however, writing around the time of Ruth Snyder’s crime and execution, Smith was a victim of Victorian middleclass values, and her independence of spirit and her passion were to be commended. Jesse, herself a feminist, believed passionately that Smith had been ‘born before her time’ (1927, p. 7). In Henry Blyth’s Madeleine Smith: A Famous Victorian Murder Trial (1975), she appears as highly sexed, devious and manipulative. Reflecting on Minnoch’s appearance in court, Blyth wonders whether ‘so hesitant a man [could] satisfy the desires of a girl of so strongly sensual a nature’ (p.

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Cultural Constructions of the Femme Fatale: From Pandora’s Box to Amanda Knox by Stevie Simkin (auth.)


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