By Stevie Simkin (auth.)
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Extra resources for Cultural Constructions of the Femme Fatale: From Pandora’s Box to Amanda Knox
She continues: ‘In the manner of the hysteric, the media asks again and again what the violent woman wants, while it also speculates endlessly about the deﬁnition of femininity’ (2005, p. 60). Violent male offenders are understood to be conforming to well established patterns of behaviour, even if their crimes provoke feelings of anger, horror and revulsion. Agents of female violence are, by contrast, ‘doubly deviant, doubly damned’ (Lloyd 1995), having both broken the law and transgressed the ‘rules’ of what is understood to be acceptable female behaviour.
Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at’ (1972, p. 47). Berger’s formulation is probably more familiar today via Laura Mulvey’s much-anthologised essay ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’, written in 1973 and published in 1975. Mulvey’s critique of mainstream Hollywood ﬁlm is centred around her contention that the ‘look’ in cinema is inherently male because the camera is controlled by men, and aimed at women, who are framed as objects of the gaze.
He continues: 22 Cultural Constructions of the Femme Fatale ‘As a bane for mortal men has high-thundering Zeus created women, conspirators in causing difﬁculty’ (pp. 20, 21). The account in Works and Days speciﬁes the roles of different gods in her genesis, Ambidexter (Hephaestus) creating ‘the likeness of a modest maiden’, the Graces ‘and the lady Temptation’ putting gold necklaces around her body, while Hermes fashioned in her ‘lies and wily pretences and a knavish nature’ (Hesiod 1988, p. 39).
Cultural Constructions of the Femme Fatale: From Pandora’s Box to Amanda Knox by Stevie Simkin (auth.)