Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know
French: femme = woman
+ fatale = deadly
= Deadly Women
1. An irresistibly attractive woman, of great seductive charm who leads men into compromising or dangerous situations.
2. An alluring, mysterious woman.
A femme fatale is a mysterious and seductive woman whose charms ensnare the men around her, often leading them into compromising, dangerous and disastrous situations. She uses her feminine wiles such as beauty, charm and sexual allure for her own ends. Her ability to entrance and toy with her victims is almost supernatural – they are ‘under her spell’ or mesmerized by her overtly feminine powers. And thus often described as an enchantress, seductress, vamp or witch.
The Femme Fatale is etched into our psyches in a myriad of ways. She can be found at the very beginning in the bible and in myths, she is both worshiped or revered. Found in art and paintings, in literature, comic books, pulp fiction and films. But, she is not just an archetype, she is very real we can find her in our history books or in modern political scandals. So here is my compendium of Femme Fatales…
Mistress Sidonia’s Compendium of Femme Fatales
Mythology: Pandora, Sirens & Mermaids, Vampires, Morgan le Fay, Circe, Clytemnestra, Medea, Yuki-onna, Ishtar, Kali
Biblical: Eve, Salome, Delilah, Judith, Jezebel, Lillith
Historical: Cleopatra, Lucrezia Borgia, Mata Hari, Maggie Meller
Literary: Sidonia von Bork by Lady Wilde; Black Venus by Angela Carter; Salomé by Oscar Wilde; Brides of Dracula in Bram Stoker’s Dracula; Rebecca by Daphine du Marrier; Marguerite in La Dame aux Camelias by Alexandre Dumas fils; Cora in The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M Cain
Opera: Violetta in La Traviata by Giuseppe Verdi, Delilah in Samson and Delilah by Camille Saint-Saëns
Film Noir Leading Ladies (known for playing femme fatales): Barbara Stanwick, Marlene Dietrich, Lana Turner, Betty Davis, Rita Hayworth, Vivian Leigh, Elizabeth Taylor, Theda Bara, Glenn Close, Ava Gardner, Kathleen Turner
Comic Characters: Jessica Rabbit, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Electra, Devil Girls, Harley Quinn, Mystique
Alternative Art (often drawn by): Coop, Vince Ray, Sardax
Kinky Models: Betty Page, Tana Louise, Tempest Storm
TV Characters: Emma Peel (The Avengers 1961), Irene Adler (Sherlock 2010), Catwoman (Batman 1966)
Cinema (classic femme fatale films): Double Indemnity 1944, Basic Instinct 1992, Sunset Boulevard 1950, Poison Ivy 1992, Body Heat 1981, The Crush 1993, The Postman Always Rings Twice 1946 & 1981, Bound 1996, Wild Things 1998, The Wicked Lady 1945, Dangerous Liaisons 1988, Fatal Attraction 1987, Gilda 1946, The Blue Angel 1930, The Killers 1946 & Murder, My Sweet 1944.
Animal: The female Black Widow spider
Political: Kola Boof, Anna Chapman