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Are the Femme Fatales Real Gangsters?

Today, as Marvel and DC universe heroes rule the box office, more female protagonists, including heroines, female assassins, and female antagonists, like Marvel’s Black Widow and DC’s Harley Quinn, are being introduced. In reality, in French, there is a special term for this kind of female character: femme fatale, which means deadly women; they use different means to dominate the world, including their appearance and martial arts. The more plentiful and three-dimensional role of female killers today surprises and excites us more than the gentle and compliant role of conventional women.


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Villanelle, the girl assassin in tv series Killing Eve, is without a doubt the sexiest of the femme fatales. This series deviates from the male perverted killer tradition by depicting a game between the anti-social nature of female killer Villanelle and MI5 staff member Eve. Villanelle, played by Jodie Comer, is one of the most striking characters as she is dangerous and enigmatic. She may be a cold killer with exceptional homicide skills; she still loves the act of killing and has no empathy for those who suffer at her side. She is stunning and sophisticated, has fine taste in clothing, wears expensive clothes, and lives in luxury apartments, leading a life she chooses.

However, why the femme fatales emerged on the screen has still been a source of debate? Still, we can see such a plot in these characters: a pretty woman can use her primitive and seductive ability to trick an unfortunate man into listening to her and carrying out her instructions. They are beautiful and charming at all times, dressed in sexy clothing and doing sexy dances. This does not seem to be consistent with male aesthetics and preconceptions. These women are frequently more lovable, lovely, docile, tolerant, kind, and selfless. However, there is always a desire to go against morals in femme fatales, and their plots always revolve around at least one guy. As a result, some people believe that this is men’s gaze and objectification of women, i.e., shaping femme fatale beauties to fulfill their sexual desires. Any critics claim the presence of these femme fatales represents misogynistic sexism. Of course, there are those who believe that women can become more autonomous.

Over the passage of time, these female characters have evolved into more nuanced tales, and they are no longer merely a pastime for men with good looks and beautiful figures. In certain instances, they are simply behaving to accomplish their own objectives, and they would go to whatever length to achieve them. Women are no longer inferior to men’s secondary sex, but they are self-sufficient to control their lives.

Is it sexist to depict a woman as a commanding and calculated figure? The response is inconclusive. However, everybody must accept that these types of female screen characters are shown in a more three-dimensional and rich manner. Women will also assume roles formerly only available to men, such as a perverted assassin, a role without morals, and an anti-social personality. Their history is littered with enigmatic tales. Any obedient girls, simplistic girls who are unaware of society’s nuances, or so-called model woman roles, on the other hand, become small. As a result, the image of the female murderer is used to combat sexism and remove the stereotyped image of a woman who can only give birth and stay at home for the rest of her life. Of course, the stereotype of sexy and selfish female murderers is impossible to vanish in the near future, and to be honest, we don’t want it to.


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Photo by Donald Dondada Matsoga from Pexels

Yolanda is now majoring in Communication and Cinema&Digital Media at UC Davis. She usually works as an amateur photographer focusing on portrait, landscape, humanity and international cuisine. She hopes to use the power of photographs and writing to inspire and educate peers and spread more positivity.
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