Sex and Self-Expression: Fatal Women in Baise-moi
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One of the most enduring images of female violence in the Western cultural tradition is that of the dangerous seductress. Archetypes such as Judith, Salome, Cleopatra and Clytemnestra, who all pose an explicitly eroticised threat of violence to their male counterparts, are some of the earliest recorded figures of female violence in art and literature. The link between women’s sexuality and their capacity for murder has been perpetuated in contemporary film culture by more recent heroines and villainesses, such as the titular teen succubus in Jennifer’s Body (Karyn Kusama, 2009) or the gynaecologically enhanced protagonist of Mitchell Lichtenstein’s Teeth (2007). This continuing association between female eroticism and malicious intent has led Alice Myers and Sarah Wight to declare that all women’s violence is framed in terms of gender difference and sexuality: ‘[W]hen a woman commits an act of criminal violence,’ they write, ‘her sex is the lens through which all of her actions are seen and understood’ (1996: xi). Laura Sjoberg and Caron E. Gentry go further, arguing that ‘a woman’s violence is a sexual event’ (2007: 46) (original emphasis). In a culture that has long conflated women’s eroticism with their violence, it is therefore pertinent to consider how contemporary texts produce the sexual murderess.
KeywordsArmed Robbery Maximum Visibility Fatal Woman Reflexive Awareness Female Violence
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