Feminine archetypes like the femme fatale, siren and seductress are so embedded in culture and literature that it is difficult to imagine life without them. They are the things that our culture is built around, often right down the centuries. We are fascinated by them, and want to both capture and emulate them in others.
Femme fatale is a word that is in the mouth of most college students taking Literature courses in my generation. It has become shorthand for "bad girl" and in so doing manages to capture both what fascinates and frightens us about women.
Many have written about women and their fates, and what has finally emerged is an almost overwhelming flood of texts on this topic. The ubiquity of the myth may be striking, but once we start digging under the surface, we find it's also true that throughout so much of literature, much of western culture, and through such a variety of works, there are a great number of detective or police stories that focus on the relationship in which the femme fatale plays a significant role.
The romantics again picked up on the idea and with the rise of realistic literature, the femme fatale became part of detective fiction. And these days it has also been extended to outlines and studies of "women" rather than people. Such authors as Donoghue and Elga have written about the idea, others have written books about deadly women, and recently, there have been many books about female bad girls. d2c66b5586