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Just_Justine's avatar

Can you explain the mystical power of the “femme fatale”?

Asked by Just_Justine (6448 points ) April 4th, 2010

A good friend of mine came to visit last night and we started to talk about a couple of women we know that could only be classed as “Femme fatales”. Here

I have had this conversation before, due to a particular woman who has caused “havoc” in other peoples relationships by running off with the man and subsequently changing his whole personality. Meaning a stable guy, who was sensible with money suddenly, was spending like crazy in order to please her. Her main train of thought is that “Men are here to look after me”

They do and for long extended periods of time. While we normal dull females do all the usual things, love the guy, care about him, and contribute to a relationship. She simply asks and gets. I know her well, in the sense that she was married to someone very close to me for ten years. He too, was butter in her hands. Totally contradictory to his regular personality. All the men she meets are different completely so you cannot deduce that they had a fatal flaw she played upon.

Of the two females one is considered very attractive, and this one alternates between being attractive and very unattractive depending on her lifestyle at the time.

We decided she has some sort of chromosome or gene that is universally appealing coupled with a pheromone that men cannot resist! However I searched femme fatale and I see these women have been around since history began, in both folklore and myth.
“She is an archetypal character of literature and art. Her ability to entrance and hypnotize her male victim was in the earliest stories seen as being literally supernatural, hence the most prosaic femme fatale today is still described as having a power akin to an enchantress, vampire, female monster or demon.” Some known femme fatales include Cleo Patra and Mata Hari

Have you been the “victim: of a femme fatale? What were her powers over men? I do believe this is the only term I can give to these particular women today. Thoughts?

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28 Answers

MrGV's avatar

I just thought it’s because guys are always horny.

Sariperana's avatar

I suppose they would have the same pulling powers as ‘bad boys’ for woman. The only way I can think that men get sucked in, is that these woman act intensely interested in the man… And then cut all interest off! The man then craves that attention once more and pines for it.

ucme's avatar

You’ve either got it or you haven’t. Monroe, Gabor, Loren, Kitt had it.Wheras most women can’t even contemplate having it, which is probably just as well all things being equal.

Sariperana's avatar

I also think that these woman may pray on men who are lonely. The woman make the man the centre of their affections and then as I mentioned earlier- just cut it all off once the man is hooked, or when they get bored.

Just_Justine's avatar

@Sariperana not really, both the men I am thinking of were popular and already involved. The one guy was married to my friend, she has been mixed up in my life for years. Because I know so many people. There was a twist in the tale because she is I believe bisexual, she tried to get the attention of a female friend and I was told was turned down.So it appears that her charms are lost on females. However, having said that, the female she turned her attention to is terrified of upsetting her in anyway?? I am still considering the lonely part as I guess you can be lonely in a relationship and with many around you. I find this fascinating as do all the people that know her.

Sariperana's avatar

@Just_Justine well she must be doing something either very right, or very, very wrong! Wink wink

Just_Justine's avatar

@Sariperana personally I think she should open a “school” ;)

cytonic_horus's avatar

I know that with Cleopatra they say it was her wit and charm along with apparent beauty (although later writers argue she was not as stunning as made out to be) that caught people so maybe the femme fatale can be on 2 levels.

For some it is a beauty thing and it catches some guys. For example a friend of mine told me how he had always been amazed how he had a relationship with someone who he thought was above him..he still thought that even although he was now homeless, lost money and 100 times worse off than he was before her….she still had some kind of claws in him after kicking him out.

For others it is more personality…or maybe not their personality but being able to tap in to weaknesses in the other persons. If they feel weak in a part of their life then this person suddenly appears to strengthen it then the bait has been swallowed. They become almost blind to the other things due to the feeling of being strong in a previously weak area.

With the person you are talking about and due to me knowing her as well it certainly cant be the beauty thing (well not in my eyes anyway) so I think she must be good at body language, picking out weaknesses in her victims and playing on them

Just_Justine's avatar

@cytonic_horus well do you consider it the same thing? By your first paragraph as normally they move into and then own the homes of the man they have targeted. Did she kick him out of his home? This has been FF’s pattern I am sure you will agree. There is something very real in your last paragraph I feel? Finding the man’s weakness. Knowing them as you do horus do you think this is the case? Plus have you yourself been a a bit of a victim of a femme fatale? ;)

Just_Justine's avatar

@cytonic_horus do you think the guys mentioned felt she was above them? I don’t think so. I think your friend in that paragraph had low self esteem. Which is glaringly obvious. Do you think the guys I know had low self esteem? (They could do but not apparent to me).

Cruiser's avatar

Looks on a woman can be used, abused or just plain imagined. Often this persona is “imagined” by desperate lonely men and women who are either jealous of their inherent beauty or simply desire them from afar. In these cases it becomes quite convenient to tag them as “Femme Fatalles” because of the unattainable nature of their presence.

j0ey's avatar

I have a theory.

Its called the perfect 0.7 waist to hip ratio.

Those of my friends with this physical asset can have any man walk over hot coals for them…no matter who they are.

Its called biology….small waist + wide hips = fertility.

there are studies on this too

cytonic_horus's avatar

no I’ve not been the victim of a femme fatale myself…well not one that I have minded lol…I think that either the beauty or the personality are actually 2 different routes to the same end destination rather than 2 individual things.

They had decided to get a home together (well her pushing the idea) and from what I understand she then kicked him out of their home and moved her previous boyfriend in almost right away….so maybe a femme fatale has a game plan and finds a victim who they believe can help them achieve this end result?

So then perhaps I’m moving onto something slightly different in that the femme fatale changes her methods to suit the end result she desires? She can use looks (or in the case of the one we know use the best of what she has been given which must be tough) for some but personality for others….it all depends on the weakness she believes she has identified. I guess then that they then move on when they either a) get their end result or b) discover the weakness they thought they had identified does not actually exist….so they cut their losses as best they can and move to the next victim.

With the low-self esteem part maybe we are all guilty of having even a low self-esteem moment? For some it is a long term thing but others maybe something bad has happened…or they are feeling down for a moment and the femme fatale jumps in like a vulture? So maybe that is how they got in with the people you know?

Just_Justine's avatar

@cytonic_horus she is not as ugly as you seem to think loll

cytonic_horus's avatar

obviously she would have to go for the personality thing for me then since the looks wouldnt do it lol

josie's avatar

There are still unexplained mysteries in the universe and your question addresses one of them. What is that attraction? I don’t know, but it is definitely there. It is sort of like gravity-everybody knows what it is and what it does but nobody really knows exactly how it works. But I have known a couple of these women in my life, and the lure is powerful indeed. In one case, physical beauty was certainly part of the equation, but in the other, it was not. But like a moth to a flame, the attraction was very difficult to ignore. And it had nothing to do with self esteem.

Just_Justine's avatar

@josie thank you so much! I was beginning to think no one had met one yet! Of course my friends and I look at her with envy, I know bad. But how can we not? A woman with mystical charms!!! like you say it is not about appearance, although some can be beautiful like the other one I was talking about.

ChaosCross's avatar

Love, or at least the illusion of love can propel a creature to change or make sacrifices.

A rough example: When a praying mantis male offers himself to be devoured by the female for the well being of the children.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

There’s nothing mystical about it – I can be a femme fatale if I wanted to abuse people in such a way – it’s all about being perceptive and knowing how to play both femme, passionate, adventurous and intriguing. With most of these guys, their usual girls or partners aren’t living life, just doing what’s expected. When they meet someone who has dimensionality, brains and a propensity to manipulate using their sexual prowess, it catches these men off guard – they feel high and want more. This is because ordinarily men don’t have to try too hard but some of these women’s actions make them feel challenged. And they get pulled in. Sadly, these women’s power is only on the surface as they don’t feel stable enough to let go and not manipulate but also be vulnerable.

Just_Justine's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir ah! of course, a socio-path with lipstick on.

TexasDude's avatar

Most of you guys have a totally different conception of the femme fatale than I do.

I have a serious attraction to wild, intelligent women that could potentially kill me. I don’t know why, but I think it stems from this weird flapper girl fetish I have.

ThrallKiller's avatar

I never thought much of certain women having anything more special than other women… I just thought those women always attracted the men who were thinking with the wrong head.

plethora's avatar

@Just_Justine I think you put the name on it….sociopath. There is a book entitled “The Sociopath Next Door” by Martha Stoudt. Brief, but very very good. As she describes the sociopathic mind, it would clearly take a sociopath to play the femme fatale role. They can play other roles as well, but the sociopathic mind is the key to having the ability to use and manipulate others to the degree that the femme fatale can.

Just_Justine's avatar

@plethora it took a while but I got there, a few of us have been trying to fathom her out for a while, and others like her. Like @Simone_De_Beauvoir said it takes a certain type of abuse to get what you want from a person without concern for the person, much concern for yourself and to carry it off with a certain charm or ovate sexuality. Maybe a bit of narcissism and histrionic and you are good to go!

Just_Justine's avatar

@ThrallKiller I reckon at any one time a man can be thinking with the wrong head, but they wake up and think “Oh well that was a nice roll in the hay”. To lead a man on a course of self destruction, huge losses in money, and abstract their homes or other valuable items on a long term bases takes more than that. I think we were seeing it as some sort of mystical power, as noted in history. I still don’t know if this is the answer but it seems like an answer!

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

It’s a derivative of the goddess-whore literary archtype.

She is a beauty that cannot be possessed which makes her more desirable. She uses that power to her advantage. She lets a select few get close to her so long as they offer her something she wants and casts them aside after they have outlived their usefulness to her.

SmoothEmeraldOasis's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy Wow! Thankyou for that bit of insightfullness. I like learning and communication is so important and how I express myself is key.

Crashsequence2012's avatar

It’s all in your head.

No, really.

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