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25th February 2020

Why we should all be femme fatales: lessons from female superheroes

If women considered the weaker sex, then how come we are to blame when it comes to the destruction of a man’s career or reputation?
Why we should all be femme fatales: lessons from female superheroes
Photo: Mickey377 @deviantart

Throughout history, women have always been blamed for men’s downfall, hence the phrase femme fatale. My question is, if women were (or still are) considered the weaker sex physically and mentally, then how can we be to blame when it comes to the destruction of a man’s career or reputation? If we are as weak, unimportant and dumb as men believe, or want us to believe, then how does the term “femme fatale” appear? If we are as insignificant as men make us out to be, and we still manage to destroy them, then shouldn’t men be the weaker sex? The only reasonable explanation to this is that women actually are the stronger sex and men are trying to put all the blame on us while trying to oppress us.

I personally love the phrase “femme fatale”, not because of how seductive and sexual women can be (although there is nothing wrong with that), but because it reminds women how strong and how much impact we have on the world. I aspire to be a femme fatale in this aspect — one who aims to change the world for the better with our intelligence and strength, much like the female superheroes we are finally seeing in movies. When reading the phrase “femme fatale”, a series of female superheroes come to mind: Wonder Woman, Scarlet Witch, Black Widow, and Captain Marvel. All of them are gaining media attention through movies and TV series by being powerful and independent women who can save the world. It is very encouraging to see that Hollywood are finally acknowledging female superheroes and portraying them as they are: powerful individuals whose existence is not a plot device to help establish male characters in movies.

Even though some argue that showing female superheroes in movies does not have much of an impact, I strongly disagree. It is undeniable that feminism has gained more popularity in the past decade, but it is not enough. There is still a lot more work to be done. With the lack of strong female representation in the media, many young girls are still expected to look up to princesses and wish a prince will come to their rescue. We are trained to think that men are more capable and that it is good for us to follow their lead while playing the role of a damsel in distress. Female superheroes represent the opposite of this ideology, and they successfully pave the way for girls to see that we are just as capable as boys, and that girls can take action too — and we will.

It may sound like something of a cliché, but I truly believe that every girl/woman is a superhero. We live in a complicated and male-dominated world and as a woman, there are always certain expectations we feel obligated to fulfil. For example, we are not supposed to be good at sports, we should not play violent video games and we should not be aggressive. From these expectations came phrases like “you’re throwing like a girl” or  “you run like a girl”. These phrases are not insulting per se, but in our society, these are often used as insults, and it has a horrible effect on us. We all change ourselves in a way to try to fit into what society wants us to be and it is so common that we hardly notice.

Using Wonder Woman as an example, it is crucial that she never alters herself to fit into our world. When she leaves Themyscira, she does not leave her principles behind. Instead, she remains true to herself while people around her try to change her. For me, this is what all of us should aspire to: to unapologetically be ourselves. The world will always try to change us, but as female superheroes show, we have a choice in the matter. We can choose to fall in line and be who others expect us to be, or we can break away from the mold and create our own image. It is time we all take a page from female superheroes and truly stand up for ourselves. After all, we are all superheroes in our own right.

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