SYLVIE FRIGON

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Fallen women. Unruly women. Deviant women. Women who kill. They are dark creatures, dark characters who disturb and fascinate. Although many contemporary films and prime-time television shows have been devoted to crime, this interest in the representation of crime for public edification is not a new phenomenon. The fascination for crime and violence has been inscribed in mythology, ballads, plays, and early journalism. Shakespeare’s crime stories are a case in point, and Lady Macbeth is an examplar1 of the depiction of the violent, murderous woman. And throughout modern history representations of women who kill oscillate between fascination, eroticization, pity, disgust, and repulsion. Straddled between these characterizations, the actual women who kill in this visual culture, in fact, disappear; they are effectively erased. The very construction of their evilness rests on this. Moreover, there is a simulta­neous construction of her body in danger as a dangerous body (Frigon 1996, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002). In this chapter I aim to demystify fallacies by explor­ing how these images are framed and constructed, how they gain currency, and how they are contested. In mapping out the historical foundation for a par­ticular set of these images, I begin to sketch some possible points of counter­inscription.