Darkness Calls pp 115-147 | Cite as

Fear and Fantasy: Women in Noir

  • Sue Short


How have women been represented in noir and why has the femme fatale received more attention than other female characters? The chapter notes the way neo-noir has enabled this figure to triumph, yet her advancement comes at the expense of questionable (sometimes explicitly anti-feminist) conduct, causing us to ask how progressive such a figure truly is. Whether she is interpreted as a locus of male fears about female emancipation, or a questionable female fantasy, her increased prominence suggests there is a growing female audience for noir. We have also seen a corresponding expansion of roles, including the female amnesiac, assassin and outlaw which warrants closer examination. The chapter pays these developments due attention and questions what counts as genuinely progressive in neo-noir’s depiction of women.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sue Short
    • 1
  1. 1.Birkbeck University of LondonLondonUK

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