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Satanic FeminismLucifer as the Liberator of Woman in Nineteenth-Century Culture$
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Per Faxneld

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190664473

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190664473.001.0001

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Becoming the Demon Woman

Becoming the Demon Woman

Rebellious Role-Play

(p.386) 9 Becoming the Demon Woman
Satanic Feminism

Per Faxneld

Oxford University Press

Chapter9 analyses individuals who, both on and off the stage, actively assumed the role of the demon woman. Three persons are considered in detail: Sarah Bernhardt, the Italian marchioness Luisa Casati, and silent film actress Theda Bara. They chose—or, in Bara’s case, were chosen—to embody the (more or less supernatural or occult) femme fatale, as constructed mostly by male authors and artists. Seemingly, they felt this was empowering or useful for commercial, subversive, or other purposes. The analysis attempts to tease out some of the implications this enactment of a disquieting stereotype had on an individual level as well as in a broader cultural context. This also applies to the unknown women who wore jewellery depicting devils, demons, or Eve—a rebellious token clearly drawing on motifs familiar from Satanic feminism.

Keywords:   feminism, Sara Bernhardt, Luisa Casati, Theda Bara, jewellery, femme fatale

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