Femme Fatale: the female criminal

Woman is rarely wicked, but when she is, she is worse than a man. Italian proverb
Wicked women, seductive sinners, vicious vixens – the female criminal is portrayed in many guises in popular culture, myth, literature and history but what do these stereotypes tell us about women and crime?
Australian authorities have grappled with how to control wayward women from the moment raucous female convicts stepped ashore. The brutal reality of notorious female criminals such as ‘the man woman murderer’ Eugenia Falleni, sly grogger Kate Leigh and poisoner Yvonne Fletcher is in stark contrast to the glamour of the noir seductress and pulp novel siren. This exhibition examines these extremes, traversing criminological theory, popular culture and case studies.
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