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Seductress: Women Who Ravished the World and Their Lost Art of Love Paperback – October 26, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Prioleau has gathered together historyÆs sexiest vixens and given them a delicious voice. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
Top Customer Reviews
The meat of the book is an anthology of mini-biographies of "true seductreses." You won't find Marilyn Monroe or Madonna here, but you will find Mae West and Catherine the Great, plus some names you might not know as well, such as journalist Martha Gellhorn or "homely siren" Pauline Viardot. All are women who shattered the stereotypes of desirability. Most were neither beautiful nor submissive, and Prioleau categorizes them by type: scholars, artists, adventurers, political leaders.
Many of these women are inspirations. But in her rush to prove this, Prioleau makes some missteps. She holds up as "self-actualized" women who cheated on their husbands, kept multiple lovers, and left callous trails of broken hearts. (Having your pick of men is admirable, but the most intuitive conclusion is that you might eventually actually pick one.)
In choosing this view, Prioleau slips into the trap of many modern feminists: that a woman finds liberation by behaving just as terribly as the worst male cad. Indeed, Prioleau makes some uncomfortable generalizations about men: They cheat, fear women's sexuality, and "binge out on casual infidelity, wife trade-ins, and hit-and-run sex." This hardly seems fair, and the book is best read while sharply aware of this bias.
But darn if it isn't an interesting read.Read more ›
Early in the book she puts down myths about the sexuality of the historical seductress with voluminous facts that substantiate her theories. She categorizes the seductresses into six prototypes. The first insidious falsehood is that seductresses must be young and beautiful, but she dispels the myth with stories of very ugly enchantresses of the past. Age is a second misnomer, with celebrated allure of "old dames." The third myth centers on the intellectuality of a real seductress, with intelligence winning out over stupidity. Inspiration and artistic endeavor allowed women to build careers, tearing away the vapid housewife myth. Real seductresses were "movers and shakers," playing heavy parts in the world of government. Lastly, she explores the seductress as wildly adventurous and rakishly professional.
Prioleau next explains the art of seduction: physical art, dress and ornamentation, hygiene and cosmetic usage, artful detail of setting, body language and music, lustful experience with sex, psychological affectation, intimacy and ego enhancement for the male, along with comedy as an aphrodisiac, festivity and dramatic impact. Seduction is now, according to Prioleau, with a look at the past. The learning curve is open to every woman. "Ladies choice," she proposes.
SEDUCTRESS sets forth an archetype for the sex goddesses in ancient history, with a chapter moving from goddess mythology, through the divinity of Inanna to the Greek love goddess Aphrodite.Read more ›
Women's sexuality is so often used against them, so often seen as their weakness that it is disturbing to the popular mind to see women using their sexuality, which society says is their mortal Achilles heel to be exploited by men, to their advantage. The notion that women would use the very weapon that's brandished against them to conquer the world is terrifying. It's okay to see women on the front of magazines displaying themselves for men's pleasure, but it's *not* okay when they use that display for their own personal gain, their own pleasure. They become dangerous.
And this wonderful book is about dangerous women. It's delightfully readable. It shows how many very accomplished women have been mistreated by historians (Did you know Cleopatra was *also* a great ruler, besides just being the mistress of Mark Antony? Did you know she was ugly?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Until you understanding seduction you will never believe you can be a seductress. This book shows that there's no one type fits all seductress. Excellent book. Read morePublished 4 months ago by CaH
Absolutely awful. I'd donate this book somewhere, but I'd hate to inflict it on another human being. I've worked as a writer and editor. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Alissa Nira
The research & great examples of powerful women are wonderful for me as a Tantra teacher.
What a gift to the world! As well as her book from the male seducer side... Read more
Fascinating walk through history to learn of all the women who have lived large and by their own rules.Published 13 months ago by Dawn Berman
A fascinating but not easy read. The true power of the seductress is in a woman's attitude, not in her appearance. Every woman can and does possess this power.Published 18 months ago by Jeff Dean
The title suggests using one's sexuality to gain power. The book goes so much deeper than that, though. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Ellay Branton