Seductress
Betsy Prioleau
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Buy *Seductress: Women Who Ravished the World and Their Lost Art of Love* online

Seductress: Women Who Ravished the World and Their Lost Art of Love
Betsy Prioleau
Viking
Hardcover
368 pages
October 2003
rated 3 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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The title of Prioleauís book could have been Seductress, A Career Guide for the Modern Woman. With a liberating look at womenís sexuality as a means to empowerment and happiness, Prioleau hypothesizes that women have been shielded from the truth: itís not about looks, itís about brains. Intelligence, wit and humor win out over curves and beauty when it comes to captivating and keeping love-worthy men. Prioleau presents the image of the Siren as seductress to prove her point in the chapter on Belles Laides (Homely Sirens). But how, you ask, can an ugly woman have a battalion of handsome, lusty men trailing after her desperately vying for her attentions?

Itís easy and, according to Prioleau, itís been happening since the beginning of time. Prioleau weaves breezily written tracts of womenís mythology into the biographies of real-life seductresses ranging from Cleopatra to Mae West. The photographs and paintings of famous seductresses included in the book prove that living a passionate life is not limited to the beautiful. What would the world be like if all women had this innate knowledge? For one thing, there wouldnít be thousands of women clamoring for a chance to be remodelled on reality television shows like Extreme Makeover.

It is in the telling of the seductressí history that Prioleau shines. Her passion for the subject is palpable. It is hard not to envision the author atop a barricade urging women to revolt against the beauty myth, throwing down the plastic surgeonís scalpel and, in the background ablaze, a pile of beauty magazines. She traces the seductressí lineage to Lillith, the vivacious virago who dumped Adam, disobeyed God and opted to bed randy male demons. Now thatís my kind of role model! Is it any wonder male scholars edited her out of the history books? This book is not about buxom blonde bimbos or helpless heroines who were abandoned once their looks faded. Prioleau presents real-life intelligent women who captivated the hearts and minds of men and kept them enthralled for decades and, in one case, even after death.

Cancel your subscription to Elle, Glamour, and Cosmo, pick up a copy of Seductress instead, and youíll increase your chances of living happily ever after with the person of your dreams. Yourself.

Throughout history the true seductresses of the world held one truth dear: In the game of love, looks donít mean a thing. This historical gem rates 3 Ĺ stars.


© 2004 by Laura M. Miller for Curled Up With a Good Book

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