Did you know that Medusa hadn’t always been a monster?
Let’s review a bit of this ancient myth.
Medusa once was a lovely young woman with beautiful hair who attracted the attention of Poseidon, the male ruler of the Sea according to Greek mythology.
Guess what! He wasn’t interested in getting tips from her in how to maintain a healthy hair away from the damage of the salty waters, but instead… he raped her in Athena’s Temple.
The goddess was jealous so she punished the young woman by transforming her enviable locks into hideous snakes. “Everyone who dares to look at her face will die, transformed into stone!”
Is all very clear to us isn’t it? If a young woman is raped, it’s her fault because she is beautiful and her beauty incited her rape. Women compete into each other for male attention, of course. They have a jealous nature.
The rapist is free of punishment.
How does the story end? Medusa is killed by a man. Perseus beheaded her and carted away his head to kill some king by using her power.
What attracts me the most of the representation of Medusa is how have changed through history and what this says to us today.
Early representations portrayed her more like a creature than as a women. But during the Hellenist period everything was about idealising humanism so all gods and creatures where humanised.
In a male-centered society the feminisation of monsters served to demonise women.
Her beauty was considered dangerous, her sex appeal a threat.
If you look it up, for centuries all kinds of women in power have been compared to Medusa and not necessarily in a good way.
We appropriate Medusa’s myth as symbol of femme fatale, an icon to remind us all the female rage.
Because every culture that has designated us as deserving of the greatest miseries will be reversed!