Hera: Queen of Sexual Assualt Victims

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Hera.

I’ve been struggling with what to say about her. In many of the stories about her, she is jealous and vindictive. How many times did she try and kill Hercules?
She is the protector of women, but not those slutty ones who get assaulted by her husband or piss her off. The perfect patriarchal wife.
 
As the wife of an abusive womanizer she gives us a clear understanding of how wives should keep their place.  Hera is always taking her anger at Zeus out on the women he has assaulted and their children.

This is one of the ways the patriarchy uses women to keep other women in their place. If we are busy fighting with each other we won’t be able to do anything about the patriarchy.

It also helps us learn that men don’t need to take responsibility for their actions. It promotes rape culture and victim blaming.

Hera herself is one of Zeus’s victims. She only agrees to marry him out of shame after he tricks her and takes advantage of her.  She becomes part of his cycle of abuse.

Does her story sound familiar? It should. The stories of women being bound to the men that abuse them. Then helping in continuing that abuse is completely normal.  It’s hard to see the cycle as anything but normal. It makes it harder to break.
 
There is no healing in this story. Even a powerful goddess like Hera is powerless to resist the patriarchal order. Or so they want you to believe. The patriarchy couldn’t have Hera standing in her own power or showing other victims how to do the same. Better to have her teaching women to be ashamed and fear punishment for the actions of men.
 
Hera’s story is a cautionary tale of what happens when we don’t support each other and heal. We become part of the patriarchy’s continued abuse. Hera’s caring nature was used against her. That caring nature becomes a weakness, a danger and something to be avoided at all costs. This is part of what the patriarchy does to women and men. It finds ways to twist our strengths. It lies and tells us that these strengths are flaws.
 
Her story is a reminder that no matter who we are or how strong we are or whatever, anyone can be a victim of sexual assault. It’s not because we are weak or deserve it. Her story is our story. It’s the story of what happens when we support what oppresses us.
 
She is waiting for us to see her and hear her #MeToo. 

 

Aphrodite: Your body is not his temple.

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Aphrodite. The goddess of love. The standard for female beauty. Adulteress jealous slut.
 
At least that is what some of her stories would have us believe.
 
She is the unattainable standard of beauty that women must strive for. Aphrodite is example of how the patriarchy will try to control and shame you for not playing by their rules.
 
Be her in the ways men find pleasing. Don’t be like her in ways they don’t.
 
They tell us she is silly, air headed, shallow and vain.  Women are silly, air headed, shallow and vain.  Brainless fuck toys.
 
When I read her stories, I see a women who refused to be bound by patriarchal rule. Aphrodite gives zero fucks about what anyone thought and stood in her power. A power so strong that the patriarchy is still trying to bind her, control her and strip away that power.
 
Aphrodite is a woman who continues to be herself no matter what the patriarchy tries to do to her.  She owns her sexualality. Even though Zeus (patriarchy) tries to take that from her through a forced marriage.
 
The harder the patriarchy works to control, shame, or disempower a goddess, it’s a sign of how powerful she is.
 
There is nothing wrong with being a woman who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to get it. Confidence is sexy. Loving the fuck out of what you love is sexy. It’s part of Aphrodite’s message to us.
 

Lessons from Aphrodite:

 
Your body is your is own. This can seem like a strange idea in a society in which women’s bodies are props to be used by others. It is easy to disassociate from our bodies and the things that happen to them. Sometimes we need to do that to survive, but we can’t thrive that way. You are meant to thrive. 
 
Embrace your desires. We are taught that female desire is wrong and dirty. That desire is only something men should feel. We should inspire desire in men and be ashamed of doing something so sinful at the same time.  Desire, whether it is sexual or spiritual is guide post. It’s what makes Captain Jack Sparrow’s compass work and gets everyone where they are going.  There is no shame in that. 
 
Enjoy the physical. We have these amazing physical bodies and we work so hard to deny ourselves pleasure. A women reveling in pleasure is a powerful thing. Earth shaking. And no matter what shape our bodies come in, we all deserve to experience pleasure. Find something/someone that makes you feel good. 
 
What pleasures are you denying yourself?
What desire have you been ignoring?
How have you loved your body lately?