• Glow

The Horrifying Misunderstanding: Medusa

Updated: Jan 18

Note: I know I haven’t written in a while...happy birthday to me, thank you very much. But, I’ve kind of been in the process of trying to do something with my life during a pandemic. AKA, I’ve been busy going back to school.


I recently moved back home (I’m sure I’ve mentioned where home is), and I have to say I totally forgot how emotionally constipated the Hispanic culture can be. Don’t get me wrong, 90% of our music is pure and utter “I’ll die for you” type of emotion, but when it comes to real, people-to-people type emotion, it all comes down a “he said, she said” type of situation and no one stops to wonder what’s behind door #3. Nonetheless, it’s October. So you should know what this means: it’s time for a spooky feminist rant.


CUE FLASHLIGHT ON



Gather around my fair beauties, and my dashing open-minded lads (you see - inclusivity). I shall tell you the scariest story that your ears will ever hear, and your eyes will ever read (I don’t know how you roll). It is the story of the woman who was unjustly punished, the Hester Prynne of Greek mythology. I’m talking about Medusa (cue dramatic music).


The story of Medusa dates back to 6000 BC. She was in fact not a human to begin with, but a Gorgon. Medusa is from the family of the Gorgons and lived beyond Oceanus with her sisters Euryale and Stentho. One of her sisters (don’t ask me which one, to be honest the family tree is a mess and I got shit to do) was a full serpent creature, a fury if you will. The other was more Medusa-like, snake hair, etc., but her beauty didn’t glow quite like our ingenue. Medusa looked human. No, scratch that, she was more than human. She was beautiful beyond belief. Which is why it is of no surprise that Poseidon (you know, the intimidating god of the ocean) took a liking to her. Now here’s where the story gets glitchy - what we grew up with in mainstream films and media is that Medusa was seduced by Posiedon and cursed by Athena as punishment for the transgression (the fancy word for sin) that occurred in her temple. The punishment was the following: I will make you hideous. I will put snakes in your hair, and I will give you eyes that will never be able to look at another man again without turning them into cold stone. According to Hesiod’s interpretation, this was a punishment to keep men away from Medusa, because she acted upon her lustful desires. Now, I want to ask the reader to take a minute and use some critical thinking. Does this make sense? Would this turn a once-priestess woman into the vengeful predator that is depicted in modern myth? Because this makes no fucking sense to me. “He said” that behind door #1 there was a man (Poseidon) “seducing” Medusa and “she said” that behind door #2 there was a woman (Athena) punishing another woman (Medusa) for being a vixen, BUT DOES NOBODY CARE ABOUT WHAT’S BEHIND DOOR NUMBER FUCKING THREE? The Roman poet, Ovid (who’s name is way too close to COVID for my liking) wrote "The Metamorphosis" in the 8th century AD. Here he retold the story in which Medusa wasn’t seduced… she was assaulted by Poseidon, and Athena didn’t curse her with snake hair and shunning eyes, it was a gift because Medusa was so traumatized by what humans (men) could do to her. She took comfort in knowing no one could harm her again. Little did she know, she would be hunted by Perseus. Now doesn’t this story make a little bit more sense? 

She wasn’t a villain, she was coping with her trauma (it’s called lashing out, you dumb ass). It’s not her fault that western culture saw femininity and beauty as the biggest threat, because it was the one thing that men could not control. This is why Perseus had to chop her whole head off instead of just gauging her eyes out, because he had to separate Medusa’s mind from her body; it was too much to handle. Then the Catholic church came into play, and just like the Christmas tree (hate to break it to you but it was a pagan ritual that they morphed, threw some stencil at, and called a fuckin christmas tree) they took Ovid's story, chucked it, and rolled with the predator version. You know, the version where the man did nothing wrong and the woman is the one who is punished. 


Ironically, that’s not the message I want the reader to take away from this... I hope this is the last fucking time that a movement comes about like the one that occurred on my island. People took to the streets to protest because 29 women, so far, have disappeared in 2020 and only one--if not two--of the incidents were publicized. The shocking aspect of it all were the people who openly stated bullshit like “she probably deserved it” or “men disappear too, what’s the big deal?” and then there’s my favorite: women stomping on other women’s reputations. Like, I get it, Petra, you have a son and he was cheated on, but that doesn’t give you the right to call women whores. Because Medusa, the most intimidating and terrifying and stoic woman in the world who doesn’t seem to have any remorse about other people’s well-being, has a story behind door #3. There’s two sides to every story and in Greek mythology there might be like, 18 sides. We shouldn’t judge people (I say people, but i really, really wanna say women) based on "chisme’’ (it’s Spanish for gossip). At this point, we should be able to do one of two things.


1.) Not give a shit because it’s none of your business. 

Or 

2.) Take the initiative of figuring out what’s actually happening based on genuine concern. 


Last, but not least, to the fair beauties who are reading this post: keep in mind that Medusa became a symbol. Women used to put her emblem up on doors to let other women know it was a safe place for them to seek shelter. Where is our emblem? Where is our sign of support to other women? I feel like it’s 2020 and there’s no more room for ignorance. The world is round, climate change is real, science is not magic, and people should be respected.



CUE: FLASHLIGHT OFF.



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