A few months ago I wrote a post on the myth of Persphone. I got this interesting comment from Eddie, which got me thinking. Yes, it is a myth written by a man (most likely, at any rate – I tend to think of myths evolving organically through oral tradition). However, there is no denying that all religions are ‘written’ by men and in no religion are women portrayed as having any sort of power. Persphone’s rapt by Hades is like Zeus’s rape of Hera – he tricked her by turning into a dove and flying into her arms during a storm. Hera did not want to marry Zeus, but he forced her hand. Artemis had to trick her father into letting her remain a virgin, and when she finally did choose a husband, her own brother killed him. If you look carefully at the Greek myths, you will see that women get short shrift in all of them. And that includes our myths as well. Mary is told she will bear a son. She bows her head in submission and says she is “God’s handmaid and will do as she is told”. That isn’t very joyful or empowering. It’s submission – nothing else. Luckily, more and more people are challenging the status quo and women are starting to understand their worth. We can be submissive to God and tell men to get over themselves – after all – God could very well be a woman. Who knows? Or we can be submissive to no one, toss God into the books of mysogenic mythology, and make our own lives. In a perfect world, Hades would ask Persephone out on a few dates, she’d decide he was a cool, good looking guy, and they’d settle down in Hades – and she’d havve an interesting job, maybe being in charge of an association for the newly dead, and Hades would keep the palace clean and tidy, and make sure Cerberus didn’t eat anyone.

Eddie said:

Yes, it doesn’t matter that he kidnapped her and forced her against her will to be the goddess of an underworld she didn’t ask for. Tricking her into staying there forever with pomegranate seeds was a nice touch as well. I love how the same women who attempt to justify sexism are the same women who would cry the blues if someone took THEM without asking.

By the way, of course they’re going to portray them as a “loving couple.” The myth was written by men. “She’ll fall in love with her captor and it will be okay because there’s nothing wrong with forcing women to do what they don’t want to do.” I’m going to go ahead and call bullcrap on that heaping pile of nonsense. You call it love. I call it Stockholm syndrome.


jennifermacaire said:

Interesting comment – yes, if this happened in modern times, I’d agree. But it’s a myth, and was written (and told) in a time when women were not asked if they wanted to be married, or who they wanted to marry – they were worth slightly more than cattle, and less than camels. In the Greek myths, the men are all powerful and have the last word. Zeus, king of gods, rapes women far more often than he woos them, and that goes for most of the men in the stories. I like to think we’ve made progress. In Christianity, the angel Gabriel appears before a frightened Mary and says “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.” So it’s not as if she was asked – he told her what would happen. And yet, we don’t have a lot of discussion about Mary and what she may have felt – we are supposed to feel she has been honored. At least in the myth of Persephone there was the element of outrage, of betrayal, and of anger on Persephone’s part. That she fell in love with her raptor – well, that is hard for a modern person to imagine – but a modern person would be able to leave or get a divorce. Persephone, as a goddess, was bound for eternity to her husband, and luckily, she came to appreciate him.