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Yes, I’m pressed about an ancient deity

A woman came at me on Instagram because I dared say that I think Medusa is better when she’s portrayed as ugly, she got very upset because Medusa “was a beautiful maiden”. I know there are women here far more versed in her mythology than me but I’m just going to have a little moment where I’m mad about the “beautiful” interpretations of her

Medusa was a gorgon, she’s supposed to have a head of snakes and she’s supposed to be monsterously ugly after the curse blessing Athena gave after Medusa was raped in her temple. It didn’t matter how beautiful she was a man still thought he could help himself to her and hurt her.

She was beautiful and what a fat load of good that did for her. We praise beauty so highly yet it did nothing for her, it didn’t earn her any respect. It causes us so much pain when we think we’re unattractive, unsexy or not beautiful because of the emphasis people place on beauty, yet she was beautiful and she was still hurt and still disrespected

Everytime I see her portrayed as some hot sexy young snake lady I get pissed off, it screams “man tries to conqour woman” to me. It’s a direct violation of the assult she went through over and over again, how can you make her more palatable to men who want to fuck her?

She should be ugly. U G L Y. Ugly. Not cute, not sexy, not hot. Ugly.

There’s so much power in her ugliness. The first time I heard the story it was told to me that she was made hideous so that no man would ever want her, no consideration for the fact that maybe SHE DOESNT WANT HIM! Why the hell would Medusa want a damn man after all they did to her?

I love the gorgon depictions of her, her eyes wide, the almost manic expression on her face, the big tusks and all her teeth bared, her tongue out, snakes surrounding her. She looks as though she’s laughing, like she’s beside herself with joy, like she knows she’s got the upper hand and no one is ever going to touch her ever again. I’d be delirious with joy if I could turn a man to stone with a single glance.

I think her head of snakes is super important, so many people are terrified of snakes, in parts of the world a snakebite can kill you, they’re venomous and mysterious. There’s so much fascination around snakes, snake charmers, snake venom etc. They strike so much fear and she wears multiple of them on her head. No crown, no tiara, no veil to hide herself in shame from the world, no she’s got a head of snakes and she’s gonna make a man look her dead in the eye before she turns him to stone.

I love the way I heard her described as ‘a woman’s rage personified’. I love that her image was used as a symbol of protection, that womens rape and domestic violence shelters have in the past used her image. She is, in my opinion, one of the strongest images of sheer feminine energy because of her refusal to perform femininity and be an object of lust for men. She’s not empowered because she’s a cute hot sexy snake lady in a thong and a boss babe, it’s because she’s out right, unapologetically, ugly and she doesn’t give a rats ass about it. She has no shackles that bind her, nothing that holds her back, no worries about if she’s cute enough or if anyone could hurt her because a single glance from her essentially renders you to dust.

She’s so damn ugly yet women adore her. I have never met anyone who didn’t on some level find Medusa enchanting. She has such a raw feminine power that strikes straight into the hearts of women. The only way she can be palatable to men is to sexualise her, to make her the helpless young sexy girl that they can fantasies about sex with, to violate her. Yet women see her as a symbol of protection, someone they can hide behind and feel safe with, someone who empowers them.

She only became super important to me after I went through DV and SA and I appreciate I’m mad on the internet about a stupid ass nonsense thing, but it’s so rare that women get to be ugly and unapologetic about it

Medusa is ugly and she always should be.

Yes, I’m pressed about an ancient deity A woman came at me on Instagram because I dared say that I think Medusa is better when she’s portrayed as ugly, she got very upset because Medusa “was a beautiful maiden”. I know there are women here far more versed in her mythology than me but I’m just going to have a little moment where I’m mad about the “beautiful” interpretations of her Medusa was a gorgon, she’s supposed to have a head of snakes and she’s supposed to be monsterously ugly after the ~~curse~~ blessing Athena gave after Medusa was raped in her temple. It didn’t matter how beautiful she was a man still thought he could help himself to her and hurt her. She was beautiful and what a fat load of good that did for her. We praise beauty so highly yet it did nothing for her, it didn’t earn her any respect. It causes us so much pain when we think we’re unattractive, unsexy or not beautiful because of the emphasis people place on beauty, yet she was beautiful and she was still hurt and still disrespected Everytime I see her portrayed as some hot sexy young snake lady I get pissed off, it screams “man tries to conqour woman” to me. It’s a direct violation of the assult she went through over and over again, how can you make her more palatable to men who want to fuck her? She should be ugly. U G L Y. Ugly. Not cute, not sexy, not hot. Ugly. There’s so much power in her ugliness. The first time I heard the story it was told to me that she was made hideous so that no man would ever want her, no consideration for the fact that maybe SHE DOESNT WANT HIM! Why the hell would Medusa want a damn man after all they did to her? I love the gorgon depictions of her, her eyes wide, the almost manic expression on her face, the big tusks and all her teeth bared, her tongue out, snakes surrounding her. She looks as though she’s laughing, like she’s beside herself with joy, like she knows she’s got the upper hand and no one is ever going to touch her ever again. I’d be delirious with joy if I could turn a man to stone with a single glance. I think her head of snakes is super important, so many people are terrified of snakes, in parts of the world a snakebite can kill you, they’re venomous and mysterious. There’s so much fascination around snakes, snake charmers, snake venom etc. They strike so much fear and she wears multiple of them *on her head*. No crown, no tiara, no veil to hide herself in shame from the world, no she’s got a head of snakes and she’s gonna make a man look her dead in the eye before she turns him to stone. I love the way I heard her described as ‘a woman’s rage personified’. I love that her image was used as a symbol of protection, that womens rape and domestic violence shelters have in the past used her image. She is, in my opinion, one of the strongest images of sheer feminine energy because of her refusal to perform femininity and be an object of lust for men. She’s not empowered because she’s a cute hot sexy snake lady in a thong and a boss babe, it’s because she’s out right, unapologetically, **ugly** and she doesn’t give a rats ass about it. She has no shackles that bind her, nothing that holds her back, no worries about if she’s cute enough or if anyone could hurt her because a single glance from her essentially renders you to dust. She’s so damn ugly yet women *adore* her. I have never met anyone who didn’t on some level find Medusa enchanting. She has such a raw feminine power that strikes straight into the hearts of women. The only way she can be palatable to men is to sexualise her, to make her the helpless young sexy girl that they can fantasies about sex with, to violate her. Yet women see her as a symbol of protection, someone they can hide behind and feel safe with, someone who empowers them. She only became super important to me after I went through DV and SA and I appreciate I’m mad on the internet about a stupid ass nonsense thing, but it’s so rare that women get to be ugly and unapologetic about it Medusa is ugly and she always should be.

44 comments

An interesting thing about the etymology of the word "ugly" that goes to your point – it is from "Old Norse uggligr 'to be dreaded' from ugga 'to dread'" according to the OED. So "ugly" is actually a very powerful word too.

I love this post, I’m going to try and draw her because your post has inspired me :)

Women/female mythical beings should be allowed to be ugly. All sympathetic characters are portrayed as beautiful because apparently beauty is synonymous with goodness. It’s stupid, and reductive.

I was bullied horribly as a little girl because I was deemed “ugly” I was small, scrawny, with unfashionable clothes and hair, braces and glasses. I was convinced I was completely hideous and had (and still have tbh) zero self esteem. All the fairytales and movies and books had female protagonists who were beautiful. It seemed to me like good things only happened to beautiful girls. Little boys aren’t taught that being handsome is the be all and end all.

I apparently grew into my looks (which could send me off on another rant about how shallow people are depending on your appearance) ... but it remains a pet peeve of mine that female protagonists must be beautiful. They aren’t allowed to be plain or old, let alone downright unattractive. Being resourceful or clever or funny or brave seems to come secondary to being physically attractive.

People talk about diversity (a good thing for sure) but no matter her race or her sexual orientation the female protagonist will be conventionally attractive. Not much of a message to send to girls, not everyone can be physically beautiful, but that doesn’t make someone worth any less.

Totally agree with you!! And women bully other women for their looks and it just feeds into this stupid loop of destroying self esteem. And yeah, no matter who the female character is she is always thin and attractive, while men can be balding, fat and unlikable and still be a main character.

I think I'll draw Medusa as well! Imagine an art gallery of fantastical Medusas? I love it!

Men will rape animals, children, each other and elderly women as well as every other age and appearance of women.

A woman’s appearance doesn’t cause rape and a woman’s appearance won’t protect her.

What a phenomenal, thought-provoking post! This reminds me of many female saints, in order to ward off suitors, praying to be made ugly, so they could devote themselves to prayers, a convent, etc. Regardless of what one thinks of the patriarchal religions that inspired that behavior, it was women who desired their own autonomy.

I often wonder if joining a convent was also a form of women's liberation, and is still being used as one. I was raised strictly religious, and the nuns I interacted with were well educated women.

most likely, lots of women become nuns to get men off their backs. lesbians most likely became nuns in the past too.

I remember reading exchanges of love letters between two nuns. it was so sweet🥺 I wish I could remember more details about it

and of course, men have responded to it by sexualising nuns. Exhibit A: music video for Demons Are A Girl's Best Friend by Powerwolf. I like the song, but the video not so much.

I'm not even surprised.

You know, you are right! I went to catholic school, for girls only, run by nuns. And now that i think about it, they had a blast. They would all eat together at the great hall, cook their food together and do their hobbies together (pray and collect virgin Mary figurines lol) on top of that, they ran the whole school seamlessly. I'm not catholic but, that was actually badass.

Fellow catholic schoolgirl here too! The nuns always had great vibes, and could be really strict with discipline but it was never excessive. I felt safe and cared for around them. I have massive respect for them, they used a tool of the patriarchy to their advantage.

I dont know if you've ever seen the deity Kali but you'll resonate based on what you've written. Shes depicted with the heads of men around her neck and standing on a man. Shes rage strength and motherhood in reality and a very powerful figure.

We don't know if she is ugly or not, because if we look at her we're turned to stone

I am aware of a version of her story that notes women were not turned to stone by her gaze, just men. That makes a lot more sense to me.

I love this rant. I always felt that Athena was trying to protect Medusa, not curse her. Not to mention that women were also forbidden from Medusa's island so that she couldn't accidentally harm another woman. Athena allowed Medusa vengeance and protection.

Didn't she eventually asked - I think Perseus - to cut off her head so she could use it on her shield for extra protection?

You're correct, but I feel that so many religious myths are told and retold and retold that they all get the writer's personal spin. We could be right about Athena protecting Medusa, or others could be right about her punishing her. I feel that it's all open to interpretation and can be any kind of symbol you want it to be. Sorry, I'm not very articulate at the moment. :/

ETA: I feel that it's both fun to speculate, but it can also be used as a symbol of power for women.

I've heard things hinting that Athena and Medusa are actually both aspects of some obscure North African goddess that the Greeks appropriated.

I like this. It might interest you to know that accordibg to Hesiod, Medusa was always a gorgon. He doesn't mention her being attractive (although she does have sex with Poseidon). The "beautiful maiden" thing is an Ovidian invention.

Because why would they rape an ugly chick am I right, Ovid?? It wasn't a horrific power move it was just that they couldn't help themselves! Ugh!!

Hesiod is older than Ovidian?

Yes. Hesiod is early ancient Greek literature. Ovid is Roman. Hesiod's Theogony (where he mentions Medusa) is from around 730 to 700 BC. The Metamorphoses (Ovid's) is from 8 AD.

Oh I see then! Thanks so much! I love studying ancient literature! :)

I love snakes. They're so misunderstood, and one thing a lot of people don't get about them is that generally, if you leave them alone, they'll leave you alone too. And that seems pretty appropriate for Medusa's story.

Snakes were also long associated with women, who symbolically shed our skin every month through menses and experience rebirth/renewal the way a snake does. As well as the Great Goddess. The Garden of Eden story specifically tried to upend the idea in popular imagination of the snake as a symbol of divinity, wisdom, rebirth and female power.

[–] montanagraey 10 points Edited

Forever ago on tumblr there was a tiny movement started called “girlmonstering” where women would use makeup the “wrong” ways and make themselves ugly on purpose as a middle finger to the society/men who insisted they be beautiful. I was so sad it didn’t gain more traction.

wow that is amazing. were they young women? if so, that is even more amazing that those younger women have woken up to the misogynistic mess we live in.

Well, the thing is, if we actually met a woman with snakes for hair in real life, most of us would be pretty horrified at her looks regardless of the shape of her facial features, so it's kind of academic, really. I've even seen descriptions of her that say she had wings and also brass talons for fingers. Not exactly Conventional Woman. All those dudes are doing when they try to give her a pretty face is justify what amounts to near-bestiality. Which, we already know they're into that, but now they're telling on themselves.

On a slight tangent, one thing I appreciate about UK entertainment media versus the USA's is that British actresses are allowed to look normal and you see a wide range of faces. After I got immersed in that for a while, I almost couldn't go back to American stuff because I'm tired of everyone without a penis looking like a wannabe Barbie doll. And these days, with the trans thing, even some of the people with penises are Barbie-fying themselves. Dude. No. Wear your own face.

[–] hmimperialtortie cats plz 2 points

Same here, that’s one of the things I love about British telly and film and can’t abide about US ditto. Like I gave up on the film Dogma (despite having Alan Rickman) because I couldn’t tell the actors or actresses apart.

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