Why Medusa?

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Medusa is, in many ways, the original visage of female rage. Born exceedingly beautiful, she was pursued by many men, as well as a god or two, and probably more than a few women as well. Her hair full of venomous snakes and a gaze that turns men into stone, this was her punishment for getting raped in Athena’s temple by Poseidon. Perhaps she could turn women into stone, too, but there was never any case in which a woman looked at Medusa after that. After she was raped and cursed, she tried to go into isolation, but men would seek her out, this time to kill her rather than marry her.

The widespread acceptance of victim blaming goes back millennia with the story’s narrator implying that Medusa’s punishment was well deserved. There are multiple theories about Medusa’s character before her rape and punishment. Some describe her as fair and beautiful before Athena’s punishment. Others point to her origins as a Gorgon and claim she was a natural-born monster.

Her sisters were immortal, but she was not. Slain by Perseus, who was sent to kill her by the king so that the king could pursue Perseus’s mother, Medusa’s head retained its ability to turn people into stone. Perseus gave the head to Athena who put it on the mythical shield, Aegis. She and Zeus then used the shield to combat evil.

In this way, we see the three immemorial stages of how violence against women occurs. The assault or violent act obscures a women’s true identity, creating social isolation and post hoc judgment, before the woman is then re-idealized as a crystalized memory of the trauma.

I’m not entirely sure why Versace chose Medusa for their logo, and I’m certainly not the only to find a connection with the persona of Medusa and feminism, but this is why I made the choice I did. Medusa’s Lounge is the casual conversation of indignant women looking to escape the box that society has waiting for them just outside the doors of a lounge protected only by the irreverence and vehemence of our insights. Beware of what you read here, lest you find yourself turning into stone.

 

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