The Naked Goddess
(Last month’s cover of PaganPageOrg, Goddess by Angie Yelton At FalconFire Ceramics Studio)
The censoring of female Goddess bodies is apparently not a new thing. While Greek and Roman Gods had their genitals lovingly crafted, in all shapes, ages and sizes, there is no hint of a cleft on the white marble. It symbolises the Greek, then later Roman idea that women must (especially in public) be silent. While this silence of your vulvic voice is not new, taboo is always, always drawn from something powerful and sacred. At least to James Frazier.
Greece bronze-age culture seems to be the turning point from the Minoan, Egyptian and other Goddess cultures. Before that Goddess were made in their multitude. Yet the context is differs. The observer is trying to express something, and while some are nude and some are not they lack the objectifying gaze. When you look at a Greek Goddess statue they are posed not to be observed, but objectified. There is a pornography, almost predatory quality to how these women are designed to be viewed. In stark contrast the snake grasping Goddess or priestess from the Minoan culture whom is bare breasted gazes out defiant, triumphant even. This is the context. The difference between observing, bearing witness to the power of the female form and leering at it.
This “pornifcation” of the body, of nakedness, especially female nakedness is even more apparent in the modern internet age. It comes from those whom are in power or powerful positions within Instagram and Facebook judging images and only being able to view images of female bodies through this lens. Nakedness is not inherently sexual. Those observing seem to lack the ability to tell the difference between images observing female stories and bodies (even Goddesses) and the objectifying frame of pornography.
Pornography does not have to be nude to be pornography. It is designed to arouse and stimulate a sexual response. In fact near nakedness, or its illusion is a key trait in some pornography. It is more titillating to almost see something than to see it. So much of our media is at least tinted with this toxic view point. Again context is key.
Much of this stems from tech industries really struggling with these concepts and a failure to see something fundamental. Something so simple and true it seems obvious: women are people.
This idea that women are not cattle to be bought and sold is still radical in some places. Yet in the West we like to think we are enlightened while simultaneously eroding their humanity. You can be strong, independent and fierce, as long as you attractive. In cool, absolutely. Were they gorgeous?
Without a doubt. Was it the point? Not in the slightest. They were (ironically) more like those Minoan figures, breasts bared holding the snakes aloft.
The female nipple, her menses, Divine Goddess nude or otherwise are part of our story, our lives and in erasing them is part of the problem. We must mould our digital Goddesses as they were once made out of clay. With hips and breasts, in all shapes, ages and colours, with scars and lions. We must not let them silencer words “be what you like, so long as titillates me to watch you do it”.
(Goddess of Willendorf)
This is why Wonder Woman was such a revelation to me. That gaze was absent. It was the observer, not the objectifier who held the camera, told the story. It didn’t care how “pretty” the Amazons were while they were running screaming into battle. Was it e us, because they know the vulva speaks.