A statue of Medusa was unveiled in Manhattan this month. This is unremarkable on its face—Greek Myth has long been a subject of artistic endeavor, including painting and statuary. There’s just one difference about this one: Medusa is the “hero” who has slain and beheaded the “villain,” Perseus.
According to the artist, it’s a metaphor for the #Metoo movement. Timely, as it was placed a few blocks from the where the Harvey Weinstein trial took place.
It’s also mythologically illiterate.
Granted, there is a glut of feminist writings reimagining Medusa as a figure of feminine power. A trope I utterly loath, not because its feminist, but specifically because it venerates the monster.
Ovid’s telling of the creation of Medusa is arguably the most famous version of the myth. In Metamorphosis, Ovid relays the story of Medusa as this: Medusa is a beautiful maiden who is (violated) raped by Poseidon in one of Athena’s temples. This enrages the goddess, who transforms Medusa into a creature so hideous men turn to stone when they look upon her. Perseus later fights and beheads Medusa, taking her head, which can still turn people to stone, and giving it to Athena, who affixes it to her shield.
While the leftist metaphor is “Medusa has slain Perseus, her male oppressor” I see “Medusa has slain Perseus, the wrong man.” Which is a hilariously perfect metaphor for the wild shot gunning of #Metoo.
Such recently infamous cases like the Rolling Stone’s retracted story of Jackie Coakley, wherein Jackie claimed she was ritually gang raped as part of a fraternity pledge initiation; or the increasingly outlandish claims laid against Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation, highlight the irony.
Daily Wire has an excellent collection of thirty-five false accusation cases for you to peruse at your leisure.
#Metoo doesn’t care who it strikes, only that it strikes. Innocence and guilt are irrelevant, the goal is to make rape seem an epidemic. In the leftist metaphor, Medusa has seen man as her oppressor and has struck, regardless of his actions, his innocence, his guilt. The one she should slay is Poseidon for the rape and Athena for the unjust punishment. The metaphor is a mere act of rage, impotent, pointless, unjust—stupid.
Allow me to posit a better allegory, I envision it as this: Perseus, strides forward, carrying the severed head of Poseidon, the rapist, while Medusa stands behind him, holding the head of Athena, who’s sisterhood she could never count on. The left would never take on such a symbol, it demands subtly. There’s no room for the simple platitudes they must cling too in order to get their message out.
So, now we must ask: why Medusa?
I’ve long wondered why leftists constantly identify themselves with evil. Short Fat Otaku on YouTube did an excellent video exploring this question and there’s little I can add to it, only that the left’s veneration of evil/rebellion has a long and glorious history, including Karl Marx’s identification with the OG rebel, Prometheus of Prometheus Bound.
It’s all rebellion for rebellion’s sake.
Medusa checks an identity box. She’s a member of the ideological tribe by grace of having a vagina. That’s it. It doesn’t matter that she’s a monster, it doesn’t matter if Perseus is her oppressor or not, all that matters is that she is women, hear her roar. It doesn’t even matter that her roar is cliched gibberish; only that she make noise.
This unintentional, but hilarious, take on Medusa actually serves to represent the moral vision of the #metoo movement. Woman’s wrath need not be sensible or honest, merely venerated in bronze.