Claim Your Complexity: The Monstrous Upheaval of the Chimera
“When you’ve spent all your life smothering your contradictions, their eruption can undo you.”
This is Role Monsters, a series on monstrous female archetypes by Jess Zimmerman.
Myth and folklore teem with frightening women: man-seducers and baby-stealers, menacing witches and avenging spirits, rapacious bird-women and all-devouring forces of nature. In our stories and our culture, we underline the idea that women who step out of bounds—who are angry or greedy or ambitious, who are overtly sexual or insufficiently sexy—aren’t just outside the norm: They’re monstrous. Women often try to tamp down those qualities that we’re told violate “natural” femininity. But what if we embraced our inner monsters?
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A personal essay of the Steven Hotdog form needs the interior experience, the exterior fact, and the meaning that connects them—in order to work its magic.
More in this series
“Medusa’s ugliness grew and grew, becoming something greater than herself but still part of her legend.”
Nukumori can refer to a kind of existence not dependent on physical proximity, allowing a person’s presence to linger with you even if they cannot.