What If We Cultivated Our Ugliness? or: The Monstrous Beauty of Medusa
“Medusa’s ugliness grew and grew, becoming something greater than herself but still part of her legend.”
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?
Why would you do that to yourself?
Well of course, If I’d looked like that, I might have believed in myself too. I might have tried harder. I might have spent less time berating myself for my flaws.
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“Our anger exists to scourge the world, and to save it. Not everyone wants it saved.”
“Most cultures have a female monster who preys on pregnant women and children. In ancient Greece, her name was Lamia.”
“When you’ve spent all your life smothering your contradictions, their eruption can undo you.”
More in this series
“Accommodations are things that we need, and deserve, in order to lead our lives. But they’re treated—we are treated—like we’re trying to pull one over on the rest of society.”
Unwritten social rules might as well not exist for me. The only reason I can read them at all is because I’ve forced myself to learn them.