A statue of “Medusa with the head of Perseus” will be installed in front of the Country Criminal Courthouse in New York. The decision has been made to commemorate the MeToo movement and condemn sexual harassment.
Victim blaming is not a modern thing. It is not the notion that has been around for just a couple years. It has been stuck in our minds since the ancient times. Medusa is the biggest example and evidence of the phenomenon’s existence in the ancient times. Rape is a crime dictated primarily by a twisted psychology. It is about power, not pleasure.
Rape is about asserting control. While the demand of capital punishments grow, the world at present is a vivid example of the ineffectiveness of capital punishments in the crimes that have their basis in social conditioning and behaviour.
According to the Greek mythology, this woman was raped by Poseidon, the god of the sea, because she was too beautiful to not to have. After that, she was cursed and exiled when she begged for justice and then lastly beheaded by a demigod (half human, half god) for another victory, as her curse could serve him.
The statue of Medusa holding the head of Perseus is being praised by netizens. Amidst the growing crimes against women, this statue, with a reversed story, is something to be proud of, indeed.
After tolerating injustice for her whole life, Medusa is now being honoured and understood. The implication of Medusa as a victim and not a vicious and angry woman, is a proof that somethings are changing.
The symbolism of the “Medusa with the head of Perseus” statue
The MeToo movement was a historic movement, where numerous women came out and talked openly about being a victims of sexual abuse. The movement was against sexual harassment and all about women empowerment. It started ,with a judgement where American film producer, Harvey Weinstein, was charged with sexual offences against several women throughout his career.
Following the judgement, the wave of confidence in justice spread across the world. Many women came up, naming their offenders and cases were filed and punishments were served.
The statue of Medusa, commemorates the movement. It aims to shame men who are sexual offenders. The message it sends is to stop victim-blaming and to stop viewing women as a potential cause for the sexual offences that took place against them.
The 7-foot tall statue made by the artist, Luciano Garbati, is an attempt to change the narrative around. The artist states that the place chosen is not accidental, since there they judge cases from crimes related to violence against women.
Who was Medusa and what is The Medusa’s curse?
Medusa is known as a winged Gorgon monster with snakes for hair who could turn anyone to stone just by looking into the person’s eyes. She was not born like this, she was cursed for being raped.
Medusa was a beautiful young mortal woman, who served beside Athena, the goddess of wisdom and knowledge. Athena was one of the only three virgin goddesses, so Medusa vowed to remain a virgin while she served her. One of the three Gorgon sisters, Medusa was the only one who was not immortal. The two other sisters were Stheno and Eurayle.
During her service, mortals and gods would both take notice of Medusa’s beauty. Medusa did not take part in any of the attention she received. Poseidon who was charmed by Medusa’s beauty tried to pursue her, and when he noticed a lack of attention, he called Medusa in Athena’s temple and raped her.
Medusa went to Athena and asked for justice, but was punished with a curse instead. Athena punished her for the violation of her vow of celibacy, and blamed her for enticing Posiedon.
Athena turned Medusa into a hideous hag, making her hair into writhing snakes and her skin was turned a greenish hue. Anyone who would lock gaze with Medusa was turned into a stone. She was exiled and lived in caves for the rest of her remaining life.
Later, the demigod, son of Zeus, Perseus was sent to behead Medusa. He cut off her head and used her curse to defeat a sea monster. From the blood that spurted from her neck, sprang Chrysaor and Pegasus, her two sons by Poseidon. The severed head which had the power of turning into stone all who looked upon it, was given to Athena. The goddess then placed it in her shield.
Hercules is said to have obtained a lock of Medusa’s hair from Athena and gave it to Sterope, the daughter of Cepheus, as a protection for the town of Tegea against attack. when exposed to view, the lock was supposed to bring on a storm, which put the enemy to flight.
Even now, in most of the articles on Medusa, the rape is curated as a love affair between her and Poseidon. The denial of the fact, that it was rape that she was punished for, is in itself the depiction of the way how it works in the society.
Netizens praised the decision of planting the statue
Social media has been flooded with reactions from netizens on the news. A number of netizens praised the decision and the sculptor for their work.
But their is a section of twitter who also critised the idea.
In spite of all the support and against on social media, the statue is truly inspiring and promotes a better and different view of the world, doesn’t it?
Let us know what you think in the comment box.