Goddess

The Goddess empowers me, as she empowers all of us!

I’m not sure what that means, but if you’d asked me back when I was 18 I probably could have told you at least the theory behind it.

Back then I went through a feminist phase where I read all the classic feminist books. Branching out from that I read a few books about the goddess thing.

From memory, it’s all about how for thousands of years people have worshipped both male and female deities. But somewhere along the line, many goddesses were ignored and written out of religious history. That is, the notion of female supreme beings were erased.

So what’s happened now is there’s this goddess movement. It’s the kind of thing that teenaged girls like to get into when they want to rebel against their Christian upbringing (i.e. their parents), but they don’t want to be Satanists or anything yucky like that.

There are even magazines, such as the “Sage Woman” (“Celebrating the Goddess in Every Woman”), which looks like it’s designed in Microsoft Word. It has articles on such topics as “Angels come in many guises”, “Awakening your earth spirit” and “Mothering as a spiritual path”.

Magazines like that are probably the more extreme end of the goddess spectrum (and oh, what a pretty rainbow of colours that spectrum is!). The kind of women who are into that sort of goddess culture are more likely to be the crushed velvet and lace dress wearing types. The ones who probably have a Stevie Nicks record somewhere around the house. And yeah, the fat wiccan ladies.

But lately an interesting thing has been happening. Goddess culture has gone mainstream. No longer the realm of crazy ladies, the goddess now wears lycra.

Nike, a company named after a goddess, has created Nikegoddess, a web site aimed towards women. In the site’s introduction they say they “want to nurture and celebrate your involvement in sport, whatever the level.” Which is, of course, a very goddess-like way of saying “we want you to buy our stuff.”

The site has a bit of information about stuff that these earthly goddesses can do, even that girly favourite horseback riding. But, y’know, pulling on a pair of Nikes and hitting the pavement doesn’t seem very goddess like. Surely a real goddess would be flying on the wings of destiny rather than jogging. I can’t think of any religions that have a goddess of power walking, probably because it’s too mundane to inspire worship. Uh-oh, I think I’ve just pulled the curtain back and seen the wizard!

On to Gillette. They’ve just launched a new women’s razor and it’s named after another goddess, this time Venus.

(Hey, just imagine if companies used God to sell products. Like Gillette could have ads saying “You dirty, hairy-legged hussy! I command thee to shave off the follacles of Satan from thyne legs with the new Gillette Mary razor! If thou dost not, thyne shalt burn in Hell!”)

Anyway, the Venus is a pretty cool razor, but the whole goddess tie-in with it is a little bit strange. It’s like, they know that chicks dig goddesses, but they’re not quite sure what to do with that.

So the site throws in a few goddess-related phrases, like in the introduction to a beauty quiz, it says, “The goddess in you knows beauty. Or does she?”

I took the beauty IQ quiz and scored 5 out of 8, which apparently means “Your beauty IQ is solid. But there’s an aspirational goddess in you, isn’t there?” It is reassuring to know that even though I didn’t get the question about shaving under arms correct, this won’t hinder me in being a goddess.

I took another quiz, which required answering eight trivia questions correctly. I aced it and was informed that I had “reached [my] full goddess potential.”

Then the whole goddess theme got completely out of hand. On the “Discover your goddess” page pictures of women clad in white swimsuits, with their shaved legs up in the air invited me to enter my name into a box. After doing so I discovered that the goddess in me is “a Really Original Babe who Yearns Nicely”. I’m not sure if even Gillette knows what that means.

After going through all these different web sites and magazines to find out about the goddess, I don’t feel empowered, just a little confused. Where’s some of that good old patriachal opressive religion when you need it?

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