University Press of Mississippi Releases The Goddess Myth in Contemporary Literature and Popular Culture: A Feminist Critique
The Goddess Myth in Contemporary Literature and Popular Culture: A Feminist Critique (February 2022), by Mary Magoulick, explores how remythologizing of the ancient past reflects a contemporary worldview and rhetoric. Structures of contemporary goddess myths often fit typical extremes as either vilified, destructive, dark, and chaotic (typical in film or television); or romanticized, positive, even utopian (typical in women’s speculative fiction). This goddess spectrum persistently essentializes gender, stereotyping women as emotional, intuitive, sexual, motherly beings (good or bad), precluded from complex potential and fuller natures. Within apparent good-over-evil, pop-culture narrative frames, these goddesses all suffer significantly.
However, a few recent intersectional writers, like N. K. Jemisin, break through these dark reflections of contemporary power dynamics to offer complex characters who evince “hopepunk. ” They resist typical simplified, reductionist absolutes to offer messages that resonate with potential for today’s world. Mythic narratives featuring goddesses often do, but need not, serve merely as ideological mirrors of our culture’s still problematically reductionist approach to women and all humanity. This feminist, folkloristic approach builds on critiques of such skeptical scholars.
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