The Female Monster and the Misogynist Revolution

During the turbulent decades that preceded and followed the French Revolution, classical mythology was subject to extensive cross-pollination with Enlightenment and revolutionary literature. Many narratives were reinterpreted through the scope of Progressive ideals, and the question of women’s role in society and the differences between the sexes was no exception.

Women’s issues were an important topic for many revolutionary schools of thought previously discussed in this blog, all of the painstakingly catalogued and targeted by Marx and Engels in their Communist Manifesto as obstacles to Progress. Proudhon, a founding figure of Anarchism (branded as Bourgeois Socialism by the Manifesto), was staunchly opposed to the education of women and believed their primary role was child-rearing and the home. Traditional gender roles were seen as natural and most conducive to happiness. This anti-feminist position, developed in “Pornocracy or Women in Modern Times”, earned him many detractors, and led to important contradictions within the budding anarchist movements across Europe.

Contrary to Proudhon’s views, Critical-Utopian Social Communists (CUSC) such as Fourier or Henri de Saint-Simon defended the access of women into the work force and their consideration as individuals detached from the family institution. Marriage was seen as an oppressive institution to be done with, and women were seen as indistinguishable from men and an oppressed collective. Specifically, Fourier was one of the first thinkers to consider the role of women as a barometer for the degree of development of a society, an idea which embedded itself quite successfully into the wider progressive memeplex. The recognition of LGBT orientation as legitimate was also a notable feature of CUSC thought, and is a trait inherited by virtually all current progressive movements.

As discussed in last week’s post, these ideological trends can be exemplified in the evolving interpretations of Pandora’s myth, a meme which gradually gave way to a new feminine archetype in fiction: that of the femme fatale, the wicked woman who brings doom to men through cunning and seduction. This figure, which peaked in the era of Noir cinema, contrasted with the sympathetic Pandora presented by Goethe and Casti. It was coherent with the feminist ideas cited above in that it lacked any condescension and saw women as dangerous and powerful; nonetheless, it still emphasized their sexual appeal to men as a central trait. Although the femme fatale archetype can be traced back to Helen of Troy, its most malevolent characteristics come from even deeper in the human collective imagination: the Female Monsters of the Greek pantheon.

Unlike the femme fatale, who is purely (yet perversely) feminine, mythological Female Monsters have a distinct type of indeterminate or hybrid sexuality. They often manifest themselves as half-human, half-animal creatures such as Echidna, the Syrens, the Gorgons, the Harpies, the Sphinx, or Scylla and Caribdis. Most trace their lineage to Gaia (Mother Earth); thus, they are strongly associated with the oldest, most primitive generation of gods, and are related to Chthonic cults of darkness, night and fertility. One of the most common epithets for Gaia is, precisely, Πανδώρα (“Pan-dora” or “all-giving”), calling back to the Hesiodic Theogony.

A key characteristic of these monstrous beings is their anatomical abnormality, their dismeasure (ὕβρις, hubris); a lack of conformity to that which is proportionate and rational. Having only one eye or too many of them, serpents instead of hair, etc., they represent chaotic and destructive primordial matter, and an affront to the order imposed by the Olympians, which were Gaia’s youngest divine offspring. The Latin word for mongrel, “hibridus” (from which the English “hybrid” is derived), is of unknown origin, but here at the Outpost we speculate that it might be related to this Greek concept of hubris, which ended up meaning something similar to arrogance and pride.

In any case, the behavior of the typical female monster is predatorial, violent and voracious, especially towards men and children. Sometimes disguised under a beautiful appearance or voice, they bewitch sailors and wanderers, leading them to their death. The root of their evil is sexual: the bodies of their favorite prey, young men, are found naked and mangled among their fangs, in a vulnerable and passive attitude. There is an inversion of sexual roles at play, and their female nature is portrayed as dominant while displaying virile characteristics of aggressiveness. The case of the Sphinx is paradigmatic: a phallic female exercising her tyranny both sexually over her victims, and politically over the city of Thebes. Attracting travelers with her voice and her enigmatic gaze, she poses them with a question; when they fail to answer, she throws herself at them. The men are paralyzed and raped, strangled in a deadly coitus: a death unbecoming of their masculine condition.

Given the exceptional importance sexual identity is granted in contemporary politics, let’s put forward an esoteric hypothesis in regards to these mythological archetypes of violent, ambiguous sexuality. Perhaps, more than a consequence of the defeat conservative-bourgeois or socialist morality, the return of classical memes about the masculine and the feminine results from the action of forgotten gods (i.e. demons) reclaiming their space in the shared unconscious. The political, social and cultural demands presented by the feminist movement may be a hyperstitional call from the Old Ones, designed to trap us again in the myths Female Monsters used to inhabit.

Now, the question that follows this intriguing conclusion is another. Are cultural manifestations such as feminism or LGBT pride an attempt to normalize non-traditional sexuality? Or is it a display meant to liberate men from their instinctive fear of the indeterminate, ambiguous and predatorial female monster? Maybe these symbols of barbarism and irrational, destructive violence, are exhibited not with the purpose of acceptance, but that of inviting their own elimination. What could be more similar to a flock of the Odissey’s bird-like syrens than a show of drag? The phenomenon of QAnon and speculation about spirit cooking and murderous pedophilic cults has an obvious memetic connection to the primal fear inspired by the Sphinx or the Chimaera.

Let’s take the story of Perseus and Medusa. The latter was a Gorgon, a female monster endowed with a horrendous face; a long, phallic tongue aggressively showing among pointed teeth; hissing snakes instead of hair. Medusa’s power resided in her deadly gaze, which turned human beings into stone. Perseus, son of Zeus and thus a demigod, severed her head and turned it into a weapon, using it to conquer and petrify his enemies. This triumphant moment is portrayed brilliantly in a sculpture by Renaissance artist Benvenuto Cellini; the statue has circulated widely through the Internet, achieving its own memetic status among esoteric right wing and masculinist circles since the early 2010s.

Contemplated in myths, the elimination of female monsters symbolizes the restoration of a harmonious and just order. By eliminating the aberrant entity, the myth guarantees that Olympic Reason, as an essentially masculine quality, is imposed over Chthonic Nature, irrational and feminine. Are we witnessing the signs of a Misogynist Revolution? Maybe woke culture’s glorification of “fierce” queerness and dominant female sexuality is not really about men, women and social justice. Perhaps it’s a spell, a hyperstition meant to foster the return to power not of men, but of immortal demigods. The founding of a new city: after all, Perseus would go on to build the Kingdom of Mycene, of which Agamemnon, vanquisher of Troy, was the most famous ruler; unlike his brother Menelaus, though he never played the simp for that thot fatale Helen.

Prometheus the Fire-Bringer and Pandora the extraterrestrial sex doll

We don’t usually go out looking for myths: myth finds its way to manifest itself to us, an operating force that sheds light on the structure of the collective mind. Myths make understandable many elements of culture that would otherwise go unnoticed. This is why we believe myths are eternal, sacrosanct works. Their nature provides a security net for exploring the depths of shared attitudes and beliefs. Being removed those past events that are under understood as belonging to History, one can safely tread the shadows of culture with myth as a guiding light.

Myths cannot be understood as folk tales either. They are not popular, entertaining stories that have casually survived to present times, they don’t provide useful information on the life and customs of the Ancients, and they cannot be instrumentalized as arguments in current ideological conflicts. That’s why feminists sound somewhat comical when speaking about misogyny in Ancient Greece, using Greek myths as proof of the millennia-long oppression of women: a rhetoric adopted, ironically, by anti-feminist activists, who value this supposed oppression positively and fancy themselves reactionaries.

In his Works and Days, Greek poet Hesiod (8th century BC) introduces us to a figure the feminists love to rally around: Pandora (literally Πανδώρα – “all gifts”), in whom they see a symbol of female unity against the Patriarchy. In the myth of Prometheus, Pandora is the first woman, made from clay and given to Mankind in retaliation for the Titan’s transgressions. Pandora releases into the world all kinds of “sorrow and mischief” due to her curiosity. Hesiod gives another version of the myth in his Theogony, leaving her unnamed but describing her as the first woman, from whom came all those of “the deadly race and tribe of women who live amongst mortal men to their great trouble, no helpmeets in hateful poverty, but only in wealth“. Those who find in Pandora’s myth an essay on the sexes, of course, tend to see Hesiod as “an oppressed representative of the agrarian middle class, socially subordinate to the powerful continental landowning nobility who sees the woman represented in the figure of Pandora as an economic inconvenience”. In other words, a Social Justice Warrior.

Pandora has only been given attention in recent times, Prometheus being the main character of the story for his connotations as protector and savior of Mankind. There was no translation of the myth into Latin until 1470, a fact which contributed to a slower diffusion of the meme. Nonetheless, the main factor in preserving Prometheus’ preponderance over Pandora is probably the hegemony of Christian culture. In such a worldview, Prometheus was primarily a Christ-like figure, who sacrificed himself to bring light to Mankind. His punishment (having his liver eaten by an eagle), was seen as analog to the spearing of Jesus’ side in the Cross. As an archetype, Prometheus stands in contrast to his brother Epimetheus, dreamy and foolish, who fell in love with Pandora and who cared more for animals than for Men. Interestingly, the names of the two brothers mean literally “first thought” and “after thought”, alluding perhaps to the ever-deteriorating quality of the Human race.

The fundamental transmutation of the myth into modern interpretations came with Italian priest and libertine Giambattista Casti (1721-1803), who first decided to replace the benefactor of humanity that was Prometheus with a new heroine: Pandora. Casti needed the character for his Novelle Galanti, stories designed to be read aloud to young ladies. To deliver his own version of the myth with greater effect, the priest resorted to the literary technique of the “found manuscript”, basing his novel in a made up ancient text unknown to the primitive sources. Casti’s light-hearted narration turned the myth into a breezy tale of the Italian settecento, full of erotic elements that tended to turn Prometheus more and more into a “suffering husband” archetype.

Goethe (1749-1832), who was more or less contemporary to Casti, also lost interest in Christianizing Hellenic myth. He wrote a Sturm und Drang poem as a twenty-something year-old, giving voice to Prometheus: he portrayed him as the friend of Humanity and founder of culture, who taught Men how to use fire to trick the gods out of the best pieces of sacrificed animals. By 1807, however, the German had also turned his attention to Pandora. In an unfinished theatrical piece titled “Pandora, ein dramatisches Festspiel”, sympathy for Prometheus is transferred to Epimetheus, the lyrical admirer of a fleeting and divine Pandora, source of joy and salvation, and herald of a new age of sensibility. Prometheus is even shown as unable to appreciate Pandora for anything else other than her beautifully built complexion, feeding into the trope of male lustful shallowness.

The Woke version of the myth (in both its feminist and anti-feminist variants) is of course an heir to the post-Enlightenment interpretations of Casti and Goethe. As a meme, it finds an apt environment for reproduction in the longhouse culture of Star Wars spirituality, Marvel super-heroism and Sex & the City anthropology. Lacking its depth, woke memes cheaply outbreed the hesiodic narratives. There is no intrigue for how life was really like on Earth before Pandora, when it was inhabited by Men-like creatures, obviously non-Human, who existed in painless harmony and peace. That the Poet might have not even considered the arrival of a woman as the source of sorrow does not even cross the Wokester’s mind.

Pandora is sent by Zeus with a mission: to punish men, who had accepted from Prometheus the fire stolen from the gods. For this purpose, she carries a box, the contents of which she does not know. Unable to repress her curiosity, she removes the lid of the recipient, leaving all the misfortunes contained therein free to ravage the world of Men. The essential element of the hesiodic myth, however, is not Pandora’s feminity, but her nature as an instrument in the hands of the gods. An artificial being, harbinger of a new era: the Silver Age, populated by men of a race which spent a hundred years as children, only to suddenly become adult and immediately die. Pandora is not begotten but assembled by the gods: an extraterrestrial entity whose beauty and thoughts escape Man’s understanding. Thus, she does not represent the Feminine, but that which is fearsome, external and alien.

Instead of this, the Gospel of the Enlightenment has developed a crush on Pandora, just in case she could be that australopithecine female named Lucy. There is no interest given to the fact that Pandora could be not just a woman archetype but an Oracle of Destruction, heralding the arrival of the successive races into which Mankind degenerated: from Gold to Silver, Bronze, Heros and Iron. To the total disappointment of progressives and PUAs worldwide, Hesiod does not dedicate a syllable to explaining the differences between the sexes. Trapped in their memetic cave, they can’t understand that what piqued the interest of the Hellenic poet are the differences between men and gods, the ambiguities of humanity, injustice, the contrast between what is natural and what is artificial. Due to the Enlightenment’s appropriation of the myth, we’ve stopped inquiring about the origins of knowledge. We inhabit a culture unable to ask about nature, truth, beauty, goodness and justice: a culture who finds the most promising application of Artificial Intelligence is the creation of interactive sex dolls.

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