I’ve always been fascinated by mythology, be it Greek, Indian, Roman or any other. These stories seem to have the perfect blend of adventure, fantasy and lessons in reality. My daughter has inherited this love of ancient stories from me and our pre-bedtime session now revolves around mythology.
It was during one such bedtime session that I realised, the women in these tales were strong, opinionated and usually the central character. Take Artemis for example, though we refer to men as the hunter-gatherers, this woman was the Goddess of the Hunt. In-addition, she helped with the birth of her brother Apollo and is considered a Protectoress of Childbirth. Show me one man who has similar abilities. She was a demanding woman-boss, expecting nothing less than perfection, while also the protecting young men and women working with her. I would have loved to have a mentor/boss like her, especially when I entered the corporate world. She would have pushed me to do my best in a positive way.
Another favourite is Nike, the goddess who personified victory. This winged goddess of strength, speed and victory was often portrayed as the Divine Charioteer. She was said to fly over the battlefield and rewarded the victors with fame and glory. The truly feminine aspect here is that Nike was also the goddess of victory in peaceful competition! She didn’t need people to fight wars to prove themselves. Even today, we honour Nike on the modern battleground of the Olympics, where every medal has an engraving of her holding a palm frond in the right hand and a winner’s crown in the left.
These women didn’t worry about breaking the glass ceiling, they didn’t even stop to wonder if there was one. More importantly, they didn’t have it any easier than us mortals, I mean we can shrug of stuff saying “I’m human, you know” or “To err is human”. I would go so far as to say, being a goddess is way tougher. For one you had to look gorgeous while fighting all those gruesome battles, without the help of any modern beauty products. Secondly, you constantly had to be aware that your actions could change the course of history! No wonder Atlas shrugged (referring to Gods in general here).
I can only hope that the current diet of stories teaches my baby that she can achieve anything, all she needs is self-belief and courage, even if no one else thinks the same.
Just to clear the air, I have a whole host of stories based on exemplary men as well. I truly believe a role model is a good example irrespective of gender. It’s just a lot more fun when we can end the story shouting “girl-power” and punch the air like our favourite power-puff girls.
P.S. – I did another post on bringing children up with self-confidence here.