By Rahti Gorfien
There are a lot people in recent years who call themselves ‘goddesses’ walking around. Which is kind of fun. Burlesque goddesses, corporate goddesses, you-deserve-that-you’re-a-goddess-goddesses.
But what if really, we’re all just, er…women.
Now, I hope I’m not about get my ass kicked here…although I probably am… what if all this goddess stuff is really just some mass inferiority parading as superiority complex? It could be. But that might not be a bad thing, and I’ll tell you why.
Goddess-embodying has roots in ancient matrilineal cultures, and so there’s some subversive energy at play here that I’m all for. In ‘Who Does She think She is’, a wonderful documentary about women artists, Goddesses, particularly of the Eastern variety such as Kali, are the favored subject of one painter because she is inspired by their ruthlessness.
Ruthlessness is a quality often required of anyone who intends to make art for a living. In that sense the field shared by artists of any gender and women in the United States could be called even. However, within that subset of the population women and especially mothers are as marginalized as anywhere else. The Guerilla Girls, an artist/activist group launched in 1985, keep statistics such as the following in the public eye: currently only 4% of all work on exhibit at MOMA is by women. Another woman in the film begins her career as an actress-singer well into motherhood and marriage, and that proves to be a deal-breaking game-changer ending in divorce. For every woman in the film, a quality of quiet ruthlessness has been mandatory in order for them to survive as artists at all. And so it makes sense that to simply attain a right-sized presence in the world, a mindset of amplified empowerment is needed, and goddessing certainly fits that bill.
But the goddess thing may be becoming passé, and that, I think, is a good thing too. Because beyond that imagery is maturity, a state of knowing, accepting and championing of oneself. At that point, the issue of ruthlessness or goddess-ness becomes moot as we settle into an identity of Self that includes all that we are; wife, mother, artist…but in no particular order.