The Myth of Medusa
“Medusa was one of three daughters — born with extraordinary beauty and stunning hair. She becomes a priestess to her sister Athena and vows to her sister to remain pure. Athena grows jealous, as many men flock to her, only to glance at Medusa instead. Eventually, Medusa attracts the attention of Poseidon, who subsequently rapes her. Although Athena had the power to prevent this, she chooses not to. Athena is one of Poseidon’s sworn enemies, and through raping her sister, he is able to take power from her. When Athena discovers that Poseidon has raped Medusa, she chooses to blame her rather than him. In order to punish her, Athena curses Medusa by replacing her beautiful hair with a head of venomous snakes and making it so anyone who looks into her eyes will be turned to stone.
At this point, Medusa’s head became a desired trophy for many warriors who wanted to brave her fierce monster-like powers. Many warriors are sent to kill her, including Perseus. It is only with help from all of the gods that Perseus is able to not only kill but fully decapitate her. Without the support of the gods, he would have been petrified like every other warrior. Perhaps one of the most fascinating aspects of Medusa’s story is that she was pregnant with Poseidon’s child[ren] when she was killed. From her severed neck, her child[ren] Pegasus [and Chrysaor are] born.”
Excerpt from “Mishandling the Myth of Medusa: A Feminist Perspective on the Greek Gorgon” by Tyler A. Donohue, published online Dec 28, 2020 in An Injustice!