The Last Laugh of Aphrodite

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Aphrodite

The Last Laugh of Aphrodite

What we Women can Learn from the Goddess of Love and Beauty this Valentine’s Day

by Laura Lifshitz-Hernandez

 

It’s hard to live up to anything when you are the birth from a supposed castration and the goddess of love and beauty. Talk about some high standards.

As the story goes, Cronos castrated Uranus, and threw his genitals into the sea, giving birth to a full-fledged woman goddess known as Aphrodite. Somehow, she was never a child, but rather born into full womanhood. Aphrodite was created in the image of full-on voluptuous splendor: hips, breasts, and legs aplenty. In many photos depicting the goddess of love, a crowd of people flock around her as they gaze at the naked lovely, while she is situated at the center focus of the picture, emboldened by the power of the gaze. How lovely it might be to be adored and lusted after! To be the goddess of love and beauty means embracing all the pleasures that life holds. I’d personally rather be the goddess of love, than the god of the sea, but it wasn’t always such an easy day job. I’m sure there were days when Aphrodite wished she were just a regular old gal, especially when it came down to her father Zeus’s big decision.

It was Aphrodite’s ability to make others lust after her that bound her down to a sentence she constantly rebelled against: marriage.

How many women in today’s modern society would want to be married off by their father? Zeus, fearful that the other gods would act out in a rage over his daughter’s unparalleled looks, married her off to Hephaestus, a dour, ugly, yet even-tempered God. He felt no one could feel remotely jealous over Hephaestus, and so the wedding bells rang for the one and only goddess set to marry in Greek Mythology.

A feminist rage runs deep inside me over this. Why couldn’t the Gods have kept it together? Why couldn’t they have controlled their lust and war-like ways, rather than be depicted as rabid beings sure to plunge the world in demise over essentially, a hot piece of ass? Why should Aphrodite, otherwise known as Venus to the Romans, be punished for a beauty and sensuality that she inherited out of blind luck and a set of testicles and penis? Shouldn’t she have had the right to entice and seduce anyone she felt like, as long as no hard feelings were made? We all know with her wanton ways that many hearts were broken, in spite of her marital status. There were no Gods punished to a life with a partner because of their handsome looks, big penises, or cunning intellect. Even as a goddess, Aphrodite was a victim of social norms that are imposed upon us regular, frumpy old women.

As a father and leader, Zeus may have been doing what he felt was best to keep peace, and possibly for his daughter. It is possible in a Freudian analysis, that Zeus may have found his daughter’s eroticism exciting, and therefore, put a fire on his own erection by putting Aphrodite at bay by marrying her off.

Hephaestus, who is completely enamored with his wife, makes her beautiful jewelry, in particular, the cestus, which is a girdle that makes men even more charmed and seduced by her beauty. If only her husband had known that he would be furthering her sex life, he might have put down the tools and made her a hooded-cloak, or simply chained her to a large rock. Then again, if you’re a horny God, you probably have the strength of fifty tigers, and no rock or chain will stand between him and a night of hot passion.

Yet Aphrodite found a way to get around this whole marriage thing. If she were a modern woman of today, folks would call her a black widow spider, an adulteress, or a whore. She was known for having many affairs, in particular with Adonis, and Ares, the god of War.  This indeed may have been Aphrodite’s last laugh; not even the punishment of the big Kahuna, Zeus himself, could keep her unbridled sexuality at bay. She did what she wanted, and who she wanted.

When it comes down to it, maybe this is what modern women should be going for in terms of owning their sexuality and lives. While I’m not advocating for adultery or sheer promiscuity, I am suggesting that women consider, like Aphrodite did, what will make them happy. She knew her forced marriage would not bring her happiness, and so she made choices that worked for her. How often do women today make choices that will bring happiness and splendor to their lives? We are so socialized to take care of others that we struggle to find time for ourselves, to ask for what we want, and to pursue a sexual life that offers us full pleasure. Aphrodite had no shame in taking what she wanted for her own. She didn’t resign herself to either the fact that she would be stuck with someone who she didn’t love or be in a commitment she wasn’t prepared to keep.

Aphrodite also had no problem putting others in their place if the need ensued. When Cinyras, the King of Cyrpus, has a gorgeous daughter named Myrrha, Myrrha’s mother stings Aphrodite by telling everyone how her daughter is more beautiful than the goddess of love. No one would like to be on the end of that remark. Could you imagine if your friends went around saying how their children were better looking than yours? Or if your friends touted that they were sexier than you? Now imagine being a Goddess who is known to own the gift of Beauty. It’s like someone is messing with your business—your bread and butter.  Aphrodite takes her powers and bequeaths Myrrha with an insatiable sexual attraction to her father. Her father is completely disgusted with this, and so Myrrha disguises herself as a whore at night in order to fulfill her sexual needs. It may not be the sweetest thing one can do by seeking the most perverse type of revenge ever, but how can one not appreciate Aphrodite’s cunning way of getting back at the family for their wrongdoing?

Revenge may not be the most karma-friendly way of bringing harmony into one’s life, but we modern women can take note on what it means to not let people push you around. Aphrodite did not let the evil gossip threatening her luscious looks continue. She took the reins in her hands, and moved things to her advantage. While her reputation may have been temporarily bruised by the tempting Myrrha, Myrrha’s vigorous love for her father kept Aphrodite at the top of her game. She turned a disaster into a triumph for herself. A woman in charge.

Lest you think that Aphrodite didn’t have much of a heart, you will be touched to know that she didn’t want to be the only person in love or adored. Poor Pygmalion was a sculptor who had never fallen in love. He had made a gorgeous ivory statue of a woman named Galatea, and subsequently like most artists, fell in love with his work—literally. He prayed to Aphrodite, hoping she would bring the statue to life, and she did. Pygmalion ended up marrying what was once just a statue.

Aphrodite took her powers to help those in need. She knew when to smite someone, and when to bless them. We women often don’t know when someone is worthy or unworthy of our love. There are times when we should turn away and move on, and times when we should move forward. Aphrodite knew this. Taking a cue from the goddess, we should find people worth saving, and the others should be thrown away.

For Valentine’s Day, I plan to look to Aphrodite: I will call out into the world for pleasures and sights that I look to gain, even if sometimes, I’m restricted by my own fears or life circumstances. I will not let those that speak ill-will of me hold me down in a shroud of self-doubt and insecurity. I will move ahead for what I want. I will turn away from those that don’t deserve my time or help, and reach out for those that do. Like Aphrodite, I will say screw Zeus, and go for what I’m after. I’ve always wanted to live like a Greek Goddess anyway—minus the constant nudity, of course.

I will have my last laugh and savor every minute.

 

About the Author: A contributor to Whispers From Greece, Laura Lifshitz-Hernandez is a comedienne, writer, and former MTV personality. To read more, dash over to: http://frommtvtomommy.com/.

 

Follow her @LauraLifshitz & on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/lauralifshitzwriter

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