Of Myths & Realities: The Temptation of Medusa

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Of Myths & Realities: The Temptation of Medusa
2017-03-04-13.24.50

Katrina (5’10”) is styled wearing our size x-small medusa idol triblend t-shirt in black.

Of Myths & Realities: The Temptation of Medusa
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Katrina (5’10”) is styled wearing our size small medusa icon women's triblend slouchy-T in gray.

Of Myths & Realities: The Temptation of Medusa
2017-03-04-12.32.50

Anthony (5’8”) is styled wearing our size medium medusa icon tri-blend t-shirt with metallic silver accent in gray.

Of Myths & Realities: The Temptation of Medusa
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Katrina (5’10”) is styled wearing our size x-small medusa icon tri-blend t-shirt with metallic silver accent in gray.

Of Myths & Realities: The Temptation of Medusa

Katrina (5’10”) is styled wearing our size x-small medusa idol triblend tank in gray.

Of Myths & Realities: The Temptation of Medusa
2017-03-04-12.19.14

Anthony (5’8”) is styled wearing our size medium medusa idol triblend tank in gray.

Of Myths & Realities: The Temptation of Medusa
2017-03-04-13.35.00

Katrina (5’10”) is styled wearing our size x-small badass medusa soundbox t-shirt in asphalt gray.

Of Myths & Realities: The Temptation of Medusa
2017-03-04-12.36.31-1-e1498103434481

Anthony (5’8”) is styled wearing our size medium badass medusa soundbox t-shirt in asphalt gray.

Of Myths & Realities: The Temptation of Medusa
2017-03-04-14.58.20-2

Katrina (5’10”) is styled wearing our size small women's soul idol raw edge, 3/4-sleeve t-shirt in black.

Of Myths & Realities: The Temptation of Medusa
2017-03-04-12.09.27

Anthony (5’8”) is styled wearing our size medium soul soundbox crew neck t-shirt in midnight navy.

Of Myths & Realities: The Temptation of Medusa
2017-03-04 12.12.41

Anthony (5’8”) is styled wearing our size medium soul idol crew neck t-shirt in black.

Of Myths & Realities: The Temptation of Medusa

Anthony (5’8”) is styled wearing our size medium soundoff headphone heather gray/black sweatshirt.

A Tale as Old as Time

We all know the story.  The beautiful maiden cursed by the gods and transformed into a monstrous, snake-haired beast, forever to turn men into stone if they dare to gaze upon her face.

In Ovid’s Metamorphoses, written around 8 AD, the maiden was cursed by the god Athena for defiling her temple, having been raped by the god Poseidon. Using the mirrored shield given to him by Athena, the hero Perseus released Medusa from her demonic prison, decapitating her head and subsequently using its inherent power as a weapon of war.

Perseus described Medusa’s imprisonment, powerful curse, and eventual demise as being just and fair. It would seem likely that Olivia Pope, astutely played by actress Kerry Washington in the ABC hit series Scandal, would probably view that justification in killing Medusa reasonable, “because a woman in power is a nasty woman.”

A Thin Line Between Myth & Reality

This spring 2017 season, we explore the idea of urban myths and traditions. Our aim not to simply repurpose the tales and images that we have all heard and grown up with since childhood, but to use street wear as our canvas to visualize the thin line that exists between myth and reality.

Is it surprising that women across political, social, and pop culture industries who dare to stand toe-to-toe with their male counterparts are referred to as modern-day Medusas? As a country, we have an impeccable history of creating “monsters.”

We make monsters out of teenagers of color who simply walk down the street in hoodies; women who stand up to oppose the laws and policies dictated by men to control what a woman can and cannot do with her body; Americans who seek to safeguard continued and affordable access to health care for all citizens; LGBTQ who desire to proclaim their love before their families and friends with parity and equal recognition as everyone else. Our public bathrooms hide “monsters” who desire to use facilities that identify with a gender designation that society didn’t assign them at birth. We make monsters out of African Americans, women and immigrants who persist in the fight for equality as humans across economic and social agendas.

Give In to the Temptation

Our “Temptation of Medusa” editorial aptly visualizes our human desire to stare into the eyes of the beautiful “beast” and be ensnared in her gaze. Yet, as our model wears our Medusa-inspired gear, it also references the real-life temptation to immediately shroud what we see in a monstrous mask because what we hear, find underneath the surface, or sometimes see on the surface doesn’t align with what we expect or “believe.”

Unlike some artistic renderings of Medusa, our Medusa icon design has her eyes and mouth open as she clearly sees the realities of the modern world. She is embracing the power of her beauty and her sexuality, acknowledging her curse as an allegory of societal relationships and norms, her decapitation a reflection of the patriarchal domination that has endured for centuries. She sees that the time has come for “victims” to shed their societal-placed masks and become the “heroes,” because when you allow yourself to be voiceless, you cannot change the course of action. She sees those labeled as a “minority” take control and stop the majority from dictating for all from their position of privilege.

Of Humans & Monsters

In Mary Shelley’s 19th-century monster tale Frankenstein, which has lineage to another Greek mythology tale written by Ovid—Prometheus—Dr. Victor Frankenstein uses chemistry and alchemy to create “human” life from dead, soulless body parts. Although successful in his endeavors, he finds his ultimate achievement and invention a monstrous, demonic creation. The monster ends up turning on his creator, not because he has been given the opportunity to live, but because he cannot find acceptance and empathetic contact among his fellow humans. Humankind cannot see the monster’s desperate and desirous soul—only the gruesome skin created for him.

So who is the real monster? Medusa or Athena who punished her for being raped by Poseidon? Perseus who viewed Medusa’s punishment and demise at his hands as just and fair?  Frankenstein, the “creation,” or his creator, Victor, who celebrated producing “life” from death and subsequently released his soul-barren creation into the world because it didn’t meet his expectations?

Perhaps myths and urban tales were created to challenge us to look beyond the outer shell and uncover what lies underneath to see the true monsters. It’s the soul that lies beneath the surface that reveals who we truly are.

“We stopped looking for monsters under our bed when we realized that they were inside us.”
–Charles Darwin

 

Written by:  Daryl Sneed

Contributor(s):  Natasha Goburdhun

Editing:  Suzanne Claussen

Photography:  Bret Grafton

Models:  Katrina (Factor Chosen-Chicago) & Anthony

Styling & HMUA:  Wyll & Andrea (Factor Chosen-Chicago)

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