Sunday, March 02, 2008

Eris & Sedna or Eric & Sid ?

I've been remembering. Pondering on astrologers' comments two years ago when Eris was officially given its name after being initially nicknamed Xena (Warrior Princess). Recalling also that some years before, Sedna had arrived on the astrological scene. Two recently discovered celestial bodies both given names of mythological goddesses. Some saw this as an indication that, at last, women or at least "the feminine" would come more to the fore in world events.

Setting aside the mythology attached to both names for the moment and simply considering the female aspect, things ain't working out so well up to now.

Benazir Bhutto was assassinated. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives proved a dire disappointment to most US Democrats due to her timidity when confronted by opposition. Senator Hillary Clinton, candidate for US presidency is treated with contempt in many parts of the media and the political blogosphere. While she's not yet quite down and out, she appears to be losing ground rapidly even among women supporters.

There might be an argument that Senator Obama embodies "the feminine" as a concept, accounting for his ability to stir up such enthusiasm. For me it's too weak an argument as yet. We'll see how strong is his feminine side if he becomes president.

I'm certainly no feminist, but I can't help but notice that here in the USA sexism and misogyny go largely unchallenged, while even the slightest hint of perceived racism is pounced on. This was clearly and painfully apparent in Bill Maher's "Real Time" on Friday night. His guests included Christopher Hitchens and Harry Shearer It's hard to say who was worst of the three. The other guest was Indian diplomat Shashi Tharoor, who was by far the most civilised. Bill Maher and "Real time" lost a devoted fan (me) after that show. Even genial David Letterman delights in ridiculing Senator Clinton while never saying a wrong word about Senator Obama. I'm all for taking politicians down a peg or two, but it ought to be done in an even-handed way. Jay Leno and Craig Ferguson are also guilty.

Returning to to mythology, Eris was Greek goddess of strife and discord. Sedna goddess of the Inuit underworld and sea creatures, she went through all kinds of tribulations before being killed and sinking to the bottom of the sea. Neither goddess has a happy story.

Eris and Sedna ? I'd almost rather they'd been named Eric and Sid.


Anonymous said...

This is still a very male-dominated nation, particularly in the media, but also among the right-wing Christian communities. Many still feel a woman should be submissive to her husband at all times.

I agree the sexism used against Clinton is unacceptable. You know my views on her as a candidate, but I hope they are based on judgment segregated from any opinion I hold of her simply because she is female.

As for Eris and Sedna, when I first read the title of your post I automatically assumed it was about Eric and Ernie - Morecambe and Wise. My assumption was soon corrected!

Wisewebwoman said...

Goddesses never have a happy story I think, T.
We need to turn to the feminine in the world and so desperately too with the horrific doings in the Gaza today. Violence breeds violence and we can never bomb our way to peace, anywhere.
And I see dishonour of the feminine everywhere including the instances you've cited. Even my beloved Keith Olbermann has taken cracks at HC while worshipping at the feet of BO - oh dear I just realized what his initials stand for. Tee hee. I hope not true in the long run.....:>)

Twilight said...

Hello RJ and WWW

I'm glad we agree about the sexism.

Yes, RJ, I do think the USA (or some parts of it) lags a little behind Britain in outlook in this respect (and others). My very first impression when I arrived here was of going back in time to the 1950s ! In some ways that's nice, in others not so nice.

And yes, I do realise that your views on Sen. Clinton are based on her political stances, nothing else. You strike me as someone who has a well-developed feminine side. :-)

Eric and Ernie - I'd forgotten about them...LOL! Happy days!

You're so right WWW.
It is actually "the feminine" we need so badly in the world, and it's not always the territory of just female humans. A healthy respect for them might go a long way to encouraging a healthy respect for "the feminine" in all things though.

I liked Keith Olbermann too, but he has been drawn into the current schoolyard-like game of trying to bully HRC. Big kids - that's what they are!! ;-)