For several weeks this spring, a shouting Donald Trump made fun of the way Hillary Clinton was shouting. He complained that her voice was shrill and it hurt to hear it. All politicians shout. But women know exactly what it means when they’re accused of being shrill. It’s code for “Your strength is unattractive.”
Recently we lost a beautiful strong woman. Basketball coach Pat Summit won more games than any other coach in college basketball history. I love what her fiercest rival said of her, “She had vision, she had intensity, and she made it okay for a woman to stare you down from the sidelines and show emotion and get upset.”
Summit prowled, pounced and roared. She was shrill. And not only did she have the victories, her players had a 100 per cent graduation rate; among them were 14 Olympians, 21 All-Americans, and 34 WNBA players.
Mars stationed retrograde in late April, just as Venus disappeared into the underworld. Retrogrades and underworld visits are typically “unraveling” times. But what has unraveled during this retrograde is cause for celebration. The appeal of the “unconscious woman” seems to be diminishing. The beauty of the “strong woman” is rising.
This has long been in the works. But often it takes a tragedy for us to see how things are changing. The wide public outcry against the Stanford rapist’s light sentence is one example. It was a retrograde sentence; the tables turned. The victim became the victor. Her letter to the court, addressing her rapist, was so powerful, the vice-president called her a “warrior–with a solid steel spine.” That’s one way to turn the Venus/Mars archetypes inside out & upside down.
Art often helps to pave the way for social changes. What we see in films and videos often helps us enter new worlds. In recent weeks we’ve seen some stunning depictions of “shrill” women on the cultural stage. Beyonce’s Lemonade dropped at the beginning of this period and gave us a jaw-dropping portrait of feminine strength. Never has an angry woman looked so beautiful as Beyonce does, in that canary yellow dress, evoking the goddess Oshun, as she smashes car windows with a baseball bat. But then there’s also Danearys, hopping onto her dragon in the Game of Thrones. Cornered by the Masters and instructed to bow down, she says “Not so fast,” and then crushes her enemies with a rain of dragon-fire and two armies. Game of Thrones has given us many strong women this season. But perhaps most satisfying has been watching the fluffy innocent Sansa evolve into a cunning, powerful force. Much as I love Jon Snow, without Sansa, he’d be gone again by now! Then, of course, there’s the ultimate Kali, Cersei. Who knew that the Iron Throne would be up for grabs by so many queens!
Winter may be coming, but strong women are rising, in Westeros, and in our world too.