Gender Essentialism in Matriarchalist Utopian Fantasies: Are popular novels vehicles of sacred stories, or purely propaganda?
Keywords:contemporary Paganism, Goddess movement, popular novels, matriarchal prehistory, spiritual feminism
AbstractIn The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why an Invented Past Won’t Give Women a Future (2000), Cynthia Eller attacks feminist narratives of a peaceful, egalitarian, Goddess-worshipping Neolithic Europe. She argues that they are too gender essentialist to be socially liberating to women. Popular novelists, who play a powerful role in spreading these narratives, however, resist the essentialism of more expository accounts of prehistoric matriarchy. Instead, their fictional accounts present more nuanced views of women’s roles in imagined Goddess societies, and suggest ways in which the myth might be successfully used as a liberating sacred story.
Bradley, Marion Zimmer. The Mists of Avalon. New York: Ballantine Books, 1982.
Brindel, June Rachuy. Ariadne. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1980.
Conkey, Margaret W., and Ruth E. Tringham. “Archaeology and the Goddess: Exploring the Contours of Feminist Archaeology.” In Feminisms in the Academy, edited by Domna C. Stanton and Abigail J. Stewart, 199-247. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1998. .
Eisler, Riane. The Chalice and the Blade. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1995 .
Eller, Cynthia. “Interview: Questioning Matriarchy.” By Jessica Jernigan. Borders. http://www.bordersstores.com/features/feature.jsp?file=eller.
———. Living in the Lap of the Goddess: The Feminist Spirituality Movement in America. New York: Crossroads, 1993.
———. The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why An Invented Past Won’t Give Women a Future. Boston: Beacon Press, 2000.
———. “A Response from Cynthia Eller.” Belili Productions. May 28, 2003. http:// www.belili.org/marija/c_eller_response.html.
Gimbutas, Marija. The Civilization of the Goddess: The World of Old Europe. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1991.
———. The Language of the Goddess. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1989.
Hackett, Jo Ann. “Can a Sexist Model Liberate Us? Ancient Near Eastern ‘Fertility’ Goddesses.” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 5 (1) (1989): 65-76.
Hand, Elizabeth. “Flashpoint Transcript: Elizabeth Hand 3-11-99.” Interview. March 11, 1999. No longer available. Originally available at http://www.eventhorizon.com/sfzine/chats/transcripts/pages/031199.html.
———. Waking the Moon. New York: HarperPrism, 1995.
Hutton, Ronald. “The Neolithic Great Goddess: A Study in Modern Tradition.” Antiquity 71 (1997): 91-99.
———. The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. “June Rachuy Brindel.” Centerstage Chicago. http://centerstage.net/literature/ whoswho/JuneRachuyBrindel.html.
Lambert, Joan. Circles of Stone. New York: Pocket Books, 1997.
Mackey, Mary. The Horses at the Gate. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1995.
———. The Year the Horses Came. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1993.
Meskell, Lynn. “Goddesses, Gimbutas and ‘New Age’ Archaeology.” Antiquity 69 (1995): 74-86.
Starhawk. The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess. 20th Anniversary Edition, Revised and Updated. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1999.
———. “Religion from Nature, Not Archaeology.” Starhawk’s Tangled Web. Jan. 5, 2001. http://www.starhawk.org/pagan/religion-from-nature.html.
Tarr, Judith. Daughter of Lir. New York: Forge, 2001.
Walker, Barbara. Amazon. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1992.
How to Cite
© Equinox Publishing Ltd.
For information regarding our Open Access policy, click here.