As the Medusa myth is retold in a patriarchal and male-dominated society, the fact that she was a victim of rape is overshadowed by her terrifying appearance and ability to turn men into stone. This retelling sweeps the original violence against Medusa under the rug to center the violence she commits against men.
Medusa’s name derives from an ancient Greek verb that means “to protect and guard,” which may be a nod to Athena’s attempt to guard and protect Medusa from further abuse at the hands of Poseidon and other men. Athena’s curse was not a punishment for Medusa, but a punishment for the gods and men who intended to harm her. After all, Athena gave Medusa the ultimate power against men: the power to both punish and avoid the male gaze regardless of the rank or status of the man daring to look at her.
Like the other women in these myths, the Sirens have been demonized over time. The Sirens are often described as temptresses who used their song to lure sailors to their drowning deaths, but they were actually a group of girls who lost their companion, Persephone, after she was abducted and raped by Hades. . . . Retold in patriarchy, the story of the Sirens changes to fit its values—instead of illustrating loss and grief in female friendships, the story becomes a cautionary tale of the dangerous, tempting trickery of female seduction.