I learned a new term today, thanks to my favorite nighttime distraction, The Myths and Legends podcast, and I’m excited to share it with everyone (even though I suspect few people will want to hear it). Our history lesson of the week is the phrase “star kicking.” Though it sounds beautiful, it’s actually what famed Hungarian torturer, sadist, and murder Countess Elizabeth Bathory did to people she disliked. Well, it’s one of the many things that twisted bitch did—she also drained people of their blood, ate peasant girls, and murdered hundreds of people. (She preferred adolescent girls, because, let’s be real guys, even women hate women! That’s the real poison of the patriarchy.) But anyway, she also liked to stick pieces of parchment between her victims toes and light them on fire. They would then kick and flail in attempts to dislodge the flaming pieces of paper and animal skin. Thus: Star kicking.
Horrible, right? It sounds so pretty. Star kicking. It has a real rhythm to the syllables, a real swing to its iambic feet, those insolent i’s and careless k’s. But damn, Bathory was messed up.
The more you know, right?
Image: Sculpture by Mihoko Ogaki, part of an ongoing series of installations called “Milky Ways.”
In honor of Mother’s Day (and since my mom reads my blog more than anyone else, probably) here’s a very cool graphic of mombods compiled by the smart ladies at etsi-ketsi. (Don’t know what a “mombod” is? It’s cool, it’s a stupid made-up thing that happened on the internet.)
It’s also interesting to note that these aren’t all Stone Age sex symbols as some might assume. “Erroneously, perhaps even cynically, many of the statues and sculptures shown here have been named Venus statuettes by patriarchal archeologists, as in Venus of Willendorf and Venus of Laussel; names based on the well-known nude depictions of the much later and slender Roman Venus,” explains scholar Eva Sawada.
Here’s another amazing graphic, this one shows “Goddess Sculptures” from the early Bronze Age. There’s something so amazingly modern about these, so geometric and cool, especially the top row. With their sharp angles and big shoulders, these femmes remind me of 80’s business ladies in power suits. How would you worship a boss-bitch goddess? By burring a pyre of vintage Vogues? By using lipstick as warpaint and reenacting the ancient ritual of the power lunch? By sacrificing your toes to the torture of a pointy heel? One can only imagine. Anyway, happy Mother’s Day or whatever. Enjoy the history lesson.