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Season Three: Episodes One and Two: Let's Talk about Sex, Baby

Put down anything sharp, move breakables out of harm’s way, and prepare yourself...


WE’RE BACK....AGAIN *party hats and poppers galore*


We’ve returned with Season Three of Myth Dynamite (you’re welcome), and we’re starting with a biggie! We bring you the goddess of love herself – it’s APHRODITE *cue Meryl Streep’s exclamation at the end of Mamma Mia*.


In this, yes, double episode, we’ll be putting her back into her context and the long-standing Eastern tradition she came from. We’ll talk about how she even came to Greece and what she was really all about. Here, we’ll be focusing on Greek Aphrodite and saving Roman Venus for a later date. They’re just too juicy! Oh, and expect plenty of innuendo – some we’d like to apologise for in advance.


We’ll take you on a literary journey of Aphrodite’s role in the Greek pantheon, and how she became less powerful than she’s given credit for as time went on. Classic(al) patriarchal fear *eye roll*. You’ll hear the Just So story of how Aphrodite got demoted in ancient narrative from strong independent primordial passion prankster to golden age daughter of Zeus – restricted to petty passion projects amongst mortals, and a whingy side character in the great ‘HELEN OF TROY’ narrative *another eye roll*.


From a tradition rooted in war, to a goddess who can’t handle it in the Iliad, this being seems to move away from their connection to the most basic parts of what it means to be human – sex and death. As society became more structured for women, was it impossible for Aphrodite to have a power that rivalled Zeus’? Discuss *with a wry twinkle in our eye*. We also look into one of the most frivolous of her myths (read: no mortals die) – her aftermath of affair when married to Hephaestus – The Olympian equivalent of John Tucker Must Die levels of payback humiliation, except without the character-defining growth.


In Part Two, we revisit our little teaser snippet on MythsBaby, and take you on a deep dive of one of the most famous and quoted statues ever, even though she’s lost to the depths of history herself – the Aphrodite of Knidos! We take you through the statue and her legacy. Mainly, though, we talk about how she was modelled on a woman. A REAL WOMAN. With dates and everything. Ladies and Gentlemen, we give you Phryne. YOU’RE WELCOME. The fun facts we drop here are some of our favourite, and they’ll soon be some of yours too.


Through Phryne – a Hetaira, or high-class prostitute – we get to take you through the relationship between Aphrodite and prostitution, and how important Aphrodite was to the profession. There was even a major temple to her on the Corinthian Acropolis to Aphrodite that was heavily associated with prostitution. Honestly, if you just listen for this bad-ass woman, we won’t blame you.


The Knidian Aphrodite has an incredibly long tradition, not least as the original artwork that inspired, encouraged and probed the idea of the male gaze. In cutting edge work (for then and now), rather than just hyper-sexualising woman, it allows for an exploration of sexual objectification of men too. Hurrah, equal opportunity sexualisation! *eye roll 1,500,874,348 of the episode*


The androgyny of Aphrodite and the fluidity of sexuality that she represents are our favourite things about the goddess, and they’re both aspects of her that are now almost forgotten or, more accurately, specifically been pushed aside in favour of heteronormative sexuality. We leave you with the way in which the classical Greek world eventually managed to reconcile these two aspects of Aphrodite within their rapidly cementing structured misogynistic society, paving the way for the hyper-sexualisation of Aphrodite and her co-option as a symbol for heterosexual love.

*shakes fist at thousands of years of repressed patriarchy of (supposedly) yesteryear*


All hail fluidity, and its place at the heart of Aphrodite’s essence and cult!


References (Part One):

  1. Venus and Aphrodite: A biography of desire, 2019, Bettany Hughes

  2. Theogony, Hesiod

  3. Iliad, Homer

  4. Odyssey, Homer

  5. Gods Behaving Badly, 2007, Marie Phillips

References (Part Two):

  1. Natural History, Pliny

  2. Erotes, Pseudo-Lucian

  3. Deipnosophistae, Athenaeus

  4. Description of Greece, Pausanias

  5. Ways of Seeing, 1972: John Berger

  6. Venus and Aphrodite: A biography of desire, 2019, Bettany Hughes

  7. Symposium, Plato

  8. In Search of Reality, 1965, Gleb Botkin




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