Ferocious Females A Diversion from Everyday Life

Earth, Women & Fire

Warrior women and fearsome females dominate this category. Brunhilde, “Chief of the Fire Maidens or Valkyrie,” commands armies of women. Devil-worshipping witches, who are a “foresight for evil,” are depicted as stealing children and cursing men. Lamia, who Patten describes as having the “head and breasts of a woman, body of a four footed animal with flowing tail, hind feet have divided hoofs'' are “swiftest of four footed animals, very treacherous and cruel to men.” Stories of animalistic, mythical, and witchy women are often configured to scare children. In the entry for “Lamia,” Patten specifically states how they were “female phantom[s] used as a bugbear by Greeks and Romans to frighten children.” These women are described as bitter and shrew-like, often because they cannot or will not have children; therefore, they must be evil.

Contrastingly, nature-tied women can also represent health, healing, and birth too. Hygieia, goddess of health, is described as a giver and also a “protectress of mental health.” Vestal Virgins are “mother goddesses who bestow offspring on women." Diana, or Artemis, is both the “patroness of hunting” and “protectress of women in childbirth.” Princess fairy tales, such as Cinderella, often use the heroine as “the personification of truth.” These women are often a sharp juxtaposition to the grossness of witches, instead possessing a kindness and beauty that inspires.