“By the Waters of Babylon: Sacred Women- Mary, Medusa, Jezebel”

What we know about the lives of these three women has been filtered through a patriarchal lens for thousands of years, with their identities and legacies dictated by patriarchal ideas of sexuality and gender. Puritanical notions of woman’s sexuality as somehow impure, gave rise to the “virgin-whore dichotomy” which lies beneath common concepts of Mary and Jezebel. Notions of women as inferior to men and needing to be controlled informed the Medusa myth. The concept of Medusa began as a North African virgin-mother-crone goddess, but she was later demonized during the rise of patriarchal Greece and turned into the monster we are familiar with today. The images presented in this triptych are stripped of their strict traditional identities, and instead are depicted as flesh-and-blood individuals who each own their sexual identities: Virgin Mary (left) confidently sexual, Medusa (center) is gentle, and Jezebel (right) is reserved and tender. The figures sit on a riverbank made of torn newspaper- symbolizing the layers of social concepts that lie beneath our perception of their identities.