Xena: Demigoddess and Role Model

Wielding girl power

Issue #18

By Vivienne Arkell

With the success of the new Wonder Woman movie, women’s empowerment seminars, and pink-hat power sisterhood, goddess talk is real and strengthening. The goddess mentality praises strong legendary women, affirming their mental beauty and womanly strength. Learning from history’s best heroines helps to guide where the future could take us.

Xena isn’t actually a goddess, but warrior princess comes pretty darn close. Cult star Xena, from the popular 1990’s namesake TV series and graphic novel, hails from the time of Hercules. The series follows ex-warlord Xena who realizes the error of her ways. Together with her traveling companion Gabrielle, the two journey the ancient world and fight for the greater good. Xena saved Gabrielle from slavery and she, in return, served as Xena’s moral guide, companion, and soulmate.

While it may seem trite or obvious, portraying women in powerful situations, fighting alongside men, was a great move for stepping out of gender norms. Wonder Woman is another heroine who knows her talents and gifts while following her own heart. But unlike the Amazon Wonder Woman, Xena was not portrayed as being superior to men or thinking the worst of them. In contrast to Venus and Gaia, goddesses with extremely feminine, sensual and motherly auras, Xena and her companion Gabrielle showed a tougher yet very relatable side of legendary women.

Another fresh and slightly controversial dynamic portrayed in the Xena series was the show of affection and intimacy between Xena and Gabrielle. Xena was feminine and sexy, yet exuded masculine energy and aggression. The less glamourous Gabrielle was brave, yet she projected a more feminine energy and was a voice of reason, further blurring classic gender roles and stereotypes. Most importantly, their partnership was based on who each person was rather than what tradition told them to be.

Women today have the choice to move through life like men. Not that we actually want to behave like them, but the option does exist to be more like them in areas such as self-reliance, ambition, and assertiveness. Like Xena, we already know how to do it. Strength is in our DNA. When we plug into our strength, there is no stopping a woman. Why do women often mask their powers? Most likely because masculine energy is less appreciated by men from women, in the household, the bedroom, and beyond. There are lots of images of empowered women, but too few images of men partnering with them in positive intimate relationships. But remember, the power is yours to use and is always there.

Being a warrior princess is not about hand-to-hand battle. It’s about be willing to confront adversity. It’s about challenging perceptions, while you pursue truth and meaning. With Xena and other acclaimed female warriors for inspiration, legions of young woman feel empowered and ready to create their own modern stories, truths, and legends.

Years of patriarchy can seem oppressive, but stay strong, sensual, complex, and smart. As women, we all have a touch of Xena, Gabrielle, or Wonder Woman in our blood and DNA. We already inherently know about our amazing woman powers – just add in the power of sisterhood, sensuality and the goddess way of life.

Image: detail of stuntwoman Zoe Bell in Xena.

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