A feminist comparative mythologist!? You might be thinking, “what the heck does that even mean”? Or, conversely, you might be thinking, “Cool! who knew that existed?!”
I agree. Feminist comparative mythologist isn’t your typical profession. Not by a long shot.
And yet, this is my most perfect job title yet.*
I earned both my masters and doctorate degrees in comparative mythology—meaning that my graduate work focused on in-depth studies of world mythology rather than study devoted solely to one particular culture’s mythology. Additionally, my research and perspectives are solidly feminist. I’m proud to be a comparative mythologist who knows the larger interconnected storylines of mythology and understands humanity’s extensive love affair with story. Coupling feminist research to this discipline gives me extra benefits of clearly recognizing and analyzing our current patriarchal myths. This is important to me because it means I can avoid being just another mouthpiece for outdated, ruined stories.
One of my biggest joys (as well as my largest continual research challenge) is bringing women and girls back into myths and mythology. Often, this feels a lot like painstaking mythological archaeology. However, simply offering up myths of goddesses, goddess symbolism, female imagery, and mythological connections with women that still wear the same patriarchal muck hanging all over them does no one any good.
We can’t see the beauty, the sanity, and the reason of the original. And the originals, the myths that connect us (all humans) to Nature, the cosmos, the natural laws of the universe and such, are meant to teach us, enlighten us, revive us, and place us squarely into our rightful places and minds. Therefore, I trowel away clumps and clods of patriarchal mud and debris to see the underlying bones of the myths where women and girls were a vital part of the imagery, symbolism, and meaning.
Myths are the grand narratives of our collective lives. Myths are the stories of humanity. As such, myths are designed to liberate us; meant to free us from solipsistic navel-gazing into insights of true awe about the staggering generosity of Life all around us.
Pretty great work environment, right?
To read about the mythic connection in my names, click here.
* (True story: After earning my doctorate, I received the gift of a wood and metal name plaque that reads Dr. Margaret Merisante—Visionary Kick-ass Mythologist. I love the gift, but it’s not the title that best describes my work.) Other past job titles: children’s bookstore owner, school book fair consultant, California Poet in the Schools poetry teacher, community storyteller, chamber of commerce manager, university parent program manager, university trade book manager, development assistant, farmer’s market manger, etc.