Long Before Women Were Objects, They Were Warriors (Aphrodite Made Me Do It – A Book Review)

Aphrodite Made Me Do It (Myth and Magick #1)

Author: Trista Mateer

Published: 2019

On Goodreads

My Rating:

Rated B for bold, brutal, and beautiful prose of love and its representation.

This collection awashes the reader in bittersweet and bold poetry and prose that uses the power of a Greek goddess and mythology itself to weave the thread of womanhood and what is assumed and taken from it. But, Mateer takes back her womanhood and offers healing. Without mincing words, she inspires and takes back her life while reminding the reader that Aphrodite wasn’t a Goddess of Love that encompassed an ideal of womanhood first, but a warrior.

First off, that cover! AHHH! It’s bold, striking, and ominous. At the same time, that neon title is yelling, “PICK ME UP! I’M DANGER! I’M THE LIGHT IN THE DARK STRIPPED BARE AND I WILL CONSUME YOU.”. LOL. And over an open ocean. I swear, I can hear the hum of that title. I’m so in love with it. If a cover is that good you have to gush about it.

Diving into the book, I find mythology to be a wonderful and intriguing subject to act balance out with Mateer’s own personal journey. She explored the depths of Aphrodite and it brought me right back to my time working toward my Gender Studies minor. I knoooow, not as good as a major. Mock and sneer at me later. The point is, during one of my classes, we took the time to explore mythology and the women and goddesses within it. It was gut-wrenching and it created a visceral realization for so many of us that we never gave much thought to because it had never been brought into our line of sight until right then. That we were nothing more than objects and pieces, not people. My life view changed that semester, and it changed a little more after I read this.

I truly believe this book would be a great asset to any Gender Studies course. Its depth and comparisons are impeccable and it screams so loudly from the past into the present that it could help put an end to the future…if you get my meaning. All of the misogyny and impositions of man and how man believes women are supposed to act and live and be used according to their standards is explored and destroyed in this book.

Giphy

Mateer flips the script on Aphrodite and even Medusa and Pandora, reminding the reader that these women were never just objects of idolization, beauty, and lust. They were strong and powerful people that were never so feather-soft. Only over time, after men ripped away their power, did they appear like so. What I loved so much was that Mateer basically took it all back. She slayed it with savagery. Such a glorious glow.

Mateer explored so much of her personal struggles. From healing from sexual assault and her parents’ disassociating with her being gay to breaking down constructs that threatened to smother who she truly was. Mateer explored all of her self-sacrifice which was literally her sacrificing her sense of self for others, some of which didn’t have a lick of understanding or a single care about what it did to her. It’s the selfishness within humanity. But, she moved from that to the darkness of forcefulness and being obligated to be a certain type of person. It’s incredibly relatable across many platforms, especially when these feelings tie to somebody you love and care about. It was these strings in the book that plucked at my emotional bits and really got me invested.

 The multiple styles explored were fun and engaging. Mateer toyed with shapely poetry and prose as well as utilizing blackout and list-type layouts. I find it a delight when a writer takes the time to explore and use all kinds of formats. It’s fresh and always keeps my attention.

Aphrodite Made Me Do It | Trista Mateer

The pop-art fit so spectacularly with the writing. Done on thick and rich photo paper, it felt hearty. Each piece connected to pop culture and Mateer’s subject matter. On top of that, each one felt personal. Some were scribed with Mateer’s personal messages, thoughts, and/or feelings that really connected with me. It’s not easy to speak so openly, but she did it in a courageous fashion.

Overall

This was a powerful and stunning book. Creative and impactful. Now, you’re probably going, ‘Why you only give her four bolts then!?”

Welp, it did get a tad on the rant rampage from time to time and I got lost in the rage more than the art. I’m all for a good rage, but it just lost some of the messages in some places for me.  I’m super excited to read the next part in this collection, however. And, this is definitely one of my top five recommended poetry books for people to read.

Quotables:

The thing about embracing your own chaos
    is that it never becomes clear
           when you need to
                 stop.
(p. 6)

        I am deathless.
     I will have no eulogy. 
    I will have no mourners.
       Mine is the mouth
      that fueled creation.
       Mine is the hand
      that wield the blade
     and I will never let you
       forget it again.
(p. 23)

         We thrive best
          like gardens,
       not singular plants
          in lonely pots.
(p.55)

Men said she was the perfect vessel for evil to enter the world, but
men are the once who wrote the stories. Men wrote the myths
down and called them history, and time has dragged them further
for the truth. Pandora's jar became a box. Eve's pomegranate, an 
apple. All the details change but one: it is a woman with her hand
on the door to Hell.
(p.102)

        I know why Eve
        stole the fruit.
       I know why Pandora
         opened the jar.

    Can you really sayy you don't?
(p.104)

       It is never too late
            to realize
       you don't want to be
           on the path
         you're walking.
      You can never goo back
        but you can always
        chart a new course.
(p. 158)

More to come soon…                                                                                               

  -K.

Song Today? I Follow Rivers by Lykke Li.

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