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16 Mermaids That Are Totally Feminists

Silences. Women have silenced themselves. Women have been silenced. From queens to little mermaids. No more. Pre-order Outing the Mermaid, A Novel of Love, Fear & Misogyny at https://tinyurl.com/jawgbwb. Publication: June 21.

1. The Sirens (Homer's Odyssey)

Maidens of the sea who, with the sheer power of their voices, lured weak men to their deaths by bashing their ships upon the rocks? Yup, definitely feminists.

2. Howard Pyle’s Mermaid painting

The mermaid rescuing a shipwrecked man? Just a casual Tuesday in the life of a feminist.

3. Annette Kellerman, who pioneered the first one-piece bathing suit for women

"Kellerman conveyed a sense of herself as an independent and free-spirited woman, as if to say: 'This is how you can be in the water, and you can live like this too'." HEY, FEMINIST. (via)

Oh, and she overcame a childhood bout of polio to achieve fame as a champion swimmer, Hollywood film sensation, and pioneer of the modern one-piece swimsuit in the early 1900s.

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4. Swimmer-actress Esther Williams, who was in the first film with a swimmable mermaid costume

Making it big in a swimsuit in Hollywood? Majorly feminist.

"Williams swam her way to stardom in such timeless motion pictures as Bathing Beauty (1944), Neptune's Daughter (1949) and Million Dollar Mermaid (1952). The audience response to the athletic All-American girl was phenomenal as MGM put Williams' career into high gear. For more than a decade, she reigned in a new Hollywood genre created just for her: The Aqua Musical." (via)

5. Daryl Hannah as Madison in the movie "Splash"

"One feminist aspect of the movie is that Daryl Hannah’s mermaid Madison overcomes her inability to speak (as dictated by Hans Christian Anderson’s original The Little Mermaid story) through her remarkable intelligence and adaptability." (via) >>Remember to pre-order your copy of OUTING THE MERMAID!

6. The Selkie in Roan Inish

A poor selkie is kept captive by her husband, who hides her pelt away. Finally, she discovers the pelt and escapes back into the sea, leaving her children behind. You gotta do you.

7. The Ningyo of Japan

Ningyo are often depicted as half fish, half human. But different from their Western mermaid counterparts, the ningyo are often portrayed with grotesque and terrifying features. Oh, and they're said to be able to cry pearls. Sounds about right. (via)

8. The Mami Wata water spirit in Africa

This spirit appears in African mythology all across the continent of Africa. "She shrouds herself in her mysticism, attractiveness and, above all, her vengeance. She is a maternal deity that has a sexual power over her captives and because of this she commands great sacrifice and obedience for the reward."

Happy to have you with us, Mami Wata. (via)

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9. In Brazil, Iara, the "Lady of the Waters."

Iara's two brothers were jealous of her, because she was hot shit. So they tried to kill her in her sleep. But Iara woke up and killed them both in self-defense. Then her father led the rest of his tribe to hunt her down, and finally they caught her and threw her into the river where she drowned. BUT! The fish thought she was pretty hot shit, too, and they transformed her into a mermaid. For the rest of her days, Iara destroyed all men who came near her water. (via)

10. Marakihau is a taniwha (guardian) of the sea, New Zealand

The Maori believe that humans have amphibious origins. The Marakihau is the personification of a guardian of the oceans. "If you treat the water with proper respect it will protect you and help you with a bountiful haul of fish but if you disrespect the water and its creatures the Marakihau will extract a terrible price." Feminism is as old as Mother Earth. (via)

11. Melusine in France

A fresh water spirit, Melusine actually originated from the gossip of men. Some guy couldn't find his wife one day every week, so he made up a story that she was stricken with a Saturday-illness where she turned into a mermaid. "Melusine then is so distraught over the fact that Raymondin not only knew of her secret, thus he broke his promise, but also that he announced it to everyone of what she really was." Men ruining things. Yup, welcome to the club, Melusine.

12. The Moruadh in Ireland

"It should not be assumed that merrows are kindly and well-disposed towards mortals. As members of the sidhe, or Irish fairy world, the inhabitants of Tir fo Thoinn (the Land beneath the Waves) have a natural antipathy towards humans. In some parts of Ireland, they are regarded as messengers of doom and death." Doom and despair and the supernatural? Sounds feminist to me. (via)

13. The Rusalka of Russia

This mythical Slavic mermaid originated as a personification of water, and the life-giving moisture that helps crops grow. But alas, as time passed the story changed. Now, rusalka are understood to be women with unclean souls, perhaps having drowned themselves because they were pregnant out of wedlock. Psh, sounds like some patriarchal ish, amirite? (via)

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14. Finfolkaheem, home of shape-shifters of the sea in Norway

Okay, this one's a literal feminist paradise under the sea. In what's basically a Norwegian Atlantis, Finfolk would live together and "raise sea-cattle and magical sea-horses." And the Aurora Borealis regularly lights up the undersea castle. I wish I could give you a picture, but no soul has dared attempt to represent this magical utopian place. (via)

15. Copenhagen’s little mermaid, recently painted red in protest of whaling in the Faroe Islands

Activism is oh so feminist. Raising our voices is essential. No matter which side of the issue you're on, this was a pretty gutsy bit of activism, don't you think? Reclaiming a mermaid who is stuck in someone else's story, and becoming a voice for the voiceless? (via)

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16. Morgana, from Outing the Mermaid: A Novel of Love, Fear & Misogyny

"But what if I can have my own agenda? What if I get to try my hand, using whatever strengths I may have? ...I haven’t taken my shot yet. I don’t know if I can do New York on my own but I didn’t think I could ever swim—now anything is possible...It will be difficult, even perilous, and I’m going to need all the strength I can summon.

Morgana, let’s see if we can live up to our name. Merwomen, walk with me."

The mermaid comes ashore on June 21st...

• Pre-order the novel now: https://tinyurl.com/jawgbwb.

#OutingtheMermaid Publication: June 21st from Blooming Twig Books.

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