As a young girl, the word brought images of Greek/Roman/Celtic women of lore. An unattainable strength and beauty to be admired by many but only achieved by a select few.
I couldn’t relate to a Goddess. Even at my most feminine, I was a poor excuse. Makeup is still a mystery to me at the age of 32. I used to hate my body and often abused or hid it behind ill-fitting clothing. I equated femininity to society’s standards of beauty and, therefore, never felt that I could measure up. Also, I valued my friendships with males over females.The word Goddess was abstract and had little meaning in relation to myself.
When I started having children, I always saw myself as a mother of boys. Each time I got pregnant, I would swear to myself that it was a boy, and each time I was proven wrong. Life is funny in that way. In raising my girl tribe, I’ve learned that you don’t always get what you want; you get what you are supposed to have. Raising my girls has taught me about femininity, and I am not talking about makeup. I am talking about self love, acceptance, and the importance of female bonds.
I had the opportunity to work in the birth community for over two years as a birth assistant, doula, and birth photographer. This gave me the incredible experience of watching over 130 women channel their divine connection to the feminine power that resides in each of us, as she brought her baby earthside. Through those experiences, I’ve gained so much respect for women as a whole, each one unique in her needs and her strengths. The common thread throughout – that we all have this incredible feminine power.
Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to birth a child to have feminine power or be considered a Goddess. I have recognized that same power in my friends/sisters that have never birthed a child. I see it in them when they create art, chase their dreams, fight their demons and when they connect with and help others. When women shed the ideals that we are in a competition, they realize how much stronger we are when we support one another. I see the power in strong female connection.
Speaking of connection, this is why I love my Instagram app on my phone. As a photographer and general lover of life, I can’t wait to share certain details of my day and explore other people’s’ lives. Click your favorite hashtag – #goddess, #naturalbirth, #womenempoweringwomen, #punkymoms, #buyallthewraps, #catsofinstagram, etc. and you are instantly connected with people that have those similar interests. So I was shocked recently when Instagram blocked the #Goddess hashtag. Did they block out #God? Nope. A friend commented that maybe people were posting porn or inappropriate photos under the tag and they did it to clean things up. That was incorrect, I search the tag often and mostly it reveals photographs of women promoting positive body image, breastfeeding, birthing, connecting with and empowering one another, and generally kicking ass!
After all of this, you are probably rolling your eyes. “Really? This all comes down to bitching about a hashtag that was taken down?” But we need to ask ourselves, what does one hope to gain by trying to break our connection? Why does it freak people out to see women unapologetically loving their bodies and rejecting fascist beauty standards? How can people relate feeding your baby with your body to indecent exposure? I think it’s essential to keep reminders that we are stronger united than divided. Seeing images that reflect that, will encourage us to seek out those bonds. #Goddess is one small way we can remind ourselves of that common thread of feminine power in all of us.
If you are an Instagram user and you would like them to fix this ban on #Goddess, feel free to start sharing the tag #bringbackthegoddess with your photos.
Jackie Korpela is mama goddess of a girl tribe in Ocala, Florida. An early member of the Punkymom community, she has made her way back, after a long hiatus. She has a passion for natural birth and you can see that through her birth photography.www.starryeyesphotography.net