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This is the archetype of true womanhood. It has nothing to do with femininity as it is sold to us by our culture; that is a commercial construct of artifice, propaganda and lies, little more than learned helplessness combined with self-hatred and a desperate hunger for attention. The rampaging wenchbeast has no time for such bullshit. She demonstrates that competence is infinitely sexier than helplessness, and lives as an agent rather than an object. She can scare dangerous rugby lunatics by out-bawdying them, and stares down rapists with a steely gaze that convinces them her vagina is lined with shark teeth. She would never fake orgasm, pretend to be stupid to get male attention, or blame herself for another's abusive behavior. She is hard to frighten and almost impossible to shame; there is little danger of her being domesticated.

The difference between a rampaging wenchbeast and a normally socialized woman is the difference between a wolf and a chihuahua.

Her native habitat is the arena of ritual license, such as Renaissance Faires, SCA Wars, and Burning Man, where there is an unspoken comprehension of her role as a Maenad, a catalyst of the Dionysian Principle. Why do you think Renaissance Faires get the crowds? It isn't for the overpriced beer. Something deep and atavistic, almost cthonian, in the human mind reacts to the rampaging wenchbeast with religious awe. Okay, part of it is the cleavage. But that cleavage has to be carried with a pride, vitality and defiance that are not found among consumers of fashion magazines, professional victims, and poster children for eating disorders.

It was only the daughters of Eve who were cursed with pain in childbirth and living as the property of men. The daughters of Lilith are under no such geasa. And it is not genetics but will that determines such a spiritual heritage. The rampaging wenchbeast traces her lineage to the woman made of earth, not the obedient piece of borrowed bone. In the midrashim about Lilith, it is said that she was exiled from Eden for insisting that Adam let her be on top during sex some of the time. Her descendants do not suffer control freaks gladly; ancestral memory tells them that exile is better than submission.

The rampaging wenchbeast is used to being called a dyke no matter how heterosexual her behavior is, because there are men who think a woman ought to behave like a doormat and if she doesn't, she's unnatural. She gets called uppity. Sometimes she gets raped by those who think that it will break her.

That tactic is notorious for backfiring. Trying to prove to a woman that she is only property can awaken in her a love of liberty and a righteous rage that can shake down mountains.

Inside every hideous Barbie-like Stepford Wife and vapid, anorexic supermodel is the corpse of a rampaging wenchbeast who was smothered during adolescence. This is an abomination and a sin against beauty.

I’ve heard of this rampaging wenchbeast before, though never by that name— she is known by many names among modern feminists and like-minded people. The fact that you describe her as an archetype is important, and, I feel, ought to be looked into more closely. It means, for one, that she does not really exist. She is a symbol, a representation of what certain social groups value in females, of what a gender should aspire to. Like the Barbie-like Stepford Wife also mentioned, she is a product of our collective cultural imagination. You are unlikely to run into either of these women on the street; instead you will run into thousands who fall somewhere in between, part Eve, part Lilith, and part many other things that make them complicated and human. Take me, for example.

Until I started preschool, my favorite color was green. I chose green from a purely visual perspective, and I still find green to be a very beautiful color, soothing and lush. But after I started preschool, my favorite color became pink. I was a little girl. You can understand how this might happen, no? One way you could put it is that I was socialized into denying my true feelings in order to conform to society’s gender role expectations. Another way you could look at it is this: I became aware of the symbolic values my culture had endowed certain colors with, and realized that my choice of a particular color as my ‘favorite’ was a potential avenue through which I could express myself. One of these options is what you could call the traditionally ‘feminist’ interpretation; the other one allows me some dignity. To be honest, I don't remember precisely what was going through my five-year-old head at the time.

Fifteen years later, I have a confession to make: I wear make-up. Foundation, blush, eye shadow, and mascara, on a daily basis, and I like it. I like putting it on and I like the way I look with it on. I also buy fashion magazines sometimes. I like to look at the clothes: I like the idea of decorating my body with such lovely things, I like the colors, the textures, the flow of fabric. But more than that, I also like to look at pictures of beautiful women, and compare them, and compare myself to them. I don’t only like to look at pictures of very thin, very tall women with high cheekbones, and I wish Vogue would show a much wider variety of human beauty, but I still like to flip through the glossy pages.

I used to pretend otherwise, though, because I thought if I endowed my culture’s ideas of femininity with some legitimacy, they would become the only truth: if I tried to make myself up like a fashion model, my physical attractiveness and overall 'girliness' would become the sole measure of my worth. So instead I gravitated toward the idea of that rampaging wenchbeast: I thought I had a better chance of pulling that off. As a teenager, I dressed to look like I didn’t care what I looked like, and most people were fooled. I railed against fashion, make-up, flirting, men’s sexual urges, cheerleading, ballerinas, dolls, and the color pink. I had a copy of The Vagina Monologues taken away from me by a teacher in the school cafeteria, and felt that spark of womanly indignation— it felt good.

But honestly, I was always giving that magazine rack sideways glances. Never buying girly magazines at fifteen was a lot like wearing a pink dress instead of a green one at five, symbolic actions that, at the time, I felt to be more important than my simple preferences. I was pretending not to care about ‘shallow’ things like how attractive men found me compared to other girls my age. But I did care. Not because society told me to, but because I, as a person, cared. It’s a natural thing to care about. As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to feel that there is nothing wrong with this. You can be a strong woman and still want to be a pretty girl sometimes. You can be yourself, and forget about what is or is not ‘true womanhood.’

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