Anaïs Duong-Pedica presented at a conference for the first time two weeks ago. The conference was entitled ‘Tales and Totems : Myths and Lineage in Goddess Scholarship’ and was organised by the Association for the Study of Women and Mythology.
The conference took place in Portland, Oregon so I had to present my paper via Skype. It was an odd experience as I couldn’t see the audience but the audience could see me! This was probably for the best as it made me a little less anxious to present in front of my screen rather than a room full of academics…
I entitled my paper ‘Rising from the Waters : the Goddess (Re)Appears’. It was based on research I had done for my masters’ thesis at the Centre for Women’s Studies on Western visual representations of Tahitian women and mermaids. I presented some key findings on representations of mermaids, Eve, Greek and Roman Goddesses of Love (Aphrodite & Venus) and Polynesian women as femme fatales.
I explored the similar iconography that is used for the mythical fish women and in Western representations of Tahitian women: long flowy hair, sexualised positions, marine, natural backgrounds, use of seashells, flowers, pearls... Drawing on psychoanalysis and Goddess studies, my paper suggested that these images could be interpreted as contemporary, secular representations of the Divine Feminine, specifically in the Western male unconscious.