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In Greek mythology, a young woman named Caenis is raped by one of the gods.  He is so pleased with his conquest that he offers her any prize for the pleasure he has given her.  She asks for two things, to be a man and to be impenetrable.  She lives out the rest of her life as a great warrior named Caeneus.  She is finally killed when her enemies manage to bury her alive.

Throughout Greek, Indian, Norse, and even Celtic (in short Indo-European) mythology and legend women appear occasionally in the role of warriors.  Inevitably, these women lose some aspect of their womanhood in the process.  They can never be with a man and retain their warrior abilities.  The valkyrie Brunhild does so and becomes nothing more than a very small woman bent on getting revenge on the men who have deceived her.  Atalanta marries but loses all of the speed that had made her an Olympic athlete in the bargain.

This rule seems to be an arbitrary one.  For instance, it doesn’t apply to queens.  Boudicea was long renowned as one of the great British chieftains because of her significance in the revolt against Britain.  Amazons were immune, too.

But in both cases, there are loopholes.  Boudicea married a consort, a man of lesser status and the Amazons didn’t marry men, they had sex with them.  There was no relationship and therefore no loss of their power.  The one Amazon queen known to have married, Antiope, immediately lost her warrior abilities when she submitted to Theseus’ authority.

It is an old myth, that somehow a woman loses her independence and ability to fight once she has submitted to marriage.  It is a belief supported in the myths, too.  That doesn’t make it any less foolish.  Perhaps that’s why Wonder Woman has traditionally been portrayed without Steve Trevor, and maybe that’s why Supergirl is portrayed alone.

Maybe that’s another reason I have always preferred Marvel.  The Invisible Woman and Jean Grey are two of the most powerful beings in that universe and they have regularly been connected with Mr. Fantastic and Cyclops, respectively.  Neither relationship has diminished their power.  They have both had children as well.

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