Have you read about the Huldra? It is a Scandinavian mythical creature, very similar to a Siren or a Nymph. The Huldra is a seductress.
She appears attractive and beautiful, sometimes haunting men in their sleep with her charm. However, once a man becomes ensnared by her, she displays a cow’s tail. The Huldra is not a Christian woman, so if a man weds her in the sight of God, she will lose her tail. Also, she will become very ugly and then very strong. What a trade!
It reminds me of the book Dead Blondes and Bad Mothers by Sady Doyle,
“A monster is a supposed-to-be-subjugated body that has become threatening and voracious—a woman who is, in the most basic sense, out of (men’s) control.”
The Huldra is the transformation of a woman, subjugated to man, into a monster who seduces and traps men. The tail? Well, that probably represents the phallus as a symbol of dominance.
Our culture promotes the idea that attractiveness and female sexuality equates to confidence and power. So to take control over the Huldra, she must lose her beauty as well as her tail. The fact that Christian marriage is the cure is no surprise because, in these tales, the divinely appointed role of women is to help men.
In tales of the Huldra, strength makes up for the loss of beauty. For example, in one version of the Huldra, found in Clara Stroebe’s The Norwegian Fairy Book, the Huldra is despised for her ugliness until she shows utility by bending horseshoes with her bare hands.
I never saw Putin when I lived in Moscow, but I remember seeing his face everywhere. I will never forget walking into a smallish bookshop and seeing his novel, “Judo: History, Theory, Practice” for the first and not the last time. It had an impression on me because I had heard stories that he was a great KGB spy with a skill set in martial arts, shooting, manipulation, and infiltration, who was a killer, who was a “real man,” and most importantly, who was very dangerous. He was basically the villain of every James Bond movie, and now the President of Russia. I thought, “Wow, what a man to elect in such a powerful position, what shady connections he must have, what things he must do to those who oppose him.”
The documentary, “Palace for Putin” by Alexey Navalny, who recently recovered from a nerve agent attack and was arrested in Moscow by the same people he accused of his attempted assassination, describes the romanization of Putin’s origin story. From a petty officer in a not uncommon foreign relations role, to spy who “infiltrated the enemy.” Presidential myths are fascinating! What kind of myths do you think we have for American Presidents?