Magazine article The New Yorker

Fierce

Magazine article The New Yorker

Fierce

Article excerpt

Fierce

Last week, Beyonce released the first photograph of her month-old twins on Instagram. She poses with them against a floral backdrop, her hair flowing, one knee slightly bent, like Botticelli's Venus rising from the sea. It complemented a look she took up at the Grammys, when she performed pregnant, channelling African, Hindu, and Roman deities.

Goddesses seem to be in season. In China, fans of Ivanka Trump refer to her as the goddess Yi Wan Ka, citing her perceived power and poise. The TV show "American Gods" features several divine female beings, including the Evening Star, the Morning Star, and a goddess of media.

"And there's the Wonder Woman movie," Lucie McQuilkan said. A former fashion designer from New Zealand, McQuilkan hosts Mischievous Goddess parties, where young girls can "play beyond this realm." She also offers weekly classes in goddess awareness at ABC Carpet & Home, in Manhattan, and Greene Moments Studio, in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. The goal is to give girls role models. "I want them to come across a goddess later on and say, 'Oh, I learned about her when I was a little girl,' " she said.

McQuilkan took inspiration from the idea that "brave, strong women are so often called bossy and bitchy, but goddesses are powerful and fierce but really feminine in their power." In the aftermath of the 2016 election, business has been booming. "Women were heartbroken for their girls," she said.

On a recent Sunday, her Clinton Hill class drew eight students, ages three to six. There were seven girls, mostly in dresses (hot-pink tulle, navy-blue floral), and one boy, Kai, three, who wore a Batman costume. "This week everything is Batman," his mother, Brooke Magnaghi, a fine-jewelry consultant, said with a note of weariness. She'd also enrolled her daughter, Nova, five. "I grew up in Vermont and had this supermagical, bohemian, progressive childhood in the woods, and I'm trying to create some of that for my children in the city."

At ten-thirty, McQuilkan rang a tiny bell and gathered the children on a blanket. They began their weekly affirmations. "I am powerful," she said. "I am powerful," the children yelled back. Next: "I am valuable," "I am intelligent," "I am creative," "I am brave," and, finally, "I trust my Earth sisters, and they believe in me."

The day's lesson was about mother goddesses. McQuilkan passed around images of Gaia, from Greek mythology; the Hindu goddess Durga; and the Yoruba goddess Yemoja. …

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