Androgyny and androgynous

DEFINITION

Having both male and female characteristics or qualities. The use of androgynous figures in mythology is widespread. In Greek mythology, for example, the minor god Hermaphroditus became both male and female after the nymph Salacis was united with him in one body. The concept of androgyny has been further developed by those following the psychological theory that human personality is invariably made up of both male and female characteristics. The feminist movement has promoted the notion that if males develop their feminine side and women their masculine side, differences could be lessened, and rigid stereotyping avoided.Examples of art exploring androgyny: Roman copy after a Hellenistic original from the 2nd century BCE, Sleeping Hermaphrodite, marble, length 169 cm, Louvre. Ovid told the story of Hermaphroditus in his Metamorphoses (IV, 285...): Hermaphroditus was the son of Mercury and Venus. When the boy was 15, he and the nymph Salmacis were so in love with one another, that they prayed they would never part. The gods then made them one, with a body both male and female.

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