Praise the Strong Woman

For several weeks this spring, a shouting Donald Trump made fun of the way Hillary Clinton was shouting. He complained that her voice was shrill and it hurt to hear it. All politicians shout. But women know exactly what it means when they’re accused of being shrill. It’s code for “Your strength is unattractive.”

Recently we lost a beautiful strong woman. Basketball coach Pat Summit won more games than any other coach in college basketball history. I love what her fiercest rival said of her, “She had vision, she had intensity, and she made it okay for a woman to stare you down from the sidelines and show emotion and get upset.”

Summit prowled, pounced and roared. She was shrill. And not only did she have the victories, her players had a 100 per cent graduation rate; among them were 14 Olympians, 21 All-Americans, and 34 WNBA players.

Mars stationed retrograde in late April, just as Venus disappeared into the underworld. Retrogrades and underworld visits are typically “unraveling” times. But what has unraveled during this retrograde is cause for celebration. The appeal of the “unconscious woman” seems to be diminishing. The beauty of the “strong woman” is rising.

This has long been in the works. But often it takes a tragedy for us to see how things are changing. The wide public outcry against the Stanford rapist’s light sentence is one example. It was a retrograde sentence; the tables turned. The victim became the victor. Her letter to the court, addressing her rapist, was so powerful, the vice-president called her a “warrior–with a solid steel spine.” That’s one way to turn the Venus/Mars archetypes inside out & upside down.

Art often helps to pave the way for social changes. What we see in films and videos often helps us enter new worlds. In recent weeks we’ve seen some stunning depictions of “shrill” women on the cultural stage. Beyonce’s Lemonade dropped at the beginning of this period and gave us a jaw-dropping portrait of feminine strength. Never has an angry woman looked so beautiful as Beyonce does, in that canary yellow dress, evoking the goddess Oshun, as she smashes car windows with a baseball bat.  But then there’s also Danearys, hopping onto her dragon in the Game of Thrones. Cornered by the Masters and instructed to bow down, she says “Not so fast,” and then crushes her enemies with a rain of dragon-fire and two armies. Game of Thrones has given us many strong women this season. But perhaps most satisfying has been watching the fluffy innocent Sansa evolve into a cunning, powerful force. Much as I love Jon Snow, without Sansa, he’d be gone again by now! Then, of course, there’s the ultimate Kali, Cersei. Who knew that the Iron Throne would be up for grabs by so many queens!

Winter may be coming, but strong women are rising, in Westeros, and in our world too.

About Dana Gerhardt

A popular columnist with The Mountain Astrologer since 1991, Dana Gerhardt is an internationally respected astrologer. She has lectured extensively and written for astrology publications on several continents. Her ongoing passions are the moon and living the intuitive life. Dana worked for many years in the corporate sector, where she observed the undeniable influence of natural cycles. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude from Occidental College in Los Angeles and did graduate work in literature at Columbia University and CSULA. Dana can be contacted by email.


  1. Thank you for this thoughtful post! I want to howl in agreement with the rise of the powerful woman…(I’m channeling my Pinkola-Estes Woman Who Runs with Wolves self now.) I was riveted by the Lemonade videos and loved that celebration of the feminine. I was in awe of how she channeled her emotions into her art. My sister and I aim each year to celebrate New Year’s Eve by standing outside under any available moonshine, saying aloud our affirmations for the year and then cavort and laugh like happy pagans. Though our NYE antics aren’t art, they do feel like a celebration of something powerful and primordial.

  2. Thank you again for being a strong woman and voicing your wisdom, Dana!

    Funny coincidence is that I spent hours watching episodes of Game of Thrones in a row yesterday since it was a rainy Sunday, so I’m very much in those energies still today. And before I started reading this article, a strong urge suddenly came to me: I took a guitar in my hands and I sang a song for goddess Oshun. You can imagine my surprise when I finally read what you had written!

    So there’s a lot of powerful female energy around these days and it’s up to us to channel it out in to the world, be proud of it. <3

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