The Cassandra metaphor is used to refer to a person who believes he can predict the future but is powerless to change it. This strange phenomenon can be a torment for those experiencing it when they make predictions that other people don’t believe.
In Greek mythology, Cassandra was one of the princesses of Troy. She was the daughter of Priam and Hecuba. Kassandra was a beautiful woman blessed with the gift of predicting the future. However, no one believed her predictions.
Cassandra managed to anticipate the outcome of many catastrophic events. For example, she predicted that her people would accept the famous Trojan Horse. Kassandra’s family thought she was crazy.
They didn’t believe her seemingly nonsensical story about the Greeks’ purpose to attack the city. However, we all know that Cassandra was right. The Trojans were defeated. Their city was stripped of its power and destroyed.
Kassandra was a woman no one understood. Some versions of the myth say that her gift was a divine punishment imposed on her by the god Apollo. This punishment was due to Kassandra’s rejection of the deity. He got his revenge by giving her a gift that would only frustrate her.
The Cassandra Metaphor and the Invisibility of Women
The term Cassandra metaphor has been coined based on the stories about Cassandra. People have applied it to individuals who tend to make predictions, often disastrous, that other people don’t believe.
As a result of scientific progress, our society tends towards rationality and empiricism. This form of thinking ignores irrational ideas such as imaginative visions.
So most people ignore these kinds of findings or believe they are just coincidence. Even in Ancient Greece, the prevailing patriarchal society regarded femininity as synonymous with incompleteness, weakness, and a susceptibility to domination and oppression.
At that time, submission and silence were virtues that women should possess. This mentality still exists today to some extent. It has pushed many women into invisibility.
The Cassandra metaphor may explain how patriarchal thought has taken responsibility for some women’s achievements. So it doesn’t recognize the successes of women.
Patriarchal thinking then attributes women’s successes to figures such as their father, brother or husband. Today it is not difficult to determine this invisibility in women. In the media, for example, a woman’s success depends on her physical appearance.
The woman as commodity and property
The myth tells that the soldiers gave Cassandra as a gift to the Greek king Agamemnon as soon as the Greeks defeated and captured Troy. This story is an old mirror.
It also shows us how society sees a woman’s body as a commodity. People still regard it as an object for the pleasure of the man or as a form of advertising to sell products.
The objectification of the female body is still the order of the day. That is one reason why most women face significant barriers to their personal and professional development.
In other words, society judges women more on their physical appearance or age than on their skills, intellectual potential or achievements. After overcoming multiple hurdles and drawbacks, some women manage to gain access to positions of power.
They also gain recognition for roles that go beyond those traditionally expected of them. Beauty or the ability to care for others are some examples of these traditional traits.
Many women are often hindered, disqualified or simply not taken seriously. We can relate this directly to the Cassandra metaphor. It is the perfect example of how a society remains deaf to women’s achievements that transcend stereotypes.