Aphrodite and the Invisible Consumer Gods
- Gareth K Vile
- 24 August 2018
The goddess of love comes back to become a celebrity
The return of the Greek goddess of love is not an occasion for celebration of desire but a broad condemnation of how celebrity and advertising has oppressed women. Fake adverts bombard Aphrodite with idealised images of the famished woman, a mere object represented by a mannequin, while her campaign to win Instagram followers through a reality TV show exposes the relentless regime required to retain her popularity.
Aphrodite makes some sharp attacks on the beauty myths: when Twitter responds to her divinity, it is not worship but violent complaint she receives. Championing a freedom of identity and a diversity of beauty, Aphrodite is uncompromising, and its message and attitude is important. Unfortunately, the adverts become repetitious, repeating the same point and while the goddess' culture shock provides humour and pathos, the recreation of reality TV and the unctuous host's antagonism reiterates the same points and never allows Aphrodite's resistance to develop a strong plot.
Nevertheless, Aphrodite is a passionate cry for freedom, an articulation of intellectual complaints about the power of advertising with an emotive appeal that, far from a vague moan becomes an articulate and vital critique of the subtle ways of patriarchal manipulation.
ZOO Chateris, until 27 Aug, 8.35pm, £10 (£8.50)