“People who are placed on pedestals are expected to pose, perfectly. Then they get knocked off when they fuck it up.”
― Roxane Gay, Bad Feminist: Essays

I suppose I could’ve just as well posted this under “life” or any other category, but I chose “feminism”. Being a feminist myself, and also having “discovered” Roxane Gay recently (she’s a very famous), I thought the quote captured my reaction to a video I recently saw. I was perusing YouTube the other day (which I’m addicted to), where I came across a documentary on Baba Vanga, one of the most celebrated psychics in the world. My heart dropped when she in the second part of it says that men as infallible and every woman is a “slut” (her words). Paradoxically she goes on telling a story about a male client who was a womanizer, but a good man. ?!?! To see what I’m writing about, copy and paste https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9EVhngrfzY&t=205s, with these inflammatory comments featured at the very beginning of it.

It makes me sad to see women tear each other down in this way, in particular people who purport themselves to be spiritually aware. Ironically, she was almost banned from the church she funded because the pristest considered her a witch and embarrassment. Now, I do understand that Baba Vanga, who was born in 1911 to poor farmers, lacks our current perspective on equality, but I was hoping it would’ve been somewhat compensated by her connection to the divine. Alas no. In the clip, you also see her working, which considering her reputation, is slightly disappointing. Well, not really, as the documentary covers her final days, so of course she wasn’t at the top of her game. There is an earlier documentary, from 1976, titled ФЕНОМЕН (FENOMEN), which unfortunately is in Bulgarian and without subtitles. The full film is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoTOIn0RIIM&t=2s, if anybody speaks Bulgarian.

The later portrayal has left me a bit torn and sad. I don’t expect people to be perfect by any means, and I know how complicated psychic work can be, but perhaps I’ve placed Baba Vanga on a pedestal. I’ve read and heard so many fantastical stories about her, that seeing her talk about women this way was a bit devastating. If she really had this view of women, I wonder how she related to her female clients. Allegedly, she accurately – albeit morosely – predicted the death of the very popular Yugoslavian artist, Silvana Armenulic. Silvana was apparently a huge believer, and was understandably quite shaken after the consultation. How much that impacted her demise is hard to say, but I (like most people, it seems) know very little of Baba Vanga’s actual body of work to make some grand conclusion about her mistreating women because of internalized misogyny. Sometimes it’s perhaps better to leave things alone. Pedestals are indeed a problem.