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The Myth of Io and Female Cyborgic Identity


The figure of Io, the priestess of Hera seducted by Zeus and turned into a cow that wanders from Argo to Egypt pursued by a gadfly, shares in Hera’s bovine imagery and can be considered as a mythical paradigm of the unavoidable ‘yoke’ of love and marriage for women. She actually takes back a fully human aspect by means of conceiving and bearing Epaphus, a son with a name that tells his exceptional conception and divine birth. In the light of readings of some core studies concerning the theory of the cyborg, this paper aims at showing that the girl-heifer – sometimes also represented as a girl-bull, a possible link with Dionysus as hypostasis of sexual potency and fertility – does not only undergo a metamorphosis but also inhabits the space of hybrid identity, and considers Io's hybridity in relation to female sexuality and the social position of women in marriage.