She strutted her stuff across the pages of history, the original badass chick aka harlot with a heart.  Just to make sure none of us miss the scarlet woman allusion, she is usually depicted with a crimson cloak and russet curls.

Yet nowhere in the Bible does it say that Mary Magdalene had golden hair or wore a red cloak, never mind worked as a prostitute.  That spin came later, a by-product of a belief system that rules by fear and likes to delegate women to the role of terrifying temptress. Move over Murdoch and Blair.  This was the hatchet job to bury them all.

There is, after all, nothing more frightening than a vagina backed up by a smart mouth and mind.  And from the little we know about her, it seems Mary Magdalene was blessed with the lot. So, badass – maybe.  But goddess? Well, it takes one divine woman to stir up the kind of reaction she did.  She must have scared the shit out of the original ‘jobs for the boys’ club, the Apostles, not least because of her relationship with Jesus.

The Son of God making like a mortal with a woman? Not great when you’ve based an entire religion on the concept of original sin.

In fact, it was Pope Gregory who libelled Mary Magdalene in the 6th Century when he erroneously conflated her with a ‘sinful woman’ mentioned in the chapter before Mary makes her entrance in the Gospel of St Luke. No-one bothered to correct him for centuries so the woman who had supported Jesus financially and spiritually become a harlot with a dubious past rather than the early feminist she was in reality.

This strong, independent woman was finally recognised by Pope Francis who, in 2016, declared 22nd July a feast day in her honourm raisng it from a mere memorial day and puting her on a par with the apostles. She was first to see the empty tomb along with the Virgin Mary and first to hear the truth of the resurrection, in essence an eyewitness.

As for the stories about her bearing Jesus children, about being his ‘Beloved’ – who knows?  If – and whisper this – Mary actually had a sexual relationship with a man who was also considered a god then any woman who has ever slept with a mummy’s boy can relate.  So good for her.

And him.  Because to suggest there is anything shameful about it is to perpetuate the myth that one of the most sacred acts between two people is somehow wicked and dirty. Of course, some of the best sex of all is wicked and dirty but it can also be tender, life-affirming.  A conduit to the gods.

But wicked and dirty is how we are supposed to feel about Mary.  A soiled woman. Sullied.  Someone who committed the sin of shining brighter than the others, of being beautiful, brave and bold enough to win the heart of an icon.  If loving someone with your heart, body and soul is badass then bring it on and being eternally linked to the hue that signals danger is no bad thing in my book.  Red is my favourite colour for so many reasons, not least because it is impossible to ignore.

A passionate woman who inspires devotion rather than revulsion. A badass, kickass, never kiss-ass creature whose loyalty and compassion underpinned a free spirit.  Mary Magdalene was true to herself, and the man she loved, in whatever way she loved him.  She glided this earth like a goddess and deserves to be seen as such.

Wherever she is, in reality, myth or allegory, I like to think of her swathed in that crimson cloak exuding attitude.  Red’s the colour of love and life, after all.  If Mary Magdalene was a scarlet woman then so am I, loud and proud.  It’s far more fun than fading into the pastel footnotes of history. Or leading a sanitised, monochrome, ultimately wasted life.