The Heroine in Fiction I
Most of us have heard of the Hero’s Journey and its champion, Joseph Campbell. The hero’s journey follows established steps such as the call to action, the gathering of allies, the road of trials, being tested, etc. as we have seen in countless movies. Think The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, The Matrix, Star Wars and many others. According to Campbell, the task of the hero is to shatter the established order and create community anew. What we are seeing today is an attempt to include the feminine in this adventure, but the way this is being done is false at its roots. The male hero is extracted; he is replaced by a female hero; everything else remains exactly the same. We can see this in the movie Wonder Woman. This doesn’t work very well. Why? Well, girls entering womanhood have a different starting point from boys, their backgrounds have been different, and they have very different skills and abilities. The fact that women go on their own journeys that utilise their own strengths is mostly ignored by the main stream media. The idea of the Heroine’s Journey is a pattern of this voyage, this path and where it leads is not to the shattering of order, but to its enhancement through feminine skills, including (but not exclusively) strong communication skills, consideration for others, and an emphasis cooperation rather than competition. It is a long journey with many steps, some very difficult, some spiritual, some lonely. Explore these steps and find, at the end of the journey, your own personal place of arrival. These ideas are based on the 1990 book The Heroine’s Journey by Maureen Murdock, an excellent examination of the feminine situation, but one which has been rapidly overtaken by events. No one will deny that the last thirty years have seen immense changes in this area, but the essentials of a woman’s journey remains the same.
A note on the terms Masculine and Feminine (from the book The Heroine's Journey) The terms feminine and masculine are used to describe ways of being; inherent principles of human existence embodied by both men and women. They do not refer to gender. The concept of feminine has been distorted by western culture to convey woman/weakness while the concept of masculine has been distorted to convey man/strength. In the course these words instead refer to a continuum of attributes inherent in all human beings, and are not limited by gender. Part of a woman's quest is to identify her own ways of being, comfortable for herself, without the limitations imposed by words such as feminine and masculine.