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Thread: The Heroine's Journey

  1. #1
    Aerospace engineer turned writer Laer Carroll's Avatar
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    The Heroine's Journey

    Campbell's Hero's Journey is so overdone.

    It's also male-centric. The young male goes out of the family, maybe toward a goal or maybe because he's kicked out. He encounters danger and opportunities. Learns and develops skills and wisdom. Eventually he comes back to the family with riches internal and maybe external. Or he establishes a new family.

    Until recently the Heroine's Journey was ignored. After all, only what men do is important, right?

    Also, what women do until recently was pretty damned boring. She can't go out of the family. She's too weak and unskilled at protecting herself. She'll probably get raped and killed. Stay at home, little girl. Learn to cook and tend babies.

    Of course, this ignores that throughout history women did journey within the confines of the hutch or castle or nomad's tents. They ventured into inter-family and inter-clan politics and other relationships. They learned to make a home which is physically and emotionally comfortable and appealing, which can be a high art as well as a practical one. They created small and sometimes large businesses. They learned about themselves.

    Not as much fun to write about as great orgies of destruction or flight. But worthy of our attention.

    In recent years women have begun to take the Hero's Journey, too. Sometimes they have just copied the tactics of men. But slowly they have begun to shape their own version which is true to their needs and desires. A Heroine's Journey which courts dangers both physical and social and psychological.

    Some would cram this journey into feminist perpective. Fine. But feminism is a moving target. First Wave feminists of the 19th century and early 20th was very different, more restrictive, than the Second Wave of the Sixties and Seventies and Third Wave feminism begun in the 1990s. The Third Wave (for instance) encompasses men's as well as women's needs and the need for a global perspective.

  2. #2
    Dreaming of other times Camilla Delvalle's Avatar
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    Maybe you'd be intereseted in the book Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés. She discusses many fairy-tales about women.

  3. #3
    Roofied by Rylan Bloo's Avatar
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    I think Campbell's use of the word "hero" isn't gender specific. There are many examples of a female heroine following Campbell's "Hero's Journey"

    That's not to say it ISN'T over done or over analyzed but I don't think it's male centric
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  4. #4
    Burninator! CrastersBabies's Avatar
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    The heroine's journey (or as I learned it, "Hera's Journey") is a bit trickier than the patriarchal-heavy Campbell version and Campbell was pretty clear about his "formula" being ill-fitting in regard to women (which I don't fully agree with, but can appreciate his points). I do think it's changing, though, with more edgy female characters and entertainment powers (studios and producers) willing to see darker stories. Still have a long way to go. Where is our comic book heroine with a tortured past a'la The Dark Knight? A lot of people are squeamish when it comes to making women suffer as characters in as severe way as they do men. Perhaps there is the fear of rape or violation.

    I did read Murdock's "The Heroine's Journey" and applied her steps to Jane Eyre for one of my projects in grad school. I found it a bit contrived and "off" at times, but the notion was fascinating (discussing things like the "bad mother" versus the "good mother" and such).

    For another class, I took Campbell's monomyth and inverted some parts (meets "god" not goddess / atonement with "mother" not father, etc) for the Cupid and Psyche story and it fit quite nicely. But, as is often the case with the monomyth, the steps are not always literal, They manifest frequently in metaphor and symbol and have far more meat when you add in Jung or even a touch of alchemy.

    I also wouldn't call women's lives boring in the past, just a bit constrained. You go all the way back to mythology and you're knee-deep in some fantastic stuff. Furthermore, there's a lot of bildungsroman material out there for women, coming of age tales that mirror the monomyth on many levels.
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  5. #5
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Cu Chulainn started at the beginning of the conversation for his charioteer, explaining it all to him in order to shorten their way.

    Intide Emna I said, when she said “Where did you come to us from,” [issed] I said: from Emain Macha. However, it is from this tale that Emain Macha is called Emain Macha:

    Macha, the daughter of Sainrith Mac Inbotha, [the] woman of Crunncu Mac Agnomain, ran against two of the king’s horses after the king compelled her to, so that she died in the running, giving birth to (that is, she bore,) a son and a daughter at a single birth. So that it is from the pair of twins [emain] that is said Emain and so that it is from that Macha that it is called Mag [plain of] Macha.

    Or moreover it is from this it is Emain (or Mag) Macha, as it is in this tale.

    Three kings were in a joint reign over Ireland. They were of the Ulstermen, to wit, Díthorbć son of Demain from Uisniuch of Meath, Aéd the Red son of Baduirn son of Airgetmáil in Tír Áeda, Cimbáeth son of Finntain son of Airgetmáil in Finnabair Maige Inis. It is he who reared Ugaine the Great son of Echdach the Victorious.

    The men made an agreement: each man was to reign seven years. Three sevens of penalties were agreed on between them, comprising seven druids, seven poets, and seven young princes. The seven druids to blister them for ever, the seven poets to satirize and warn them, the seven lords to wound and burn them if one of the men did not step down after seven years at keeping right sovereignty, that is, tree-fruits of every year and without the neglect of shade of every color and without a woman dying from the assembly of women.

    Each man reigned three terms, that is sixty-six years. Aéd the Red died at the beginning, he drowned in Ess Ruaid, and his body was carried into the síth there, so that it is from this it is called Síth Aéda and Ess Rúaid. And he left no children but a daughter, her name was Macha the Red-haired.

    She demanded the kingship in her lawful time. Cimbáeth and Díthorbć said they would not give kingship to a woman. A battle was fought between them. Macha vanquished them. She spent seven years in reign. Díthorbć died in Corann during that time. He left five noble sons, Báeth, and Bras and Betach and Úallach and Borbchas.

    They demanded the kingship. Macha said she would not give it to them, “for not by agreement did I take it,” said she, “but by force in the field of battle.” A battle was fought between them. Macha vanquished the sons of Díthorbć until a slaughter of heads was left near. They fled in exile to the wilderness of Connacht.

    Macha then took Cimbáeth for her husband and as commander of her troop of mercenaries.
    After Macha and Cimbáth were united, Macha went seeking for the sons of Díthorbai in the guise of a leper woman, that is she smeared rye-dough and bog-stuff about her.

    She found them in Bairend Connacht cooking a wild boar. The men asked for news from her, and she told the news to them and they gave food to her at the fire. A man from them said “the eye of this hag is beautiful, let us lie with her.”

    The man took Macha into the forest, where she bound him by means of her strength and left him in the wood. When she came back to the fire, the others asked “Where is the man who went with you?”

    “He was ashamed to come to you,” said Macha, “after lying with a leper woman.”

    “It is no shame,” said they, “for we will all do the same.”

    Each man took Macha into the wood, where she bound each of them in turn, taking them in a single chain with her to Ulster. The Ulsterman said the men should be killed.

    “No,” said Macha, for to kill them would be a violation of true justice for me; but I shall put them under bondage, and they shall dig a ráth about me that will be the chief town of Ulster for ever.” And Macha took the gold pin from about her neck and marked out the lines of the dún with it, thus Emain Macha is named for the gold pin about the neck [muin] of Macha.

    Irish text from Tochmarc Emire. A. G. van Hamel, Tochmarc Emire. Version III, in: Compert Con Culainn and other stories (Medieval and Modern Irish Series, vol. 3) Dublin 1933, reprinted 1978 [edited from Stowe D IV 2 with occasional variants from LU, Harleian 5280 and Rawlinson B 512].

    See: http://www.ucc.ie/celt/online/G301021/ for the Irish.

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  6. #6
    Revolutionize the World kuwisdelu's Avatar
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    I'm suddenly tempted to write a treatise proposing the steps for a heroine's journey by analyzing the structure of various magical girl anime.

  7. #7
    nearly perfect Russell Secord's Avatar
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    I think women prefer conciliation to confrontation. Instead of slaying a dragon, a woman might persuade a knight and a dragon to sit down and discuss their differences. It can be a lot harder to make people get along rather than to let them fight, to find common ground rather than to hurl insults. War is man's work, cruel and wasteful, with death and destruction the only victors. Diplomacy is woman's work. When everyone works together, everyone wins.

    That could be the main arc of the Heroine's Journey--to build and to heal, not to fight and to kill.

  8. #8
    Revolutionize the World kuwisdelu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Russell Secord View Post
    That could be the main arc of the Heroine's Journey--to build and to heal, not to fight and to kill.
    But nothing about the Hero's Journey requires fighting and killing anyway.

    Violence isn't a necessary part of the monomyth at all.

    Death (figurative or literal) is, but death isn't necessarily violent or a result of killing.

  9. #9
    Toughen up. gothicangel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laer Carroll View Post
    Campbell's Hero's Journey is so overdone.

    It's also male-centric. The young male goes out of the family, maybe toward a goal or maybe because he's kicked out. He encounters danger and opportunities. Learns and develops skills and wisdom. Eventually he comes back to the family with riches internal and maybe external. Or he establishes a new family.

    Until recently the Heroine's Journey was ignored. After all, only what men do is important, right?

    Also, what women do until recently was pretty damned boring. She can't go out of the family. She's too weak and unskilled at protecting herself. She'll probably get raped and killed. Stay at home, little girl. Learn to cook and tend babies.

    Of course, this ignores that throughout history women did journey within the confines of the hutch or castle or nomad's tents. They ventured into inter-family and inter-clan politics and other relationships. They learned to make a home which is physically and emotionally comfortable and appealing, which can be a high art as well as a practical one. They created small and sometimes large businesses. They learned about themselves.

    Not as much fun to write about as great orgies of destruction or flight. But worthy of our attention.

    In recent years women have begun to take the Hero's Journey, too. Sometimes they have just copied the tactics of men. But slowly they have begun to shape their own version which is true to their needs and desires. A Heroine's Journey which courts dangers both physical and social and psychological.

    Some would cram this journey into feminist perpective. Fine. But feminism is a moving target. First Wave feminists of the 19th century and early 20th was very different, more restrictive, than the Second Wave of the Sixties and Seventies and Third Wave feminism begun in the 1990s. The Third Wave (for instance) encompasses men's as well as women's needs and the need for a global perspective.
    If you truly believe this, then I suggest reading more. Read some Classical texts such as Lysistrata, Antigone and Medea. Read up on the mythology of the Amazonians, Isis and Dementor. Read some of the Roman Annals that talk about the women warrior queens Boudicca and Cartimandua.

    The Heroine's Journey is not a new idea, excellent examples are Baum's The Wizard of Oz and Jim Henson's Labyrinth. One of my favourite books is The Writer's Journey by Christopher Vogler who talks extensively on the subject.

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  10. #10
    Beastly Fido Roxxsmom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Russell Secord View Post
    I think women prefer conciliation to confrontation. Instead of slaying a dragon, a woman might persuade a knight and a dragon to sit down and discuss their differences. .
    I had a delightful book that was about this very thing when I was a kid. It was called the Reluctant Dragon. It's quite old, but the book has been brought into print over and over and was the template for a Disney film in the 1940s.

    But the protagonist who got St. George and the dragon to talk and work things out was a little boy, not a little girl.

    On average, you may be right. But there are so many exceptions. There are men who abhor conflict and women who seek it, and almost everyone has a point where they will fight to defend themselves or someone they care for.

    And even in nature, combat between males is most often ritualized, and usually resolved before anyone is really hurt. Natural selection generally favors individuals of wither sex who can resolve conflict gracefully and live to fight (or breed) another day. The human condition, with leaders ordering subordinates to fight in large scale wars over often abstract ideals is not something you see either gender doing in nature and is hard to explain from an evolutionary viewpoint (not that many socio-biologists haven't tried).
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  11. #11
    Holding out for a Superhero... Sheryl Nantus's Avatar
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    Obviously you don't read much romance. Or urban fantasy that has female lead characters.


  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW Candienziia's Avatar
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    I think the issue is that a lot of literary theory is based upon the classics which, with few exceptions, are extremely sexist by today's standards. Sure, Antigone featured a "strong woman," but the play takes a relatively hostile attitude toward her, and her death isn't really considered "tragic" by the play itself until Haemon's death happens as a reaction. The idea that the things woman do can and should be valued is an extremely new idea if you consider it in terms of whether it is acknowledged by society at large.

    What I find interesting is how many of the women posting on this thread are ready to make generalizations about their own gender. Personally, I don't like that any of my personality traits may be assumed merely because I have a vagina, whether the speaker is a man or a woman. As far as psychology of gender differences are concerned, women do tend to seek social interactions and are better able to share their feelings, but it treats their ability to do so as a social construct rather than a biological consequence.

    Returning to the OP, though, I agree, Campbell's ideas in general are very dated. I had to read Campbell and Moyers "The Power of Myth" for one of my classes and his opinions regarding non-christian religion and non-western cultures are equally frustrating.
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  13. #13
    I've seen worse. SuperModerator ColoradoGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Candienziia View Post
    Returning to the OP, though, I agree, Campbell's ideas in general are very dated. I had to read Campbell and Moyers "The Power of Myth" for one of my classes and his opinions regarding non-christian religion and non-western cultures are equally frustrating.
    I agree -- Campbell is dated. But it is interesting to me how work like his leads to further discussions and, I think, intellectual progress.

    Nobody reads Durkheim for deep insights these days, but sociology would hardly exist without him. Closer to Campbell, the same could be said for Frazer's Golden Bough. Or even Freud, for that matter.
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  14. #14
    practical experience, FTW Candienziia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColoradoGuy View Post
    Nobody reads Durkheim for deep insights these days, but sociology would hardly exist without him. Closer to Campbell, the same could be said for Frazer's Golden Bough. Or even Freud, for that matter.
    That's the beauty of the humanities: you don't have to be right even 99% of the time, you just have to contribute in a way which allows those who follow to build upon what you've said. Of course, it does make psychology lectures a lot more interesting, too. Psych professors don't really know what to do when they're teaching Freud anymore since so many of his theories have been discredited. I mean, except for the one that allows for stream of consciousness, of course (Woolf fans can all breathe easy).
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  15. #15
    Out of the cradle endlessly rocking Exir's Avatar
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    Sure, Antigone featured a "strong woman," but the play takes a relatively hostile attitude toward her, and her death isn't really considered "tragic" by the play itself until Haemon's death happens as a reaction.
    I disagree, especially if you consider the play in conjunction with her role in "Oedipus at Colonus" (Sophocles' prequel).

    ETA: I think it is Aristotle who described Antigone's plot as a tragedy with double plot. Meaning that there are two tragic characters with their respective downfalls: Antigone's downfall happens first, CREON's downfall happens second. Both of their downfalls are brought about by their own actions and flaws, hence tragic. Haemon's death is NOT tragic, though it contributes to bringing about Creon's tragic downfall, the same way that Polynices's death is not tragic, but contributes to Antigone's tragic downfall.
    Last edited by Exir; 04-23-2013 at 09:13 PM.
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  16. #16
    Burninator! CrastersBabies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Russell Secord View Post
    I think women prefer conciliation to confrontation. Instead of slaying a dragon, a woman might persuade a knight and a dragon to sit down and discuss their differences. It can be a lot harder to make people get along rather than to let them fight, to find common ground rather than to hurl insults. War is man's work, cruel and wasteful, with death and destruction the only victors. Diplomacy is woman's work. When everyone works together, everyone wins.

    That could be the main arc of the Heroine's Journey--to build and to heal, not to fight and to kill.
    I don't agree. I think watching a female "hero" only work her epic arc in diplomatic terms would pretty much serve as yet another example of why women aren't allowed to go to war, fight, act violently, protect, avenge, and so forth.

    I get what you are saying and I see no issue with a writer taking that path, but to suggest that's how a heroine's journey should work is a bit off, imho.
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  17. #17
    practical experience, FTW Candienziia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Exir View Post
    ETA: I think it is Aristotle who described Antigone's plot as a tragedy with double plot. Meaning that there are two tragic characters with their respective downfalls: Antigone's downfall happens first, CREON's downfall happens second.
    To say that the play is NOT hostile toward Antigone is to completely ignore its language. I have no idea whether you're correct or not about Aristotle, but, the larger point I was making is that even the classics which make allowances for women, do so in a way that is also completely sexist. I would imagine that if Aristotle was the one who originally called Antigone a double tragedy, it had more to do with women's required roles as the keepers of birth and death than any belief that she was acting reasonably.

    Perhaps a better example would be The Inferno, which seems to allow women to commit horrible sins and still be placed in the ring designated for lust, because women don't deserve to be punished as harshly for their actions, since they're so irrational, volatile, and sex-crazed they can't possibly know what they're doing.

    Then there's The Odyssey, in which women serve to help Odysseus and Telemachus in many ways, but the only one who isn't a malicious trickster is Athena, who spends most of the work in a male form, and even when she's in her feminine goddess form on Olympus, she deceives and undermine's Poseidon's authority by holding a counsel meeting in his absence. Otherwise, the women are all deceitful seductresses.
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  18. #18
    practical experience, FTW blrude's Avatar
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    I read a screenwriting book a couple of years ago called The Virgin's Promise, which shows the "feminine" mirror of the Hero's Journey (with beats like Dressing the Part and Secret World instead of Refusing the Call or Supernatural aid). The focus of these types of stories is watching a character reconcile two warring parts within her (or him), and having the world accept her.

    Oddly enough, many of the movies it uses as examples have male protagonists, but it does show how prevalent this structure is within modern movies.

    My favorite part of this book was the use of virgin and whore as archetypes -- virgin being a fulfilled, self-sufficient character, while the whore gives up important parts of herself to satisfy the demands of others, and this is the character arc of the virgin's promise.

    My only disappointment was that a good portion of the back of the book was devoted to scripting the beats of movies, half of which I hadn't seen. But it still might be worth reading if you are really searching for more on the hero's journey for women.
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  19. #19
    Revolutionize the World kuwisdelu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrastersBabies View Post
    I don't agree. I think watching a female "hero" only work her epic arc in diplomatic terms would pretty much serve as yet another example of why women aren't allowed to go to war, fight, act violently, protect, avenge, and so forth.
    There's absolutely nothing in the Hero's Journey that explicitly requires any kind of fighting or violence or an enemy to be defeated, and you can have a male Hero's Journey that completely lacks those things and uses diplomacy to solve problems, so defining a Heroine's journey that way is flawed anyway.

    ETA: Totally just realized I said this exact same thing earlier in the thread.

  20. #20
    Revolutionize the World kuwisdelu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuwisdelu View Post
    I'm suddenly tempted to write a treatise proposing the steps for a heroine's journey by analyzing the structure of various magical girl anime.
    Okay, I'm actually going to do this.

    While the Hero's Journey actually works perfectly well for a female hero, I do see lots of major deviations from it in works that I would consider prototypical of a "Heroine's Journey". It's hard to make conclusions about what constitutes a "man's journey" versus a "woman's journey" without falling neck-deep in gender biases and stereotypical gender roles, but I'm going to try. I'm not nearly as well-read on classical texts as some of the other posters here, so for better or worse, I'm building off of modern examples.

    In particular, as I mentioned, I am thinking of the genre of magical girl anime, and series like Revolutionary Girl Utena, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, and Magical Girl Madoka Magica. I am also considering Western shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which I think can basically be considered a Western take on the magical girl genre.

    I'm just going to go through the steps of the monomyth as given on Wikipedia and give some of my thoughts on them...

    In the very first steps in the Hero's Journey, you have the Call to Adventure and Refusal of the Call. But in works I consider Heroine's Journeys, it usually goes the opposite way. The heroine seeks adventure, but her desire is refused, often by society or some other artificial hindrance. Or, there is a call, but she doesn't refuse it. There is often less internal conflict over whether to accept the call in a Heroine's Journey, and more external conflict due to outside forces that make acceptance of the call difficult for the heroine.

    I think Supernatural Aid is a rather gender-neutral step, and I'd leave this one alone, as I think it works basically the same in both.

    Then you have Crossing of the First Threshold and the Belly of the Whale. Here I think is where the Heroine's Journey begins to deviate further from the classical Hero's Journey. In the male version, there is a departure from the hero's familiar world, and a journey into an unfamiliar world which is new and different from the old. I think it works differently for heroines. Rather than a departure, there is often a revelation that the familiar world is different than it appears, and there is the discovery of new and unfamiliar things in the same world. The post above me mentions a "Secret World" as a possible step in the Heroine's Journey, and I think that fits this idea perfectly. I think the Belly of the Whale works sort of the same as in the Hero's Journey, but represents a different kind of separation from the old self, since in the heroine's journey, the two worlds are actually the same. For a heroine, this could represent an acceptance that the Secret World is the real one, and the familiar world is a facade, for example. These steps are exemplified by the revelation that vampires and demons exist and slayers are born to fight them, that witches exist and magical girls exist to fight them, and that there are secret duels and a floating castle above Ohtori Academy.

    I'd add a step before the Road of Trials, called something like Collection of Companions. The male monomyth is very much about a lone hero, and even though in many versions there are companions, there is not nearly as much emphasis placed on the idea of friends and companions, but I think it's emphasized much more explicitly in the stories I'm considering Heroine's Journeys.

    I think the Road of Trials can fit into the Heroine's Journey in some ways, but I'll introduce one way it doesn't fit, which I think is a key difference in how I think the Heroine's Journey differs from the Hero's Journey: the goal. The male monomyth is extremely goal-oriented, even if that goal is an arbitrary MacGuffin to justify the adventure in the first place. The Hero's Journey is thoroughly and essentially quest-like. The Heroine's Journey is antithetical to this. Maybe a short-term goal of defeating the Big Bad is introduced, but that's rarely ever the main goal, and the "goal" in a Heroine's Journey tend to be much more abstract. Buffy must slay vampires and protect the world. The magical girls in Madoka must fight witches to protect the world. Utena wants to become a prince and protect Anthy. In a Hero's Journey, the Road of Trails is a path toward the goal at the end of the quest. In a Heroine's Journey, it's often part of a never-ending struggle.

    Now we get to some of the really problematic ones. The Meeting with the Goddess, the Woman as Temptress, and Atonement with the Father.

    I don't think it's as simple as replacing the Meeting with the Goddess with a God, and since love and companionship is often emphasized from the beginning with a Heroine's Journey, the encounter of love doesn't fully fit. There are examples of it, but I don't think it's a necessary step in a Heroine's Journey. I would replace it with maybe something like Testing of Friendships.

    The Woman as Temptress obviously doesn't work, and I don't think the whole step really works in a Heroine's Journey at all, even if you replace the woman with a man, or just consider it in terms of a false and seductively easy answer to troubles. That doesn't really happen in the stories I consider Heroine's Journeys. Rather, there's often a Rejection of the Burden. This isn't quite like refusal of the call. Instead, it's the heroine's struggle with the endless nature of her struggle, questioning whether it will in fact ever end, or if it's even possible, or if it was a good idea in the first place.

    Likewise, for Atonement with the Father, I don't think you can just replace the father with a mother, though again there examples of that being used. Since the essence of this step is essentially about being initiated by a figure of ultimate power over the hero's life, I don't think it fits with the Heroine's Journey at all. I think the Heroine's Journey rejects that, and instead I'd replace it with Acceptance of the Self. This is the step after the heroine overcomes Rejection of the Burden, when she decides to believe in herself as a heroine. It's about believing in her own heroism.

    Like Supernatural Aid, I think Apotheosis is pretty gender-neutral, and works perfectly fine in the Heroine's Journey.

    Finally, I don't think the Ultimate Boon has any place in the Heroine's Journey at all. The Heroine's Journey isn't quest-oriented in the first place, and so there's no point to the step. The Heroine's Journey will never end as long as the world remains the same.

    Which brings us to...

    Revolutionize the World!

    I'm just going to group together all of the "Return"-type steps, since they're basically just alternate endings to the Hero's Journey, and rarely do they all occur in the same story, unlike the other steps. However, they all carry the same theme in the hero making some kind of peace between his old, familiar world, and the new world he has encountered on the adventure. This doesn't work at all in the Heroine's Journey, because part of the inherent difference I've suggested is that these worlds are different faces of the same world. The Secret World completely overlaps with the heroine's previous, familiar world. So how is this handled in the Heroine's Journey? I think the Heroine's Journey tends to end by rejecting the system itself. The heroine always picks a third option.

    That's why the final step is Revolutionize the World. In believing in her own heroism, the heroine develops the power to overcome the endless struggle by changing the rules themselves. The heroine neither stays in the Secret World, nor does the heroine return to her previous world (which would in fact be possible anyway, because you can't un-see the Masquerade). Rather the heroine changes the world itself, and leaves both her original world and the Secret World behind.

    (spoilers abound below)

    Utena destroys the castle and leaves Ohtori Academy, freeing Anthy from her burden. In the movie version, Utena and Anthy leave for the real world together. Nanoha rejects that her enemies are enemies at all, and in defeating them, she "befriends" them, and turns them into her companions. Madoka uses her power to rewrite the laws of the universe so that magical girls don't become witches, finally ending the cycle of despair, and becomes a god who exists outside of time. Buffy rejects that she is a lone heroine (incidentally, a rule initiated by men who must have subscribed to the Hero's Journey) and awakens slayer powers in every potential; then she finally takes the fight to Hell itself, destroys the Hellmouth once and for all, and leaves Sunnydale.

    (end spoilers)

    I'd love to hear what everyone thinks of this potential model of the Heroine's Journey. I think I've done my best to avoid ingraining any inherent gender biases or gender roles into it, and instead build the steps from the stories I love most about heroines and the common motifs they exhibit. I also think it can work perfectly well for a male character (and can think of at least one anime example that does follow this pattern with a male hero). But this is my idea of a woman taking a woman's journey, a Heroine's Journey.
    Last edited by kuwisdelu; 05-21-2013 at 11:49 PM.

  21. #21
    Toughen up. gothicangel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Candienziia View Post
    I think the issue is that a lot of literary theory is based upon the classics which, with few exceptions, are extremely sexist by today's standards. Sure, Antigone featured a "strong woman," but the play takes a relatively hostile attitude toward her, and her death isn't really considered "tragic" by the play itself until Haemon's death happens as a reaction. The idea that the things woman do can and should be valued is an extremely new idea if you consider it in terms of whether it is acknowledged by society at large.
    Firstly, as an English graduate it is wrong to judge ancient literature by modern morals.

    Secondly, it was written by a Greek for performance to the Greeks. Their attitudes towards women where worse than the Romans!
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  22. #22
    Pain in the writing wrist Cramp's Avatar
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    Kuwis, the analysis would probably need to stretch beyond motifs of a single genre from a narrow time period for it to become a true model of a Heroine's Journey (unless of course you just want to model the magical girl genre).

  23. #23
    pretending to be awake onesecondglance's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cramp View Post
    Kuwis, the analysis would probably need to stretch beyond motifs of a single genre from a narrow time period for it to become a true model of a Heroine's Journey (unless of course you just want to model the magical girl genre).
    A wider lens wouldn't hurt, but first I have to applaud kuwi. That's a pretty damn awesome piece of work.
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  24. #24
    Revolutionize the World kuwisdelu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cramp View Post
    Kuwis, the analysis would probably need to stretch beyond motifs of a single genre from a narrow time period for it to become a true model of a Heroine's Journey (unless of course you just want to model the magical girl genre).
    Of course you're right. It's simply an incredibly convenient source of lower-case "heroine's journeys", and I'm not nearly widely read enough to reliably pull from other sources.

    (And it's probably not even a true model of the magical girl genre, considering I'm not even widely enough watched in it either, and — as befits the purpose of discussing monomyth — I purposely chose the most influential and resonant examples that have had wide appeal and deep impact.)

    Quote Originally Posted by onesecondglance View Post
    A wider lens wouldn't hurt, but first I have to applaud kuwi. That's a pretty damn awesome piece of work.
    Why thank you.

    After writing that, I did come to observe a couple interesting ways I think my description vs. Campbell's monomyth differ, and how they reflect upon gender roles in many cultures. (And in many ways, I think these statements can be generalized to "heroic journey from a minority perspective".)

    The nature of the journey and the "two worlds" itself is probably different in a Heroine's Journey. In the Hero's Journey, the worlds are separate. The Shire vs. Morder. Tatooine vs. the Death Star. Going on the journey speaks to a fundamental difference between the old world and the new. In a heroine's journey, the old world is carried into the new one, or there is no true difference between them. To make a real-world analogy to the impact of sex and gender, a female soldier who goes to fight on foreign soil, will still face sexism and misogyny from fellow soldiers.

    The final step of "Revolutionize the World" I think could speak to how women and minorities can be in constant struggle against the limitations of their station, and to truly triumph in the end requires the whole system to be overturned.

    Lastly, the whole fact that the Hero's Journey is so quest-driven (which I think is also emblematic of its Western-bias as much as its male-bias) must surely be indicative of something, but I'm having trouble expressing it without over-generalizing. I'll just say that it seems a common pattern in dealing with problems that women will discuss it and men will try to "fix" it, however practical or impractical it may be.

    While I think over-simplifying it to the level of "diplomacy vs warfare" is indeed problematic, I think there may be something to the Hero's Journey being like a quest, and the Heroine's Journey being more like a conversation. Of course, this is on a purely metaphoric level, and any good writer must know a conversation can be ripe with conflict and confrontation.

  25. #25
    nearly perfect Russell Secord's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cramp View Post
    Kuwis, the analysis would probably need to stretch beyond motifs of a single genre from a narrow time period for it to become a true model of a Heroine's Journey...
    You have to start somewhere. And there aren't all that many stories about epic quests starring women. The original post says as much. We're discussing a very rare thing, a new genre.

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