Excerpt from Emily Short's longer post. Do read the thread below - many good points made
"Months ago I ran across a description of "the heroine's journey," a counterpart to the hero's journey, a concept summarized like this:
"The Heroine begins from a position of minimal privilege, but has some powerful goal or passion. She may then take on a mentor or helper to assist her in her attempt to escape her traditional role and do what she wants in life. Along the way, she rejects or loses a 'typical' romance with a man who wants to protect her but who would stifle her. She undergoes further trials in the attempt to establish herself; if she does marry/become romantically attached, it’s much later in the story, after she's distinguished herself as an individual and met someone who is willing to regard her as an equal. Alternatively, sometimes she ends up alone but self-realized to some degree."
That story format resonated with me, but when I described it to one of my friends, he said, "I don't know. What I think of as heroic is sacrificing yourself for others." In other words, he suggested, the story I'd outlined was the story of selfishness, not heroism.
The Life of Sacrifice
Sometime back I wrote about Delicious Emily's Holiday Season, a time management game that featured a surprising amount of narrative content and a branching storyline...."
Read the full post here:
A very interesting post - one great gap in the discussion thread is Joseph Campbell's very clear statement on the heroine's journey. In Campbell's TV series with Bill Moyers, The Power of Myth, he presented a trans-cultural analysis of archetypes across different spiritual systems. In one episode, he states explicitly that the young girl's journey is different from the boy or young man's and that is is determined by the experience of childbearing and that this biological experience determines the female journey. It's a striking moment in the series, as his popularization of the Hero's Myth in contemporary culture and Star Wars in particular is absolutely gender determined.
Granted, Campbell was working from ancient myths and legends and biological determinacy is no longer the sole or primary factor for girls and young women. Yet, as any woman knows, juggling children and a career, let alone adventure is a challenge.
So, it's great to see this discussion under way - it definitely deserves greater attention and rigorous critical updating to reflect contemporary models and experience.