Thursday, July 24, 2008

Heroic Male Model & Female Equivalent

Here is an elaboration from classfellow A.C. given in seminar last week around a discussion around the idea that we have encountered in our course texts that adopting male values as the standard for females is not a progressive move.
Female characters who follow the typical male heroic journey are few and far
between. Those who have become successful female heroes are predominantly
written by men. The question I posed regarded the absence of strong female
characters written by women. It seems that if a woman were to write a character
like 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' she would not be successful. My presentation did
take on a different path than I had originally intended and the question posed
to me by you, Dr Ogden, was do I think that in order to be equal women must
follow the typical male heroic journey, or could they have their own equal
female heroic journey. For my own personal reasons I would like to see a female
character follow the typical male heroic journey, but more specifically I would
like to see her written by a female. However, I do not think that both sexes
have to follow the same formula for the heroic journey in order to be equal.
Unfortunately....if a female were to write strong female characters she would be
labeled as a feminist and avoided by the majority of mainstream readers. While
female heroes are getting more popular, it seems that they are only popular if
they are written by men.
Variations on this question are treated vigorously in many of your Group projects.....


Aleisha said...

There's a typo in the second sentence of the quote. It should read "Those who have become successful female heroes are predominantly
written by men." Looking back that's my mistake, I had it wrong in the email I sent.


Dr. Stephen Ogden said...


Rosellas_Handmaidens said...

I think your personal reasons are valid, Aleisha. I don't think it's right, or even close to wise, to call the heroic journey male. The heroic journey as we know it comes out of Grecian myth, and Germanic myth. Much of what has survived the purgation of Christendom would have been retold by Christian men. The very fact that you have the desire (and you're not alone in that desire, I'm sure) to see the woman's heroic tale told by a woman is to me a clear indication that said heroic tale exists in our collective sub-conscious. I might encourage you to look into the Descent of Inanna into the Underworld. (Inanna is Sumerian; Ishtar is Babylonian; and Persephone/Demeter is Grecian.) Take a look, because there's strength there that your heart desires. (Also, there's a great tie-in with Labyrinth, if you look hard enough and in the right light.)