1. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    Female Protagonists on the Hero's Journey

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by John Calligan, Apr 16, 2018.

    There has been some scholarly work done on the feminine hero's journey:

    https://heroinejourneys.com/heroines-journey/

    [​IMG]
    ^ This one goes back to one of Joseph Campbell's students, who developed it through therapy with her clients, believing that the heroes journey as presented didn't cut it.

    I'll need to read some examples to really get the above chart.

    Personally, I have a feeling that the standard HJ is applicable to many kinds of fiction, especially if you interpret things broadly. For reference:

    [​IMG]

    Take one of my favorite romance novels, a f/f love story written by a woman, probably for women. The plot points follow the HJ pretty well:

    Call to Adventure: Highschool friend returns home successful and rich, asks girl to come work with her
    Supernatural Aid: Support of friends
    Threshold Guardian: Coming out to family
    Mentor: New friends show her the ropes of the job
    Challenges and Temptations: Entering a relationship
    Abyss: Classic mid book breakup due to terrible social pressures and disaster
    Transformation: Reconciling with internal attitudes and feelings about society
    Atonement: Getting back together
    Return: HEA

    What do you say?

    I edited out the corny JP video and the pictures because I didn't articulate what I was saying well, and sorry for the confusion.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2018
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  2. Thundair

    Thundair Senior Member

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  3. BayView

    BayView Contributor Contributor

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    I didn't listen to the video clip, but the chart of the heroine's journey seems like total crap, to me. Why the hell does a woman's "journey" need to be all tied in with gender stuff?

    I'm not too tied to the hero's journey idea to begin with, but I can't see why it can't be unisex...
     
  4. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    I always thought it was unisex until I heard Peterson talk about it, looked online, and found that chart.
     
  5. izzybot

    izzybot Deadly Jerry Contributor

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    The hero's journey isn't gendered, itself, so I see no reason to create a 'feminine' one. Kind of sounds like those Bic ~For Women~ pens -- it's a fuckin' pen, man. You don't need to change it.

    I'm also not sure why it's relevant that WW falls outside of the typical female experience, when the same could be said for Batman, Superman, Iron Man, etc for men. They're superheroes. Of course we're not all out here punching buildings in half. It's the emotions of these characters that we relate to, and Wondy's emotional journey is one that your average person can understand. You have to look outside of actiony genre flicks for scenarios that are relatable. But ... I'm not as interested in watching those, so you're on your own, there.
     
  6. Cephus

    Cephus Member

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    Because unfortunately, the people who tend to complain also tend to be massive identitarians. They're not looking for a good story, they're looking for a good FEMALE story. Or BLACK story. Or GAY story. They only care about the identity politics behind it, not about the story itself. Race, gender, sexual orientation, all of those things matter to them far more than just telling a good story with interesting characters.
     
  7. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    I'm totally at a loss about the feminine hero's journey. A man can do all sorts of things, but a woman's journey has to be ABOUT being a woman? Why?

    I suppose if we assume that the default human is a man, then the weirdest thing about a woman-human IS that she's a woman. That's her big deviation from the default, so of course that has to be the focus of all the stories about her, right?

    Edited to add: I also agree that Wonder Woman is no more different from the average woman than Superman is different from the average man.
     
  8. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    Edited to make this point clearer, since I'm hearing about it:

    I thought that maybe more men than women would relate to a violent heroes journey, even though there are many women with violent lives or jobs. It is more clear now that even violent heroes journeys are allegories for inner struggles, so everyone can get behind them, even if they don't experience violence.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2018
  9. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Well, you seem to be assuming that the hero’s journey must always be about violence, and literal violence rather than just conflict. Is that really part of the definition?
     
  10. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    These quotes are from earlier in the thread:

     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2018
  11. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    I read those posts. But you seem to be regarding a hero’s journey without violence to be an oddity.

    It would be more useful if you responded to my post.
     
  12. BayView

    BayView Contributor Contributor

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    ?
     
  13. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    Sure. It sounds like you are asking me if I think the heroes journey should apply to all kinds of stories, or only violent ones. Is that right?

    Not only did I think that the heroes journey is unisex, but I also thought it applied to all kinds of stories. It was only recently that I realized that many people disagree with that notion.

    So yes, I believe the heroes journey applies across the table, as I described when I drew parallels to the romance novel.
     
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  14. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    https://tierneylab.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/09/05/the-missing-men-in-your-family-tree/

     
  15. John-Wayne

    John-Wayne Madman with a pen in hand Contributor

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    Some times I feel like my lack of "Official" or "University" level literature education is an asset to my stories. Though I find the thread interesting, This is stuff I have never even thought about nor cared to. In fact this is the first time I've heard of the "Heroes' Journey,", When I write, it's usually about my characters journey, sure they may have parts of the "Heroes' Journey" or whatever but it's about them and their story. and I have both Male and Female characters who go on their journeys.


    I fully agree with BayView here, though as I said it's about the Character's Journey.


    For some reason I find this highly offensive, and I don't get offended to easily. "Men are More Likely to be Violent" because women can't be violent.... nor can men be peaceful.
     
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  16. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    I'm not sure I said that women "can't be violent." If anything, I said the opposite by explaining my view that people have traits on a bell curve. I also showed some pictures of women on the extreme end of the bell curve: champion MMA fighters and attack helicopter pilots, both of who have much more violent lives than anything I can relate too.

    When I say men are more likely to engage in violent behavior, I mean that as a statement of fact:

    That's not a sexist stance. If anything, it reflects poorly on men.
     
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  17. John-Wayne

    John-Wayne Madman with a pen in hand Contributor

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    I understand, and understand what you are saying, but we are talking about the "Heroes Journey" here and Writing in General.
     
  18. izzybot

    izzybot Deadly Jerry Contributor

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    I think the key thing here that's irking me is that, to the best of my knowledge, the hero's journey is descriptive. It's an observation of past myths and legends and stories -- that they tend to follow the same or similar monomythic pattern. It really just outlines a basic character arc. You leave home because Plot, you face assorted dangers, you grow as a person, you return home (with some other let's say genre-like trappings thrown in).

    This heroine's journey malarkey appears to be prescriptive. It claims that the hero's journey doesn't work for women, and instead women's stories should follow this other pattern, for some ill-defined reason. I obviously don't claim to be an expert on whatever the female experience is, but I also don't trust someone who arbitrarily decides that they know what's "more appropriate for women’s life journeys" and designs a new Just For Women journey out of thin air.

    Doesn't mean the hero's journey is perfect, and again, it's descriptive -- not something you have to mold your stories around. I could care less about it. I only take umbrage with this because I think it's patented useless nonsense, and some folks apparently find writing female characters difficult and confusing enough as is. The waters need not be muddied further.

    That said, I do now kind of want to write a story where a male character follows this heroine's journey crap just to be obstinate.
     
  19. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    lol you're a genius, that's awesome
     
  20. Thundair

    Thundair Senior Member

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    Violence whether men or women is a psychological disorder.
     
  21. John-Wayne

    John-Wayne Madman with a pen in hand Contributor

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    Sounds awesome and i'd love to help.. also, just to share this:



    One of the best, Micheal Keaton movies ever.
     
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  22. John-Wayne

    John-Wayne Madman with a pen in hand Contributor

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    I think we are revering in regards to War... or fighting evil
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018
  23. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Contributor Contributor

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    That is a fanatical statement, and untrue.
    The mother who protects her child by violent means does not suffer from a psychological disorder. Indeed, she acts out of pure instinct, and I dare say, out of love.
    Pacifism, adhered to in all circumstances and to all ends is something I'd consider a psychological disorder. Or perhaps just cold-hearted cowardice.
     
  24. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan Member Supporter Contributor

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    Just going out on a limb here, but I'm going to imagine that my ancestors had the same amount of genetic fathers as they did genetic mothers.

    More on topic, though, I don't disagree that the hero's journey should be unisex, but the problem with that is audience perception. Just think, a male hero does something all assertive and takes control of a situation, it's a positive thing. A female character could do exactly the same thing and just be seen of as a bitch. So as much as I don't really like the fact, I think that as writers, to effectively communicate our characters to an audience that has been trained from birth to make distinctions and assumptions and treat genders differently, should also treat them differently. Not as a way of pandering or reinforcing stereotypes, but as a way of helping our audience understand just how badass these characters can be.
     
  25. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    That's interesting stuff. Can you give any specific examples of what you mean?
     

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