A Female Hero’s Journey

female heroIs there such a thing as a “Female Hero’s Journey?”

For  years I’ve tried to understand Joseph Campbell’s work on the hero’s journey. He studied literature from all over the world and found twelve elements in every good story. Many authors now say there is a “Female hero’s journey” and it’s different from the male hero’s journey.

I remember when there was a lot of buzz about “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.” It used to upset me – it seemed vaguely sexist – that men and women are intrinsically different. It felt to me like saying, “Girls can’t do math,” which I know is ridiculous.

My original idea was that women could go through the steps of the hero’s journey just as well as a man could. But the more I read, I think there is something different here. Maybe it’s in the way women accomplish their goals.

virgin's promiseI’ve ordered an interesting sounding book called  The Virgin’s Promise: Writing Stories of Feminine Creative, Spiritual and Sexual Awakening by Kim Hudson. And I working my way through an interesting article called The Feminine Hero Of The Silence Of The Lambs. It’s by Jane Alexander Stewart, Ph.D. and it’s fascinating. You can find it at http://www.cinemashrink.com/silenceofthelambs.html  Silence of the lambs

I’d like your opinion…and advice.

Images courtesy of:

  • writersstore.com
  • en.wikipedia.org
  • gointothestory.blcklst.com

7 responses to “A Female Hero’s Journey

  1. Ed,  That was a fascinating article and really something to think about.  I did not see the movie, but could certainly follow the ideas.  Yes, men and women respond very differently to many things.  I’ve always thought we do a disservice to both genders but thinking we are the same.  Having taught for so many years, I noticed so many things that were similar for little girls and little boys but so different from each other.  Little girls have a spat and it goes on for days, including many snippy exchanges.  Boys on the other hand, kick one another in the shins, then go out for recess arm in arm.  Being a ‘hippy’ when I was raising my boys, I made sure they were provided with dolls, cuddly toys, dishes etc.  They both grew up to be….men.  However they are both wonderful and affectionate fathers so who knows.    I really enjoyed the article and will continue to think about the heroine’s journey and look for differences in the books I read.   I have had a very thankful thanksgiving.   Delora


  2. Ed, I think the hero’s journey applies, regardless of gender, but that the challenge and the process the heroine goes through can sometimes be different. I do think, though, that the basic overall pattern of the hero’s journey still applies.

  3. I’ve just watched the DVD documentary called Finding Joe, about the Hero’s Journey, and as much as I enjoyed it, as a woman, I found I didn’t fully resonate with it, so I searched for a heroine’s journey and found this page…. I really enjoyed the Silence Of The Lamb’s article as it is deeply connected to my work as a Holistic Life Coach…. helping people connect to their inner Heart Team (Discerning Self, Nurturing Self, Witness, Flexible Self and Free Self) so they can look after their inner Drama Team! (Critical Self and Adapted Selves)

    Thanks for the post, maybe its time for me to write my own book!! :0)

  4. Cool! Love the application of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey Mythology in the entrepreneurial business realm!

    You’ll enjoy the articles and videos here pertaining to Hero’s Journey Business / Entrepreneurship:


    “The same classical values guiding the rising artistic renaissance will protect the artists’ intellectual property. The immortal ideals which guide the story of blockbuster books and movies such asThe Matrix, Lord of the Rings, Braveheart,The Chronicles of Narnia, and Star Wars, are the very same ideals underlying the United States Constitution. These classic ideals–which pervade Homer, Plato, Shakespeare, and the Bible–are the source of both epic story and property rights, of law and business, of academia and civilization.

    It is great to witness classical ideals performed in Middle Earth, upon the Scottish Highlands, long ago, in a galaxy far, far, away, and in Narnia, but too, such ideals must be perpetually performed in the contemporary context and living language.”

    Thanks & Enjoy! 🙂

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