Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Gods Love a Hero





There was a time when The Hero Archetype was

exclusively male, but the thing with archetypes is that

they evolve -  they become more or less powerful

as shifts occur in human thinking.

There is no lessening of the importance of the male Hero,

(think of Frodo or Nelson Mandela),

it just happens that we live in a balancing time in the

history of humankind.

 

***

 

The archetype that we identify as The Hero

begins her journey by going on a quest,

 
(in this case she begins by looking for a cure

for a dreadful disease).

 
The Hero also has to undergo terrible

hardships,

 
(i.e., chemotherapy, radiation),

 
at great personal cost,

 
(the loss of her breast, a powerful symbol of

womanhood in many societies).

 
It is absolutely necessary that The Hero

sacrifice herself for the sake of others,

 
(she allowed her body to be photographed and

her identity made public to give courage to other women).

 
Finally, The Hero archetype must  slay the monster,

 
(the cancer, in remission).

 

***


So now that I  think I understand
why this remarkable image resonates
with people,
I should feel better.
 
But I don't.
It still makes me uneasy.
 
Next blog:  Confronting the shadow

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8 comments:

Fundy Blue said...

Hi Francie.
I had mixed feelings about the original post you wrote about the woman in the newspaper photo. I could see it both ways: exploitation and inspiration.

This post actually put into words exactly how I feel about it in my gut. I have been fascinated by the hero's journey all of my life ~ and Frodo's journey is my all time favorite. I loved how you told this woman's journey in heroic terms.

That said, I can understand how you are still uneasy. I think we each bring our own perception, context, and emotions to events in our lives ~ Your thoughts and feelings are every bit as valid as others, even if you feel that yours is a minority position.

The female body has been used so many ways, and rarely heroically!

I sometimes joke that I am part Druid because of my Celtic roots, but mostly I like to remember a time when women were goddesses and powerful too. Times are improving for women, but sometimes I am flabbergasted at how slowly things change.

Have a good day!

The Episcopagan said...

Your comment warmed my heart, Fundy. Thanks.

Magaly Guerrero said...

We are never too old to learn to see life differently. Or too young. I used to feel bad when I see pictures of disfigured members of the military all over the place. "Why are they paraded like weird animals?" I used to say to myself. "Why don't they complain?" I still get upset about it sometimes, but I've also come to understand that without the faces of war, most people would forget about the destruction. And without those brave men and women who stand up, even after losing both legs, we would never truly understand that we (as a race) can overcome just about anything. Even the ugliest bits of life.

Heroines are not as publicly numerous as heroes, but if we look deeper, we'll see the Joan of Arch, the Rosa Parks, and the unstable Maiden, Mother and Crone in all of us ;-)

I'm really enjoying these line of posts!

Debra She Who Seeks said...

The thing that bothers me the most about this photo is not that it was published, but that there would be no similar publication in a newspaper of the woman WITH her breasts.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

I have mixed feelings about these types of photos, as well. I want to think of them as being inspirational, and encouraging for women. A reminder that we are respected for more than just our outward appearance. A reminder that we are beautiful no matter what. A reminder that these brave women have fought a big battle and won. Etc... But I'm also concerned that women are being exploited by individuals that are doing it for selfish reasons, not for honourable ones. It's a tug of war inside me. I'm not sure where my heart belongs with this.

The Episcopagan said...

Magaly, thanks! I'd be honoured to have an inner Rosa Parks!!

Martha your comment is really thought provoking because I have been thinking so much about the beauty of this photograph.

If 'beauty' is the word.

If it is the right word, it is a terrible beauty - as cold as death.

momto8 said...

I do not know why I do not like this photograph. I suppose because I know a humans worth is what is inside, male or female. and yet any loss of a body part stinks and cancer stinks..so I still do not know why I don't like the photo..

Introverted Art said...

I have a friend who lost both boobs. It was necessary for her to share her story, her scars... I think she needed it to exist beyond them.