Gender Roles and the Hero's Journey

posted Nov 13, 2016, 9:13 PM by Jason Brunken
A big question we will be looking at in this unit is whether gender plays a significant role in the Hero's Journey or not. In short, is there such a thing as a Heroine's Journey? And, if there is, can a male character go on a heroine's journey and a female hero take a hero's journey? These are not easy questions to answer as they force us to look at our learned perceptions of masculinity and femininity. 

As a community, we come to an unspoken understanding of what it means to be man and woman. We agree what is masculine and what is feminine, and while none of us completely embrace one without the other, we tend to stick to our community's definition of each out of fear of being socially punished. Our perceptions of masculinity and femininity affect the way we see the world and others. It is why we think a woman as a race car driver and a male nurse are weird. These perceptions also define the roles or jobs we are supposed to fill in our community. If we are male, masculine, we should play a leadership or aggressive or constructive role in society as a boss, laborer, doctor, or soldier. If we are female, feminine, we should play a nurturing, supportive, or submissive role in society as a nurse, childcare provider, or a homemaker. These gender roels have been around as long as humans have lived together, but they have always changed. 

This week we look at what gender roles are in Taiwan and during the Mongol Empire and compare and contrast them. By understanding these well, we can begin to look more closely at the role gender plays in literature, specifically the Hero's Journey. See the presentation and assignment below for more.



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