Sunday, September 11, 2011

Breaking Down What's Been Decided in Advance

There's the hero. There's the journey. That's the tale that little boys are told. One day, you can grow up to be a hero. You can have your own journey. You can own it. It will be yours.

It troubles me that little girls are mostly not exposed to heroic, female archetypes. And I am talking about heroism in a broad sense-- not movie clich├ęs or even old-time mythologies-- heroism in the sense of courage to take a path that is your own. I'm talking about the idea that you can make something of your life that means something to you. And it doesn't have to be what you're told you must do or should do. It doesn't have to be through traditional institutions that you make your meaning.

You don't have to trace along the dotted lines to form a picture.

There is possibility beyond what you might imagine-- beyond what society has imagined for you.

And that's the thing. Most peoples' possibilities--men's included--are severally limited by what society has imagined for them, in advance, before they even had a chance to question its validity. There's the default. But the default does not have to be accepted.

For women, not accepting the default--making your own journey--is scarcely depicted in any type of media. Quite obviously, the media has an enormous role in shaping reality. If you don't see it, will you believe it? You might. Or not.

As a little girl, I was not exposed to female characters on their own hero's journey. And for me, a real hero's journey is about having the courage to make your own meaning that surpasses all the bullshit society has thrown at you. Throw off your tired old baggage and set yourself free... As Joseph Campbell put it, ""I don't believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive."

And women are scarcely told that they can find the experience of being alive. Instead they're told to sacrifice. To have quiet little voices and not to question. And this makes me incredibly sad.

But the problem lies in the direction of my thinking. It is outward when it should be inward.

"When we talk about settling the world's problems, we're barking up the wrong tree. The world is perfect. It's a mess. It has always been a mess. We are not going to change it. Our job is to straighten out our own lives," said Joseph Campbell.

To reword Campbell, the world is an asshole.

But, it's not over for me.

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