The Hero and Heroine’s Journey

Below is an excerpt of a response I gave for a applied mythology certification course I am part of, and I wanted to share.  It was emphasizing what are the differences between the hero and heroine’s journey.  

The Heroine’s Journey

Although I am new to exploring the heroine’s journey, what it appears to be one main difference between the hero and there heroine’s journey is the emphasis of the unlearning of the societal construction of “femininity.”  It’s almost as if this is an additional, hurdle to unravel in the process of the journey.  I had responded to another’s post who thought there should be one particular journey, and prior to most recently I thought there was only “one” journey, that of the monomyth.  I never thought women were excluded from this.  It would be interesting if a future theory was proposed whether for the “hero” to unlearn aspects of toxic masculinity.  The younger generation seem more open with exploring this in various ways. 

Unlearning as a path

 We unlearn through numerous ways.   I am a multiracial (Asian/Eastern European) American who grew up in Ohio, where everyone was mostly Caucasian.  It wasn’t until I moved to Los Angeles for graduate school that I navigated the racial identity process (and wrote my doctoral project on this), in some ways it was an ongoing shift from integrating the ethnicities of my mother, father, and incorporating both into who I am regardless of how others wanted to label me to fit a box. 

 I feel the same having lived as an expat, overseas in three other countries.  Who I am and how I engage in the world shifts, it’s the ability to step out of our old shell and be more inclusive of how we see the world, how the world sees us, and who do we want to be now knowing this.  

A Learning Experience

For example, I am currently in Lampedusa Italy, a small island which once counted as Tunisian territory.  A taxi driver picking me up from the airport asked in broken English where I am from, I said “America.”  He said “Mexico?”  “No” I corrected him, “California, but I live in Spain.”  “He further said, “Oh well the Americas are big, so I didn’t know.”  How ignorant it was of me to assume America is the USA.  To the rest of the world, we are part of the Americas, we do not encompass it all. 

 And so in that small moment, it’s still an ongoing navigation of who I am with regards to how people perceive me, what land I reside from, my ancestors come from, and how the world may perceive the country I come from, and what do I do with that knowledge.  I could try to ignore that statement from the taxi driver. I could think “Oh he was wrong, America is the USA.” But where is the learning in that? It was a bit of an ego check, but I needed it.

Spiral Evolution

As a previous professor shared weeks ago, this is an ongoing spiral of evolution that has various facets.  We are being called to step out of our everday mundane lives. This is through travelling, or being immersed in a course/program where you are learning a new way of being, getting laid off/doing the Great Resignation, psychedelic experience, or whatever it may be.  And yes one’s sex can be part of it, but so is our racial and ethnic identity, generational status, region of the world we reside in, spiritual/religious identification, occupation, and numerous other factors.  We constantly are defining ourselves. I realize that wherever we are in a heroic/heroine journey, it’s this liminal space which is molding shifting and redefining who we are. 

These are some questions I would consider.  

What was our narrative?  How did we define our narrative? Was this placed on us? Chosen by free will?  Have we ever questioned this narrative before? What models/mentors exist to assist us on the journey?  What are our tests? Did we learn from these tests? How do we share these new insights with our community/“bring back the boon?”  

Sometimes it’s from our insights, that others are inspired to embark on either the hero or the heroine’s journey.


*Note the diagram of the heroine’s journey is from this source and the hero’s journey is from here . But both were resources pulled from my Applied Mythology Certificate program through Pacifica University.

*To find Joseph Campbell quotes for inspiration, check out this previous blog post

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