A Jungian analysis of the warrior woman in popular culture and a brief look at what the archetype means culturally and psychologically.
The 1990s and the new millennium saw an influx of female action heroes on television from Xena to Scully, Buffy to Sidney Bristow. Countless girls and boys eagerly jumped to their television set each evening to absorb the warrior energy of their new role models. Adults, too, were intrigued by the possibility of a new gender role for women – fighters.
These women were not only stereotypically beautiful characters, but, untypically, they were also highly intellectual, courageous and strong – stronger indeed than the men portrayed alongside them, if not ...view middle of the document...
Myths of the hero symbolized the 'psychological life cycle'. Women in these stories had no such quest; they were either the hero's prize or the witch/seductress who tempted them away from their paths. In this psychological journey, the hero must become a warrior and slay a dragon in order to claim his treasure. Television has always captured this patriarchal pattern in characters ranging from Bond to Tarzan, and not to forget the superheroes from Batman to Superman.
Television Representations as Feminist Reactions
From the 1970s onwards, a breed of fearless women appeared on our screens; much of these representations owed to the Women's Movement and the '90's warriors were a reaction to this second wave of feminism.
Toni Wolff (1888-1953) was the first to acknowledge the Amazon archetype, a personality type in the feminine psyche she described as being concerned with masculine pursuits, with an emphasis on ambition, independence and the will to succeed. Xena: Warrior Princess embodies this mythological model admirably.
The Warrior Archetype in Women
The warrior hero archetype in women has cultural and psychological functions different to men. The extensive television shows featuring warrior women indicate that females are no longer confined to the domestic, private sphere, but are very much included in the public jungle that once belonged only to men.
Not characterized by sex or social roles, the woman as warrior breaks stale social moulds and redefines femininity for a new age. Having the skill to fight and be brave and noble, have dignity and honor and to not give up are essential ingredients to the growing psyche and to facing obstacles in the world outside.
Joseph Campbell's The Hero's...