Mayhew Bergman on “The Feminine Heroic”
Paris Review correspondent Megan Mayhew Bergman (MFAW '10), associate director of Bennington’s MFA in Writing, addresses in her latest column how women, often excluded from adventure narratives, carve out their own heroic space.
“Depicting the feminine heroic has traditionally meant acknowledging the tension between Jungian archetypes—anima (feminine) and animus (masculine)—within a person, and amplifying the masculine traits: leadership, strength, tenacity. Imagine if emotional dexterity and agile compromise were valorized as much as stoicism and physical strength? Nurture over conquest, peace over violence, conservation over exploitation. As women carve more space for themselves in the adventure cannon, perhaps readers will see more of the feminine heroic, allow for its complexity and range, and acknowledge the relationship between representation, power, and possibility.”