The Jedi and the Bumblebee

This evening we had a rather deep philosophical discussion about the difference between male and female hero narratives. As it happens, last night on my flight to Glasgow I saw the latest Transformers film Bumblebee.

This film is very much a woke feminist narrative. It centers on a young woman who works together with a Transformer character to save the world.

In our discussion this evening we contrasted the arc of this story with that of young Luke Skywalker. Luke, like young King Arthur before him, is, from birth, destined for greatness.

A fundamental trope of most male “hero’s journey” narratives is that the young man is born to greatness. Like Neo in The Matrix, in order to succeed he mostly needs to learn to accept his natural birthright.

But hero’s journey narratives with female protagonists often follow a different convention. Rather than seeing the hero as being born to greatness, the narrative generally develops along the lines of evolving character.

Our female protagonist is not a hero by birthright, but rather by force of personality. She becomes the hero who saves the world.

It seems that this difference is essential to understanding our unconscious gender bias. We readily extend to male heroes the mantle of royalty, yet we are not so generous with our female heroes.

But maybe in the long run that is better. After all, a hero who succeeds on her own is far more interesting than one who had a boost from culturally determined mythical or narrative magic.

May the fourth be with you!

Leave a Reply