When I read the Heroine’s Journey, it was the first time I felt like I was reading a story structure that reflected what I was actually going through.
It was the first time I saw a model that said, yes, there was this moment when many of us had a realization that these qualities are labeled more feminine, and they are less respected; and these qualities are labeled more masculine and they are more respected.
It also reflected that moment when an interest that could be labeled feminine became a problem socially.
For me, it had to do with cute dresses and girls’ buckle shoes.
Seeing a story model acknowledge the need to reclaim the parts of ourselves that we sacrificed, early in the journey, in order to survive, was eye-opening.
In certain stories, the heroine will need to go back and reclaim who she was, before experience taught her that life would always be a war.
The Hero’s Journey still fits.
It’s just that the Heroine’s Journey brings another layer of life, and story, into focus.
The Virgin’s Promise model of story became important, to me, much later. It deals with the story of a hero, or maiden, finding themselves, and finding their joy, in the midst of other people’s demands and expectations.
While the Hero’s Journey is about saving others, the Virgin’s Promise is about saving and expressing yourself.
The Hero’s Journey requires self-sacrifice, while The Virgin’s Promise requires self-honoring. And some of my favorite stories incorporate aspects of them both.