CALLING ALL HEROINES: YOU ARE MORE THAN JUST A MYTH
Updated: Sep 19
August 21, 2023
Article by Georgia Lee Arts
The Elysian Dream Philosopher's Stone: Diamond Dreams and Diamond Rain
Who is a heroine: YOU!
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” The feminist movement changed the landscape of women’s roles. Despite laws and women’s movements the archetypal images that are imprinted in the human psyche of what a “hero” is haven’t caught up. Part of the issue that needs to be resolved is on a deeper subconscious level. As a collective we connect, make meaning, and relate to one another through story and archetypal patterns. Women aren’t traditionally thought of as hero’s and this creates a disconnect in the human psyche and has negative implications in women’s lives and careers.
I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t love a good story with a hero. Sales in items featuring a feminine hero are harder to sell and net less revenue because girls and women aren’t historically heroes. Women’s archetypes are often portrayed as seductress, sexy, beautiful, weak, powerless, victim, damsel in distress, delicate, naïve, lacking mental strength, or defenseless. The issue with many superheroines cast in media and writing is they are hypersexualized superheroines, and this has destructive effects on body image, identity, and self-objectification. 1
I grew up in a time of having it impressed upon me that I was equal and that I could become whatever I wanted if only I worked hard to prove my value and worth. Many industries opened up the labor force for women. The gift of being a wife and mom was replaced with identification of masculine roles.
LABOR STATISTICS FOR WOMEN
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reflect gains for women working in legal, some medical fields, marketing, and sales - but still behind for women working in media, aerospace fields, clergy, military, firefighters, finance, and architecture. The gains are based on the ratio of men vs. women and don’t reflect the issues for women in these fields. 2
“Only 6.5% of women working full-time in the US worked in male-dominated industries in 2020.” (1) Damaging stereotypes when women transition from these sectors come from men and women alike. 3
“In the US jobs with higher earnings are disproportionately held by men while those that pay less are disproportionately held by women, especially women of color. Male-dominated industries aren’t the only sectors with a pay gap: women earn less than men in 94% of occupations. Male-dominated industries and occupations often reinforce harmful stereotypes and creating unfavorable environments that make it difficult for women to excel.” 4
Across the globe, women working in male-dominated industries are more likely to experience sexual harassment than those working in other industries.” 5
Despite years of massive spending for prevention, education, and programs the issues of sexual assault in U.S. servicemembers (men and women) continues to increase. 6
THE GLASS CEILING
Have you ever walked into a sliding glass door only to bounce off it feeling dazed and confused? Not only do you fail to make it through to the other side, but you are injured. The term “Glass Ceiling” was coined in 1978. It is a metaphor referring to the invisible barrier that prevents women and minorities from being promoted to managerial and executive positions in a male-dominated corporate hierarchy.
Glass ceilings and limited upward mobility worsen the issue of relational aggression among women. There are three interesting dynamics that occur with women working in male-dominated fields. The first is concealment of femininity and taking on a manly appearance and behaviors. The second is demanding equality but taking on a seductress role and using sex for favors, positioning, awards, promotions, and pay. The third is staying true to one’s feminine identity.
THE GLASS CLIFF
Wow! The buzzy high feeling that comes with promotion is like flying.
Come to the Edge (Christopher Logue)
Come to the edge. We might fall. Come to the edge. It’s too high! COME TO THE EDGE! And they came, And he pushed, And they flew.
It’s celebration time. Your hard work has finally paid off and you made it to the top. You’re jaded with illusions of equality, and you are finally admitted to the club, “one of the boys.” The reality is that you were played in a game where the motto is “no brother shalt fail.” Machiavellian? If you thought the glass ceiling was hard to transcend, try closing your eyes for a moment and skydiving without gear.
The term glass cliff was coined by the University of Exeter, United Kingdom in 2005. It is a metaphor for a game of promoting women or minorities to high level positions that are expected to fail due to high-risk in the business plan or concept of operations. When the company fails you will make the perfect scapegoat while their careers are unscathed, the negative spotlight is on YOU. Many women fall off the glass cliff. Game over, career over.
There is another set of rules to play by and they aren’t the rules that mother taught you. If you’re facing a glass ceiling or glass cliff Elysian Dream can help you find career and life solutions, along with an exit strategy. If your passion is to work in male dominated fields, then we can provide you with solutions to survive and thrive in this environment.
CALLING ALL HEROINES
1. Entrepreneurship - Contact Elysian Dream for help in finding an exciting new direction, developing creative ideas or content for your business, and establishing a unique business identity. We can also connect you with entrepreneurial resources.
Forbes reports, “women’s financial futures depend on entrepreneurship, rather than the selling of our labor, eliminating one of the biggest barriers to our full participation in the economy. And more and more women are reaching the same conclusion; between 2007 and 2019, even before the pandemic, women started businesses at five times the national average, and women-owned businesses generated $1.6 trillion in revenue each year. And since March of 2020—you know, when the world shut down—women have started more businesses than men, and are more likely to go it alone rather than buying a stake in an existing enterprise.” 7
Enroll in our workshop: Storyteller's Journey: Business Branding for Wellness and Creative Entrepreneurs.
2. OWN YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS. It’s not a secret that boys and men excel in this category. We are changing the rules that mother taught you. I don’t mean that you need to start manspreading and mansplaining. But there is no more modeling the role of ‘good girl’ - acting modest and shy, avoiding the spotlight, downplaying your accomplishments, and underselling yourself. Self-promotion is not arrogance, it is confidence.
3. Women shouldn’t be deterred from working in male-dominate career fields. We can help you with game face and strategy. Are you settling for breadcrumbs when you know you’re worth more? We can help you negotiate for more pay.
4. Elysian Dream welcomes all hero’s / heroines and asks for your help with voice and visibility to change the story of what a hero / heroine is and gain by submitting your narrative to our Elysian Dream Hero/Heroine's Journey for Warriors Project.™
5. Take an Elysian Dream Hero/Heroine’s Journey to transform your life and work and reintegrate aspects of your feminine identity, heal the mother/daughter split, balance the masculine aspects.
6. Write a new ending to your story. Sign up for our Transformational Storytelling workshop. The workshop includes exploration of archetypal roles.
7. Join our Miracles, Dreams, Journeys: Make Your Dreams a Reality Circle.
8. sign up for our FACETS newsletter, at elysiandream.net.
1. May, Cindy. (2015, June 23). The problem with female superheroes: from helpless damsel to powerful heroine, but still hypersexualized. Scientific American.
2. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2023).
3. Hegewisch, A. & Mefferd, E. (2021). The gender wage gap by occupation, race, and ethnicity 2020. Institute for Women’s Policy Research.
4. Zhavoronkova et al. (2022).
5. Zhavoronkova et al. (2022); Burczycka, M. (2021). Workers’ experiences of inappropriate sexualized behaviours, sexual assault and gender-based discrimination in the Canadian provinces, 2020. Statistics Canada; Folke, O. & Rickne J. (2022). Sexual harassment and gender inequality in the labor market. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 137(1), 2163-2212; Part 1: Sexual harassment: an overview. Australian Human Rights Commission.
6. Department of Defense Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military Fiscal Year 2022.
7. Elting, Liz. (2021, July 23). More and more women are starting businesses. Why is that so surprising? Forbes.
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