Categories
Opinions

A month-long study of the Female Archetypes

This week’s features: the Huntress and the Queen.

In honour of International Women’s month, I wanted to look at the seven Female Archetypes: the Queen, the Huntress, the Maiden, the Mother, the Sage, the Mystic, and the Lover. The concept of archetypes first came from Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist—though he created the concept, he didn’t actually establish the female archetypes. All of the credit goes to Jean Shinoda Bolen, who coined the term. 

As much as we try to not put people into strict boxes, it’s always interesting to feel some sort of untold connection to other women. Personally, I’m a bit wary of anything of this sort (who knows how accurate they actually are), but it makes for a fun little research project. 

Now, what better month than March to look into these archetypes? Every week for the rest of the month I’ll delve into two or three of the seven. It might seem like ‘highfalutin mumbo jumbo’ but maybe getting to know these archetypes and channeling your connection with them could help you understand yourself, your personality, and what energy you embody a bit more. Just stick with me.

The Queen

First up, we’ve got the Queen, the embodiment of feminine power. As it may be obvious, she is able to attract the finer things in life for herself as an automatic leader. Elegance, regality, and grace are some words she personifies, and she is constantly building herself up to be the best version of herself. Take Princess Catherine, for example; she carries herself with a certain dignity and elegance, not to mention regality. The Queen channels confidence and poise, and allies herself with like-minded people of substance. 

The Queen archetype is one that many women  aspire to embody, but it’s also important to remember that every archetype or personality has its own flaws.

That being said, the Queen can be prone to arrogance and a sense of entitlement.; even the best of us suffer from putting an act on to mask an insecurity. They can also be easily threatened by other women.

For a bit of perspective, in mythology Hera, Juno, Frigg, Isis, Parvati, or Asherah are great examples of the Queen archetype. They take charge, protect, and are loyal. Some real life examples include the lovely Nancy Reagan, Beyoncé, or (though not actually real) Miranda Priestly from “The Devil Wears Prada.” Each of these women have had problems thrown at them that they dealt with grace; yet, as seen with Ms. Priestly, your power can inevitably get the better of you.

The Huntress

She is independent, she is ambitious… she is the Huntress and lives life on her own terms. Self-reliant with the mission of pursuing her goals, she has a strong and autonomous nature with a desire to be the dominant figure in the room. The Huntress, or the Wild Woman Archetype, is strong, independent, and seeks out her freedom, which is of the utmost importance to her.  The trademark for this one is autonomy, and choosing your own path in life without influence from others.

If you need to feel protected, channel your inner Huntress—it is she who will make you feel protected. If you’re striving towards a certain goal, she’s got you. I think that during the suffragette movements, all of those women were channeling their inner Huntress, but limited to the positive aspects of this type.

The cons of being the Huntress is usually the belief that she can do it all by herself, and her refusal to seek help from others. The Huntress fears vulnerability, and can sometimes shut herself off in order to cope alone (I think we’ve all been there).

Some examples of the Huntress archetype include Lady Gaga, Wonder Woman, Tauriel from The Hobbit, and in myth, Diana, Artemis, Ishtar, or Oya. The goal-driven and self-sufficient archetype is a force to be reckoned with. If this is the one you want to embody but don’t know where to begin, put on a face: pretend you’re acting and the part is of someone independent who does not shy away from achieving their goals because they know that they’ll achieve them no matter what.

At the risk of sounding like a horoscope prediction on the back page of a newspaper, check in next week for a breakdown of two more archetypes!

Categories
Arts

Trajectories analyzes diversity through archetypes

Élian Mata’s new show will be available to experience until Nov. 27

Élian Mata presents his new show Trajectories at the Montréal, arts interculturels (MAI) theatre from Nov. 24 to 27. Mata’s piece involves eight interpreters, each performing choreography inspired by an archetype that represents human defaults.

Trajectories explores diversity through the lens of mythologies and archetypes. Six characters are interpreted by eight performers. They each stand on their own small stage while the audience is spread out in the theatre space, a technique Mata used to recreate the feeling of an exhibition. For him, this organization of space is a comment on the place given to marginalized groups in modern society. “The initial idea was a proposition inspired by museums, inviting the audience to come and watch living art works that are still relegated to the idea of the museum. We accept them when they are at a distance and in the context of an exhibition since it secures us, but we are not ready to integrate them in society,” he said.

Mata’s creative process for Trajectories started with the conception of dresses and garments related to each of the themes he wanted to examine. The piece was then created with those costumes in mind. Mata recalled being passionate about clothing ever since he was young. He explained that as a teenager, he would draw dresses, and later dreamed of entering fashion school.

The artist started creating his own dance pieces in 2015, with his first show titled Forêt. This work reflected on nudity and diversity. For Mata, Trajectories is the continuity of this piece. In fact, Forêt  ended with the performers putting on clothes after they had been naked for the whole performance. With Trajectories, Mata continues his reflections on human nature, but this time performers are dressed, with each piece of clothing having a specific meaning.

Each of the six personas has a specific composition combining movement patterns and sometimes sounds or words developed in collaboration between Mata and the performers. Therefore, all the choreographies are unique and independent from each other. Mata explained that the process of creating this piece started with visual inspirations he had in mind. “I start with images and these images come alive,” he said.

The piece includes two duets respectively symbolizing the archetypes of Anima and Animus, each adapted in a dance duet. Anima, performed by Anne-Flore de Rochambeau and Gabrielle Surprenant-Lacasse, examines the idea of a masculine side that can be found in women. Jontae McCrory and Jérémie Brassard interpret Animus, the feminine part found in men. The terms Anima and Animus were developed by Psychiatrist Carl Jung. For Mata, the idea of categorizing male and female character traits is absurd, and these duets confront this. “They are two and they symbolize one person. They confront each other, they fight, but they also accept each other and live together,” he explained. For Anima, the two interpreters perform together in a dress made for two.

Narcissus is another character, performed by Stevens Simeon. Mata believes narcissism is very much present in our current culture, inspiring him to reference the tale of Narcissus in this solo piece. The large gold reflexive cube placed on Simeon’s stage symbolizes the Greek figure’s drowning as he stared transfixed at his reflection in the water.

The choreographer also included the figure of Androgyny, who he describes as a ghostly presence, one that is ignored by all. Interpreted by Thomas Wilkinson Fullerton, this character occupies the performance space without having his own stage to stand on for most of the presentation. With this dance piece, Mata comments on the marginalization of people like Androgyny in our society.

In the centre of a black box stands Mohawk performer Barbara Kaneratonni Diabo. The artist performs solo dance based on the greeting Skennen’kó:wa, which translates to “do you carry the great peace?” in Mohawk. In English, it translates to “how are you,” though this doesn’t carry its spiritual or historical significance. “For me, it was evident that, through all the themes I touched on, I had to talk about the problematic relationship humans have with nature and the current ecological problems. So, I had to work with an Indigenous artist, because I have always been fascinated by the link they maintain with nature,” said Mata. This dance performance comments on the current relationship humans share with nature. “If we considered the Earth at the same level as us, we would nurture a different relationship to it,” he said.

The sixth choreography is inspired by Magna Mater, or the Great Mother, an archetype that relates to fertility in Greek mythology. Jacqueline van de Geer embodies this persona. Mata wanted to question the roles related to pregnancy and motherhood that have historically and continue to be imposed on women, and the burden it generates for them. “The dress she wears is a reference to the weight of this historic iconography. She suffocates because of all these roles,” explained Mata.

Each of the performances have their own soundscape and lighting. Through a variety of visual organizations and movement propositions, Mata encourages visitors to reflect on diversity. “I invite the audience to take a path to meet with the other. This ‘other’ is a manifestation of the human psyche, and some character traits or personalities that still today are perceived in the wrong way.” In the MAI’s entrance, audience members can read a preamble to the show written by Mata in which he explains the richness he observes in human differences. “Pluralism generates a healthy evolution of cultures because a society is not petrified in time, it evolves by feeding itself with exchanges and the creativity of people who have known how to think differently,” wrote Mata.

Trajectories is presented at the MAI at 3680 Jeanne-Mance St. Tickets are available through their website

 

Photo courtesy of Vanessa Fortin and David Wong

 

 

Categories
Opinions

I’m just a female dirtbag, baby

Ever since first watching the 2000 film High Fidelity in high school, I found myself relating to the record store-owning protagonist Rob, played by John Cusack. Rob was a moody, unlucky in love music snob, too in touch with his emotions and stuck in the past— embarrassingly relatable. 

So, when I heard that High Fidelity was getting a TV remake, starring the iconic Zoë Kravitz as a gender-swapped Rob (now short for Robyn), I was instantly excited. My issues with the film had always been my cognitive dissonance between relating to Cusack’s Rob, but struggling with his toxic “but I’m a nice guy” demeanour—something I found inherently masculine and obnoxious.

Yet, High Fidelity (both the film and the new Hulu show) is shown through Rob’s eyes, as the character often breaks the fourth wall to talk to the camera directly. So when Rob is played by the dreamy Cusack, with his puppy dog eyes, you can’t help but be pulled into his guise, no matter how much of a dirtbag he is.

Watching the Hulu adaptation made me wonder why I felt the need to relate to Rob. I realized that while there has been no shortage of “cool girls” on screen, their range was always limited. The cool girl is never the main character. She’s often a foil placed in opposition to the stereotypical uptight, prissy, feminine character due to her chillness (think the iconic Gone Girl monologue).

In Hulu’s “High Fidelity,” Rob is undoubtedly cool—Kravitz just seems to bring that to everything she does. Yet, no matter how hip she appears on the outside, Rob is still a complex character with as much agency as any male protagonist. Like Cusack before her, Kravitz takes on the role of an utter dirtbag.

The female dirtbag may be a useful subversion of the cool girl archetype. BBC’s “Fleabag” made a huge splash in 2016 arguably due to its realistically messy, horny and self-involved main character, depicted by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. She’s well-dressed and creative, but deeply flawed in her relationships and unabashedly gross. Similar to “High Fidelity,” Waller-Bridge often faces the camera to engage the audience in her outer monologue. Sure she’s cool, but she’s in control of her own story.

There’s a misconception that for a female character to be “strong,” they have to be exceptionally smart, confident and capable. But, how many among us can truly relate to Captain Marvel or Buffy Summers? Not even mentioning these characters’ overwhelming whiteness and thinness. This outdated focus on strength should be replaced by an imperative for truth and realism.

One trend within this new wave of female dirtbag representation is that most of these narratives are helmed by women. The aforementioned 2020 “High Fidelity,” “Fleabag”—and we can’t forget the pinnacle of female grossness—”Broad City” were all created by women.

When women are allowed to shape their own stories, they’re bound to represent a more truthful depiction of the female experience—warts and all. 

 

Graphic by @sundaeghost

Exit mobile version