The idea of ‘modern heroine’
Someone recently raised a question that forced me to think. “What is the concept of modern heroine”, they asked? And really, there can be so many answers to this question. So as arduous as the task may seem, the idea of ‘modern heroine’ needs to be defined to clear any confusions.
American cartoonist Alison Bechdel once created 3 simple rules to measure the representation of women in a work of fiction: it should have two women; these women should talk to each other; this talk should be about something other than a man. If I may dare to do so, I would like to do the same to solve the problem of the modern heroine.
• Individualism and Liberalism are two main tenets of modernism that our modern heroine should believe in. This means that (a) she should keep her own needs and desires before societal expectations, and; (b) she should be open to new ideas and changes happening around her. The latter also means she embraces people who don’t follow the same values as herself, without judgement.
• Naturally, to practice individualism and liberalism, a person must be able to enjoy personal liberty. This means she should be able to express her inner beliefs in all sorts of outer manifestations, as in how she walks, talks, laughs or clothes herself.
• Lastly and most importantly, she should be as well as believe herself to be empowered, so that she rejects the idea of ‘damsel in distress’.
Please note that more than any physical signs and symptoms, my abstract heroine is made modern from what she believes in. So for me, it would be unwise to judge how modern a heroine is, based on her looks and mannerisms. But at the same time, her actions and judgements must be able to reflect the principles state above.