This week is a little hectic, so I’m saving up my Fangirls Around the Web notes for next week. Some of the reasons it’s been busy around here are directly related to upcoming FANgirl projects: my panel at GeekGirlCon and additional posts for the Heroine’s Journey series.
Last week Susie Rantz asked me a few questions about my Star Wars panel, which is scheduled for Saturday afternoon at GeekGirlCon. The interview has been posted as a feature at the convention’s website, and in it I discuss my approach to the panel, topics I’m excited to see discussed in Seattle, and things that make me “geek out.” Here’s a peek at what I had to say:
The first Star Wars movie was built on the framework of Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey, yet it began the evolution toward modern myth by tweaking a few of the “rules.” The best example is the princess and woman-as-temptress trope, where Star Wars diverged from storytelling norms with the introduction of Leia as a fierce warrior and leader. While A New Hope had a comic book style story to it, when Irvin Kershner came on board to direct The Empire Strikes Back he relied heavily on the storytelling elements of the classic fairy tale. The Original Trilogy built the backbone of Star Wars and definitely helped introduce a new type of female character to the world. Female characters of Star Wars is a broad topic, so in framing the panel I used the fairy tale elements like the Jedi princess and Sith witch to focus the discussion. These types of characters exist in the movies, videogames, The Clone Wars television show, and the books and comics.
In the interview I mention the blog’s ongoing analysis on the evolution of the Heroine’s Journey in modern storytelling. In a guest post on the School Library Journal’s Connect the Pop blog, Maria Selke explained how she uses fandom to engage elementary school students and encourage critical thinking. It’s a fantastic piece, but one particular part at the end made this fangirl’s day.
While I’ve always brought up alternate viewpoints in my reading groups, this was the first year where a student directly asked, “Does this structure fit for heroines also?” As I’ve become more involved online with social media like Twitter, I’ve connected with many women who critique literature and movies from a feminist perspective. With the explosion in popularity of books and films like The Hunger Games and Brave, it’s time to expand my knowledge base and move into this discussion with my students next year. I’m thankful to the writers at Fangirl Cantina who provide me with a valuable source of information about a heroine’s unique path.
Lex and I have been outlining the many changes to the standard Hero’s Journey and places where stories have diverged from Campbell’s model to create a modern myth. Up next is The Legend of Korra, and seeing that educators like Maria are using these types of tales makes us even more excited about exploring the ways that Korra’s path is relatable to both genders.
Tricia Barr took her understanding of brand management and marketing, mixed it with a love of genre storytelling, and added a dash of social media flare to create FANgirl Blog, where she discusses Star Wars, fandom, and strong female characters. She also writes about Star Wars for Random House’s science fiction and fantasy blog Suvudu.com. Her interview with X-Wing: Mercy Kill author Aaron Allston can be found in this month’s Star Wars Insider Issue 135.
In her spare time, Tricia puts the finishing touches on her first novel, Wynde. For excerpts and tales of her adventures in creating a fictional universe, hop over to TriciaBarr.com.
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