The Heroine’s Journey

Fashion Editorial Submission

Fashion Editorial Submission The Heroine’s Journey – captured by fashion photographer & designers Richard E Sepcic & Faith McGary-Sepcic for Flawless Magazine.

The Heroine’s Journey Fashion Editorial Submission

Fashion Editorial Submission The Heroine’s Journey – captured by fashion photographer & designers Richard E Sepcic & Faith McGary-Sepcic for Flawless Magazine. Styling courtesy of fashion stylist Holly Qualman. Hair styling by Dennis Clendennen & Brandon Molinet and make-up by  Makeup artist Lisa Capuchino. Model Holly Qualman & Rachel Lynn Ward

 

Editorial  Story:
The Heroine’s Journey

The hero’s journey remains a popular story motif in movies and novels. As it traces its origins to our most ancient myths and folk tales, the hero’s journey is still almost universally recognizable for the awakening of an ordinary man to his true nature and greater destiny. Overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds, the hero is able to reach his goal and achieve his destiny. The “Star Wars” trilogy and Harry Potter series instantly come to mind as powerful examples of this.

Increasingly, we are seeing a modern variation of the hero’s journey as it pertains to women, in such stories as David Mack’s “Kabuki”, “Orphan Black”, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and the “The Hunger Games”. While the female protagonists follow a similar path on their quests to their male counterparts, we recognize these quests less because of their ageless mythic qualities but more because the heroines are so often the victims of some form of abuse. The tale of the hero’s journey is familiar and comfortable to us as a retold fable of man overcoming every obstacle to achieve a fantastic destiny. Its counterpart, the heroine’s journey, is a darker tale about overcoming the physical and psychological challenges to which many women are subjected daily and achieving self-realization. The lessons of the heroine’s journey are applicable to all women who are subjected to these challenges.

Masks are present in both the hero’s and heroine’s journeys to represent both public personas displayed to the world and the private personas concealed behind them. In our normal lives, masks shield our innermost selves from the opinions, scrutiny, and criticisms of others when we lack sufficient confidence to be who we are. But not only can masks hide darker secrets, fears and insecurities, they can also hide the scars of very real abuse. Whether physical or psychological, abuse leaves scars that can run deep, and a mask only hides the surface without healing what lies beneath.

The victims of physical abuse, overwhelmingly women, frequently and wrongly blame themselves for the abuse, and are shamed into hiding the physical and emotional scars behind a mask of passive acceptance and resignation that only invites more frequent and violent episodes of abuse. While nonphysical, psychological abuse through verbal and social media channels are no less damaging. The labels scarring a victim become a painful reminder of the price of being different and of defying established norms. Creating a mask to hide beneath becomes one refuge for protection from the abuse.

From this low point, the heroine begins her journey with the will to stop being a victim, no matter the cost. In facing the tests to come, the heroine must recognize that her uniqueness and her inner strength, hidden behind her mask, are the best weapons that she has available to overcome them. Overcoming the abuser on this journey is a significant obstacle and achievement, because this confrontation provides the greatest pull to fall back into the black hole of abuse and victimhood. Fighting to become her own person, independent of the opinions and pressures of others and freed from her mask, is the heroine’s greatest challenge.

Unlike the hero’s journey, which often culminates with a “happily ever after” coda, the heroine’s journey continues to the point of achieving freedom and self-realization. Because self-realization is an individual journey for the heroine who is living it, we cannot not expect to fully understand it, not can we judge it. As a living and evolving work of art, we can honor its existence, appreciate its beauty, and admire the heroine whose journey created it.

No heroine’s journey occurs in a vacuum – there is always some form of guidance or help received along the way to point her in the right direction. It may be words of wisdom from someone she trusts, or a helping hand when it is most needed, but it is critical to building the confidence, and overcoming the debilitating effects of abuse, that will help determine if the heroine succeeds.

About the designer: ” My husband, Richard E Sepcic and Myself use photography to tell stories and support Philanthropic Support to both Human and Animals in need.”