It’s no secret that I love Wonder Woman. She’s a kickass warrior princess goddess Amazon superhero--need I go on? She isn’t a damsel in distress, and she holds her own among all the dudes in Justice League. What makes her really strong, though, is her depth of compassion for humanity. She feels, deeply. Wonder Woman shows us there’s power in vulnerability, and being a woman is not a weakness.
A few years ago, I read Goddesses in Everywoman: Powerful Archetypes in Women's Lives by Jean Shinoda Bolen. It discusses female archetypes using Greek mythology, and talks about how women embody these archetypes at different points in their lives. I’ve been interested in mythology since I was a kid, so this was fascinating stuff.
When I sat down to outline a trilogy of books based on Greek goddess archetypes, I had to go deeper. I studied the Athena archetype--not just her strengths, but her weaknesses, too. Athena, goddess of wisdom, craft, and war, was a Strong Female Character™, but she also supported the patriarchy. Unlike Wonder Woman, Athena didn’t understand or value feelings. If I was going to write a character derived from the Athena archetype, this journey had to be part of her arc. She was going to have to learn to feel, to empathize, to be compassionate. She was going to have to remove her armor, open up, and let herself be seen.
This character, Min (short for Minerva, Athena’s Roman name), isn’t Wonder Woman. Not yet, anyway. She hasn’t done the work to open up. Her armor is her cold demeanor, her sword is her intelligence and willingness to work for her cause, and her shield is her defensive manner and sharp tongue. I had to pair her with a man who was strong, but sensitive. Braydon’s divorced, and he comes from a big family--he’s felt the full gamut of emotions, and he helps Min experience it for herself. Eventually, Min forms deep connections not only with Braydon, but with the other two female protagonists in the trilogy, Venus and Diana. The ability to feel deeply and be vulnerable is a superpower in and of itself, regardless of whether one has flight, bullet-proof gauntlets, or a lasso of truth. My hope is that through these stories, readers will also recognize and value their own superpowers, and expand the female archetypes society has defined for us.♥
Golden Heart® finalist Alexis Daria’s debut contemporary romance will be released in 2017 from SMP Swerve. On Sunday evenings, Alexis co-hosts #RWchat, a weekly Twitter chat for romance writers. She also serves as PRO Liaison for the New York City chapter of RWA, and Municipal Liaison for the NYC region of National Novel Writing Month. You can find her on Twitter at @alexisdaria, and follow her blog creativestaycation.com.