1st Edition

The New Heroines in Film and Television Post-Jungian Perspectives on Contemporary Female Characters

By Helena Bassil-Morozow Copyright 2023
    212 Pages
    by Routledge

    212 Pages
    by Routledge

    This thought-provoking volume offers an overview of contemporary representations of prominent female characters as they appear in an array of moving-image narratives from a Jungian and post-Jungian perspective.

    Applying a theoretical frame that is richly informed by the Jungian and post-Jungian concepts of persona, individuation, and archetypes, works including Fleabag (2016-2019), Ladybird (2017), and The Queen’s Gambit (2020) as well as Disney productions such as Brave (2012), Moana (2016), and Frozen (2013), are contextualized and discussed alongside their non-screen precedents and contemporaries, including myths, fairy tales, and works of literature, to closely examine new patterns of the female journey. This book identifies how young female characters rebel against the female persona of previous eras through the trickster, the shadow, and other archetypes, comparing the contemporary female protagonist with her predecessors to assess the new paths, roles, and milestones available to her. Examining the construction of the female persona across time periods and mediums in an accessibly written yet academic style, this book is the first of its kind.

    With a fulsome account of the progressive developments in entertainment media and Jungian thought, this book is essential reading for students and scholars of film, as well as anyone with an interest in analytical psychology and wider feminist issues in contemporary culture.

    Introduction; 1: The Female Persona; 2: The Female Journey; 3: The Red Woman and the Blue Woman: The Boundaries of the Mask; 4: Bildungsroman: Rejection of the Mask; 5: The Mother; 6: The Female Trickster; Conclusion


    Helena Bassil-Morozow is a senior lecturer in Media and Journalism at Glasgow Caledonian University. Her many publications include Tim Burton: The Monster and the Crowd (Routledge, 2010), The Trickster in Contemporary Film (Routledge, 2011), The Trickster and the System: Identity and Agency in Contemporary Society (Routledge, 2014), Jungian Film Studies: The Essential Guide (Routledge, 2016; co-authored with Luke Hockley), and Jungian Theory for Storytelling: The Essential Guide (Routledge, 2018).

    ‘In this fascinating book, Helena Bassil-Morozow challenges and revises Jungian concepts in order to offer fresh insights into the evolution of the female persona. Drawing on a rich range of material, from folk tales through to fictions, contemporary films and tv programmes, she argues that the cultural templates for women are rapidly changing in response to their need to break free of the mask of femininity. Deftly analysing representations of defiant heroines, "liminal" mothers and female tricksters, she concludes that women are carving out new paths towards individuation and a fairer society.’ 

    Avril Horner, emeritus professor of English Literature, Kingston University

    ‘This is an important book for studies of gender in twenty-first century television and film, and also for those wanting to see Jungian theory grow up. Bassil-Morozow transforms Jungian notions of the persona and individuation to reveal the gender bias in traditional uses. For as The New Heroines in Film and Television demonstrates, the female persona is ubiquitous in filmed narratives, the feminine used to give meaning to male-oriented stories, or, in other words, the anima. Moreover, individuation in the Jungian sense occurs too often in its stunted masculinist form of the hero’s journey. While critiquing these conservative aspects of mainstream media, Bassil-Morozow brilliantly weaves together post-Jungian and post-Freudian ideas to show the emergence of resistant and transgressive female-centered stories. If you care about gender or film or TV, this book is a must.’

    Susan Rowland, author of Jung: A Feminist Revision (2002)

    ‘A fiercely original account of the female protagonist in contemporary film and TV narratives. Bassil-Morozow continues the explorations of female individuation that have attracted a wide and enthusiastic readership. She traces the changes in the way recent heroines function as agents, rather than as passive characters. This is a timely book as female leads are emerging in roles which, previously, would have been unavailable to them. The book is a significant blend of Jungian and psychoanalytic film criticism.’

    Andrew Samuels, author of A New Therapy for Politics? and former professor of analytical psychology, University of Essex