Strong Women :: Bright Lights and Hot Messes

Strong women create strong relationships when matched with a strong man.  Yet strong with weak is out of balance and will ultimately fail.

Don’t be a woman that needs a man.  Be a woman that a man needs. ~ Modern Proverb

Pixar's 2008 film
Eve in Wall-E: a strong woman against a strong man yet eventually allying with him

Why is it that strong women are often viewed as a negative?

In the workplace, a strong man is called “assertive”.  A strong woman defending the same idea / process / change is considered “too aggressive.”  Strong women can be called “bitches” when in fact they are merely Alpha Females defending their positions.

Women who question men are often see as interfering when they are usually just trying to point out a better way or a different way.  Strong women usually don’t think this or that / yes or no.  They think “this and that and other”.

Strong women are often antagonists for heroes to overcome.

Strong Women in Ancient Days

This pattern of viewing  strong women as monsters to be overcome harks back to mythology.  In Greek mythology, especially, heroes often fought monsters that were half-woman.

  • Perseus and the 3 Graiae (Grey Women): half woman / half swan
  • Perseus and the Gorgon Medusa (a winged beauty with snakes for hair)
  • Odysseus and the Sirens (more bird-women)
  • Odysseus and Circe . . . and Calypso
  • Oedipus and the Sphinx (a woman with a lion’s body and bird wings)
  • Jason and the Harpies (raptors with women’s faces and bodies)

Mythology also has

Mythology uses Symbolic Number
the Three Norns by HLM: the Crone, the Matron, the Maiden or Past / Present / Future
  •  The 3 Fates :: in the Greek form as the Moonspinners: Clotho, Lachesis, and the dreaded Atropos who determined the moment of death).  In the Norse form as Urd, Verdandi, and Skuld (past / present / future, Maiden / Matron / Crone)
  • The 3 Furies: the Erinyes, Zeus’ goddesses of vengeance
  • Nemesis, the goddess of Divine Retribution
  • Memory and Justice are both women in Greek myth.  Don’t cross them.
  • Jason against his wife Medea, one of the truly horrific women in all of literature.
  • And Sygny of Norse Mythology is scary in her vengeance.

The ancients understood much about women:  We remember everything, and we let go of nothing.  Read the stories of Medea and Sygny, and tremble.




Yet strong women are heroic as well.

Their heroism is often more courageous than men’s since they go against the tide of what culture—and weak men—want them to be.

Strong Women as Alphas

This ruler’s competitive side sets her apart from other strong women.

Positive Side :: the Queen Negative Side :: the Bitch
Influences and Unifies

Intimidates (emotional and intellectual) and Manipulates

Brings people together to work for a common good Focuses on $$ and appearance
Finds and promotes people’s strengths Goals are always selfish

Strong Women as Betas

Much like the male version of the Beta, the female Beta as a strong woman will quietly challenge a bad leader.  She is a seeker.  She will not waver from a primary goal, although she is willing to alter her goal to achieve a better one.

Positive:  Counselor Negative: Courtier
Trouble-shooter Ego-stroker for the Bitch
Supports a leader she can respect and who can implement a viable plan Survives by being a toadie and unites with the Bitch to create a front against the world
Sees difficulties approaching and to the attention of the more competitive Queen Jealously guards her position and never analyzes the Leader;  just takes actions, sometimes on her own, to achieve what the Leader wants

Strong Women as Gammas

The Gamma strong women are Destroyers of the Status Quo.

Positive: Non-Conformist Negative: Little Miss Independent
Rebel with a Cause Rebel for no Cause
Knows the reason that the status quo doesn’t work and seeks a new way, a new perspective Claims her individuality above all else—but that individuality is usually associated with a Clique outside her current sphere
Seeks the flaws in the established system and is often viewed as Quirky or an Isolate Craves attention as much as the Bitch does but uses a different method.  The 1st Goth or the 1st Emo, she is always the 1st to Do and always the first onto the new fad.


Strong Women as Deltas

Both versions of the Delta are caregivers.  Strong women see a need for change through those who are in need.  They find a need that needs an initiative to fulfill it, and both can inspire others to aid them in fulfilling their goals.
Positive: Visionary Negative: Missionary
Like Mother Theresa, sets up an initiative to respond to a need. Gloms onto an initiative then attempts to claim it as her own
Her contagious enthusiasm lures others to help her. A holier-than-thou attitude drives her crusade and may drive others away.
Throughout her work, she continues to see others in need—even those working with her—and responds to issues they have. Whether crusading for medical marijuana or the local Angel food drive, she either manipulates through guilt or actively commands others to help.

Chinese Art Techniques

What are the four Chinese Art Techniques doing in a discussion of strong women who are Bright Lights and Hot Messes?

The Art Techniques show the development of strong teams.
See the centering leader, its follower on the right, the opposing stroke on the far left, and the harmonizing fourth to the immediate left of the centering leader?

Actually, the four Art Techniques tell us about leaders and team building.

Ch’i:  the lead stroke.  This first one starts the work and establishes the goal and orientation.  Alpha, Queen.

Ch’eng: the following stroke.  The second supports and reinforces the leader’s intention.  Beta, Counselor.

Ch’uan: the advocate,  opposing  direction.  The third is a “how-about-trying-this-for-a-change person to introduce variation and diversity.  Gamma, Rebel.

Ho: the unifier, the stroke that brings the first three into harmony.  The unifier brings all members of a team into agreement, usually by finding common ground upon which to build consensus.  Delta, Visionary.

 Next Up

We continue our look at women and archetype with a contemplation of the difference between the Hero’s Journey and the Heroine’s Journey.

Following that our final discussion about Jung’s List of 12 Character Archetypes.  These are last but not least.  Protagonists (and heroes) can be these concluding four, as can antagonists.

Visit us in April to meet more Strong Women and then the Everyman Orphan, the Lover, the Innocent, and the Fool/Jester (sometimes called the Trickster).

~~M. A. Lee