Who’s a Virgin?

October 30, 2009 at 3:32 am 7 comments

If you have a dream that you are holding inside, you’re a Virgin.  If you see yourself in the world differently than the people around you think you should be, and you haven’t told them yet, you’re a Virgin.


The Virgin is also known as the Princess and the Maiden in her female form or the Prince in the male form.  (It is gender neutral but I am going to call it she because it is feminine.  You can substitute s/he in your mind if that works better for you.)

The Virgin often begins asleep to her potential or living in the restrictive boundaries of a dependent life.  She may live in an atmosphere that is at odds with her dream due to social convention, cultural traditions, jealousy because of what she has (the stepmother’s famous jealousy over the father’s love for the daughter) or envy because of who she is (the sibling’s feeling of falling short in comparison to the Virgin).

Jung used the term Virgin to describe the early feminine archetype that faces the task of truly Being. She needs to look inside herself, discover her unique talent, dream, way of viewing the world (know thyself), and bring it to life.  This feminine journeyusually invloves the awakening of your creative expression, the exploration of your spiritual experience or coming of age where you recognize that your body is your own and you can be active in the world and know joy.  The first sexual experience is a metaphor for this transformation.

Jung felt we have a mechanism to make this happen, programmed into our collective unconscious, known as archetypes.  These archetypes are designed to pull us forward through the major transformations of life.

Good examples of Virgin stories include Billy Elliot, Shakespear in Love, Legally Blond, Ever After, Brokeback Mountain, New Waterford Girl, Better than Chocolate, Wedding Crashers, Sister Act, and Bend It Like Beckham.

If you watch any of these, let me know if you recognized the common theme.  Can you think of any other movies or tv shows with this theme?

Entry filed under: Archetype theory. Tags: , , , .

Archetypes 101

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. DAR  |  April 30, 2010 at 5:47 am

    Would you say that the film Erin Brockovich fits the Virgin’s Promise archetype?

    • 2. thevirginspromise  |  April 30, 2010 at 8:54 am

      Yes. Erin Brockovich is a Virgin movie. I use it as an example in my book. It is interesting because it could have been a hero story, the little guy taking on the corporation, but it was based on a true story and the corporation was a bunch of dry documents. The story of Erin, the ex-beauty queen, dreaming of helping people, even though she is a single mom and judged by society to be inappropriate and unvalued, is really interesting. She brings her dream to life, even against the beliefs of her community. And that makes her a Virgin.

      • 3. DAR  |  April 30, 2010 at 9:06 am

        That’s what I thought. I guess to me the mark of this archetype is the person’s struggle with self-actualization – i.e., striving to achieve something more than your “station in life”.

        In Erin’s case, her “station in life” was poor single mom, which she finally escapes to become a legal clerk / environmental activist.

        By the way, whether it turns out to actually fit to be an archetypal virgin’s promise story or not, the movie “October Sky” (which I mentioned in another comment) is a great, inspirational story of self-actualization. Highly recommended!

  • 4. DAR  |  April 30, 2010 at 7:16 am

    Perhaps also, the (excellent) movie “October Sky”. It’s about the main character’s (played by Jake Gyllenhall) struggle to become a rocket scientist, instead of a poor coal miner like his father.

    • 5. thevirginspromise  |  April 30, 2010 at 9:26 am

      Yes! This is a Virgin movie too. You’re really getting into this. This is a great example of how the Virgin can be any age or gender. Got any more?

  • 6. DAR  |  April 30, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Hmmm … a few others come to mind:

    * “Girlfight” with Michelle Rodriguez follows this archetype in a big way. Great film about a tough, inner-city girl who becomes a boxer. (The anti-Billy Elliot?) 🙂

    * “Secretary” w/ Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader. It’s subject matter is highly sexual (and kinky), so not for prudes. But it’s an excellent film, and when you strip away the sexual aspects of the plot, it’s really just a quintessential story of self-actualization at its heart.

    * Perhaps also “The Devil Wears Prada”? Not sure about that one, though, since in the end she winds up turning away from her new world and returning to her old one. Still, I think the story hits many of the Virgin’s Promise beats.

    * Perhaps “Almost Famous”? Another great flick about a young teen becoming a writer for Rolling Stone. Again, not sure it fits perfectly with the archetype, but it does have a lot in common.

    * Maybe “Elizabeth” with Cate Blanchett? The movie shows her transformation from frightened young girl to a confident, powerful queen.

    * “Hustle And Flow” perhaps? Another excellent flick about an inner-city pimp/hustler who strives to leave his dead-end lifestyle and become a rapper.

    “You’re really getting into this.” lol. Not exactly – I’m not even a writer! I’m a huge fan of movies, though, and watch a lot of them. And I’m especially fond of films that tell archetypical tales of personal triumph like Hero’s Journey and Virgin’s Promise – they tend to be among my favorite films.

    Funny how I stumbled on your blog: Was watching a re-run of “Working Girl” on cable last night, and it occurred to me that the story had a lot in common with the Hero’s Journey archetype. Started googling on that, and wound up here. (And learned about a new archetype!) 🙂

    Thanks for a great site!

    • 7. thevirginspromise  |  April 30, 2010 at 10:36 am

      Thanks for the great suggestions! I’ve put Girlfight, Secretary and Hustle and Flow on my rolling list of movies to watch. Yahoo!

      I would agree that all the other movies have an element of the Virgin archetype in them, some stronger than others. I loved Elizabeth.

      Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting. Great to get your impressions. I try to put up a new post every Monday.



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The Virgin’s Promise

Writing Feminine Stories of Creative, spiritual and Sexual Awakening

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