Who’s an Anti-Virgin

May 10, 2010 at 9:39 am 2 comments

I had a geat question from Julie on Anti-Virgins and I thought I would do a blog on it.

In an anit-virgin story, the actions of the Virgin and the community are reversed.  The Virgin is still a virgin in that she has an unfulfilled potential that longs to come to life, but she is the biggest impediment to it coming true.  She insists on being blind to what she needs to do to make her dream come true, even though all the people of her community are pointing her towards it.

Two great examples are Mama Mia! and The 40 Year Old Virgin.  In Mamma Mia !, Sophie is young and in love with a young man who wants to explore the world but she is determined to take care of her mother and make her mother’s business a success and even have the whole white wedding her mother never had.  Despite the protestations of her mother and fiance, she will not admit to herself that she really just wants to be free to explore the world.  This is the challenge of the story.

Similarly, in The 40 Year Old Virgin,  Andy is so afraid of being vulnerable in his sexuality that he has sublimated his urges into video games and comic action figures.  When his co-workers discover he is a virgin they start working towards helping him get over the hump, as it were.  Andy moves back and forth between being a Virgin and exploring his passion, and being an anti-virgin who self sabotages (and uses bad judgement when he actually listens to his yahoo co-workers) and keeps reverting to his old state.  Andy is his own worst enemy as he struggles to over come his protective complex which tells him the only way to survive is to avoid intimacy with a woman.

At some point the Virgin stops working against her dream.  The community may even start working against her making it a classic Virgin journey.  Often, Gives Up What Kept Her Stuck is the beat on which the Anti-Virgin story turns into a Virgin story.  Or, she may never learn to stop holding herslef back and we have a very tragic story.

I recently became aware that movies like Whale Rider and Bend It Like Beckham have a secondary story that is an anti-virgin story.  The anti-virgin is the father in these stories and his unfulfilled virgin journey becomes the antagonists in the story.  In Whale Rider, Paikea has a natural drive to restore the ancient traditions of her people.  Her grandfather believes his calling is to find the next chief to lead his people from their troubled time by regaining their connection to their traditions.  He is convinced the new leader must be male and is therefore insulted every time Paikea shows her true potential and tries to send her away.  Paikea’s fulfillment of her Virgin journey is the catalyst her grandfather needs to Give Up What Has Kept Him Stuck and convert his Anti-Virgin Journey to his Virgin Journey.

Thanks Julie for inspiring this blog.

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

beat 5 – The Secret World Snow White was a Virgin

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lorne Agnew  |  May 14, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    Kim: Your elaboration of Julie’s anti-virgin “theory” is really helpful, and your comment re Andy “getting over the hump” hilarious (who knew-humour in archetypal analyses?). I concur that some characters in movies stay stuck with tragic consequences, and I’m wondering if you thought that identifying more movies with this structure would be a useful ‘teaching” tool (as in finding the opposite of the virgin’s journey as a means of explaining it). I have a hunch a lot of bleak Euro movies are anti-virgin’s stories.
    Anyway, great blog and a very helpful framework for getting more out of watching movies.

    • 2. thevirginspromise  |  May 15, 2010 at 1:33 pm

      Yes! Archetypes become really clear when you put opposites next to one another. As in yin and yang theory, black is sharpest next to white. The Virgin next to the Hero or the Hero next to the Coward is very illuminating.

      Great idea to look at some European movies…



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