How to be a heroine, what makes a heroine and who is viewed as the anti heroine

Alice Loraine Redfearn

Exploring the notion of the heroine
(How to become a heroine. Who is perceived as a heroine and who is perceived as the anti-heroine.)
Delving into further understanding of how women are viewed, treated and expected to act according to society and culture.

Women are expected to perform sacrificial rituals in order to be seen as the heroine, therefore we have a warped idea of what it means to be a heroine. (Commonly believed as a woman who is loved and admired).

In order tease out the familiarities of this concept, a strand of this project is concerned with the heroines of today. More specifically social media ’influencers’ as heroines. Heroism is socially and culturally conditioned, and we can see this play out across the influencer ‘language’. I translated a set of rules on ‘how to become a heroine’ using business methods, an archive of how to be a lady, and notes on how to be successful. Using these translated rules, I curated an Instagram profile for the fictional, literary heroine Jane Eyre. Viewers feedback stated that there were uncanny similarities between Jane Eyre’s curated profile and that of the users they were ‘following’, as they began to recognise the conditioned, familiar structure of Instagram influencer (heroine) language.

Another strand of my project was concerned with designing for the anti-heroine by using anti-heroine characteristics. There is a lot of shame surrounding and projected onto women’s bodies, which often prevents women from becoming heroines in their own lives. Julia Kristeva’s theory of the abject helped me to further understand possible explanations of this shame. Whereby it is triggered by the abject qualities of the maternal body, (that which women are taught to hide). Bleeding (menstruation) leaking (breastmilk) and ability to turn inside to outside (childbirth).

In designing for the anti-heroine, using these abject characteristics I began to compare the similarities between the washing machine and the maternal body, and redesigning the ritual of laundry. Designing a user manual for a speculative design of a neo-use for the washing machine, as a machine which is not concerned with the perception of cleanliness or quality of the garment, in order to access this sticky, problematic warped perception of heroism and women’s bodies in the domestic environment.