Up@dawn 2.0

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

so what's a hero? 3/3 #12

So heroism is subjective. We decide who we look up to, and we decide what qualities we look for in heroes. Of course, in this case I'm talking about real life heroes and superheroes, but now I want to talk about issues with all of that. We tend to see a lot of our heroes the same way. They overwhelmingly tend to stick to stereotypes. This is of course a problem because heroes can be absolutely anybody. Some of our own personal experiences tell us that they can be anybody. However, I feel that a lot of media portrays heroism differently. They portray heroism as mostly "perfect" and "ideal" versions of the "majority". Tons of "air quotes"
aside, this is a huge problem. This leaves everybody else unrepresented. Mike makes some really great points on this, and I think he puts this really eloquently. I'll try to not reiterate too many of his points either.
ANYWAY, this hurts what people can consider heroes. If these people don't fit that stereotype then that could potentially hinder heroism. Although, I would argue that true heroes wouldn't be hindered by just stereotypes, it can still be a factor. I believe that people in general tend to mimic what they see in the media more than they would like. Back to the main point. People want to be heroes. They want to be seen as what they sometimes feel like. Every type of person can be heroic. I would argue that, in fact, there are more people out there that are heroic that are not part of that "stereotypical" grouping. They exist as part of every race and culture and every subculture and grouping of people. 
I know that this is a stretch from what I've said in the previous bits, but I feel that superheroes and the stories that we tell of our own personal heroes represent what we really see and want. And that's been changing. Like Mike says above, media is portraying more diversity. I think that's a good thing. Maybe there will be more representation and more presence of mind towards others. The selflessness that heroes show helps break down that inherent barrier we see between people and "those people". We stop seeing ourselves a special group and we start seeing everybody as humans that can work together. Heroes, man. Fighting crime and diversity and social barriers one day at a time. So those are my somewhat scattered thoughts.  

1 comment:

  1. You're right, if I understand what you're saying. Real heroes are everyday people who do exceptional things, or exceptional people whose lives suggest a paradigm of possibility, or simply people who've attained what we consider excellence in areas of life to which we aspire. They're role models, exemplars. For me (this is the subjective element you mention): my Dad met his death heroically. William James philosophized heroically, in conquering his own psychological demons. The leaders on my daughter's softball team are heroes for me today, after their come-from-behind doubleheader tourney sweep last night. We should all make and constantly revise our heroes lists, they help keep us on track.