Monday, June 20, 2016

Heroes

          A week or so ago I picked up The Geek Feminist Revolution; its a book of essays dealing with (you can probably guess) feminism and pop culture. It's a good book thus far, and I heartily suggest you pick up a copy. Despite that endorsement, I can't say I agree with the entire book.

          In particular, one of the essays titled Hero (I think, my book is a few feet away) is about how the hero that people get in their mind when you say the word is a male, white, Greek-Adonis type of character. Hercules, Conan the Barbarian, Captain America (not the Hail Hydra version) and Superman (Justice League rather than Justice Lord) are all examples of this character. Hurley suggests that we need to change that.

          While I agree with the theory, the practical isn't so clear cut. First of all, when I was asked that question, my first thought wasn't Captain America and the like. The first thing I saw was a feminine face filled with determination and kindness. When I realised that she wanted a view of somebody, I saw my own heroes. While I do admit that one of my heroes, Jocelin, fulfils that stereotype, the other heroes that came to mind for me were Richard, a dark-skinned man, lithe and intelligent and Kuzunoha, an Asian woman who is slim, tiny, and doll-like.

          Obviously, I was not the type of person she was expecting. Since I like asking the hard questions, I put it to my Facebook page as well thinking that maybe because I'm an author and don't generally differentiate between hero and heroine in my own mind that perhaps other people would give the more expected answers.

          The first thing I realised is that, like me, most people (or at least everyone I have following me) do not see an image of a hero when you say that word. They don't see anything, or they see an expression on a blank face that encompasses qualities they espouse in a hero. If pressed, they see their heroes.

          Some of them see the face of Tsukino Usagi (otherwise known as Sailor Moon), or they see famous people they respect (Margaret Bulkley and Elizabeth Gregory MacGill). Some of them did see Superman (heroic preferences include dark hair over blonde hair apparently) and one person said "Baymax sacrificing his big plump robo body to push Hiro and the ship to safety."

 
 Pictures used as example only and are owned by their respective and awesome companies.

          So no, I don't agree with her. Or at least, I don't think its anywhere near as bad as she thinks it may be. I think it's clear that while there are many white, muscle-bound heroes, there are also many heroes that aren't. What do you think? What (or more correctly who) do you see when you think of a hero? And is that the same as your favourite hero? If not, why/what do you think the difference is?

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