Heroification and Its Damaging Effects

Satisfactory Essays
Heroification and Its Damaging Effects

In the Disney movie Life-Size, actress Tyra Banks plays the role of Eve, a Barbie-like doll, who is "perfect in every way," come to life. Later in the movie, the once-very popular Eve doll's sales decrease dramatically, and the company stops the production of the Eve doll not realizing what they are doing wrong. Distressed, Banks, the "life-size" Eve doll, turns to her owner Casey and learns two valuable lessons—that perfection is boring and unrealistic, and it is okay to make mistakes. Casey tells the life-size Eve that the Eve doll is too "goody-goody" to be real, and girls need more realistic role models—heroes—with personality, inner struggles, and mistakes. Almost everyone likes heroes from Spiderman to firefighters to Dad who inspire the young and keep them motivated; however when the heroes' lives and beliefs are fabricated to fit a stereotype, these humans regress into nothing more than a boring ideal. Heroification with cognitive dissonance blind students to the reality of this world and limit their ability to view controversies objectively.

Heroification is the process where details—both important and trivial—are left out or changed to fit the archetypical mold of the flawless, inhuman "heroes." This "degenerative process" makes "flesh-and-blood individuals into pious, perfect creatures without conflicts, pain, credibility, or human interest (Loewen 19)." For example, many people know of Helen Keller only as the blind, deaf girl who despite her handicaps learned to read, write, and to speak, but this is only the first twenty years of her life. Whatever happened to Keller for the next sixty-four years of her life? Keller was, in fact, a radical socialist in Massachusetts starting in the early 1900s, and was one of the most passionate and famous woman during that time rallying for the new communist nation. Keller's love for socialism did not stem from a vacuum but was rooted deep within her experiences as a disabled person, and she sympathized with other handicaps and learned that social class controls not only people's opportunity but also their disabilities. But during the heroification process, the schools and the mass media omitted Keller's lifelong goal and passion to bring about radical social change because we would rather teach our young to "remain uncontroversial and one-dimensional" than to have a room full of leftists (Loewen 35).
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