A former Lutheran pastor sharing thoughts on faith and life. Please join the conversation! I love your comments!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Heroes: We Need Some Alternatives

Recently there has been much publicity and controversy over a particular public figure (pun probably in bad taste but noted none the less.)  The public unveiling of the new identity of a transgendered person has led to some interesting conversations.  Effects of this event have run the gambit from positive increases of awareness to truly disturbing reinforcement of gender stereotyping and objectification of women (an excellent article on the latter can be read here).

The topic of transgendered people is one about which I am still learning and so it is best I listen instead of speak on this topic.  However, within the good, the bad, and the general uproar, the topic of heroism has arisen.  What I read in regards to heroism is troubling to me.  Whether this particular person is a hero or not depends largely upon the definition of hero which one is using.  The objections I read, though, offer up disturbing alternatives.  The heroes lifted up fall into two categories: people who use weapons and people who play sports.  Indeed some of these folks might be  heroes, yet why such limited options?  Is it merely coincidental these heroes come from fields where the male gender historically has dominated?  There are so many more options.  How about medical workers, educators, scientists, inventors, humanitarian aid workers, those who work to stop violence, and grassroots organizers?  Surely the aforementioned sports and military heroes do often have inspiring stories of hardship and hardwork yet do we really believe no one else does?  Humanitarian workers don't face hardship and sacrifice?  Educators and scientists can't experience personal tragedy and overcome it?  One might say, “but I don’t know the names of any of those people.”  Exactly.  Perhaps we should start celebrating, focusing upon, and encouraging our children toward a more diverse set of options for heroism.  
Despite some of the negatives of the recent media frenzy, considering our heretofore rather limited alternatives, there might be something to be said for celebrating someone who is daring to be different.  

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